Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Ecumenical Table of Peace with Aida Soto, ARCWP


Liturgy For Naming and Claiming Racism-A Call To Repent by Mary Weber, ARCWP

                    Liturgy For Naming and Claiming Racism-A Call To Repent

 Quieting, Centering with Psalm 23, Bobby Mc Ferrin’s Version on You Tube

Voice 1:   In the name of our Provident God who shares divinity with us, our Provident God who shares humanity with us, in the name of our Provident God, Spirit who inspires and unsettles us.  ALL:  Amen.

Voice1:  My sisters and brothers, God is with you!  ALL:  And also with you.

 Let us light a candle in memory of the Charleston 9.


Voice1: We are all painfully aware of the massacre of nine African Americans in church in Charleston, South Carolina recently. Our hearts go out to the families, friends and the Charleston community. Let us name each victim at this time and hold them in silent prayer:

Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Rev. Dr. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, The Honorable Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Rev. Daniel Simmons .Rev. Sharonda Singleton, Myra Thompson


Voice 1:  While acknowledging this shameful tragedy, the senseless loss of life, the hate driven actions of a young white man, we also affirm his need for redemption, and forgiveness. We pray for Dylan Storm Roof, his family and friends.

All:  Wrap Dylan in the arms of Peace, teach him the way of love, and free him from the bondage of hate and evil. Come to his assistance, O God.


Voice 1:  We ask for the grace to continually acknowledge our need to grow in goodness and caring for ourselves and for others. We renounce in ourselves all vestiges of racism, superiority, and entitledness.   ALL:  We accept your love and forgiveness for the frailty of our human nature.  We leave here at this altar all that holds us back from the unity that you desire.


Voice 1:  And we join with you, Jesus the Christ, believing the strength and insight of the Holy Spirit will lead us to deeper dedication to justice, equality and peace in our world.    ALL:  Amen.


First Reading: Wisdom: 1:13-15 2:23-24

Responsorial Psalm 30:  REFRAIN: At nightfall weeping enters in, but with the dawn rejoicing! ( Selected verses from Nan Merrill’s Psalms)

Second Reading: A Reading from Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Metropolitan Church Leader.

Third Reading: From Rev. Elder Darlene Garner, Metropolitan Church Leader

Gospel Acclamation:  Jesus the Christ Destroyed Death and brought Light to life through the Gospel!

Gospel; Mark: 5:21-24, 35 to 43

Reader:  A reading from the Gospel according to Mark

ALL:  Glory to you O God.  

After the Gospel: This is the Good News of the Gospel

All: Glory to you Jesus the Christ

Homily (The Public Statement of Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton on the Murders of the Charleston 9)

 Statement of Faithfulness  

I believe that the Source of Creation

radiates through the cosmos as Supreme Intelligence,

absolute love, ineffable beauty.

I believe that the Source from which we come is alive in us

as our breath, and as we speak and sing and breathe,

we released the beauty of the Creator into the world.

I believe that the universe is unfolding through me,

and that it is through my being that it is becoming self-aware.

I believe that the greatest challenge for humans is to free ourselves

from religious trappings and cultural constraints that perpetuate

our powerlessness and dependence on external forces.

I believe that healing the wounds of the earth and its people

is a holy act that, in itself, heals us.

I believe that our worldviews create the world we experience,

and as we alter them, we alter our lives in the world.

Amen. Adapted from An Apostles Creed © 2012 Jan Philipps

Voice 2: Let us pray: Loving God, we are mindful that we belong to one human

family, a family of all the peoples of the earth, a circle of astounding diversity of cultures.  Enrich our lives by ever -widening circles of companions and show us your presence in those who differ most from us. All: Amen


Prayers of Naming and Claiming and Repenting


For the racism which denies dignity to people of color.   Response: Merciful God, forgive us. 

For the racism which recognizes prejudice in others but never in ourselves. R. Merciful God, forgive us.

For the racism that will not recognize the work of your Spirit in other cultures. R.

Forgive those of us who have been silent and apathetic in the face of racial intolerance and bigotry, overt and subtle, public and private. R. Take away the arrogance and superiority which infect us.

Break down the walls and barriers that separate us. R. Help us to find the unity that will enable us to become your beloved community reflecting unconditional love, affirmation and acceptance.

Empower us to speak truth to power, to interact with one another with respect and forbearance. R. May we embody justice and equality in all of our actions and bring about your kindom here!

Intercessions:  And for what else shall we pray?

Let us pray: O God of unconditional love, you show no partiality in respect to people or nations, we have heard this good news and rejoice in the human family. Knit us into a people, a seamless garment of many colors reflecting your very self.

