Confession of Faith

Worship Words: May 16, 2021

PRAYER 1 by Sarah Erickson Merciful God, you invite us to be in beloved community, connected to you and one another. Help us nurture these connections so that they lead to the fullest expression of our shared humanity instead of building walls of separation between one another and the community you desire. We pray in the name of the One leads in the way of resurrection hope. Amen.

PRAYER 2 by Sarah Erickson Merciful Jesus, you shower us with grace. You show us how to be faithful disciples. Yet we are often quick to dismiss the complex simplicity of it all. Forgive our stubbornness. Help us see your vision of shalom and do our part to make it so. In the name of the One who is mercy incarnate. Amen.

PRAYER 3 by Sarah Erickson You, Lord, are the thread connecting us to one another. You weave together days into months and years. As this week begins,  hear our prayers and make sense of them, the laments and wails of despair, the sighs too deep for words, the acclamations of praise and wonder. Open us to receive your responses, so that we may connect our lives to You and the world you so love. In the name of the Christ who binds us together in love. Amen.

CALL to WORSHIP by Barb Hedges-Goettl

Why are we waiting on the promises of God?                                                            

Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ is coming again.                                      

Why do we believe in the coming of God’s kingdom?                                                            

Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ is coming again.                                           

What do we witness to?                                                                                        

Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ is coming again.                                 

Why do we devote ourselves to prayer?                                                                           

 Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ is coming again. 

PSALMS in a TIME of SICKNESS: PSALM 1 paraphrase by Barb Hedges-Goettl

O God, bless us by making us more and more your people.

Keep us from following the bad advice of those who aren’t seeking you.

Redirect us away from the paths taken by those who don’t listen to you.

Free us from sitting with those who disbelieve the truth

    and scorn compassion.

Let us delight in you: in your Word and your teachings.

Fill our hearts, minds, and souls with you every hour of the day and night.

Plant us by your streams of living water. Grow us into trees rooted in you.

Make us fruitful according to your time and plan.

Let us flourish as your people, following your way,

    without withering or faltering.

Those who don’t follow you are like chaff driven by the wind.

They cannot withstand judgment.

They do not stand with the congregation of the righteous.

Their way perishes.

Chart the path for us, O God.

Watch over us on the way, O Lord, to you.

May your way guide our feet,

    and our paths help others find their way.

In the name of Jesus, our Guide and Pioneer, Amen.

PRAYER of CONFESSION by Barb Hedges-Goettl based on the Belhar Confession

Prayer of Confession #3

Call to Confession:

One: God has given the church the message of reconciliation in and through Jesus Christ, but we fall short of God’s call to be salt of the earth and the light of the world.

Prayer of Confession:

All: God, our fears and prejudices run deep. Sometimes we can only see our own point of view.

We stick with those who are like us, rarely venturing outside our comfort zones. We do not hear

those crying for justice and true peace. We blame those who are suffering and in need instead of standing by them. We deny the power of your gospel to unite us with those who are different from us.

Lord, give us eyes to see and ears to hear. Use us to open new possibilities of life for all of your people.

Assurance of Forgiveness

One: We are reconciled with God and with one another through Christ’s work. Thanks be to God

for the Good News: All:  In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

Confession of Faith #3/Litany by Barb Hedges-Goettl (drawn from the Belahr Confession)

The three parts of this litany may be used separately or in flexible combinations.


One: We believe that unity is both a gift and an obligation for the church of Jesus Christ.

Many: Through the work of God’s Spirit, unity is a binding force.

One: At the same time, unity must also be earnestly pursued and sought.

Many: We must be continually built up to attain this unity.

One: Our unity must become visible to the world.

Many: Separation and hatred between people and groups is sin, already conquered by Christ.

One: Anything threatening our unity has no place in the church.

Many: We commit ourselves to resisting anything that threatens our unity.

One: The unity of the people of God is active and made manifest.

All: Thanks be to God.

(For this next section it works well for the two groups to make the proclamations below to each other.)

Group One: The communion of saints called from the entire human family is united by God.

Group Two: As the people of God, we love one another.

Group One: We experience, practice, and pursue community with one another.

Group Two: We give ourselves willingly and joyfully to one another.

Group One: We are a benefit and blessing to one another.

