This week many of us of the Christian Faith are participating in a week of prayer for unity in faith. Rev. Paul Graetz of First MCC offered this invitation:
"Today is the first day of the week of prayer for Christian Unity. I encourage you to remember to pray for unity among the over 3,300 different denominations of Christianity. Jesus gave us the example as he prayed..."Make us one". Remember we can have different approaches...but we cannot be at war with each other."
Let us join in these prayers offered...God Bless, Pastor Paul
January 18-25, 2010
First MCC of Atlanta
There are over 3,300 different Christian Churches in the world today. Each one taking on a unique perspective of the life and teachings of Jesus, the Christ. This week we invite you to pray for unity within the Christian community so the message of Christ might be truly revealed.
Let the prayers of these spiritual leaders be a guide over this eight day journey of prayer for Christian Unity.
January 18, Day One:
Almighty God, I come to you today with thanksgiving for my life. I know that through Jesus Christ you have taught me to be grateful for all that is. I surrender this day onto you. I ask for blessings to carrying me through the day. I ask that you would use me and direct my life in service to all mankind. Lead me in the directions of perfect love and allow me to let this love move through me to others to create unity. I pray to know your divine will for my life. I ask the Holy Spirit to go before me to make the way clear, and to guide and protect me, as I blindly step into the future trusting that you are with me and knowing that all is well. Thank you, in Jesus name I pray.
Rev. Dr. Joyce Rennolds
Joyce Rennolds is known internationally as a "Motivator of One or a Thousand" and a dynamic speaker at churches domestically and internationally. Reverend Dr. Rennolds has been on the '100s List of Georgia's Most Powerful and Influential Women' since 2000. You can hear her at First MCC Saturday Feb. 27, 2010 in a morning workshop.
January 19, Day Two:
“Heavenly Creator, who has created each of us, help us to remember that is important for us to focus on the ways that we “miss the mark” as we strive to be better Christians. It is all to easy and common for us to focus on how others miss that mark There is far more that unites us in Christ than divides us if our energies are devoted to searching for those things that unite rather than divide. In our effort toward Christian unity it is more important for us to listen to the voices of others than to raise our own. Help us each to maintain that perspective. In doing so, we can reach more unity than we can imagine.” Amen.
Rev. Chip Carson
Staff Pastor First MCC
In my years as Chaplain of AID Atlanta I remember the insight one day that changed my outreach to those Christians who equated AIDS with God’s judgment on homosexuals and IV drug abusers. It was the realization that it was not my job to make them accept me in my perspective unconditionally, but for me to accept them in their perspective unconditionally. I learned that just as Christ accepted (and accepts) others where they were (and are) but never left (leaves) them where they were (are) found, so can I. I fail at this regularly, but, since that day, I never cease trying.
January 20, Day Three:
Eternal God of the Universe, like Israel, we hear and understand that YOU are One, and because You are One, we too, are already one. Help us to embrace our union with you and with one another. With our sisters and brothers of African descent, may we embody Umoja, the spirit of unity that runs through all that You have created.
Oh God, grant that our differences will no longer divide us, but make us interesting to each other, instead. May we accept the diversity that You sustain as evidence of pleasure in variety. Remind us daily that You have made all humanity of one blood and that you have used one Redeemer to save the whole world.
Thank You, loving Creator, for making us one and for giving us to each other as companions along this journey called life. In all your holy names we pray, Amen!
Rev. Carolyn J. Mobley
First MCC of Atlanta, Evangelist
Carolyn Mobley and her partner Adrian Bowie serve as Church Evangelists for First MCC and have a Ministry of Inspiration in song and spoken word.
January 21, Day Four:
We humbly beg you O God to mercifully to look upon your people as we suffer from division, strife and denominationalism. We bring you great concerns for our troubled faith in a world where what divides us is more apparent then what unites us. We come to you today O God seeking your help, your wisdom, your courage to take away the controversial teachings of arrogance, divisions and hatreds which have taken over our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; reunite us in bonds of love; and work through our differences to accomplish Your purposes on earth.
