Watch this Service

The Presbyterian Church at Woodbury

November 13, 2022
23rd Sunday after Pentecost
10:00 am



Almighty God, through Jesus you say to us that whoever wishes to be first must become the least and the servant of all.  We enter into your presence, knowing that your victory is won through the powerlessness of the cross.  We come to pray that your church may be one.  Teach us to accept humbly that this unity is a gift of your Spirit; through this gift, change and transform us and make us more like your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

PRELUDE               “Rhysomedre”                      arr. by R. Vaughn Williams


We come here today not because we are clever
but because God welcomes the slow learners.
We come here not because we are wise,
but because God loves us in spite of our folly.
We come knowing that the greatest persons will be found
among those who humbly serve like Jesus did,
and that the brightest ideas and the deepest truth will come
from those who see themselves as little children in Christ’s school.
O Lord, open up our mind and our hearts
and enable our lives to declare your praise.

*HYMN No. 317 “In Christ There Is No East or West”

1 In Christ there is no east or west,
in him no south or north,
but one great fellowship of love
throughout the whole wide earth.

2 In Christ shall true hearts everywhere
their high communion find;
his service is the golden cord
close-binding humankind.

3 Join hands, disciples of the faith,
whate’er your race may be.
All children of the living God
are surely kin to me.

4 In Christ now meet both east and west;
in him meet south and north.
All Christly souls are one in him
throughout the whole wide earth. 


If we say we are completely put together, the truth is not in us.  But if we confess our distractions, our errors, and our anxieties, God will meet us and renew us. Together let us confess our sins against God and one another.


How glibly we say we trust you, Holy One, and how quickly our fears silence our words.  We find you at the side of the poor, while we cozy up to the rich and famous.  You stand behind the counter serving the hungry at the soup kitchen, while we are stocking our freezers and pantries till they overflow.  We look down at those whose hands are dirty, but your hand of mercy pulls them into your embracing love.  Forgive us, O Lord, and do good to us when we have trouble doing good for others.  Surround us with your love; surround us with your grace; surround us with your peace; surround us with the Spirit of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  

Silence is observed


…in Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.
Thanks be to God!

*RESPONSE No. 582 “Glory to God, Whose Goodness Shines on Me”

1 Glory to God, whose goodness shines on me,
and to the Son, whose grace has pardoned me,
and to the Spirit, whose love has set me free.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Amen.

2 World without end, without end. Amen.
World without end, without end. Amen.
World without end, without end. Amen.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Amen. 


Since God has forgiven us in Christ, let us forgive one another. The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
And also, with you.

ANTHEM                 “Be Thou My Vision”                      arr. by Bob Chilcott



Most Holy Mystery, open our eyes, our ears, and our hearts as your scripture is read and your Word proclaimed, that we might gain a glimpse of your joyous life and join the dance of Father, Spirit, and Son now and always. Amen. 

SCRIPTURE James 2:1-13

My brothers and sisters, when you show favoritism you deny the faithfulness of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has been resurrected in glory. Imagine two people coming into your meeting. One has a gold ring and fine clothes, while the other is poor, dressed in filthy rags. Then suppose that you were to take special notice of the one wearing fine clothes, saying, “Here’s an excellent place. Sit here.” But to the poor person you say, “Stand over there”; or, “Here, sit at my feet.” Wouldn’t you have shown favoritism among yourselves and become evil-minded judges?

My dear brothers and sisters, listen! Hasn’t God chosen those who are poor by worldly standards to be rich in terms of faith? Hasn’t God chosen the poor as heirs of the kingdom he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Don’t the wealthy make life difficult for you? Aren’t they the ones who drag you into court? Aren’t they the ones who insult the good name spoken over you at your baptism?

You do well when you really fulfill the royal law found in scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself. But when you show favoritism, you are committing a sin, and by that same law you are exposed as a lawbreaker. Anyone who tries to keep all of the Law but fails at one point is guilty of failing to keep all of it. The one who said, Don’t commit adultery, also said, Don’t commit murder. So, if you don’t commit adultery but do commit murder, you are a lawbreaker. In every way, then, speak and act as people who will be judged by the law of freedom. There will be no mercy in judgment for anyone who hasn’t shown mercy. Mercy overrules judgment.


SERMON                  “Pride and Prejudice”                    Dr. Rachael Baard

Liturgy and Commentaries provided by Rachael Baard, Teri McDowell Ott  Rose Schrott Taylor, and Andy James