May we celebrate our unity, made whole in our diversity. Gift us with the necessary courage and wisdom to change our racist structures and systems. Be with this nation as we journey on to become a united country which values freedom and justice for ALL!   Amen


Voice 2:  Blessed are you, gracious God of all creation, through your goodness we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made.  It will become for us the bread of life. 

ALL:  Blessed be God forever. 

Voice 2: By the mystery of this water and wine, may we come to share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity.  Blessed are you, gracious God of all creation, through your goodness we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands.  It will become our spiritual drink.   ALL:  Blessed be God forever. 

Voice 2:  God is always with you.  ALL:  And also with you. 

Voice 2:  Together, we lift up our hearts.  ALL:  To God and one another we lift them. 

Voice 2:  Together, we give thanks to our gracious God.  ALL:  Indeed it is right to constantly give thanks and praise.   Let us pray together our Eucharist Prayer.  (adapted by Jay Murnane)

Alternate readers around the room:

Blessed are you, gracious God of all creation. Through your goodness, you made this world and called us to be your co-creators.

We thank you for the universe, this good planet, all the wonderful diversity and beauty of life around us and within us.

We thank you for our freedom, for the dreams of the young and the visions of the elders. /

We praise you, for you call us to build the earth into a community of love rooted in justice.

You have placed confidence in us, for you have made us and you know that we are good.

In joy and in thanksgiving for your call to us, we join with all creation as we say:

Holy, Holy, Holy, God of wonderful life;

Heaven and earth are full of your glory, Rejoice! Rejoice!

Blessed are they who come in the name of the God of wonderful life.

Rejoice! Rejoice! /

Gracious God, we do not always understand what you would have us do; it is difficult to grasp the mysterious depths of your love.

That is why Jesus lived among us, to show us who we are. He challenged us to know you as parent, and taught us not to be afraid.

He showed us how to forgive and taught us the strength of compassionate love.

On the night before he died, so that he and all of us could really live, Jesus gathered for the Seder supper with the people closest to him. Like the least of household servants he washed their tired and dusty feet, and said, "When you do this, you remember me."/

Back at the table he took the Passover bread, spoke the grace, broke the bread and offered it to them: “Take and eat, this is my body.”

Then he took the cup of blessing, spoke the grace, and offered them the wine:

“Take and drink the covenant renewed in my blood,

for you and for everyone, that all captivity may cease.

When you do this you remember me.”/


Gracious God, you breathe your own spirit into us, and it is by your spirit that we live. This attunes us to your wisdom and your call whenever we listen carefully and helps us to see beyond the barriers of our blindness./



Alternate readers around the room:

We will do the work of compassion and justice so that all women and men can approach each other as equals, living in the light of your constant care.

We make our prayer as Jesus did:

Gracious God, creating all around us;

Respectfully, we celebrate our mutual existence.

Beautiful earth life happens here and everywhere./

Since we have everything we need right here, we can share with each other

And our earth life can be less painful and more healing.

For it is through us, with us, in us, in our unity, creating with you, Gracious God, today and always.  Amen. /

Voice 2: Let us share the deep reality of universal communion. Let us eat and drink deeply of the Bread and Cup of Life and Love Give glory to the living God whose covenant with us we have experienced in Jesus.

All: Glory to God! As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen


When bread is on every table,

All will know that Jesus is risen.

Then the poor of the world will feast,

And their children will sing Alleluia.

From Bread on Every Table9Monks of Weston Priory


ALL:  Our Father and Mother . . .

Voice 3:  Deliver us, God, from every evil and grant us peace in our day.  In your mercy keep us holy in your sight and protect us from all anxiety and fear.  We watch and wait; we search and find all the signs that You are continually with us, calling us to new life. 

ALL:  For the kindom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever.  Amen.


Voice 3:  Jesus, You said to your disciples, “My peace I leave you.  My peace I give you.”  Look on the faith of all and grant us the peace and unity of your kindom where you live forever and ever.  ALL:  Amen.  

Voice 3:  May the peace of our gracious God be always with you.  ALL: And also with you 

Voice 3:Let us offer each other a sign of peace.



ALL:  Fountain of Life, You call us to spirit-filled living; guide us by your Spirit.  Fountain of Life, You call us to spirit-filled service; strengthen us to serve with compassion.  Fountain of Life, You call us to be Your spirit in the world, grant us peace

Voice 1:  This is Jesus, who liberates, heals and transforms our world.  All are invited to partake of this sacred banquet of love.   ALL:  We are the Body of Christ. 


