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United and Uniting - A Prayer for the United Church  of Christ and the World written and read by the Rev. Dr. David Long-Higgins O Love,  Form us ever anew  United and uniting  Bearing a vision larger  Than we can imagine.  Form the puzzling  Predicaments of our day  Into something precious  And beautiful and good. Yes, take all that is scattered  Embracing every fragment  And fashion something new  Beyond what is known  In a world full of hurt  Yearning for something more  That heals, renews, and blesses. Let no pressure  Of present predicaments  Often repeatedly rehearsed  Be greater than the grace  You pour out to cleanse. Ready us for new creations  Even now beginning to rise  Through Your connective strength   Otherwise thought impossible  Save for Your unrelenting love. Yes, persistent One  Awaken us to the truth  Of being already joined  By You for a joy unbelievable  Except as we entrust our lives  To You who always holds   Everyone and everything  In a marvelous mystery  Not of our making   Yet urging our consent. O Love,  Form and re-form our hearts  For nothing less than this  Of Your unifying desire  To rise ever anew in us  In some precious proclamation  Of what You make possible  When Your people anywhere  Turn toward each other  In love, for love, by love  And say yes again to You, O Love. Let this be the good news  Proclaimed through our life   Formed by Your uniting  To be united with others  For the healing of the world,  That Your joy may rise  Everywhere for everyone.                          Amen.Prayer by the Rev. Dr. David Long-HigginsIntro and Outro Music by the Rev. Dr. David Long-HigginsMusic with prayer, Letting Go, by Moments
Temple Body - A Prayer written and read by the Rev. Dr. David Long-Higgins O Love,  Bless this temple body  Given as gift by You  Enlivened by Your Spirit  For worship and work  In thanks and praise  Of all You make possible. Form in me a reverence  For care of this gift  Of body given by You  For the purposes of love  To build Your justice joy  For the full flourishing  Of everybody’s body. Bless my ordinary eating  With your Holy Spirit  And awaken me  To Your precious presence  Bearing Your life-giving  Energy of eternity  Here and now.  Grant me grace  To savor the sacramental sip  Of Your life-giving water  Forming and reforming  Each cell of the universe  Of universes you form  In every living body. Quiet my mind and heart  Enough to hear Your pulse  Bearing Your life large  In this little body of me. Yes, Love,   Bless this temple body  That I may walk and work  Speak and keep silence  And reverence this gift  Formed by You  For reverencing You  In every other body  Also formed by You.                        Amen.Prayer by the Rev. Dr. David Long-HigginsIntro and Outro Music by the Rev. Dr. David Long-Higgins
Walking Holy Week’s Road, A Prayer by the Rev. Dr. David Long-HigginsLoving God, Lead me step by step On this Holy Week road And form Your will and way In answer to the weariness And worry of the world So easily residing in my soul. Let the same sustaining spirit You poured into Christ Jesus Be poured ever anew into me  Answering every resistance Begging me to distraction From Your gracious gift Of a life fully alive Despite twists and turns Formed by the world  And also by me. Yes, Love, Walk me into this week In reverent, holy wonder Revealing Your mysteries  Easily overlooked or ignored In rush to lesser things Urging a numbness  Of heart and mind and soul.Moment by moment  Hour by hour Day by day Etch Your Holy story Anew in my heart and mind Answering every sorrow And anguish of the world With just enough light To lead me on Your path Toward a rising unimaginable Except by You who forms The impossible into the probable.Let this motion of You  Renew not only me But Your whole creation  Whom You love into life That Your wholeness and fullness May emerge ever anew In the least likely of places In the most difficult circumstances Using people often overlooked  By the powers and principalities Of a world practiced in resistance  To Your Holy motion  Of resurrection renewal. O Love,  Walk me into this week Transforming every cross Of the world’s making  From death into Life Giving rise to something Holy Beautiful, loving and good That Your joy may finally  Find its way into the heart Of your very human family. Yes, Love, Sustain me on this walk Down Your Holy Week road Forming my little love With Your large Love Into some sacred cross  Of Your Holy intersection.Prayer by the Rev. Dr. David Long-HigginsIntro and Outro Music by the Rev. Dr. David Long-Higgins
