Opening Words

We have crept out...
Ralph Waldo Emerson
 We have crept out of our close and crowded houses into the night and morning, and we see what majestic beauties daily wrap us in their bosom.  . . . 
 These enchantments are medicinal, they sober and heal us. These are plain pleasures, kindly and native to us.
 We come to our own, and make friends with matter. . . .
 We never can part with it; the mind loves its old home: as water to our thirst, so is the rock, the ground, to our eyes, and hands, and feet.

 Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

 From “Nature,” Essays: Second Series (1844)


Opening Devotions - General Baptist AGM 2010
Beryl Payne
 We are people of faith, faith in each other, 
 faith in the ability of our church to make a difference, 
 faith that our common humanity can sing in harmony so the threads of the great web resonates with joyful life, 
 faith in a loving and compassionate God working through us - who can only work through us - to make the world a better place. 


 It is to that loving and compassionate God, the divine presence in our lives, to whom we turn in prayer, 
 A prayer of gratitude, today especially, not just for the privilege of life, 
 But also for the gift of seasons that we might enjoy bluebells and the tender green of new leaves, 
 For public parks and attractive open spaces created by wise leaders of the past, 
 For the opportunity to choose our present leaders 
 For in this capacity, too, we can make a difference. 
 We carry the torch of a liberal faith onwards to future generations. 
 May we, too, leave a legacy of sanctuaries that refresh the spirit, 
 Like London parks in the heart of the city. 


 And so we ask that God will walk beside us in all our endeavours and be with us today and every day. 



Come into this circle of community
Rev Andrew Pakula
 Come into this circle of community. Come into this sacred space.
 Come into this circle of community. Come into this sacred space.
 Be not tentative. Bring your whole self!
 Bring the joy that makes your heart sing.
 Bring your kindness and your compassion.
 Bring also your sorrow, your pain.
 Bring your brokenness and your disappointments. 
 Spirit of love and mystery; help us to recognize the spark of the divine that resides within each of us.
 May we know the joy of wholeness.
 May we know the joy of being together. 


Let us reflect upon our gathering
Michael Killingworth
 Let us reflect upon our gathering.
 Let us celebrate what we have discovered already, and let us be grateful for what we have not yet discovered. 
 Let us contemplate what it is that we need to find during this hour. 
 Let us remember all those previous occasions when our needs have been met, especially when we thought that would have been impossible. 
 Let the air and the fire of the Spirit renew the water of our souls, and let the presence of each of us create the community in all of us. 



We enter into this time and this place...
Rev Dr Linda Hart
 We enter into this time and this place to join our hearts and minds together
 We come to this place: the doors open, the heat comes on, biscuits are laid, the water heats, and you all come.
 What is it that we come here seeking? Many things, too many to mention them all.
 Yet, it is likely that some common longings draw us to be with one another:
 To remember what is most important in life.
 To be challenged to live more truly, more deeply, to live with integrity and kindness and with hope and love,
 To feel the company of those who seek a common path,
 To be renewed in our faith in the promise of this life,
 To be strengthed and to find the courage to continue to do what we must do, day after day, world without end.

 Even if your longings are different than these, you are welcome here. Even if you do not have the strength and the courage to pass along, you are welcome here. You are welcome in your grief and your joy to be within this circle of companions.

 We gather here. It is good to be together.

Unitarian Worship 


Rev Ant Howe
To Worship…
Come to Worship…
We come to Worship… 
Gladly we come to Worship! 
 Together, gladly we come to Worship!
 Gladly we come to Worship! 
 We come to Worship… 
Come to Worship…
To Worship… 

The author suggests a pause after each line 


Here we gather
Peter Teets
 We gather, as we always do for all the same reasons that we gather week after week:
 To lift up the gift of life that is ours,
 To remember that life is holy,
 To pray for healing and hope in the midst of trouble,
 To give thanks for the blessings that surround us.
 Today especially we lift these up:
 The gift of life, the holiness that surrounds us, the troubles and blessings
 As we remember and honour those who have given themselves to the cause of war in its intensity and terror, 
 We remember those who have given their lives in hope of a new day of peace
 In the quiet of our gathering, may we lift up our hearts in grateful thanksgiving for their lives, and for the promise of peace that they mean.


We come together this morning
Rev David Usher
 We come together this morning, seeking a reality beyond our narrow selves;
 that binds us in compassion, love, and understanding to other human beings, and to the interdependent web of all living things.

 May our hearts and minds be opened this hour, to the power and the insight that weaves together the scattered threads of our experience, and help us remember the Wholeness of which we are part.

 We come together to renew our faith in the holiness, the goodness, the beauty of life.
 To reaffirm the way of the open mind and the full heart;
 to rekindle the flame of memory and hope;
 and the reclaim the vision of an earth more fair, with all her people one.


We come together this morning
Rev David Usher
 Bring your hopes and anticipations.
 Bring your joys and celebrations.
 Bring your sorrows and lamentations.
 Bring your faith and adorations.
 Bring to this hour of worship, all that makes your life real and meaningful, 
 that is may be blessed by communion with the lives of others.


Because we are finite
Rev David Usher
 Because we are finite, we lift up our eyes to the infinite sky, and feel wonder and awe.
 Because we have stumbled, we take the tender hand which beckons us to rise, and feel strength and reassurance.
 Because we are lonely, we reach out to those around us, and feel warmth and acceptance.
 Because we are human, we do all of these things, and in our worship, feel the presence of the divine.

 Rev David Usher


Open your hearts
Rev David Usher
 Open your hearts to the wonder of worship.
 Open your minds to the eternal quest for meaning and truth.
 Open your eyes to the miracle of creation.
 Open your arms to the embrace of your fellow men and women.
 Open your souls, and let the divine sweep in.


Martin Gienke
 We come together in this Chapel from many directions
 Following a myriad of routes and roads of life
 To get to this point
 From here we will go our different ways
 In different directions

  May our time together for this hour

 Strengthen us and our resolve
 To travel the right road
 On the trail of Truth
 As we speed on let us not forget our fellow travellers
 To stop and help if they’re fallen
 To guide them wisely if they’re lost
 to encourage them in their own journey
 May our onward journey
 Be as challenging and exciting as that so far
We join together now...
Rev Ant Howe
We join together now to worship as a beloved community.
 Each individual brings to our gathering faith and ideas, but each of us 
 also yearns to share fellowship one with the other. 
 May we look beyond any differences to the common bonds that unite us: faith, 
 hope, and love. And may those divine qualities shine through our worship today.


Friends Draw Close
Andrew Usher
 Friends, draw close, 
 And let no one be a stranger 
 under the roof of this place 
 where we gather in fellowship, 
 in friendship, 
 in joy and in sorrow, 
 and with love. 
 Sharing time and sharing thoughts 
 sharing quietude 
 and sharing too in the happy noise of Hymn number ... 

Adapted from words of Keith Gilley