Group Two: We share one faith and have one calling.

Group One: We are one body, and are of one soul and mind.

Group Two: We have one God and Father.

Group One: We are filled with one Spirit.

Group Two: We are baptized with one baptism.

Group One: We eat of one bread and drink of one cup.

Group Two: We confess one name and are obedient to one Lord.

Group One: We work for one cause and share one hope.

All: Thanks be to God.


All: Together we confess that God unites us in faith.

Together we come to know the height, and the breadth, and the depth of the love of Christ.

Together we are built up to the full stature of Christ.

Together we know and bear one another’s burdens.

We admonish one another. We comfort one another. We suffer with one another.

We need one another and we build up one another.

Together we pray. Together we serve God in this world.

Together we fight against all which may threaten or hinder this unity.

Thanks be to God for drawing and keeping us together.

Charge/Benediction in 2 voices by Barb Hedges-Goettl

L: By the power of the Holy Spirit         P: we are Christ’s witnesses. 

L By the power of the Holy Spirit          P: we witness to Christ at work in you. 

L: By the power of the Holy Spirit          P: we witness to Christ at work in others. 

L: By the power of the Holy Spirit         P:  we witness to Christ in the world 

ALL: We live, love, and are blessed by the power of the Spirit. Thanks be to God. Amen. 


Barb Hedges-Goettl is a Presbyterian pastor with a doctorate in liturgy. She and her husband recentlly moved from Philadelphia to Rehoboth Beach, DE. She has been working with inner-city middle school students as a special ed teacher and will soon begin to serve as a full-time interim pastor at Makemie Memorial Presbyterian Church, Snow Hill, MD.


If you are looking for some words to use for worship, or some inspiration for your own, here are some you can use or adapt, thanks to members of our RevGals community. If you can please give credit in video descriptions or print versions, that would be great, though spoken verbal attribution is not necessary.

Worship Resources for Transfiguration Sunday (2/14) and Ash Wednesday (2/17)



Photo by Tamar Dolev.
Sunset from Norfolk Island. Feel free to use it. If you want to know more about this beautiful island, then visit


by Barb Hedges-Goettl
‘God Almighty, we give you thanks for your creation and care,
for the words and witness of those who have gone before us,
and of those who live the Christian life alongside us.
We thank you for your steadfast, eternal presence,
even when we do not see, hear or follow you.

You sent your son Jesus to reveal you love.
Through his birth, life, death, and resurrection,
you reveal to us the way, the truth and the life–
not just at the Transfiguration on the mountain,
but in this very time and place
through the bread and cup you give us to share.
And so we praise and thank you
with these people in this place,
and with all your people across every time and place.

By the work of your Holy Spirit,
reveal to us that we eat together at the very table of Christ Jesus.
Make us one with you and with each other.

Through this holy meal,
teach us to know and follow your way.
Ground and settle us in your truth,
and make us sharers of your abundant and eternal life.

[Confirm what we know.
Reveal to us what we do not know.
Fill us up with whatever we lack.
Keep us faithfully in your service
until we feast together in your eternal kingdom.]

Following Christ Jesus, himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life,
we do what he commanded us to do:

Like him, we take bread, and having given thanks,
we break it and give it to the disciples, saying, as Christ Jesus did,
“Take, eat, this is my body broken for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.”

And, also like Jesus, we take the cup, saying
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood,
do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

Prayer of Confession

(from Psalm 51:1-4, New Living Translation adapted by Barb Hedges-Goettl)
 Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Forgive me, O God.
In your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Forgive me, O God
Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. Forgive me, O God
For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Forgive me, O God
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned. Forgive me, O God
I have done what is evil in your sight. Forgive me, O God


Opening Prayer/Confession of Faith

by Barb Hedges-Goettl

We gather together as the church

When we can’t summon our “Jesus-loves-me” smiles

When we are not feeling happy or better

When traditions don’t seem to suffice

When we know all too well that we are ashes and dust

                    Then God calls us to return to God.

We gather together as the church

When we are not sure how to come before God

When we miss being in our building

When we miss being with our community

When all seems strange and uncertain           

          Then God calls us to return to God.

We gather together as the church

When we need to lament

When we are a grieving people, a weeping people,

When we are dependent on God for help and healing

When we seek God’s Kingdom until that Kingdom comes

          Then God calls us to return to God.

