St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church

Covenant of Dissent Dedication Service

May 18, 1997

Welcome and Introductory Words - Jim Rigby

Call to Worship

L: We hold the wholehearted belief that all people are created in God's image and each of us is unique and wonderful.

P: We celebrate the universal truth proclaimed by the apostle Paul that as Christians we are many members, yet one body in Christ and members of one another.

L: In our search for order as people of God, we are called to be eternal friends of justice and implacable foes of injustice.

P: We affirm the common dignity of all people, the equality of all in Christ, and our common responsibility as Christians to love our neighbors as ourselves, without judgment or condemnation.

*Hymn #276 "Great is Thy Faithfulness"

Statement from St. Andrew's Session - Richard Goss

We have welcomed - and will continue to welcome - all who profess faith in Jesus Christ and wish to join this congregation into full membership in its life and worship. The Session also affirms its fundamental right, responsibility, and intention to ordain to positions of leadership spiritually qualified persons who are called by God to those positions of leadership - and otherwise to extend the responsibilities and benefits of membership - without regard to gender, race, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, station, or other human condition.

Prayer of Confession - Ellen Babinsky

(Adapted from the 1997 Declaration of Reformed Faith, signed January 12, 1997, in Rochester, New York.)

We affirm the biblical faith that knows sin to be a condition of our very being, to which we all are subject and from which Christ redeems us. No human act is pure or without sin, and so we must rely on the generous grace of God for our redemption. We reject the false doctrine that sin is a category of human behaviors, to be identified by a catalogue of acts - and that to obtain moral purity, we are required only to do certain acts and to refrain from others. Our understanding of sin from the Holy Scripture is that it is much more radical than that; our need to repent is much more profound; our reliance on God's grace is much more complete. We confess to You, our Creator, our brokenness.

Assurance of Pardon

Pastoral Prayer - Shane Whisler

Anthem "Open Minds, Open Hearts, Open Hands" - C.J. Brandt

Prayer for Illumination - Virginia Lewis

Creator God, we come before you to read and to hear your Word. We affirm that the Holy Scriptures are your unique and authoritative witness to us - and the sole foundation upon which our faith rests. With the authors and signers of the 1997 Declaration, "we affirm [also] the Reformed principle that the only interpreter of Scripture is Scripture itself, and that the Holy Spirit guides us in application of biblical Truth to daily life. We therefore reject the false doctrine that seeks certainty in a literal interpretation of Scripture; that uncritically lifts up certain passages for the purpose of damnation, while ignoring others of equal power and relevance." Open our hearts and minds to the revelation of your Truth through the working of the Holy Spirit within us. Grant us the humility of knowing that our understanding is incomplete, but that through the guidance of the Spirit, we are living into the Truth that will be ours one day. In Christ's name we pray. Amen.


Scripture Readings - Virginia Lewis

Old Testament: Micah 6:8
Psalm: Psalm 56:9-11
Gospel: Matthew 22:34-40

Sermon Text: Ephesians 2:11-22

Sermon: "Susan's Story" - Babs Geminden

*Hymn #358 "Help Us to Accept Each Other"

Offering - to be dedicated to the Stonecatchers' "Put Your Life on the Line Fund" (PYLL)


"Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Praise God all creatures here below!
God does create, redeem, sustain,
All creatures praise God's holy name!"


L: We pray for the reconciling spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ to
transform the entire church:

P: We declare our intention consistently to seek more of God's
truth, particularly in places of disharmony, fear, and brokenness.
We affirm our intention to work in love and humility toward a
denomination that respects God's great gift of diversity by
welcoming all people, without reservation, in Christ's name.

*Hymn #439 "In Christ There Is No East or West"

*Benediction - Babs Geminden

Choral Response - African-American "Amen"

*Congregation Please Stand

Return to Hesed Discussion Forum

Hesed Index

Hesed Home Page