Pentecost -- Ordinary Time -- Service Prayers
To Change the World, Welcome the Children
Service Prayers for the Sixteenth Sunday after
Centering Meditation …[I]t is absolutely impossible for someone who has grown up in an
environment of honesty, respect, and affection ever to feel driven to torment a
weaker person in such a way as to inflict lifelong damage. [This person] has
learned very early on that it is right and proper to provide the small,
helpless creature with protection and guidance; this knowledge, stored at that
early stage in…mind and body, will remain effective for the rest of this life.
Banished Knowledge, Alice Miller
Call to Worship
One: Jesus challenges us
in today’s gospel:
wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.
Then Jesus took a little child and put
it among them;
and taking it in his arms, he said
welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.
We are still learning today what Jesus
came to teach us two thousand years ago.
To change the world we must change
the way we love and welcome all children!
we learn to love all children as if they were our own!
One: Will all the children present please lift up
your voices so all of us adults can hear you?
--Say your name and say “Hello!”
Children: Say their names and “hello”--a happy chaos
All: Welcome, children!
Jesus has called us to welcome
children as a way to welcome you.
So please, dear children in our
midst, hear our voices:
welcome you in the name of Jesus Christ!
And please, dear God of compassion
and justice, hear our voices:
the presence of our children we welcome you!
Teach us the way to make the last
first and to be servants of all.
Guide us in your way of humility and
Show us how to become disciples of
your Child and our brother.
We ask for blessings on all your children
in our holy family. Amen.
Call to Confession
Let us think about all the children
in our own lives, our community’s life,
and in our world. What are their needs; where do we fail as
individuals and community in welcome,
nurture and care for them? (Silence)
Prayer of Confession
We often have not welcomed the children as Jesus has commanded.
Too many children in our community and world
suffer from violence, abuse, neglect and poverty.
We know that if we were to join together to welcome and
to celebrate and honor our children we would save
ourselves and our world.
We need forgiveness. We want to make amends. We want to
We want to learn to welcome all children, for in loving
and caring for them,
we welcome your reign of justice and peace.
Assurance of Pardon
We give thanks for our savior and teacher Jesus Christ,
who was born among us as a child needing nurture and
and grew to reveal your power to make all things new.
We give thanks and rejoice that in Christ we are forgiven
and given strength to grow in discipleship. Thanks
be to God!
Call to the Offering
O God, you who have given us life, you who have made
every child a holy child,
we give you thanks. May we open our hearts now and give
generously to you
and to your church - for the sake of the children who are
Go forth and welcome all God’s children,
making the last, first, and becoming a servant to
Like Jesus, take a little child and put her among you;
take her into your
arms, and remember,
Whoever welcomes one such child welcomes God!
Go forth to change the world as Jesus has commanded by
offering welcome, justice and compassion to all children
and to the “least of these.”
Go forth in God’s welcome and love.
Ask for the children to come to the
center of the church which is probably not the
the children’s sermon is usually given. Share that you are going to reenact the
scene in the Gospel of Mark
where Jesus puts the children in the center,
in order to teach us how to put children into the center of our
discipleship. Pass out hats you have pinned the words of
continents and ask the
to wear them so they will symbolize all the children on the planet:
North America, Asia, Europe, Africa,
Latin America, and Australia.
Bring a chair and sit down and ask
one of the children who feels comfortable to
sit on your lap.
Ask the adults in the church to
repeat these lines after you:
“Jesus said, ‘Whoever welcomes one
such child in my name welcomes me.’”
“’And whoever welcomes me welcomes
not me but the one who sent me.’”
Ask the children to repeat after
“I am a child of God and welcome in
“God loves me and wants me to feel
welcome in God’s church.”
Passing the Peace
a sign of God’s welcome to all, let’s have our children lead us in passing the
peace of Christ in the congregation:
Children, go around the room and shake hands with as many adults as you
can reach! Say: “You are welcome in Jesus’ church!”
To Change the World, Welcome the Children: Service Prayers for the
Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost was
written by the Rev. Bonnie Tarwater, pastor of the Congregational Church of
Lincoln City, Lincoln City,
2009 Local Church Ministries, Congregational Vitality and Discipleship Ministry
Team, United Church
of Christ, 700 Prospect Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115-1100. Permission granted to reproduce or adapt this
material for use in services of worship or church education. All publishing rights reserved.