We gather together as the church

Because God creates in us a clean heart, a new and right spirit within us

Because God restores to us the joy of salvation, sustaining in us a willing spirit

Because God does not cast us away, or take God’s holy spirit from us

Because God restores to us the joy of God’s salvation, sustaining in us a willing spirit

 we gather together as the church. THANKS BE TO GOD!

Children’s sermon (good for grownups too!)

Found at

Lent Ideas with Children: Narrative Lectionary Luke

Children Ideas: Meditate on Dirt together (Ideally with dirt): What is dirt? 
Discuss God as creator and make clay/playdo people together, Bury the Alleluias:
(Post includes an image of Pigpen from Peanuts, with his quote about where his dirt has been before it landed on him!)

See also and and nfleshed,  a non profit creating and facilitating resources or spiritual nourishment for collective liberation, which can be found at

Commentary by Daniella Zsupan-Jerome on Rafael’s painting Transfiguration on the possessed boy and the female figure depicted there! in text or in video

Ignatian prayer exercise to match the above art commentary exercise/

Worship Elements Redefined: Call, confession, communion and commission beyond COVID-19


Traditional elements of worship enter a new world

Call, confession, communion and commission beyond COVID-19

Social distancing as a way to flatten the curve of COVID -19’s spread has created many questions about how to maintain a sense of community while not physically coming together in one space. For Christians, though, the social distancing that resulted from the worldwide spread of a virus raised a pressing question: How do we understand ourselves as the church when we can’t meet in person?

John Calvin proclaimed that the marks of the true church are the gospel rightly preached and the sacraments rightly administered. So, if the existence of the church is indicated by its worship, as Calvin said — the Word preached and the sacraments rightly administered — what does the current diaspora mean for the church? 

I want to explore four traditional characteristics of church that, although most clearly expressed and reinforced when we gather together, can apply to the Christian life well beyond worship held in the church building.

The first is call, which is best experienced in the corporate Call to Worship that opens many a Sunday service. Presbyterians believe that God’s grace is “prevenient”; that is, that God acts first. The Christian life — and worship itself — is begun by God calling us to Godself, into God’s own kingdom and glory (1 Thessalonians 2:12) However, during a time of sheltering we are reminded that this call can happen every day, anywhere. Daily Prayer from the PC(USA) Book of Common offers this call in the form of prayer — morning, midday, evening and at the close of day — inviting us to a new rhythm of worship beyond a church building. How else can you open yourself to hear God’s call?

The call of God then leads us into confession — the telling of the truth about ourselves, about God, and about the relationship of the human and divine. “Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope, for he who has promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). Our words express and form our faith, telling it like it is and shaping us for what is yet to be. This truth-telling includes the confession of sin and the responding assurance/confession of God’s mercy. It is truth told in our formal confessions of the faith (The Apostles’ Creed, the Brief Statement, etc.). It is truth presented in the ways the Word of God comes to us in worship and life — in song and prayer, in Scripture and preaching, in the witness of nature and of others. It is shared truths and traditions mutually accessible even when we are apart. Is there a prayer, song or other devotional practice you can commit to sharing at the same time as others?

Confession then prepares us for the element of worship traditionally defined as the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the cup — communion — although it includes the passing of the peace and fellowship time. Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3).  Without being able to break bread together or touch hands in a hearty shake, communion as the church takes on new expression. When I studied communion in the PCUSA, it became clear that all kinds of ways of receiving the elements were viewed as “communing together.” Just as God’s action among us is not hampered by particular models of participation in a communion meal, God is not hampered our inability to get together. The church is the church every time we choose to lean on one another, passing the peace by phone, text or computer. The church is the church when a simple table grace is said, asking God to join us all together in love and communion.

Lastly, the fourth characteristic of what church has always been about, still is, and will always be is commissioning. As the Father sent me, so send I you (John 20:21). In baptism we join Jesus’ disciple-making work of bringing Good News to all. Commissioning is for the work of the church in the world — no matter how we meet, where we meet or if we cannot meet together. How can we express our love of neighbor, and reveal that the church is strengthened by the very necessity   of finding new ways to socially connect? What gratitude can we express to God, together or apart? How can we live out the  call, confession, communion and commissioning not just as traditional Sunday morning rubrics, but as the very framework for being the church today?

