Circuit Worship: Mothering Sunday – Sunday 14th March 2021

Led by Rev Miriam Moul

If you would like to join this service of worship using just the videos playing one after another, you can visit our playlist on Youtube by following the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLc2KHyGgDaLuvmjunFXXvuK2JZbxkiT__

Welcome and call to worship

A very warm welcome to this service of worship from the Oxford Methodist Circuit. My name is Reverend Miriam Moul and I am one of the Ministers of the Circuit serving Cowley Road Methodist Church and as Methodist Chaplain at Oxford Brookes University. Whoever you are and from wherever you are joining us today, we are delighted that you are here.

On this fourth Sunday in Lent we also celebrate Mothering Sunday. Today we give thanks for the mothering love of God and of all mothers. In our time together we will also acknowledge some of the more challenging aspects of this day, amidst giving thanks for all those who have shown us the mothering love of God.

Would you join me in prayer as we gather together?

Call to Worship

We gather together to worship our loving, nurturing God, who, like a mother, knows us intimately, loves us unconditionally, guides us gently the way we should go, and comforts us in times of need. Praise God, the Source and Sustainer of life! Amen.

Song:

Singing the Faith 28 Jesus calls us here to meet him

Opening Prayers

Let us pray together:

Holy God, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, life and love and hope.

In the creative cover of darkness, you formed your creation until the time where your light burst forth,

illuminating the beauty, vibrancy and wonder of all that you have made.

May we your beloved people encounter you, in the spectacular and in the mundane.

Ever-creating God, meet afresh with us as we come to worship.

God of transformation,

in love you sent your Son to live among your people, to enter the frailty of human flesh.

Befriending the ‘wrong’ sort of people, Jesus, powerfully proclaimed your message.

Jesus demonstrated the depth and breadth of your great love,

love too strong to be bound and held by death,

love that burst forth from a tomb with the rising sun.

Ever-creating God, meet afresh with us as we come to worship.

Holy Spirit of God, love and laughter, creativity, dance and song,

you call us continually into relationship with you and one another.

In this time of challenge, of fear and uncertainty,

encourage us to look for signs of you at work all around us.

Ever-creating God, meet afresh with us as we come to worship.

And on this Mothering Sunday:

Holy God, we remember the mothers

who have gone before us.

For their love, sacrifice, struggle and joy,

we thank you.

Nurturing God, we remember the mothers of Scripture

who are part of our story

as we are a part of your story.

For their courage, faith, love and fierceness,

we thank you.

Enfolding God, we remember those who have not given birth to us,

but are mothers to us.

For their gift of themselves that they have given,

we thank you.

For the women who struggle with fertility,

for those women whom society labels as less in their childlessness,

for those women who have lost children;

for their tears, for their strength,

for their wisdom, for their lives,

we thank you in the name of Christ. Amen.

Reading 1

Psalm 139:1-18

O Lord, you have searched me and known me. 
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
   you discern my thoughts from far away. 
You search out my path and my lying down,
   and are acquainted with all my ways. 
Even before a word is on my tongue,
   O Lord, you know it completely. 
You hem me in, behind and before,
   and lay your hand upon me. 
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
   it is so high that I cannot attain it. 


Where can I go from your spirit?
   Or where can I flee from your presence? 
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
   if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. 
If I take the wings of the morning
   and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, 
even there your hand shall lead me,
   and your right hand shall hold me fast. 
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me,
   and the light around me become night’, 
even the darkness is not dark to you;
   the night is as bright as the day,
   for darkness is as light to you. 


For it was you who formed my inward parts;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
   Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well. 
   My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
   intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
   all the days that were formed for me,
   when none of them as yet existed. 
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
   How vast is the sum of them! 
I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
   I come to the end—I am still with you. 

Reading 2

John 19:25-27

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

Song:

Singing the Faith 119 God of Eve and God of Mary

Reflection

Prayers of Intercession and The Lord’s Prayer

“As truly as God is our father, so just as truly is God our mother.

In our father, God Almighty, we have our being;

in our merciful mother we are re-made and restored.

Our fragmented lives are knit together and made perfect.

And by giving and yielding ourselves, through grace, to the Holy Spirit

we are made whole.”

Julian of Norwich

Holy One, we give you thanks and celebrate the gift of your love; a love that supports, nurtures and challenges us in ways that strengthen and transform us. We offer you praise and thanksgiving for your unfailing presence in our lives and all of the blessings that you so generously offer us. 

