Worship and Liturgy

While I was in seminary, I learned lots of right and wrong ways to plan and lead worship services. After a few years in ministry, I scrapped everything I learned about worship in my seminary classes. Instead, what I discovered was that if the community gathered was honest and vulnerable, the Spirit would always be present in our collective worship. My prayers could be beautiful, the music could dovetail perfectly with the chosen scripture, but if I was not fully present, the worship was, well, so-so. If I was 100% present and honest about my connection with the scripture or idea, God showed up (almost always through those gathered, not me!) 

These resources are merely suggestions. Your worship style might be so different that you won’t use any of this liturgy. Others will write beautiful, planned words. (Please share those, will you?) However you plan your community’s service of Lament, Repentance & Activism, do it authentically and honestly. Do not shy away from the hard truths. Do not become too concerned if you don’t have the right music or if you can project the images provided. Also, do not be embarrassed if you grow so weary that you cut and paste everything from this page. 

Simply, be open to the Spirit and she will show up. Be authentic. Be honest. Be raw. There is no right way to lament the death of so many in our nation to guns. - Rev. Abby Henrich

This page contains resources that you may use in a "Christians United against Gun Violence" worship service. Web links are provided first, followed by files. 

Bishops against Gun Violence liturgical resources site
Hymns in Times of Crisis (a resource by the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada; fill out a short form to receive access to the hymnal, which can be downloaded as a PDF)
Justice Choir Songbook (all contributors have authorized their music for free use in non-commercial contexts)
Let Me Be Your Light (a worship song by Christopher Grundy, who has granted permission for congregations to use this song for free for these services (Isaiah 49:6b))
Peace for the Children (an anthem by the United Church of Canada; please email Amanda Udis-Kessler (amanda@amandaudiskessler,com) if you would like an mp4 of this recording to avoid the YouTube ads)
There is a Place (Iona Community; copyrighted but the link provides information)
Weep Like Rachel: A Gun Violence Round (video - choral version)
Weep Like Rachel: A Gun Violence Round (video - Conie Barchardt's recording)
You Cannot Serve God and Guns (video)

Responsive Liturgy (Call to Worship and Liturgy of Remembrance) 47.6 KB
Prayers (Gathering Prayer, Prayer of Confession, Prayer Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Words, Final Blessing) 35.3 KB
How Can We Cry for Justice (text by Slats Toole; music by Marilyn Haskel; free use with attribution) 177 KB
Weep Like Rachel: A Gun Violence Round (text and music by Amanda Udis-Kessler; Jeremiah 31:15) 91.8 KB
You Cannot Serve God and Guns (text and music by Amanda Udis-Kessler) 91.3 KB