Welcome to Rowntree’s web service, we hope it is a meaningful time for you. This is a shortened version of the live ‘Zoom’ Sunday service, which has more hymns and prayers and a social time before and after. If you’d like to join us on Sunday we ask you contact the office at 519-432-8075 and leave a message. Thank-You
This is a communion service- if you’d like to partake, please have the elements at hand; glass of fruit of the vine and bread. And a candle.
Welcome and Greeting
Welcome to worship on this Christmas Eve. May our time in worship prepare our hearts to meet the Christ Child once more and may we find connection and community with those gathered together. Tonight, we wonder, whisper, wait and waken.
Candle lighting liturgy
Wonder. Whisper. Wait. Waken.
With the wise ones…
With the shepherds…
With Mary and Joseph…
With the Christ child…
With all who come to the stable,
No matter who we are,
No matter where we come from,
No matter where we’re heading…
We celebrate Christ light,
Born again into the world!
Glory and excelsis deo!
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!
Hymn: Away in a Manger , author unknown, music- W. Kirkpatrick, Edward Avey hymn-leader / Norm Abbott organ
Gracious and loving God,
We gather this night in anticipation and excitement. We gather after a long time of preparation. It is a night after a long day. What is done is done. What is not done is not done. We gather to prepare our hearts and minds to welcome the Christ Child once more. So now we leave our cares and stresses behind and breathe deeply into God’s new life. We find ourselves enveloped in the hope, peace, joy and love of Christmas as it permeates our very being. Hear us as we pray together these familiar words…
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
We listen for God’s word
Scripture: Isaiah 9. 2 – 7 from The Message and Rev. Wendy’s first Message
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light.
For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—
light! sunbursts of light!
You repopulated the nation,
you expanded its joy.
Oh, they’re so glad in your presence!
The joy of a great celebration,
sharing rich gifts and warm greetings.
The abuse of oppressors and cruelty of tyrants—
all their whips and cudgels and curses—
Is gone, done away with, a deliverance
as surprising and sudden as Gideon’s old victory over Midian.
The boots of all those invading troops,
along with their shirts soaked with innocent blood,
Will be piled in a heap and burned,
a fire that will burn for days!
For a child has been born—for us!
the gift of a son—for us!
He’ll take over
the running of the world.
His names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father,
Prince of Wholeness.
His ruling authority will grow,
and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.
He’ll rule from the historic David throne
over that promised kingdom.
He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing
and keep it going
With fair dealing and right living,
beginning now and lasting always.
The zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies will do all this.
Hymn – Go Tell it on the Mountain
We listen for God’s word
Luke 2. 1 – 7 (NRSV)
2 In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 All went to their own towns to be registered. 4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
Luke 2, vrs 8-14
8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah,[a] the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host,[b] praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”[c]
Luke 2, 15-20
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
The Sacrament of Holy Communion
Tonight, we celebrate a shared meal. One of the simple elements of our very special time of year. Our bread and wine are made even more special because of what they represent. We remember Jesus at table with friends and remember his words in the breaking of bread and pouring of wine. Tonight, we remember, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Invitation to the Sacrament of Communion
Who was it that found shelter at the stable that night so long ago?
Those who left the familiar to journey to the unknown to the new.
Those seeking shelter, those moved by mystery, those open to wonder
Those yearning for a new life…
Come all. You are welcome at the table.
This bread… This cup… Christ among us…
Our food and drink for the journey.
This bread… This cup… Christ in the world
Source of deep joy.
This bread…Broken and shared.
This cup…lifted high and shared.
Trusting in God’s care
As Mary, Joseph, Shepherds
And Jesus, Trusted in God’s care
We come – trusting in God’s care.
In the quiet sharing of the elements
We ponder the story in our hearts
Familiar – Yet ever new.
Come now for the table is ready
Sharing of the elements
The life of Jesus in you …
“Jesus Christ the bread of life”
“Jesus Christ wine for the journey”
Prayers of the People:
Gracious and loving God,
We thank you for the nourishment you have given us.
You have shown us your abiding and abundant love and grace in the person of Jesus Christ.
To know Christ is an exciting experience
To accept Christ is the sacrificial experience
To love Christ is to love one another
To glimpse into the Bethlehem stable once more is
To experience your constant presence in our lives
Thank you for the gift of Jesus the Christ.
Thank you, O God, for the opportunity to serve you. Amen.
Offertory prayer and Reflection III
Loving and gracious God,
You have given the world
The most precious gift, Yourself, in Jesus the Christ.
May our gifts and our lives reflect that gift.
May we, too, bring light to the world,
By what we do here tonight, and always.
In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
Hymn Silent Night Stille Nacht (Silent Night) text – Jos. Mohr 1818 / John Freeman Young 1863 Franz Gruber 1818,
Verse 1 (duet in German) Jim Traquair, Norm Abbott
1 Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
round yon virgin mother and child.
Holy infant so tender and mild,
sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace.
2 Silent night! Holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight:
glories stream from heaven afar,
heavenly hosts sing Hallelujah,
Christ the Saviour is born, Christ the Saviour is born.
3 Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, love’s pure light
radiant beams from thy holy face,
with the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.
On all of our pathways Christ is with us
His blessing surrounds us, enfolds us
And invites us.
His love will never leave us
Let us go in peace. Amen.
Merry Christmas from Maddy
Please keep our front line workers and medical staff in your thoughts and prayers these days.
Our struggle with Indigenous justice still is not where it should be. Please remember Joyce Echaquan, the Indigenous woman who, while very sick, was taunted by her medical staff. Please pray for her family and work to end this injustice.
Do you wish to share a prayer ? Please call the church phone line at 519 432 8075 to leave your prayers. If there is no one in the office at that time- please leave your prayers on our voice mail.
We still have a building and staff and are still running a community meal program. We are thankful for your donation- see main page – click on Canada Helps link.
Finally, depart with these words of our United Church New Creed:
We are not alone,
we live in God’s world.
We believe in God:
who has created and is creating,
who has come in Jesus,
the Word made flesh.
Spread God’s Love but practice Physical Distancing.