Today, as we celebrate Mothering Sunday, we give thanks for mothers the world over. We give thanks for all those who have nurtured and cared for us, remembering especially, birth mothers, adoptive mothers, surrogate mothers, aunts, grandmothers, teachers, neighbours and all women who have shared their faith with us. 

We pray, compassionate God, for those mothers who have been hurt, disillusioned, or disappointed in their role as a mother. We pray for those who have longed-for motherhood when that longing remains unrealised, and for those whose years of mothering have been cut short by the loss of a child. 

We lift up before you, Holy God, the members of our human family around the world—for those who suffering at this time—for those who need healing, for those who require bread or shelter, for those who live in violent homes and communities, for those who are grieving, and for those whose needs are known to you alone. 

We spend a few moments in quiet bringing before God our own prayers…

Holy Mother and Father of us all, touch us with your healing peace and gentle embrace us that we may walk in your ways bringing dignity, justice and peace to all. May we embrace the glorious diversity of the tapestry of humankind that you are weaving, may we recognise the value of all, treasure the gift of relationship and recognise your love at the heart of all things. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.

We say together the prayer that Jesus taught us…

Our Father, who art in heaven

Hallowed be thy name,

Thy kingdom come,

Thy will be done

On earth as it is in heaven

Give us this day our daily bread

And forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us

And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil

For thine is the kingdom

The power and the glory

For ever and ever. Amen.

Song:

Singing the Faith 503 Love divine, all loves excelling

Blessing:

May God, who gave birth to all creation, bless us: may God, who became incarnate by an earthly mother, bless us: may God, who broods as a mother over her children, bless us.

May almighty God bless us, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, now and for ever. Amen.

Organ Voluntary

Toccata in Seven (John Rutter)

Diane Bish plays an Allen organ in Octave Hall, at the firm’s headquarters in Macungie, PA, USA

Circuit Worship: 7th March, 2021

Paul Carter

If you would like to join this service of worship using just the videos playing one after another, you can visit our playlist on Youtube by following the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLc2KHyGgDaLucDWdTEMcbGKDbtXaIE9_X

Welcome

Hello. My name is Paul Carter, and I’m one of the ministers in the Oxford Circuit of the Methodist Church. Whether you’re joining us from a congregation in our circuit or from elsewhere, you’re very welcome. And I hope and pray that this opportunity for worship can help provide a space for encounter with God.

Song:

StF 20 Be still, for the presence of the Lord

Opening prayer

I’m always amused by finding a map somewhere I’m visiting, with a big cross marked with “you are here”. Well, of course I’m here. Wherever I am, I’m here.

We gather now in the presence of God because, wherever the place you find yourself today, whoever you are with, whatever’s going on, God is here. God is “moving in this place”. Wherever you are, whatever is happening, you are part of the gathering of the Body of Christ. And God’s Spirit can breathe in you.

God is as close as it’s possible to be to humanity. And so we can open our hearts to God in prayer. We’re going to share in five minutes of quietness. There will be some quiet sound recorded in my garden, of human activity and birdsong — because the world goes on as we pray.

You may like to call to mind what you are thankful for, how you feel in yourself, and what you can praise God for. Hear and know the good news that God is Love and, as we turn to God, God brings forgiveness and acceptance of who you are. Draw close. We pray.

[quietness]

Loving heavenly Father, we know that in your house there is room for us all. Help us as we turn to you once again, and guide us by your Spirit to walk the way of your Son, Jesus Christ, in whom we find our salvation. All praise and glory be yours, now and always.

Amen.

Reading

Psalm 69: 1–3, 9–15, 30–36

https://bible.oremus.org/?ql=481635604

Song:

StF 41 Blessèd be your name

Reading

John 2: 13–22

https://bible.oremus.org/?ql=481635634

Reflection/Sermon/Address

Prayer

We come to our prayer for others. To the words ‘God hear us’ I invite you to join in with the response: “God, graciously hear us”. Let us pray.

Let us pray for the Church of God throughout the world.

God, hear us.
God, graciously hear us.

Let us pray for those who have power and influence and for all who govern the nations.

God, hear us.
God, graciously hear us.

Let us pray for the powerless, for all victims of famine and war, and for all who strive for justice and peace.

God, hear us.
God, graciously hear us.

Let us pray for the afflicted and sorrowful and for all who need our prayers.

God, hear us.
God, graciously hear us.

Let us remember before God those who have died.

God, hear us.
God, graciously hear us.