The Rev. Dr. Barb Hedges-Goettl is a PC(USA) pastor who, with her husband Len, co-pastors a small neighborhood church outside of Philadelphia. She has a Ph.D. in liturgical studies, a path that began with an interest in what it means to be the church.

Presbyterians Today                            May/June 2020                                          p.7

RCL Resources 9/9/18

Sample bulletin from Chambers Memorial Presbyterian Church, Springfield, PA with original resources by Barb Hedges-Goettl. Bulletin cover is a quote attributed to John R.W. Stott.


SERVICE FOR THE LORD’S DAY                                           Sunday, September 9, 2018

Guest Pastor: Rev. Dr. Len Hedges-Goettl                                            





WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS                         

CALL TO WORSHIP (church’s mission statement)

As a caring community of believers, led by the Bible and the Holy Spirit,                  we serve God and our neighbors, both near and far.                                                       We gather, dedicating ourselves to worship and to follow the Lord                          with enthusiasm, integrity, and generosity of gifts and spirit.  

Come, let us worship the Lord.

*HYMN # 440 (hymns from 1993 PCUSA Hymnal Glory to God)                                                   “In Christ There is No East or West”                      Oxenham

   *CALL TO CONFESSION  James 2 notes: You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Yet if a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?

Let us together confess our need for God’s forgiveness.


O God, we find it easier to talk and pray and spiritualize than to take action.                Forgive us when we forget that you have made and love all people.                                  We repent the nearsightedness that limits our ability to know of others’ needs.     We regret talking about others’ needs without including them in the conversation. We are sorry for the times when we miss people’s tangible needs, and when we ignore the human need for respect, for being heard, and for companionship.

Open our ears to hear, our arms to reach out, and our hearts to respond.



Leader: Friends believe the Good News of the Gospel:                                                          People: In Jesus Christ we are forgiven. 

 *RESPONSE 579                  *Gloria Patri 



FIRST LESSON           James 2:1-10, 14-17 (New Testament, pg.  )

Leader:  This is the Word of the Lord.  People:  Thanks be to God.



SECOND LESSON     Mark 7:24-30 (New Testament, pg. )

Leader: The Gospel of the Lord. People: Praise to You, O Christ.

SERMON               “Grace, Faith, Dogs, and Crumbs”    Rev. Len Hedges-Goettl



*HYMN # 369         “I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me”              I’m Gonna Live

*AFFIRMATION OF FAITH  (adapted from the inclusive language version of the PCUSA Confession of 1967) As Romans 6:4 proclaims, “We have been buried with Christ by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” This new life of ours takes shape in a community where we know that God loves and accepts us in spite of what our sin.. Therefore we can and do accept ourselves and love others, knowing that no one has any ground on which to stand except God’s grace.  Our new life does not release us from conflict with sin. We still have to struggle with disheartening difficulties and problems. Nevertheless, as we mature in love and faithfulness in our life with Christ, we live in freedom and good cheer, and we bear witness on good days and evil days, confident that our Spirit-led new life is pleasing to God and helpful to others.

As members of the church, we are emissaries of peace and seek the good of all in cooperation with powers and authorities in politics, culture, and economics.

But we have to fight against pretensions and injustices when these same powers endanger human welfare. In all things, our strength is in our confidence that God’s purpose, rather than human schemes, will finally prevail. Thanks be to God.



* DOXOLOGY 592      “Praise God, From Whom All Blessings Flow”




“The Lord’s Prayer will be sung In Unison. Please refer to the bulletin.                             (Please leave your insert in the Hymnal Rack for future use.)

*HYMN  # 422            “God Whose Giving Knows No Ending”             Beach Spring


*PRAYER FOR THE CHURCH (expanded in scope from church’s usual prayer.)

God, we ask your blessing on your people in all times and places.                                      We ask your blessing on your Church and on Chambers Memorial Church.                     Inspire us with your vision, fill us with your love, transform us with your power.Show your grace among us, so we may proclaim with hope the good news of Jesus Christ to one another, our community, and the world.  Amen.


 POSTLUDE                                                                                                                                              *The Congregation stands












Chambers Memorial Presbyterian Church




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