affirm_united-logoWELCOME TO EMMANUEL



Advent 3

Sunday December 16, 2018


Reflection as we gather ourselves for worship    by Mary Oliver ďIf you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, donít hesitate.

Give in to it!Ē


As we meet together, we begin by remembering the Algonquin People on whose traditional land we now gather in gratitude.  We acknowledge their story and their stewardship of the land and water, the plants and animals, through many generations.  We bear witness to the ongoing suffering caused by historical injustices and commit to seeking right relations today.


The Gathering of Godís People


Carol Sing (2 songs) - led by Lee Langner


Emmanubells:  O Holy Night      - Adolphe C. Adam, arr. Linda R. Lamb


The Life & Work of our Community of Faith Ė Rev. Catherine Gutjahr


Introduction of Rev. Steve Moore - Val Lines,Chair of M&P


Lighting of the Advent and Affirm Candles

(Global Partners Ė Keith Jeacle, Jim Lamb, Mary Turnbull)

One:     Godís world is a rainbow world,

Two:    a joyful spectrum of colour.

Three: Today, God speaks to us as we work together with our global partners (light the affirm candle)

 One:    We long for the Christ to bring colour to a waiting world (light 1st, 2nd, 3rd Advent candles)

All:      Let us worship God in this season of joy. Ü


We light the Advent candles to symbolize the presence of Christís Spirit, alive within us, this day and every day.

We light the Affirming candle to proclaim to the members of the LGBTQ+ communities and their allies that they are truly welcomed and accepted in this place.


Hymn:   We Are Walking a Path of Joy

MV 221


             We are walking a path of Joy.

             We are walking a path of Joy.

             We are walking a path of Joy,

             lead us home, lead us home.



Welcome to this sacred place of belonging where we embrace the sacredness of life and recognize the dignity of each person, spirit-filled with the image of God, the Mystery in whom we live and move and have our being.


Welcome to all who have no church home, need strength, want to follow Christ, have doubts. Welcome to visitors and to new and old friends.


Welcome to grandparents, to mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, youth, couples and single people.


Welcome to people of all colours, cultures, abilities, gender identities, and sexual orientations, to old and young, to believers and questioners Ė and welcome to questioning believers.


This day, we are all invited to live into Godís love, peace and justice.


Hymn:   Joyful, Joyful We Adore You

VU 232


Joyful, joyful we adore you,

God of glory, life and love;

hearts unfold like flowers before you,

opening to the sun above.

Melt the clouds of sin and sadness,

drive the gloom of doubt away;

giver of immortal gladness,

fill us with the light of day.


All your works with joy surround you,

earth and heaven reflect your rays,

stars and angels sing around you,

centre of unbroken praise.

Field and forest, vale and mountain,

flowery meadow, flashing sea,

chanting bird and flowing fountain,

sound their praise eternally.


You are giving and forgiving,

ever blessing, ever blest,

well-spring of the joy of living,

ocean depth of happy rest!

Source of grace and fount of blessing

let your light upon us shine;

teach us how to love each other,

lift us to the joy divine.


Mortals join the mighty chorus

which the morning stars began;

Godís own love is reigning oíer us,

joining people hand in hand.

Ever singing, march we onward,

victors in the midst of strife;

joyful music leads us sunward

in the triumph song of life.


Call to Worship                                                                         

One:     Come, people of God, let us continue our journey to Bethlehem,

All:      step, by step, by step.

One:     Let us journey through the gift of these Advent days until, like Mary and Joseph, out of necessity and weariness,

All:      we find our place at the manger.

One:     Let us make the journey in Hope, Peace and Joy, with confidence and in trust,

All:      for God is with us.

One:     Come, let us worship God! Ü1


Opening Prayer:

One:     Loving and ever-present God, we admit that we are often so preoccupied with our lives and to-do lists, that we donít make room for you to enter our hearts and inspire us.

All:      We sometimes forget to make room for your birth within us.

One:     We seek the Mystery of your Holy Spirit to infuse our worship.

All:       Help us to determine that which brings true Joy into our lives.

One:     May we be pregnant with the Hope, Peace and Joy that brings us to new life.

All:      Amen


Hymn:  Hope is a Star

VU 7


Hope is a star that shines in the night,

leading us on till the morning is bright.


When God is a child thereís joy in our song.

The last shall be first and the weak shall be strong,

and none shall be afraid.


Peace is a ribbon that circles the earth,

giving a promise of safety and worth.


When God is a child thereís joy in our song.

The last shall be first and the weak shall be strong,

and none shall be afraid.


Joy is a song that welcomes the dawn,

telling the world that the Saviour is born.


When God is a child thereís joy in our song.

The last shall be first and the weak shall be strong,

and none shall be afraid.


Love is a flame that burns in our heart,

Jesus has come and will never depart.


When God is a child thereís joy in our song.