Eternal God,
through the self-offering of your Son
you have filled our lives with your presence.
Help us in our sufferings and trials
and strengthen us in our weakness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Song:

H&P 494 God is in his temple

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_ALyULYu-o

Blessing

May your body be part of the temple of the Holy Spirit,
may you know more and more what it is to be a member of the Body of Christ,
and may you know the room there is for you in the Father’s house.

Amen.

Organ Voluntary

Organ voluntary: Chorale prelude on ‘Rhosymedre’ (Ralph Vaughan Williams)

Callum Alger plays the organ of St Peter’s Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton, UK

https://youtu.be/nPlJjzYWAIE

Circuit Worship: 28 February 2021

Led by Simeon Mitchell

If you would like to join this service of worship using just the videos playing one after another, you can visit our playlist on Youtube by following the link below, or clicking play on the first video:

YouTube Playlist for 28 February 2021

Welcome and call to worship

A very warm welcome to this online act of worship from the Oxford Methodist Circuit.
I’m Simeon Mitchell, I’m a local preacher and a circuit steward.
And I’m joined today by my wife Jenny.

Whoever you are, wherever you are joining in with this service,
we are glad you are sharing with us.

This Sunday falls in the middle of Fairtrade Fortnight, 
so in our service today we will be focusing particularly 
on God’s concern for justice, 
the promise that those who are burdened will be liberated
and the commission to bring good news to the poor.
And we will be giving thanks for all down the ages 
who have heard and responded to this call.

Our call to worship comes from one of those people, the prophet Micah, words that echo down the centuries:

God has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to act justly, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God? [Micah 6:8]

Let’s pray:

It is good to be worshipping together, God.
Even if we are separated physically, 
joining from different places and at different times,
we are united by your Spirit.

We come to listen for your voice.
In this time of worship
tell us about your kingdom of love
so that we can seek it, 
and show us your justice.
We want to walk with you,
humbly, closely, daily,
so may we become aware of your presence now. 
And most of all
we come to offer our praise to you
in our words, in our hearts, and through our voices.

So we sing: Praise with joy the world’s Creator.

Song: Praise with joy the world’s Creator
Reading: Psalm 146 

PRAISE the LORD. 

My soul, praise the LORD.

As long as I live I shall praise the LORD; 
I shall sing psalms to my God all my life long.

Put no trust in princes or in any mortal, 
for they have no power to save.
When they breathe their last breath, 
they return to the dust, 
and on that day their plans come to nothing.

Happy is he whose helper is the God of Jacob, 
whose hope is in the LORD his God, 
maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; 
who maintains faithfulness for ever
and deals out justice to the oppressed. 

The LORD feeds the hungry and sets the prisoner free.
The LORD restores sight to the blind 
and raises those who are bowed down; 

the LORD loves the righteous 
and protects the stranger in the land; 

the LORD gives support to the fatherless and the widow, 
but thwarts the course of the wicked.

The LORD will reign for ever, Zion, your God for all generations.

Praise the LORD.

Address
Song: I dream of a Church
Film: Fairtrade Fortnight
Prayers

And now we bring our prayers to God:

Good and gracious God, we confess that do not always live lives that reflect what we know to be right:
Too frequently, we think only of our own interests.
Too frequently, we are eager to condemn, but not to listen.
Too frequently, what we commit to in worship we don’t live out in our everyday lives.
Too frequently, we don’t take the opportunity to tap into your always present love or share it with others.

We also feel ashamed of the world we have helped to create – or failed to change:
A world that values power over people –
leaving some without food, or a home, or a voice.
A world where violence trumps compassion – 
and millions are needlessly suffering.
A world whose preferential treatment
bends heavily toward the wealthiest among us,
rather than towards those in greatest need.

Lord, hear our pain and our prayer.
But please, don’t judge us yet.
Instead, rescue us and teach us, O God of the downtrodden.

Teach us to act justly – and join in your work of liberation.
Teach us to love mercy – and foster relationships of care and encouragement.
And teach us to walk humbly with you – listening for your voice and knowing ourselves to be your beloved.

Give us courage to agitate for your kingdom
and plant in us a desire to bend the arc of history toward your ways of love and justice.

We give thanks for the knowledge that even though we do not always manage to walk in your ways
you love us, you encourage us, and you forgive us.
Thank you God. Amen.

Song: For everyone born, a place at the table
Benediction

Thank you for being part of our service today. We end with a modern Franciscan benediction:

May God bless us with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that we may seek truth boldly and love deep within our hearts.