Voice 1:  Gracious God, may the Eucharist that we celebrate bring us to share Christ’s healing  power with one another.  May we continue to be faithful to the mission and ministry of spreading the Good News of God’s faithful love.  May we accept the liberating power of the Holy Spirit who is with us still.  This we ask in the name of Jesus, the Christ. 

ALL:  Amen. 


Voice 1:  May God be with you.  ALL:  And also with you. 

Voice 1:  Let us call upon our gracious God as we share blessings with each other.  We bless one another and pledge to live the beatitudes of Christ.  ALL:  Amen.

Voice 1:  We bless one another and pledge to manifest unconditional love in all our actions. 

ALL:  Amen. 

Voice 1:  We bless one another and pledge to bring the service of the Gospel to all we met.  ALL:  Amen. 


(Everyone please extend your hands in mutual blessing.)

ALL:  May our gracious God, bless all here gathered in the name of God our Creator, in the name of Jesus our

Liberator, in the name of the Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier as we care and minister to one another in love, for we are the people of God.  Amen.


Voice 1:  Go in the peace of Christ.  Let our service begin! 

ALL:  Thanks be to God. 

You Tube: Make Me a Channel of our Peace

Some of this content was taken from The United Church of Christ’s Prayers for Racial Justice Sunday. Much was taken directly or adapted from Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s “ A Service of Repentance and Mourning “ with permission. Bridget Mary Meehan, Dotty Shugrue, Mary T. Streck and Mary Weber contributed to the liturgy.

"Pope Says It's Morally Necessary for Some Couples to Split"

"There are cases in which separation is inevitable. Sometimes it can be even morally necessary," he said, "precisely when it comes to subtracting the weaker spouse, or small children, from serious injuries caused by arrogance and violence, by humiliation and exploitation … and by indifference."

Press Release: Kathleen Ryan Ordained a Priest and Kim Panaro Ordained a Deacon; ARCWP Women Serve Inclusive Catholic Community Upper Room in Albany, New York

Albany Ordination – Press Release
This past Saturday in Albany, New York, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests (ARCWP) held an ordination service at First Unitarian Church. The air was filled with joy as Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan led the spirit-filled community. Kathleen Ryan was ordained a priest and Kim Panaro was ordained a deacon.
Bishop Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, lays hands on Kathleen Ryan, newly ordained priest, at Albany Ordination on June 27, 2015
Community members, Ed Ryan and his son, Michael, lay hands on Deacon Kim Panaro in Ordination Rite at Albany Ordination on June 27, 2015

Despite the Catholic Church’s position, clergy and laity have been striving for the ordination of women since the 1970s. According to current polls, the majority of American Catholics are in favor of the ordination of women. Kathleen Ryan knew after Vatican II that she had been called to be a woman priest. Kim Panaro claims she was called as a teenager. Both of these remarkable women have a beautiful and enduring sense of commitment as they go forth in the movement. Their hope is to continue to draw the disenfranchised to the community they serve.
The newly ordained belong to a vibrant inclusive community called “The Upper Room.” This community is facilitated by Priest Mary Theresa Streck, who was ordained several years ago at First Unitarian Church. Mary Theresa, or as most people in the movement call her, “Mary T,” has led these individuals through their ordination preparation with ease and grace. After meeting Mary T, it is obvious that she authentically embraces the values of progressive theology and lives a gospel of equality and justice.
Currently there are over two hundred women priests worldwide. The numbers are growing exponentially as more and more women who have longed for the desire to become priests their entire lives have found a home within the movement. For most of these women, the first time they witnessed an ordination they understood more fully the need to stand in solidarity with those who seek full equality within the Catholic Church.
We can no longer stand still and let the church continue to discriminate against women. Catholic women are leading the church into a new era of justice and equality now in vibrant, inclusive communities like The Upper Room in Albany. As an ARCWP priest, I invite you to visit our website at www.arcwp.org. If you would like to contact Priest Mary T and the Upper Room community, go to www.inclusivecatholiccommunity-nycr.org or email them at upperroomicc@gmail.comupperroomicc@gmail.com

Rev. Annie Watson, ARCWP

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Homily by Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP : Ordination of Kathleen Ruth Ryan as Priest and , Kim Panero, Edmund John and Phoebe Joan as deacons

Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP, www.arcwp.org
Today we rejoice because the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests is ordaining Kathleen Ruth Ryan as a priest and  Edmund John, Kim Panero, and Phoebe Joan as deacons in Albany, New York. Like the mystics, prophets and rebels in our spiritual tradition, these ordinands celebrate God’s boundless love and all-embracing presence everywhere and in everything.

