Farewell John

During worship we farewelled John Venning, celebrating all the ways he reminded us that Jesus is the Good Shepherd.

Prayers of Adoration & Confession

Shepherd me, O God,
beyond my wants, beyond my fears,
from death into life. 

Loving God,
Father of the Good Shepherd,
Your love is greater than we can imagine.
You know us, and know our hearts.
You have given us commandments to live by, and
Call us to love one another.

Shepherd me, O God,
beyond my wants, beyond my fears,
from death into life.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd,
You laid down your life for us.
You show us what love can mean.
You do not leave us alone.
You include us all,
You offer a place for everyone.

Shepherd me, O God,
beyond my wants, beyond my fears,
from death into life.

Holy Spirit, gift to us,
You move in vital yet unseen ways,
Through you, God’s love abides in us.

Shepherd me, O God,
beyond my wants, beyond my fears,
from death into life.

Loving God,
Forgive us when we do not respond to your love as we could.
When we see a brother or sister in need and do not help,
When we focus on words and speeches rather than on taking action,
When we do not speak the truth.

Forgive us when we do not include others,
When we do not listen for your voice,
When we put up barriers between us,
When we see trouble and run away.

Shepherd me, O God,
beyond my wants, beyond my fears,
from death into life.

Sisters and brothers in Christ,
Sheep of Christ’s fold,
Jesus loves us and lays down his life for us.
That we might live, and love.
Through him, our sins are forgiven.
Thanks be to God.

Kirsty Bennett, offered for worship, 22/4/18, Easter 4B
Refrain from ‘Shepherd me O God’, As One Voice 1.33

Prayers of the People

Loving Good shepherd

We come to you now with our prayers for our world. We set aside our busy thoughts to reflect on the needs of our community and of the world – seeking your presence in order to find hope.

We pray for our world and the sorry news that confronts us daily, we despair at the violence that rocks so many places across our little planet and wonder at the motivations and justifications for killing people who just want to get on with their lives. We think of the people of Iraq, Syria, South Sudan, parts of central and North Africa, Palestine and the Rohingya people fleeing to Bangladesh – so many places where people are experiencing seemingly intractable violence. We think of the millions of people forced to flee their homes and seek asylum, especially for those who’ve dared to seek our shores and found themselves locked in limbo and destitution for so long. We pray that world leaders may start to look for new solutions beyond retaliation – to find ways to break this cycle of violence.

May leaders for peace rise up and drown out voices of fear and division and violence.  Thank you for new leaders like Jacinda Adern in New Zealand and Justin Trudeau in Canada who are showing new ways to lead. May they be strong in the face of corporate, media and political pressure to hold true to their values of welcome and equity.

Remind us of your love – love that transcended the violence of your times. Help us to be part of a movement of love that can counter the current mood of violence and fear that seems to dominate the decisions of world leaders.

We pray for our leaders here in Australia, particularly as some voices of fear and hatred continue to gain traction in our government, giving licence to a noisy few to amplify their messages of hatred and prejudice. May voices of love, reconciliation, unity and inclusion drown out these voices of fear and exclusion. Thank you that despite these loud and angry few, the many in Australia are still generous and open to sharing our good fortune. Help us to reach out with love to those angry few and to celebrate and amplify those many loving quieter voices..

Help us to build strong, welcoming communities – that bring people together to trust and support each other. Sharing our stories of hope and welcome – to remind us of what we can be rather than focusing on our worst fears.

Thank you especially for the Olive Way and the Olive Arts Collective, both beautiful examples of how we can do this. Thank you for all the wonderful people involved in these programs. May the noises of neighbourhood chatter, fun, creativity and friendship drown out those voices that promote high fences and isolation.

We pray for our own lives – the incredible peace and beauty that is so much a part of our daily experience. So much to be grateful for, so free to express ourselves and to make the most of the opportunities around us. And we are so thankful. But we know too, that this is not everyone’s experience of life in Australian, especially for the thousands of people experiencing homelessness in our midst. Help us to build a society that provides these opportunities for everyone – so we can all be loud voices of hope and freedom.

We are especially thankful for the wonderful church community that we all know and love here at Brunswick and for the experiences of welcome, friendship and love that we can share as part of your flock. We thank you especially today for John who has been so much a part of our Brunswick community for so many years. We pray that he will take that love with him to his new community in Berwick. Thank you for the wonderful contributions that John has made to all our lives. We thank you for his beautiful gentle presence every Sunday morning which we will surely miss.

This morning, we celebrate our difference, and the example of welcome and openness that you have provided to us. We listen for your words of hope and healing – to take them into our hearts and our lives so we can be the ones that drown out fear and hatred with songs of joy, welcome and love – for our neighbourhoods, our country and our world.


Meredith Budge, offered for worship, 22/4/18, Easter 4B