May God bless us with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation, so that we may work tirelessly for fairness, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless us with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that we may reach out to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

And may God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we CAN make a difference in this world, so that we are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done. 

Amen

Organ voluntary: Aus der Tiefe – Toccata (Christopher Tambling)

Piers Maxim plays the organ of Great Malvern Priory

Circuit Worship: 21 February 2021


Ian Leck

If you would like to join this service of worship using just the videos playing one after another, you can visit our playlist on Youtube by following the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLc2KHyGgDaLst2b2YEmE2cykhr5Jrg3Vf

Welcome and call to worship



Hello, and welcome to this online service from the Oxford Methodist Circuit for the first Sunday of Lent. I’m Ian Leck, a Local Preacher from Woodstock, and I look forward to sharing with you in this service. Whoever you are and wherever you are, you are most welcome, and I call you to worship.

Come together to be God’s people. Come together and be yourselves. Bring to God your joys and your struggles. Bring to God your hopes and your fears. Come together to be God’s people, and let us worship the living God.

Our first song is no. 499 in Singing the Faith – Great God, your love has called us here.


Song: StF 499, vv. 1,2 & 5 (Great God, your love has called us here)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHCtqrMELPo

Prayers

And now our prayers of praise, thanks and confession, in which we shall return to some of the thoughts expressed in that song. Let us pray.

Ever-loving God, we praise and thank you for your unconditional love for us and all our neighbours on this earth – all of us your children, bearing your likeness, made in your image, even though we often deface that image. We can see your love in the beauty and predictability of creation, and in your gift of life; we can see it in the loving example and teaching of Jesus, and in the love and care that we receive from other people; we can see it in our experience of your spirit, your very self, at work within our hearts and minds.

Forgive us, God, that we do mar and dishonour your living likeness within us; that we do not respond to your love by following wholeheartedly the loving example and teaching of Jesus. We thank you that you do offer us forgiveness; we thank you that you do “call our names, and receive us as your own”; we thank you that you can “set us free” to live your life and share your joy; and we ask again that you would “give us your Spirit’s liberty to turn from guilt and dull despair”; that you would breathe into our hearts the love that Jesus showed, and so enable us to really be his body at work in our world today. Amen.

We’ll now listen to the gospel reading appointed for today, and after that we’ll have a song linked to that reading – number 233 in Singing the Faith.


Reading – Mark 1:9-15

The gospel reading appointed for today is from Mark’s gospel. chapter 1 and verses 9-15:

9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’

12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’


Song: StF 233 (When Jesus came to Jordan)

Reflection/Intercessions

We now come to our prayers of intercession. Let us pray.

Prayers of intercession: Loving God, we pray in the name of Jesus; our supreme Lord; your servant whom you upheld and in whom you delighted; your son, born to be one with humankind and to be baptised with us, that we might know new life in him.

We pray in the name of Jesus for all those appointed to positions of power, that they might rule as your faithful servants and seek to establish justice and well-being for all. We pray especially for them to be given wisdom and compassion in responding to the present crises of global heating and the Covid-19 pandemic

We pray in the name of Jesus for your universal Church, that we may follow his teaching and example by loving others and by spreading the good news of your love to all. We remember that this is Church Action on Poverty Sunday, and pray that you would inspire us all to work for a fairer sharing of the wealth of our country and our world.

We pray in the name of Jesus for your worldwide human family with all our needs, that we might have the material things we need for life and be given the spiritual things we need for living. We pray especially for those who are sick, sorrowful, afraid, or poor, including those suffering as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We pray in the name of Jesus for ourselves and for one another. We thank you for the new life to which he invites us; and we ask for the strength and comfort of your Holy Spirit, that we might live that life to the full by devotedly loving and serving you and our neighbours.

All this we ask as disciples of Jesus, your son, your servant, and our Lord. Amen

And we join in the Lord’s prayer.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
 your kingdom come,
 your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
 Give us today our daily bread.
 Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
 Save us from the time of trial and deliver us from evil.
 For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.

Our final song is no. 691 in Singing the Faith – “What shall our greeting be: sign of our unity? ‘Jesus is Lord!’


Song: StF 691 (What shall our greeting be)

Blessing

Creator God, you made us in your image to be your people, wherever we go. This coming week, whatever we experience and wherever we find ourselves, help us to know that you are with us, revealing, sustaining, and inspiring us to follow Jesus as our Lord. Amen.

Organ voluntary: Prelude and Fugue in A Minor, BWV 543 (J.S. Bach)

John Scott plays the Taylor and Boody organ of St Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York

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