Sunday, May 3, 2020

Fourth Sunday of Easter

CENTERING WORDS
The Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need.

PRELUDE  “Benedictus” for piano – S. Conrady

PREPARATION
Light a candle. Pause and breathe in the Spirit of God. Keep a moment of silence.

WELCOME
MORNING PRAYER
The Lord is my Shepherd, his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
I sought the Lord, he found me, and answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.
All praise and glory be yours, O God,
…for the richness of your grace, for the splendor of your gifts, for the wonder of your love this day. Amen.

HYMN “Savior, Like A Shepherd Lead Us”

1. Saviour, like a shepherd lead us, Much we need they tender care;
In they pleasant pasture feed us, For our use thy folds prepare.
Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus, Thou hast brought us, thine we are;
Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus, Thou has brought us, thine we are.

2. We are thine; do thou befriend us, Be the guardian of our way;
Keep they flock’ from sin defend us, Seek us when we got astray.
Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus, Hear they children when they pray;
Blessed Jesus, Blessed Jesus, Hear they children when they pray.

PSALTER Psalm 23 (NKJ21)

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

MESSAGE
A Time for Children of all Ages

SCRIPTURE READING Gospel of John 10:1-10 (NKJ21)

“Verily, verily I say unto you, he that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

3 To him the doorkeeper openeth, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calleth his own sheep by name and leadeth them out. 4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him, for they know not the voice of strangers.”

6 This parable Jesus spoke unto them, but they understood not what things they were which He spoke unto them. 7 Then said Jesus unto them again, “Verily, verily I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them.

9 I am the door; by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 10 The thief cometh not but to steal and to kill and to destroy. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

MORNING REFLECTION “A Prayer of Comfort”

COMMUNION HYMN “Here, O My Lord, I See Thee Face to Face”

1. Here, O my lord, I see thee face to face;
Here would I touch and handle things unseen;
Here grasp with firmer head th’eternal grace,
and all my weariness upon thee lean.

2. Here would I feed upon the bread of God,
Here drink with thee the royal wine of heaven;
Here would I lay aside each earthly load,
Here taste afresh the calm of sin forgiven.

COMMUNION
The Sacrament of Communion is the center of our lives. Where two or more are gathered, even over the internet the Spirit of God is present. Together let us share this Holy meal.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION (unison)
Holy One, from beneath the clutter of our lives, we call out to you, O God. It is not so much that we have chosen evil as that we have pursued little goods and lesser gods, until we have lost our way. We sometimes use words that harm and hurt others. Our love has become too narrow, our excuses too wide, our blaming too quick, our forgiveness too slow, our gratitude too rare. Forgive us! By your mercy, deepen our pride into compassion, our fear into courage, and our prayers into actions, however small and simple.  – from Ted Loder, My Heart in My Mouth: Prayers for our Lives.

  A moment of silence for personal reflection     

ASSURANCE OF PARDON
Beloved, hear the Good News, Christ died for us, Christ has risen  for us, Christ is with us. In Christ, the old wounds are gone; a new life is begun. You are forgiven, be at peace. Thanks be to God.

COMMUNION PRAYER (unison)
Almighty God who presses Your divine summons upon frail and flawed human beings; grant that we, though small in heart and hard of hearing, may seek your face and hear your voice; through the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

WORDS OF BLESSING

SHARING OF THE BREAD AND CUP

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING (unison)
Jesus said, I am the bread of life. Thank you, Jesus, for being the bread and wine of our lives. May we go forth nourished by the bread of life within us.
Our  spiritual hunger and thirst is satisfied when we honor the God within us.
Life is short. We pledge to be kind to one another, speaking in words of justice and loving-kindness, to ourselves and others. Amen.

THANKSGIVING
SHARING OUR JOYS & CONCERNS
PRAYER OF THE PEOPLE & LORD’S PRAYER (trespasses)
OFFERING
Your gifts to St. Albans Congregational Church matter now more than ever! We encourage people to continue to make an offering by mailing to the church. Your generosity in this time makes a big difference!
OFFERTORY PRAYER (unison)
Gracious God, show us the way to think beyond ourselves and use these gifts for causes greater than our own interest.  By your grace, we are never in want. Our abundance is intended for the ministry to other’s needs.  Our giving is in thanksgiving to you O God and concern for our neighbors. Amen.

DEPARTURE
CLOSING PRAYER (unison)
O God, our Shepherd, and our Guide, thank you for your open invitation to us. You invite us to journey with you through the seasons of our lives, and to experience your peace. You invite us to love you, and to know your joy.
You invite us to hear your voice, and to know the right paths to follow. You invite us to be confident in your guidance and to accept risk and struggle that lead to new life. In calling each of us O Lord, may we know your peace, your joy, your guidance, and follow in the paths that lead us to you. Amen.

CLOSING HYMN “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling”

1. Love divine, all loves excelling, Joy of heav’n to earth come down,
Fix in us they humble dwelling, all they faithful mercies crown;
Jesus thou art all compassion, Pure unbounded love thou art’
Visit us with they salvation, Enter every trembling heart.

2. Finish, then, they new creation; Pure and spotless let us be;
Let us see they great salvation Perfectly restored in thee;
Change from glory into glory, Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before thee, Lose in wonder, love, and praise.

POSTLUDE “Benedictus” for piano – S. Conrady

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ANNOUNCEMENTS

Let us know if you or others you know are currently in self-quarantine, sick, or feeling isolated, and would appreciate being contacted.  Please contact Pastor Gary (awlofvt@hotmail.com / 802-345-7954 cell).

In an effort to keep in touch with our membership the church sends out bulletins and announcements. If you know someone who would like to be added to this email list, please reply to the church (First_Congregational_Church@yahoo.com) with the person or family’s email address or contact information.

Vespers Service: Join us on the church’s Facebook page Wednesday nights from 7:30 – 8:00 pm for our Vespers Service.

Mission and Donations: As many of us are not shopping weekly and stores are not fully stocked, we hope that when you send in your donations, you could include a portion for our mission work. Each month the church will take a percentage of its monetary donations to share with a local non-profit instead of our normal in-person collections on Communion Sundays. Thank you for your generosity and my God bless you and your family.