January 2, 2022


The boy Jesus in the temple



In this quiet space, we gather in community,

allowing the spirit born in a child to be known in us again

at this gentle time in silence and music and prayer.


Let us celebrate life in the presence we call God.

HYMN                                                       ‘From Mother’s Arms, We See the World’

based on the parable of the Lost Coin

Words: © 2015 Shirley Murray “Life into Life” 15 Hope Publishing Co.

Music: O Waly Waly English melody, harmony John Weaver © 1990 Hope Publishing Co.

Reprinted with permission under One License A-623996. All rights reserved


  1. From mother’s arms, we see the world,

in mother’s arms we look for food,

she gives us life, she holds us close,

and so may God be understood.


  1. This God is home and warming hearth,

does not forget us when we leave,

is quick to welcome and embrace,

absorbs our pain when we must grieve.


  1. God is the seeker of that coin,

the child she lost but longs to find,

the seamstress God who stitches peace

from all the tatters we’ve designed.



  1. More than our minds can comprehend

more than our bodies can attest,

God is the love that mothers give

that every child be held and blessed.


E te whānau o te Karaiti

Ngā mihi aroha ki a tātou katoa.

Kia ora.



(Unitarian Association)

The first of January is another day dawning, the sun rising as the sun always rises, the earth moving in its rhythms, with or without our calendars to name a certain day as the day of new beginning, separating the old from the new.

So it is: everything is the same, bound into its history as we ourselves are bound.

Yet we also stand at a threshold, the new year something truly new, still unformed, leaving a stunning power in our hands:

What shall we do with this great gift of Time, this year?

Let us begin by remembering that whatever justice, whatever peace and wholeness might bloom in our world this year, we are the hearts and minds, the hands and feet, the embodiment of all the best visions of our people.

The new year can be new ground for the seeds of our dreams.

Let us take the step forward together, on new ground,
planting our dreams well, faithfully, and in joy.
JESUS’ PRAYER Jim Cotter paraphrase

Eternal Spirit
Life-Giver, Pain-Bearer, Love-Maker,
source of all that is and that shall be,
Father and Mother of us all,
loving God, in whom is heaven:
the hallowing of your name
echo through the universe!
The way of your justice be followed
by the peoples of the world!
Your heavenly will be done
by all created beings!
Your commonwealth of peace and freedom
sustain our hope and come on earth.
With the bread we need for today, feed us.
In the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.
In times of temptation and test,
strengthen us.
From trials too great to endure, spare us.
From the grip of all that is evil, free us.
For you reign in the glory
of the power that is love, now and for ever.

For all those of our community on summer holidays and especially for our children, we pray for fun, relaxation and adventure.
We bless you. Amen.
Traditionally we shake hands to pass the peace and say “peace be with you.” Now that COVID-19 is here we ask that you pass the peace without shaking hands.
Gospel Luke 2: 40 – 52
(Jesus in the temple)
Gospel Luke 15: 8 – 10
(Parable of the lost coin)
Contemporary reading ‘Troublesome Carol’
By Shirley Murray
It has always bothered me that “theology by rhyme” in the English language has led to Jesus being called “mild” and undefiled” (to rhyme with “child”), thus imprinting an idea of a youngster of limited and boring personality. The element in Jesus which shocked his disciples was surely his “troublesome” prophetic behaviour and his astonishing courage in being unconventional. This element, from before his birth to his death is what I am trying to capture.
For the Word in scripture,
for the Word among us,
for the Word within us,
we give thanks.
HYMN ‘The Christmas Child is a troublesome child’
“A Place at the Table” 38A
Words: © 2011 Shirley Murray, Music © 2011 Colin Gibson, Hope Publishing Co.

1. The Christmas Child is a troublesome child,
as troublesome as the Word
that stirred the waters from the deep
and let God's voice be heard.
The Christmas Child is a spirited child
who questions given rule,
who flouts convention's pious face,
who laughs and plays the fool.

2. The Christmas Child is a generous child,
extravagant in excess,
who spends the coin of life and hope
to recreate and bless.
The Christmas Child is a dangerous child
when to a prophet grown,
whose vision takes a thorny path,
whose cross may be our own.

