Health and Human Service Sunday Archives

 2010 Resources

Theme: Holy Boldness



 2009 Resources

Theme:  Follow Me 

Scripture: Mark 1:14-20 
And after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent and believe in the gospel."  And as He was going along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, the brother of Simon, casting a net in the sea; for they were fishermen.  And Jesus said to them, "Follow Me and I will make you become fishers of men."  And they immediately left the nets and followed Him.  And going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who were also in the boat mending the nets.  And immediately He called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went away to follow Him.

Sermon Seeds
In Mark's Gospel, we read the story of how the first four disciples, Peter, Andrew, James and John, are called by Jesus to be disciples. According to the writer, in just four verses, all four of these fishermen leave their boats and nets, their jobs, and their families to follow Jesus.  Most people would wait for a time to think through such a decision, to weigh the consequences, to think about the family business and the implications of the career move.  The writer of Mark's Gospel doesn't delve into any discernment process, whether they were practicing Jews, if they had good relationships with members of their families, or even if the fishing was good or bad.  Mark merely writes, "And immediately, they followed him." 

If you have ever gone fishing, you know that the sport or profession is not for the impatient, weak of faith, and unhopeful. Perhaps Jesus recognized these qualities in Peter, Andrew, James and John.  What we do know is that, after joining Jesus, these disciple's lives were radically changed. And, as we lift up Health and Human Service Sunday, we remember the call of Jesus to minister to those who are burdened by health challenges. Writers of the Gospel frequently use stories of Jesus ministry to and healing of people whose lives have been affected by physical, mental, emotional and spiritual challenges.

When we claim to be followers of Christ, we must be aware of our call to heal, to minister, to walk with our brothers and sisters in sickness and in health.

Suggested scriptures:
Matthew 25:31-46: "I was sick and you visited me"
Matthew 26:6-13: A woman ministers to Jesus
Mark 5:23-43: Jesus heals Jairus' daughter and the woman with the hemorrhages
(whom he not only heals in the body but restores to society)
Luke 10:25-37: The great commandment of love is demonstrated by a Samaritan
John 13:1-20: The healing ministry of touch and servanthood
I Corinthians 12:12-31: The interrelationships in the Body of Christ, unity in diversity
II Corinthians 4:7-18: Determination, hope, and faith, despite diversity 

Litany for 2009
This litany is based on "Faith-Inspired Vision of Health Care" developed by Faithful Reform in Health Care, a coalition of national state and local faith organizations and individuals working to elevate a vision of affordable, quality health care for all.

A Litany for Health and Human Service

All:  Jesus said, "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men!

"One: Gracious God, you have called us to the ever-widening ministry of health and healing.  We desire to follow you wherever you lead us. We thank you for giving us the unique ministry of health and healing.  You have given us particular skills abilities to address the present health care crisis. Work in us and through us merciful God to be the first-responders in caring for the sick and the injured.

All:  Jesus said, "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men!"

One:  As people of faith, we envision a society where each person is afforded health, wholeness, and human dignity.  That vision embraces a system of health care that is inclusive, accessible, affordable and accountable.

All:  Jesus said, "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men!" 
Inclusive:  Health care is a basic human right and human need which includes every person.  All human beings are created equal, with a divine will that we live together as n inclusive community.

One:  Therefore, we are called to treat one another with dignity and compassion with particular concern for those who are most vulnerable. This mandates acting on our concern for the well-being of every person, including the provision of needed health care for the sake of the common good.

All:  Jesus said, "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men!" 
Accessible:  All persons should have access to health services that provide necessary care and contribute to wellness.  Humanity is sacred and all persons should benefit from those actions which contribute to our health and wholeness.

One:  Therefore, we are called to act with justice and, love, to ensure that all of us have access to the health care we need in order to live out the fullness of our potential both as individuals and as contributing members of our society.  We must work together to identify and overcome all barriers to and disparities in such care.

All:  Jesus said, "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men!" 
Affordable:  Health care must contribute to the common good by being affordable for individuals, families and society as a whole.  In the sacred act of creation, we are endowed with the talents, wisdom and abundant resources necessary to meet the needs of one another, including the health care needs of all.