Help us here and now to remember your requirement for a people of faith is to be about doing justice, acting mercifully and walking humbly with you. Help us to recognize this can only be accomplished by being united rather then divided. As you O God love each of us unconditionally in our great diversity, may we in that diversity be united in providing the same unconditionally love to one another. This day we claim and proclaim our unity as your people and as your creation in the name of Jesus the Christ Amen!
Rev. Paul M. Turner
Sr. Pastor Gentle Spirit Christian Church
Gentle Spirit Christian Church is an Independent, affirming and progressive congregation. This is Atlanta’s innovative church without walls meeting each Sunday outdoors in Candler Park.
January 22, Day Five:
Holy One, We give you thanks for your spirit that binds together all living things. In this week of unity, we are powerfully aware of how you love and connect us even when we resist and build barriers.
Raise up in all our churches such a fierce and tender love for one another that we will seek to shatter all prejudice, misunderstanding, and division. Make your church into a sign of living hope for all people, a place where love is embodied, justice is practiced, and hospitality is honored.
Where your church is in error, reform it. Where it is right, confirm it, and where it struggles, support it. Into the hands of Jesus, we commend all our hopes and dreams, our challenges and our possibilities, trusting that his grace will make us into an army of lovers that cannot fail. Amen.
Rev. Bradley Schmeling
St. John’s Lutheran Church of Atlanta
Bradley Schmeling is the pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church, Atlanta, a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Rev. Bradley was a guest speaker at First MCC for Gay Pride in 2007 telling of his struggle as an out Gay Minister in the Lutheran Church.
January 23, Day Six:
God of Many Names, we ask that you pour out upon your children your gifts of love, peace and harmony. While we proclaim to love you, we often fail to love and respect each other. While we seek to praise you, we often fail to honor each other. While we yearn to be like you, we often fail to see you in each other.
Help us, O God, to live the prayers we pray, to manifest your love in each encounter and to never stop seeking your guidance. Heal us, hold us, set us free, but never let us go. Unite us O God so that your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Amen
Rev. Franc Perry
First MCC Church Evangelist
Rev. Franc Perry is one of First MCC’s Church Evangelists and is also nominated to be one of New York’s first out Gay African American judges.
January 24, Day Seven:
Lord, you prayed, “Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are” (John 17:11b). Lord, Your desire, Your plan is for all of Your people to be of one mind and one heart. We ask you to make us one. Give us a heart to love one another and to work with one another so that your church, your daughters and sons, can become the answer to our prayer, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Help us to become a people who will demonstrate Your Love to one another, our city, our community, our nation, and our world. Father, make us, as many members and multiple fellowships, into one instrument that will bring You greater honor and draw people to Your Great Love and Glory. We ask all of this in the Precious and Mighty Name of Jesus Christ.
Pastors Randy and Johnny Layton-Morgan New Covenant Church New Covenant Church of Atlanta (often known as “Saved and Gay”) started on July 23, 2000 as a LGBT affirming, Charismatic-Pentecostal congregation with a focus on the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues.
January 25, Day Eight:
Lord Jesus, We know you prayed and hoped that all your followers would be united as you and God are united. You even said this is how the world would know that you had spoken the truth. Instead, we have divided, warred in your name and sacrificed that unity for our petty and arrogant insistence that everyone must love and follow you exactly as we do.
Give us hearts big enough to embrace unity without uniformity and diversity without division. Help us to accept and respect that there are many ways to love and serve you in this world. Grant that we who call ourselves by your name may repent of the arrogance that prevents us from living in unity and celebrate that though we are many, we are one.
We pray in your name, and for the sake of all that is holy. Amen
Reverend Elder Ken Martin
Rev. Martin is the Metropolitan Community Church Elder for Region 1 and portions of region 2. He is the Elder in care for First MCC of Atlanta and our MCC GA, AL, TN cluster of churches. His home is Austin, Texas.