*AFFIRMATION OF FAITH       adapted from Confession of Belhar 1986

We believe in one God Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Mother of us all, who gathers, protects, and nourishes the church from the beginning of the world to the end.
The church is one, the church is holy, the church is universal. It is the community of God’s children, called together from the whole of humanity.
We believe that the reconciling work of Christ gives birth to a uniting church because church unity is both a gift and a goal we need to strive for.
The unity of the church must become visible so that the people around us can see how separation and hatred are overcome in Christ.
We believe that genuine faith in Jesus Christ is the only condition of membership in this Christian church.
We praise God that identity politics does not determine who belongs to this church.
We believe that God has entrusted to the church the message of reconciliation and that the church is called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
So, we reject the belief that this gospel encourages separation of people on the basis of race, gender, class, culture or sexual identity, or any particular identity politics for that matter.
We believe that God wants to bring about true justice and lasting peace on earth;
we believe that God is, in a special sense, the God of the suffering, the poor and the downtrodden.
God gives justice to the oppressed and bread to the hungry; God sets captives free and makes the blind to see; God protects vulnerable people and obstructs the plans of the wicked.
We believe that the church is the property of God and that it should stand where God stands: against injustice and with those who are wronged.
So, we reject every policy that causes injustice and every teaching that allows injustice to flourish.
We are called to confess and to do all this in obedience to Jesus Christ, our only Lord: even if authorities or laws oppose this, even if punishment and suffering are the result.
Jesus is Lord! We will follow Him! To the one God, Mother of us all, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be honour and glory for ever and ever.

*HYMN No. 346 “For the Healing of the Nations

1 For the healing of the nations,
Lord, we pray with one accord;
for a just and equal sharing
of the things that earth affords;
to a life of love in action
help us rise and pledge our word.

2 Lead us forward into freedom;
from despair your world release,
that, redeemed from war and hatred,
all may come and go in peace.
Show us how through care and goodness
fear will die and hope increase.

3 All that kills abundant living,
let it from the earth be banned:
pride of status, race, or schooling,
dogmas that obscure your plan.
In our common quest for justice
may we hallow life’s brief span.

4 You, Creator God, have written
your great name on humankind;
for our growing in your likeness,
bring the life of Christ to mind,
that by our response and service
earth its destiny may find. 


Kind Creator, in the face of a world that feels on the brink of chaos, we take this opportunity to speak our gratitude that you know us and call us by name. In you, we find comfort. In you, we find meaning. We cling to your promise that there is a day coming where there will be no more tears, where we will not labor in vain. We also recognize that, through the Holy Spirit, we are called to work alongside you to bring about this new reality. And so, we pray for the world – not as it will be, but for what it is now.

We pray for those with the power to make decisions that affect others. We pray for [insert elected officials from your area here]. Surround them with wise people. We ask that you protect their compassion and love of justice, may it outweigh any other factor in their decision process. We also pray for the political divisions in America. Help us to balance in our hearts and minds loving those who are different from us and fighting for what we believe is right. May all our actions be motivated by your Holy Spirit.

We pray for the people of Ukraine, who don’t have enough power to heat their country as they head into the cold months. We pray for the people of Russia, who are not being told the truth. We pray for the people of Uganda, who are fighting an outbreak of the Ebola virus. We pray for the people of South Korea, who mourn those who died in the Halloween stampede in Seoul. We pray for peaceful transitions of power in Israel and Brazil and around the world.

God, we pray specifically for this community. We lift up [insert your church’s specific prayer requests here…

As the days grow shorter, show us your light, God. Help us to see the life, love, beauty, and kindness that we encounter on a daily basis. May we cling to the hope you offer, remembering and rehearsing the history of our faith, which has been passed down by God’s grace from generation to generation. We entrust our prayers to you, remembering the saints that have come before us and the love of Jesus Christ that empowers us. It is in Jesus’ name that we pray in the way we were taught, “Our Father…”.

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 debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.


The flowers are given in the glory and honor of God by Tooie, his kids MaryAnn, Tom, Don and spouses, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in loving memory of Tom Tatham.


We give of what we have so that people in our community and around the world may be clothed, fed, and cared for. We give to make our church a place where every person is welcomed to have a seat at the table. We give as a commitment to put our faith into action. Let us give generously.



Praise God, from whom all blessing flow, Praise God, all creatures here below.  Alleluia, Alleluia Praise God in Jesus fully known; Creator, Word and Spirit one. Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia. 


Holy Lord, maker of us all, you call us to love our neighbors as ourselves and teach us that faith without works is dead. Open us to the opportunities for ministry that lie before us, where faith and words and the need of our neighbor come together in name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen. 

*HYMN No. 23 “God, You Spin the Whirling Planets”

1 God, you spin the whirling planets,
fill the seas and spread the plain,
mold the mountains, fashion blossoms,
call forth sunshine, wind, and rain.
We, created in your image,
would a true reflection be
of your justice, grace, and mercy
and the truth that makes us free.

2 You have called us to be faithful
in our life and ministry.
We respond in grateful worship
joined in one community.
When we blur your gracious image,
focus us and make us whole.
Healed and strengthened as your people,
we move onward toward your goal.

3 God, your word is still creating,
calling us to life made new.
Now reveal to us fresh vistas
where there’s work to dare and do.
Keep us clear of all distortion.
Polish us with loving care.
Thus, new creatures in your image,
we’ll proclaim Christ everywhere. 


Now that we have gathered, heard, and celebrated God’s Word, we are dismissed into the world with the following call:
We believe in obedience to Jesus Christ, our only Head, we are called to confess and to do all these things, even though the authorities and human laws might forbid them, and punishment and suffering be the consequence.  Jesus is Lord!
To the one God and only God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Mother of us all, be the honour and the glory for ever and ever.