Oh Snap! A Prayer of Confession, by the Rev. Dr. David Long-HigginsLoving God, O snap! Said too much.O snap! Said too little.O snap! Got distractedO snap! Ate too much.O snap! Too little sleep.O snap! Unexpected turn.O snap! Cut off.O snap! Worry day.O snap! Plans changed.O snap! Tired of waiting.O snap! Weary of winterO snap! Lost my voice.O snap! Came undone. O Love,  Restring my life For some new song Tuned with grace by You. (And if you can, Make it just a little bit  Snappy! ) Thanks for listening. Amen.Prayer by the Rev. Dr. David Long-HigginsIntro and Outro Music by the Rev. Dr. David Long-HigginsMusic with prayer, Forever and a Day by ltebloomr
Transcript:Everyday Thanksgivings, A Prayer by the Rev. Dr. David Long-HigginsLoving God, For the gift of a new dayI give You thanks For breath of bodyI give You thanks For silence of soulI give You thanks For work that mattersI give You thanks For blessed memoriesI give You thanks For little delightsI give You thanks For a family of loveI give You thanks For the gift of differenceI give You thanks For a body to inhabit I give You thanks For Your present presenceI give You thanks For the tear that tugsI give You thanks For the radiant smileI give you thanks For questions of youthI give you thanks For wisdom's weightI give You thanks For your Eternal embraceI give You thanks O Love,  May nothing of this day Pass before me  Without thanks  And praise of You.-November 2022, DMLH
Beginning AgainAn Advent PrayerLoving God, Thank-you for the gift Of beginning again When all seems lost Or weariness wears down The last inch of hope.Yes, turn the page Of over-rehearsed despair Or dread of dullness Formed by too much Of just about everything. Form instead Your promise When night’s weight Seems too heavy for  Dawn’s readiness to rise  In surprises unlikely To be noticed by the world Yet formed by You  As the beginning place Of Your grand renewal, Starting as one small baby Still in formation Not yet ready to be born But quickening the senses With miraculous movement. Yes, form this advent Of Your grand reversal In me as I wait in wonder At what You will readily reveal In this long season  Of late dawn and early dusk.Let me savor the beauty Of what I do not know Urging me to wait When all around me The world rushes  In frenzy of the overfull, The too much and the too soon.Still me into the gift You so yearn to give, Of silence rising  From deep within  Touching everything  With Your cosmic creation Daring to form a new world Unknown by the old one Satisfied with a hypnosis Of over-rehearsed hopelessness.Yes, grant me  An Advent awakening Muting every resistance  And releasing a new song Of thanks for Your grand gift  Of beginning again… Here…now…yes…thank-you.-November 2022, DMLH
The Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr., Installation Service Preacher: The Reverend Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr., is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) US and Canada. He serves as executive director of the Columbus-based Ohio Council of Churches. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Dr. Sullivan is an internationally-known leader, ecumenist, preacher, justice advocate, and death penalty abolitionist. In recognition of his work to stop executions, Dr. Sullivan was given the 2020 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Social Justice Award by Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission and the 2019 Humanitarian Award from the Black Heritage Library and Multicultural Center of Findlay, OH. In 2018 he received the African American Liberation Award from the National Convocation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio University; a Master of Divinity degree from Lexington Theological Seminary; a Doctor of Ministry from United Theological Seminary (Dayton); and an honorary doctorate from Bethany College, Bethany, West Virginia.Dr. Sullivan is board president of Journey of Hope… From Violence to Healing and co-president of the Disciples Justice Action Network. He is an advisory board member of Catholic Mobilizing Network, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, OH, Death Penalty Action, Restorative Justice International, and the US Global Leadership Council. Dr. Sullivan is immediate past board chair of Ohioans to Stop Executions, and a former steering committee member of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty. He holds life memberships in the NAACP and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and is a member of the Faith and Order Commission of the National Council of Churches, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Academy of Homiletics.