3. The Christmas Child is a troublesome child,
as troublesome as the Word
that stirred the waters from the deep
and let God's voice be heard.
The Christmas Child is a luminous child
whose peace the angels sing,
whose star no darkness overcomes,
whose life lights everything.

REFLECTION ‘Mary’s ponderings’ Pat Booth

HYMN ‘I am standing waiting’
Words: © 1992 Shirley Murray, Hope Publishing Co.
Music: Au Clair de la Lune, Trad.
In every corner sing 43, Life into Life 62

1. I am standing waiting,
waiting at your door,
one of hunger's children
from a billion poor,
though you cannot see me,
though I am so small --
listen to my crying,
crying for us all.

2. I stand at your table
asking to be fed,
holding up my rice bowl,
begging for your bread,
I stand at your schoolroom
longing just to learn,
hoping that you'll teach me
ways to live and earn.
3. I stand at your clinic
begging for vaccine,
I stand at your wash place
where the water's clean,
I stand at your office,
beg the Heads of State,
I am just a child, so
I must hope and wait.

4. I stand in your churches,
listen to your prayers,
long to know a God who
understands and cares.
If there is a God,
a God who loves the poor,
I'm still standing waiting,
waiting at your door.

OFFERING HYMN AA 127 ‘Take my gifts’
Words © 1992 Shirley Erena Murray, (Admin. by Hope Publishing Company)
Music: ©1992 Colin Gibson Hope Publishing Co.
Take whatever I can offer—
gifts that I have yet to find,
skills that I am slow to sharpen,
talents of the hand and mind,
things made beautiful for others
in the place where I must be:
take my gifts and let me love you,
God who first of all loved me.

We recognise and bless the gifts brought to the table, and those which wing their way electronically from our banks to the church’s account.
People share notices and visitors are welcomed. If you have a notice, please move to the front row, ready to speak briefly from the lectern.
For the benefit of newcomers, please introduce yourself before you begin.
We think today of the people of Malaysia and Brunei and we pray for understanding between people of different faiths and religions. We hold all refugees in our hearts. We pray in particular for those detained for many years in Papua New Guinea & Nauru. We give thanks for progress that has been made and pray that their calls for justice might yet find a compassionate response. In New Zealand, we remember those in Parliament, and today we name Angie Warren-Clark and Helen White, list MPs. Here in the Central Presbytery, we pray for the leaders and people of Shannon Co-operating Church, Foxton.
Renew your people, God,
And renew our life in this place.
Give us a new spirit of unity
with all who follow the Way of Jesus
and new bonds of love
with people of other faiths.

Bless the city in which we live
that it may be a place
where honest dealing,
good government,
the desire for beauty,
and the care for others flourish.

Bless this church
that what we know of your will
may become what we do,
and what we believe
the strong impulse
of our worship and work.

HYMN ‘We must leave home’
Words: ©2013 Shirley Murray, Admin by Hope Publishing Co.
Music Ron Klusmeier
A place at the table 41
We must leave home to feel the wind of the Spirit,
we must leave home to find our faith and to stir it!

1. Taking the risky road that Jesus has travelled,
seeing the knotted threads of doctrine unravelled,
We must leave home to feel the wind of the Spirit,
we must leave home to find our faith and to stir it!

2. Better a tent than temple or institution
where there's no room for question or evolution,
We must leave home to feel the wind of the Spirit,
we must leave home to find our faith and to stir it!

3. We must leave home, but not alone in our seeking,
sharing new landscape, sharing new ways of speaking,
We must leave home to feel the wind of the Spirit,
we must leave home to find our faith and to stir it!

4. Courage will take us on to new exploration
leaving the robes and rules of old domination:
We must leave home to find our faith and to stir it:
we must leave home to feel the wind of the Spirit!
BLESSING (Rev. Judith Walker-Riggs, Unitarian Minister)
May the power and the mystery go before us, to show us the way,
shine above us to lighten our world,
lie beneath us to bear us up,
walk with us and give us companionship,
and glow and flow within us to bring us joy. Amen


THANK YOU                                                                                              Peter Franklin

our musician today

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