As our consciousness expands of our evolving cosmos, we rejoice that there are 18 galaxies for every person and that our bodies are made of stardust. Every place we turn we join the mystical dance of creation, celebrating our connection and oneness with all living beings in divine love. 
We serve one another in inclusive, empowered, mystical and prophetic faith communities, as we work for justice and equality  especially for those on the margins. We care for one another and for our earth as co-creators with God in the community of creation.  

 As Elizabeth Johnson envisions in Ask the Beasts, the infinite creativity of God is moving within us opening up fresh possibilities. She writes: "The indwelling Creator Spirit grounds not only life's regularities, but also, the novel occurrences that open up the status quo igniting what is unexpected, interruptive, genuinely uncontrolled and unimaginably possible (p.173)."
 As pilgrims on a journey to a renewed model of priestly ministry, we have experienced many grace-filled  opportunities, challenges and many surprises. Just read our books, blog postings and visit our website to get a glimpse of  the creative Spirit at work in the chaos of our spiritual adventures and efforts to facilitate inclusive communities of equals!

Rabbi Jesus, a prophet reformer, turned patriarchy upside down when he chose women as disciples and treated women as equals in his beloved, empowered community. Like Jesus, our women priests movement is revolutionary.  We challenge the Roman Catholic institutional Church to treat women as spiritual equals in all areas of the church's life including ordination in a renewed priestly ministry.

Like the mustard seed, we too are blossoming as we have grown from the Danube 7 in 2002 to over 210 in our international movement.

Homily: Kathleen Ruth Ryan
Most often at ARCWP ordinations we will hear a gospel reading about women- Mary of Magdala-- Martha and Mary- the Samaritan Woman---so many wonderful gospel stories about women.  But today we hear the familiar gospel reading of the Mustard Seed.  The Mustard seed is very small so small that it is almost impossible for me to hold without dropping it and hard to see even if you are in the front row.   There is nothing in this mustard seed that would tell you of its abundance-its great potential-its possibilities.  Jesus compares this tiny seed to the kin-dom of God.   Each of us here today is here because of a small seed planted within…a whisper-a gentle pull- a tug at the heart…a quiet but constant yearning.

Look around at the person next to you …in front of you- behind you—perhaps there is nothing that you see outright but what potential---what possibility--- what great love there is.
This tiny Mustard seed grows into the largest of shrubs..it provides safety-shade  and a home for all birds.  You and I find safety and a home in the smallest of kindnesses, actions, and affirmations.
Mystics experience God/the Holy One everywhere in everything and in every person-no matter the size.  You and I are mystics when we experience the Holy One everywhere in everything and in every person…just like this tiny seed…we too have the potential with our smallness to be great in this kin-dom of the Holy One.  We stand on the shoulders of the great prophets and mystics who have gone before us. They spoke to the people of their time and still speak to us now.  Phoebe Joan, Kim, Edmund John and Hildy Gerard will reflect on the mystics then and now.

Homily: Phoebe Joan
There is no end to our work. 
As companions on our journey, I am grateful for the spirit of love that permeates our time together, and for the holding up of each of us during this precious time.
The wind comes among us and stirs our souls to respond in new ways, unforged ways, and yet ancient ways as well.  The mystics that walk with us know this; so many came before us.
Each of us here on the altar and with us in our community, responds as best we can to the call of our human beingness, and to the knowing of our spirit.

Do we see each other for who we are?  Only God can really see the whole.  And so, we continue our search, and continue our days of gratitude for just being.
In our space together, we create this momentous occasion; we share the sacred here in our midst.  My constant prayer is one of gratitude for allowing me to be here, and readiness mixed with hope for the time to come.  May we each love fully, thank graciously, and know that we are living our God-given lives to the fullest.  I follow Jesus in Peace and Gratitude.

Homily: Kim Panaro
The 19th century mystic St. Therese of Liseaux has been my companion during my ordination journey.  Therese felt called to the priesthood and wanted more than anything to be a missionary. As a young person I was able to experience mission work in Nicaragua.  I sat on the protest lines in acts of civil disobedience and briefly went to jail. I too felt called by the Gospel to offer my all to be in solidarity with the poor, the oppressed and those threatened by violence.  For both Therese and myself however, the path was moving toward a different kind of witness.