During the 2022 Heartland Conference (UCC) Annual Gathering, we had the joy of hearing from Rev. Joanna D'Agostino in an Opening Worship Sermon. The Rev. Joanna D’Agostino has been the Senior Pastor of Lakewood Congregational Church since June 2018. Joanna has a passion for Restorative Justice, which she learned as a Restorative Justice facilitator in Wisconsin state correctional institutions. Now, she strives to weave Restorative Practices into all areas of leadership, community organizing, and relationship development. Rev. D’Agostino also prioritizes advocacy for and with the LGBTQ+ community, the destigmatization of mental healthcare, support for the UCC’s Council for Health and Human Services Ministries (CHHSM), and involvement in criminal justice reform initiatives of Greater Cleveland Congregations. She received her Master of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, and a B.A. in creative writing and French language from Baldwin-Wallace University in Berea, Ohio. She was ordained by the Living Water Association of the UCC in 2012. Joanna now serves on the LWA Council and the Strategy Team of Greater Cleveland Congregations. Joanna and her husband have three children, Evelyn, Amos, and Suzette, plus the steady presence of neighborhood children and friends. They also have a pit bull mutt, three cats, and a bearded dragon. Outside of ministry, Joanna’s interests include art, animals, home renovation, and chatting on the porch.
This brand new episode features an introduction from Communications Director, Cassidy Hall, who shares a brief overview of Annual Gathering dates and deadlines. She reminds us this year's Annual Gathering is September 22-23 at Westerville UCC and the deadline to register is Monday, September 19th at 5:00 EST! Then we hear a message from others who will be in attendance including the Rev. Dr. Jack Sullivan, Jr., Disaster Ministries Coordinator Kevin Gehres, and Rev. Beth Gedert, the Chair of this year's Annual Gathering Planning Team!
Prayer: Spirit Fruit with the Rev. Dr. David Long-HigginsLoving God, ripen me…Grant me grace to loveThat Your pulse may enliven me.Grant me your joining joy,Answering the fear of the worldWith your radiant Spirit.Grant me Your peace to shareIn a world aching to restFrom fractious fighting.Grant me Your patienceGrounding my soul in graceThat I may offer the same to others.Grant me Your kindnessFor every rough edge revealedIn myself and all your beloved.Grant me a generous SpiritTrusting Your resource is enoughFor the gift of this day You give.Grant me a flood of faithfulnessFilling my heart with resolveTo trust Your power in all things.Grant me Your gentlenessFor every hard thingDaring to evoke anger or fear.Grant me self-controlFreeing me from the prisonI so easily constructWith perpetual distractionsCovering over the giftsYou yearn to give.Yes, Love,Grant me grace to growIn this sustaining SpiritThat is You in all thingsSeen and unseen.And let it beMore than enoughFor today.
Welcome to the first episode of Prayers & Ponderings, a Heartland Conference Podcast. Wherever you are on your spiritual journey or your journey in listening to podcasts, you're welcome here! The Heartland Conference is a part of the United Church of Christ and works with churches in Northern Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia. We are overjoyed to share with you our first prayer: Rising Up, written and spoken by Conference Minister, the Rev. Dr. David Long-Higgins. You can find the transcript to this prayer below. Rising UpLoving God, Let all my work   Arise from You Let all my noticing   Arise from You Let all my hope   Arise from You Let all my wonder   Arise from You  Let all my delight   Arise from You Let all my gratefulnessArise from You Let all my words   Arise from You Let all my passion   Arise from You Let all my peaceArise from You Let all my joy   Arise from You Let all my desire   Arise from You Let all my love   Arise from You.For no good thing, No worthwhile dream Can ever flourish Apart from rising up In, from, and through You, O Love of Life.-DMLH, August 2022©More about the Rev. Dr. David Long-Higgins: The Rev. David Long-Higgins is the Conference Minister for the Heartland Conference. Dave’s passion is to see individuals and churches grow in their sense of the alive presence of God and all that this calls forth to be signs of good news in the world, so that all may flourish. Dave has served in a wide variety of capacities throughout the United Church of Christ. He is a graduate of Heidelberg University with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and music (violin performance). His Master of Divinity was earned at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in New Brighton, Minnesota. He is also a graduate of the Wellstreams Spiritual Direction Program of the Spirituality Network of Columbus (Ohio). Prior to beginning his role with the Conference, Dave was a parish pastor for over 30 years. Dave and his wife Beth, who is also an ordained UCC clergyperson have two adult children, Andrew and Hannah. When not on the ministry trail Dave enjoys movies, playing violin and guitar, bicycling, travel, writing poetry/prayers, and photography. 
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