United Church of Christ

World Communion Pentecost 18 - October 4

Jesus Sets the Table for the World
World Communion Sunday
Service Prayers for 18th Sunday after Pentecost
October 1, 2020

Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20      Psalm 19        Phil 3:4b-14            Matt 21:33-46

US elections happen on November 3, 2020.  While the churches can take no partisan stands, we can pray and work for a just common life as a natural extension of our faith.  The UCC’s Our Faith Our Vote has prepared a series of one page issue education papers and webinars to assist with voter education: https://www.ucc.org/ourfaithourvote_issue_education_2020

Today’s World Communion Sunday service draws on the wisdom of the Southern Asia Initiative of Global Ministries, which has been extended through the next General Synod in 2021.  To learn more about this initiative, check out the materials at this link:


Since Congregations are returning to “in-person” services at different paces, Worship Ways for  2020 will be edited for online use.  “Rubrics” for virtual services will be noted in red;  take and adapt as you need! 

Leader should speak the lines of the people, along with the Leader’s lines

Call to Worship 

Leader:          Creator God, we are here, together in hope!
People:         Out loud, but muted
                      With community and creation

Leader:          With neighbors near and far
People:         Out loud, but muted
                      With those known and new

                      With Christians across geography and across time,
People:         Out loud, but muted
                      Together in hope!
                      Let us worship!


Holy and gracious God,
let us be open to your presence among your people,
those gathered for worship,
and all of your people,
throughout your creation.
May we receive you fully
and respond to you wholeheartedly. Amen.

Scripture    Matthew 21: 33-46


The Rev. Deenabandhu Manchala
Area Executive for Southern Asia
Wider Church Ministries                                                                              

Prayer for the World

Holy One, we lift up our siblings around the world.
We have heard their cries for justice and peace
as they face the challenges
of human rights abuses, damage to creation, natural disasters, and COVID-19.

Pause to reflect on the news of the world; speak into the silence the names of areas or countries where there is deep suffering in this moment.

We know that there are many obstacles to addressing these challenges.
But we also know that you are greater
and that your love for your people is deeper
than we could ever imagine.
Cover your people with your love, O God.
May we feel your presence walking with us each day.
Guide us, O God,
that we may also walk beside our local and global neighbors
in prayer, partnership, and presence.
May we listen to you and our partners
as we consider what we might do to share in ministry with all people.

Pause to reflect on the news of the world which gives expressions of unexpected hope; speak into the silence the names of places or situations where God is revealed.

Weave us together in hope, O God,
that we may recognize that we are all part of your great tapestry.
All of our threads are needed and necessary for your beautiful design.
Strengthen us and nourish us for the journey,
as you strengthen and nourish those around the globe.

  • For the Prayers of the People, you might use a bidding prayer (“God, we pray today for those who are sick, including ….”) and encourage folk to type in their prayers using Zoom chat or Facebook Live; allow for more time in silence for those prayers to be typed and read. Consider a collective response at the end of each bidding prayer.

  • A caution regarding prayers of the People online: Folks gathered in-person often recount a lot of detail in their prayers concerning other members or family (“Elderly Name, living alone, experiencing isolation…”  In  a private, in-person gathering, this information may be safe, but online, it can expose vulnerable people to harm, since we can’t control who will join the gathering or access it later online.  Invite people to be prudent in offering prayers:  “For First name only, in need of healing”; “For First name only, comfort in grief”  etc. 

Encourage people to contact the pastor directly with news of those needed extra pastoral care

Call for the Offering

World Communion Sunday is traditionally one of the Sundays on which the UCC takes a special mission collection for Neighbors in Need. This short video offers a short introduction to the fund.  

For more information on neighbors in need check out: https://www.ucc.org/nin.

Holy Communion

Remembering that many of us are gathered remotely, at many tables,
And are sharing bread and cup in a virtual communion,
May we remember that this action at table is the ultimate symbol of unity.
These tables are set  and all of God’s children are welcome.
These tables are open and all of God’s children receive grace, love, and hope.
This welcome, this bounty, this experience of Christ’s saving love
are celebrated here at this table and  all around the world.

Let us pray this prayer from Bangladesh:

O Savior Christ,
in whose way of life lies the secret of all life,
and the hopes of all the people,
we pray for quiet courage to meet this hour.
We did not choose to be born or to live in such an age.
But let its problems challenge us,
its discoveries exhilarate us,
its injustices anger us,
its possibilities inspire us,
and its vigor renew us,
for your Kingdom’s sake.

Bless this cup and this bread,
That it may nourish us for the journey
Together in hope.         Amen.
(Bangladesh. A Procession of Prayers: Meditations and Prayers from around the World,comp. John Carden, WCC, and Cassell, London, UK, 1998, p.179. Additional communion language added by Global Ministries.)


May the blessings of God,
the Creator, the Christ, and the Holy Spirit
go with you into the world. Amen.

Jesus Sets the Table for the World, Service Prayers for World Communion Sunday, were prepared  by the Southern Asia Initiative of Global Ministries.

Copyright 2020 Justice and Local Church Ministries, Faith INFO 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. 

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