One:  Therefore, in our calling to be faithful stewards, we understand our responsibility to use our health care resources effectively, to administer them efficiently, and to distribute them with equity.

All:  Jesus said, "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men!" 
Accountable:  Our health care system must be accountable, offering a quality, equitable and sustainable means of keeping us healthy as individuals and as a community.  As spiritual and sacred vessels, we are responsible for he care of our bodies to the best of our ability and to care for one another regardless of individual circumstances.

One:  Therefore, individuals, families, governments, businesses, and the faith community are called to work in partnership for a system that ensures fully-informed, timely, quality and safe care that treats body, mind and spirit.

All:  Jesus said, "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men!" 
Thank you for calling us to follow your way.  Help us to see your vision for health and healing.  Help us to always hear the call regularly and give us the courage to respond.



  • Collaborate with state and local organizations to advocate for health care for all by bringing the moral voice of the faith community to the table.  Help organize a citizen health care forum in your community to address health care concerns and report them back to your local or state political representatives.
  • Hold a candlelight vigil for those in your community who are without or have limited health care insurance.
  • Begin process for establishing a health ministry at your local church (that includes parish nurses, physicians, allied health professionals and other interested persons) to educate and inform members about current health care crisis and to work on health promotion, disease prevention and health disparities.  The UCC provides training on beginning a lay minister of health program and how to begin a parish nurse program. (
  • Consult the directory of UCC-related CHHSM members at and select a ministry for a special offering; a visit and a tour; or a project that engages all members of the congregation.
  • Contact a local health or human service program and learn how members of the congregation can provide volunteer services or plan a party for residents, patients or clients.
  • Begin the dialogue on including sexuality education at your church.  When we speak about health and wholeness in our lives, we must include our sexual health.  The United Church of Christ has developed sexuality education resources for all ages (
  • Organize a health Fair for your church and community.  The UCC HIV and AIDS Network has resources to help ( and often times local health departments are eager to provide assistance and staff for health screening.  Be sure to include HIV anti-body testing as one of the screenings.  
  • Create a health information rack with brochures about key health issues, including HIV.  Leave room for seasonal opportunities, such as where to get flu shots and other current events and issues. has large variety of brochures on a wide range of health concerns.


 2008 Resources

2008 Theme: Called to Share God's Healing Touch

Theme: Called to Share God's Healing Touch

Mark 1:29-31 
As soon as they left the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John.  Now Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once.  He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up.  Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them. [NRSV]


ONE:  In love, God calls us to health and wholeness in our own lives.

ALL:  For all who care for us emotionally, physically and spiritually;
For all who hold us, encourage us and challenge us,
   who stir us emotionally to make healthy responses
   to the ebb and flow of living;
For all who provide guidance and support
   for our sexual and mental health,
We give you thanks.  

ONE:  In love, God calls us to mission among those in need.

ALL:  For all who offer food or shelter or a listening heart;
For all who gently hold a troubled hand
   or sit silently in simple accompaniment;
For all who offer therapy or surgery,
   who bring intervention or enable rehabilitation
   with a full measure of hope,
We give you thanks.

ONE:  In love, God calls us to care for the least among the children of God.

ALL:  For all who honor and care for those who are aging,
   who rock babies and children in need of comfort
   in an unkind and terrifying world;
For all who offer care in community clinics and at health fairs,
   who diligently work to end epidemics,
   who value the disabled among us;
For all who see each person's worth
   and actively oppose discrimination, 
We give you thanks.

ONE:  In love, God calls us to open our hearts to the meaning of discipleship.

ALL:  Grant that we may have the wisdom and will, O God,
   to embrace the healing and service ministry
   of Jesus Christ and make it truly our own. 
Inspire us, Holy One, to trust that your healing love
   will use our humble efforts to bring
   health and wholeness to us
   and to the whole human family.

Litany by Rev. William R. Johnson, VP for Member Relations,
UCC Council for Health and Human Service Ministries,

© 2008 United Church of Christ.  Permission to reprint reources on this page granted to congregations and other nonprofit organizations for use in worship and other liturgical settings.  For more information contact or phone 866-822-8224, ext 3217.

Download bulletin inserts of the litany in PDF format:


Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer
Executive for Health and Wholeness Advocacy
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44115