At age four, Therese felt the sting of death because of the death of her mother. She felt the loss of her older sisters leaving to join the convent before her. She entered the cloister at Carmel at 15. In order to do this she had to break some conventions and rules. She found the courage to confront the patriarchal authority of her father, her uncle, her local bishop and finally the pope himself.  Once she entered however, Therese found that her life was not going to be about grand gestures but rather smaller daily acts of kindness. Finally, she faced the shattering truth that she would die a painful and early death of tuberculosis. She developed a belief that the heart of the church is love and so ultimately her vocation was love.
During the last 18 months of her life she was able to explore her shadow sides. The ways in which atheism made sense to her, the fear that religion is a colossal joke with no ultimate truth, the ways in which physical pain would have tempted her to kill herself but for her faith and the need to die constant , small and invisible deaths to her ego are but a few of her themes.  She considered her death at age 24 a gift because 24 is the age she would have been ordained had she been male.
Like Therese, the last few years of my life have involved a level of physical, mental and emotional pain that I have sometimes wondered if I have the faith and courage to endure. I sometimes lack the amount of time, energy, stamina or clarity that I want.  

 Therese has helped me understand that it isn’t about what I think I “should” do but rather how I act on my faith that matters. I can take whatever strengths and limitations I have and use them in to be more compassionate and loving. Whether it is a pat on the back for one of my students, a listening ear for a friend, or sharing my certainty about the loving presence of God in my life, I am called to be of service out of my love of Christ. The one thing I know without any doubt is that we can never be separate from the Spirit of the God of the Cosmos.

 My ordination is my promise to serve with love, with a willing and open heart. God calls us to respond to the circumstances of our lives. This is the call of Therese and all mystics. It’s the challenge for all of us in this room today. As other’s have said, the purpose of life is to find something so important to you that you would die for it, and then live for that. We find strength for that, like Theresa did, in the Divine and through one another.

Homily: Edmund John
Mechthilde of Magdeburg, a mystic of the 13th Century, had visions every day for 31 years beginning when she was 12. At the age of 20 she left a very comfortable life and moved to Magdeburg where she joined a group of Beguines, communities of women who lived and worked among the poor and sick of society.

Her writings describe God’s deep desire to connect to each soul. They speak to the caring, loving relationship each person has with God.  They present how we are to live that same love in our everyday life.  Mechtilde writes: 
 “When are we like God? I will tell you.
In so far as we love compassion and practice it steadfastly,
to that extent do we resemble the heavenly Creator
who practices these things ceaselessly in us.”

As I have reflected on these words, it makes me think of the many times that Jesus touched or was touched by those to whom he showed compassion.  It is the intimacy of connection that brings change allowing the other to believe that they are healed.  Jesus lived his ministry to assist others to see that they were deeply loved by God, by Amma, and that her love knows no bounds.

I chose Mechtilde because I believe that each of us, like Jesus, are capable of touching others with compassionate love, assisting them in realizing that “I who am Divine am truly in you…however far we be parted, never can we be separated, I am in you and you are in me.”  It is the Good News that each of us is part of the Divine nature of God. 

The message from Mechtilde of Magdeburg, for us gathered here today, is to be open to the love and longing that God has to connect to our souls, while calling us to be messengers of the Good News, to be healers to the world, to be prophets in our time, to be mystics hearing and sharing the voice of the divine. In Mechtild's words:
“Have you heard the singing, the song of God serenading the universe? From break of day to fall of night, this God-song sings in my heart”.

 Homily: Hildy Gerard
When I first learned of Hildegard of Bingen, I was astounded by her boldness and courage, yet she expressed so much more than those qualities.   As a little girl of five, she experienced powerful visions which probably scared her and caused those around her to question her.  Supported and educated by Jutta during her spiritual formation, she developed the focus and strength to listen to the God within her who was calling her to speak, paint, write, compose, sing, preach, heal and lead.

Hildegard was anything but a saintly, submissive and passive woman.   We can learn from her.  I do.  When I struggled through grief and depression, I thought of her often.  She struggled too and yet God called her and allowed her to develop into the woman she was called to be.  Each of us is called to something and that call is not to perfection.  These four people standing before you today are publicly responding to a call away from what Hildegard described as spiritual ‘lukewarmness’ and towards spiritual courage.  I am awed to witness their courage and commitment.

As a 12th Century woman, Hildegard stood up to corruption and patriarchy wherever she saw it – in the church, in the kingdoms of her time and in all places of power.  Hildegard also said “I want to be useful.”   That simple statement reflects my call as well.  It is a response to live in recognition of my own gifts and to use them, surrounded by community, to serve. 

So in Hildegard’s own words, “Spirit of Life, bless us as we enter this new time, and as we bless one another in peace.”

 Conclusion: Bridget Mary
Now we rejoice that our mustard seed movement is growing in the New York State Capital Region as we ordain Kathie, Phoebe Joan, Kim,  and Edmund John . Let us live as co-creators in the community of creation with the mystics, prophets and rebels of all ages!  Each of us is the face of God in our world!