December 19, 2021


We gather in early summer
when the sun is high,
when the nights are short,
when the days are warm,
wind light and warmth are plentiful.

As we gather
We give thanks for this place.
We give thanks for light and the summer breeze.

We gather in this place:
to sing our hymns,
to pray our prayers,
to hear the Word read,
the word spoken.

As we gather
We give thanks for freedom
to join worship with others.

We come together:
from our varied lives
to meet and greet,
with our hopes and dreams,
with our doubts and fears.

As we come together
We give thanks for this community
where we can explore our faith.

We come to this special place
where others have sat,
who were part of our life,
who helped shape this place,
who are no longer with us.

We come giving thanks
For our spiritual ancestors
whose legacy enriches our lives.

God of all places and all peoples
be with us in our living, in our loving
in our giving and our dying. Amen.

Let us celebrate life in the presence we name God.

PROCESSIONAL HYMN COC 7 Carol our Christmas
Words: © 1986 Shirley Erena Murray
Music by Colin Gibson. Music © 1992 Hope Publishing Co.

1. Carol our Christmas, an upside down Christmas;
snow is not falling and trees are not bare.
Carol the summer, and welcome the Christ child,
warm in our sunshine and sweetness of air.

2. Sing of the gold and the green and the sparkle,
water and river and lure of the beach.
Sing in the happiness of open spaces,
sing a nativity summer can reach.

3. Shepherds and musterers move over hillsides,
finding, not angels, but sheep to be shorn;
wise ones make journeys whatever the season,
searching for signs of the truth to be born.

4. Right side up Christmas belongs to the universe,
made in the moment a woman gives birth;
hope is the Jesus gift, love is the offering,
everywhere, anywhere here on the earth.

Holy spirit, Ocean of mystery,
Wellspring of life and love…

You are the peace of all things calm
You are the place to hide from harm

You are the light that shines in dark
You are the heart’s eternal spark

You are the door that’s open wide
You are the guest who waits inside

You are the stranger at the door
You are the calling of the poor

You are the Way and with me still
You are my joy, keep me from ill

You are the light, the truth, the way
You are our Companion this very day Celtic Oral Tradition, 1st Millennium
E the whānau a Te Karaiti
ngā mihi aroha ki a tātou katoa.



Advent God, made known to us in Jesus Christ, known to us in the rush of the wind, in the bending of the trees, in little flowers smiling among rocks and thorns, in seabirds hovering over the foaming waves, you come into our lives like the wind sweeping off the ocean and coursing across the land. We seek you amidst our busy days, we cry for your attention as we cling to this stony ledge we call land.

Creator God come close to each one gathered here. May each one find something of you amid our songs, our prayers, our words, and our silence before you. Amen.

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.

TIME WITH THE CHILDREN The Rev Dr Fei Taule’ale’ausumai Davis
The legend of my name
and my ordination cross



On this fourth Sunday of Advent
we remember God’s gift of love
and that we are called to be people of God’s love.


Maura stands in her flourishing garden, surrounded by her family. She has always worked hard but the new skills she is learning from CEPAD are lowering her costs and increasing production. But it is the tomatoes, peppers and papayas she grows that make her proud.

Her family is eating a more nutritious diet, even when there is drought. With her own garden and good skills, she is more confident at a time of so much uncertainty. Having enough good food is the first step towards a fair economy.
We seek economic justice.
Together we say:
God of spacious love
May we be people who shine the light of love
in your world through our words and by our actions.


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.

HYMN: AA31 E Te Atua
arr. Nicola Jansen and Guy Jansen, Tune Kum Ba Ya

1. E te Atua aroha mai
E te Atua aroha mai,
E te Atua aroha mai,
Ake ake tonu e, ake ake tonu e.

2. E te Atua manaaki mai,
E te Atua manaaki mai,
E te Atua manaaki mai,
Ake ake tonu e, ake ake tonu e.

3. E te Atua awhina mai,
E te Atua awhina mai,
E te Atua awhina mai,
Ake ake tonu e, ake ake tonu e.

THE WORD IN TEXTS Valerie Rhodes

Hebrew Bible Micah 5: 2-5a
The Ruler from Bethlehem

Gospel Luke 1:39-55
Mary visits Elizabeth
Contemporary Reading (Church of Scotland Advent 4)
Out of smallness comes greatness.
Lift up the poor and send the rich away empty.
Joy rings out a greeting, and our spirit leaps -
God's mercy, extending.

Lift up the poor and send the rich away empty.
Bethlehem bore Jesus, bringer of joy and liberation;
Mary bore Jesus, bringer of joy and liberation.
God's mercy, extending -
Your hands are free from the load.

Bethlehem bore Jesus, bringer of joy and liberation;
Mary bore Jesus, bringer of joy and liberation.
Joy rings out a greeting, and our spirit leaps –
Your hands are free from the load.
Out of smallness comes greatness.

REFLECTION The Rev Dr Fei Taule’ale’ausumai Davis
“Two pregnant women poor and vulnerable but blessed”

HYMN: COC 48 ‘Where is the room?’
Words© 1992 Shirley Murray; Music© 1993 David Dell

1. Where is the room,
where is the house of Christmas?
Where shall we welcome Jesus,
where are the signs of home?

2. Let Christ have space,
place at the heart of living,
centre for birth’s new breathing,
cradle for hope and peace.

3. Let there be room,
room for the friend and stranger,
room without hurt or anger,
room for whoever come.

4. Let love be here,
love for the Christmas stable,
love at our open table,
love to be shared all year.

OFFERING HYMN Tune: Duke Street WOV 24
Willing hands, to lead the blind,
heal the wounded, feed the poor.
Love embracing all our kind,
charity with liberal store.


Loving Creator, we thank you for the richness of experience in your world – the times of high resolve, the moments when we feel quite swamped by the needs of others, the extent of the task, our own inadequacies. We thank you for the blessed reassurance of your presence and so we bring these gifts with us now as a sign of your blessing in our lives. Amen.

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 Serbia, Montenegro and the Republic of Macedonia and the Ecumenical Council of Churches in Serbia and Montenegro. 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 tod ay we name Ayesha Verrall and Louisa Wall list MPs. Here in the Central Presbytery, we pray for the leaders and people of St Andrew's Union Church, Featherston.
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. Amen
HYMN: WOV 672 Where the road runs out
Words and Music: © 1992 Colin Gibson

1. Where the road runs out and the signposts end,
where we come to the edge of today,
be the God of Abraham for us;
send us out upon our way.

Lord, you were our beginning,
the faith that gave us birth.
We look to you our ending,
our hope for heaven and earth.

2. When the coast is left and we journey on
to the rim of the sky and the sea,
be the sailor’s friend, be the dolphin Christ;
lead us on to eternity.

Lord, you were……….

3. When the clouds are low and the wind is strong,
when tomorrow’s storm draws near,
be the spirit bird hov’ring overhead
who will take away our fear.

Lord, you were ……….

In our remembering may we have peace….
In our sharing stories may we have joy….
In revealing our pain may we find restoration….
In sharing our guilt may we find forgiveness….
In our hospitality may we find pleasure….
In our giving may we find delight….
In our friendships may we find understanding….
In our doubts may we find hope….

May our families and communities be strengthened by our past,
and committed to building a better future.
May we and they be blessed with love.

POSTLUDE Hallelujah Chorus from “Messiah”
by G.F. Handel (1685-1759)


THANK YOU Peter Franklin
our musician today

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