The last shall be first and the weak shall be strong,

and none shall be afraid.


A Time for All Godís Children


Hymn:  Behold, Behold, I Make All Things New

MV 115

             Behold, (behold,) behold, (behold,)

             I make all things new,

             beginning with you and starting from today.

             Behold, (behold,) behold, (behold,)

             I make all things new,

             my promises true,

             for I am Christ the way.


(Children leave for Sunday School)


Emmanubells:   Song of the Manger

arr. Arnold B. Sherman


Reading from the Bible


First Reading:  Zephaniah 3:14-20

             Zephaniah, one of the minor prophets who lived about 370 years before Jesusís birth, admonished the people, but ended with a Song of Joy that he perceived from God.                       


Second Reading:  Philippians 4:4-7

             The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to the house church in Philippi from his prison cell in Rome around 60-64 CE.  It is filled with joy and reminders that peace is available to those who live with humbleness and faith.


Anthem: O Come, Lord Jesus, Come

by Williams/Angerman


Reflection:  Joy from a prison cell


Hymn:  Spirit, Open My Heart

MV 79


Spirit, open my heart to the joy and pain of living.

As you love may I love, in receiving and in giving,

Spirit, open my heart.


God, replace my stony heart

with a heart thatís kind and tender.

All my coldness and fear

to your grace I now surrender.


Spirit, open my heart to the joy and pain of living.

As you love may I love, in receiving and in giving,

Spirit, open my heart.


Write your love upon my heart

as my law, my goal, my story.

In each thought, word, and deed,

may my living bring you glory.


Spirit, open my heart to the joy and pain of living.

As you love may I love, in receiving and in giving,

Spirit, open my heart.


May I weep with those who weep,

share the joy of sister, brother.

In the welcome of Christ,

may we welcome one another.


Responding with Prayer & Thanksgiving


Video from Miguel Castro Ė Emmanuel Bautista, El Salvador                      - Jim Lamb


Presentation of our Offering


Special Music: Deliver Us       - words and music by Andrew Peterson

Joel Brohman, Philip Burness, Jim Lamb


Presentation Hymn:  What Can I Do

MV 191


             What can I do? What can I bring?

             What can I say? What can I sing?

             Iíll sing with joy. Iíll say a prayer.

             Iíll bring my love. Iíll do my share.




Prayers of the People


The Lordís Prayer ĖTraditional and a Paraphrase version in two parts


Our Father, who art in heaven

VU 910 & 916


Eternal Spirit,

Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life-giver,

Source of all that is and that shall be.

Father and Mother of us all,

Loving God, in whom is heaven:


Hallowed be thy name                        

The hallowing of your name echo through the universe!

Thy kingdom come,

Thy will be done

On earth as it is in heaven                  

The way of your justice be followed by peoples of the world!

Your heavenly will be done by all created beings!

Your commonwealth of peace and freedom

sustain our hope and come on earth.


Give us this day our daily bread;      

With the bread we need for today, feed us.

And forgive us our trespasses            

As we forgive those

who trespass against us


In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.


And lead us not into temptation         

In times of temptation and test, strengthen us.

From trials too great to endure, spare us.

But deliver us from evil.                     

From the grip of all that is evil, free us.


For thine is the kingdom,

and the power, and the glory,                                      

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love,

for ever and ever.

Now and for ever. 



Hymn:  Bless Now, O God, the Journey

VU 633


Bless now, O God, the journey

that all your people make,

the path through noise and silence,

the way of give and take.

The trail is found in desert

and winds the mountain round,

then leads beside still waters,

the road where faith is found.


Bless sojourners and pilgrims

who share this winding way,

whose hope burns through the terrors

whose love sustains the day.

We yearn for holy freedom

while often we are bound.

Together we are seeking

the road where faith is found.


Divine Eternal Lover,

you meet us on the road.

We wait for lands of promise

where milk and honey flow.

But waiting not for places,

you meet us all around.

Our covenant is written

on roads, as faith is found.


Commissioning, Benediction


Postlude Closing: What a Wonderful World   

Joel and Vanessa Brohman

by George Davis Weiss & Bob Thiele


Words and Music reproduced with permission under One License A-610090


Ü Adapted from the prayer in Gathering, A/C/E 2018-2019, page 69. Used with permission.

Ü1 adapted from Gathering A/C/E  2009-2010. Used with permission.



A clipboard for prayer concerns will be circulated, if you wish, add a line, printing clearly, then pass it on.  It is also available in the narthex before each service.


A Prayer Box is available for individuals to write requests for personal prayers. It is located on the Prayer Table at the front of the sanctuary.


Prayer requests are treated with respect and confidentiality.


Ecumenical Prayer Partner:  Through every week of the year, our prayers affirm our solidarity with neighbours all over the world. This week we pray for Benin, CŰte díIvoire, Togo.