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  • Rev. Cathy Surgenor

October 11 Worship

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

Hello Union Church Presbyterians,

Worship this Sunday, October 11 will be hosted on Zoom with worship beginning at 10:30 am. This is our celebration of World Communion. We will share prayers, songs, and reflections. We will be celebrating Communion. Please have a cracker/bread of your choice and juice/beverage on hand to join in this sacrament.

Take a moment and follow the steps above before Sunday as Zoom will need to download files for worship. If you are familiar with Zoom, relax and prepare for worship on Sunday morning.

The Zoom meeting will open at 10:15 am to allow folks to connect and greet each other. If you have a camera, you will have the option to share your face and smile—be prepared. You can also have a cup of your favorite morning beverage at hand. The worship will include some familiar elements (although recorded rather than live) as well as live leadership of prayers, scripture reading, and the sermon.


Union Church, Newburgh NY

October 11, 2020 10:30 am


We are glad that you are joining us today and hope you feel God’s blessings. If you do not have a church home, we sincerely invite you to be a part of the Union Church fellowship.


World Communion Sunday grew out of the Division of Stewardship at Shadyside, Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh in about 1933. The concept spread very slowly at the start. People did not give it a whole lot of thought. It was during the Second World War that the spirit caught hold, because we were trying to hold the world together. Worldwide Communion symbolized the effort to hold things together, in a spiritual sense. It emphasized that we are one in the Spirit and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Son of Hugh Thompson Kerr.

Celebration of Worldwide Communion Sunday was adopted as a denominational practice in the Presbyterian Church (US) in 1936. Churches in other denominations were invited to celebrate with us from the beginning, but it wasn’t until 1940 when the Department of Evangelism of the Federal Council of Churches (a predecessor body of the National Council of Churches) promoted extending the celebration to a number of churches around the world that the practice became widespread. Today, World Communion Sunday is celebrated around the world, demonstrating that the church founded on Jesus Christ peacefully shares God-given goods in a world increasingly destabilized by globalization and global market economies based on greed.

Food Pantry operates every other week. Next: Mon. Oct. 12 and Wed. Oct. 14 from 9:30-11:30 am. Serving LOTS of people! If you would like to help, contact Kathy or Debby.

VIRTUAL Fellowship Time: Begins immediately after worship. If you have joined worship on Zoom you don’t need to do anything more. If you are joining us for fellowship time only use mobile phone or computer video. Check email for access instructions. Questions? Call James at (301) 335-8677

Choral Music will precede the worship service beginning at 10:15 am as people ‘tune in’ to the zoom service.


INTROIT Tocatta in D Major Margaret Small

CALL TO WORSHIP Rev. Gloria Ulloa, Presbyterian Church of Colombia

We gather from the west to the east,

from the south to the north,

to celebrate the God of peace

who accompanies us in our acts of peace.

This God of peace accompanies us

in each and every circumstance around us.

We praise God’s name! Amen!


Gracious Lord, you have watched as your Church struggles to spread the good news of the risen Christ around the world as Jesus instructed his followers, to do. Today we celebrate all the efforts that have succeeded and brought peace. Fill our hearts with your peace this hour. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.


Faced with God’s goodness we recognize our failings in the knowledge of God’s mercy, we dare tell the truth about ourselves and our world in the confidence of God’s children let us confess our sins.

PRAYER OF CONFESSION Presbyterian Peacemaking

Gracious Lord, creator of this universe, in your generosity you have given us a world of abundance and diversity, yet we live guided by greed and selfishness. We confess that we have defaced your creation and poisoned our environment through our consumerist behavior and for personal gain. In Christ, you made us brothers and sisters and intended for us to be united, and yet we have built walls to separate us from those who are different from us. You gave us wisdom and creativity and we have too often used those to trick each other and to develop weapons of destruction and death. You gave us laws to order our lives and we have abused them to take revenge and punish our enemies. We allow war rather than strive for peace. We forget the poor and the weak and honored the rich and powerful. In all this we have not lived according to your will. Forgive us, Lord, for daring to boast in our human achievements and for failing to recognize that you alone are worthy of praise. In your mercy, forgive us our sins. Amen.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON Phillipians 3:9; Ephesian 2:17

“God accepted us simply because of our faith in Christ,” through whom our sins were forgiven. May he help us to continue to “preach peace to those who are near and far.” Amen.



PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION Magdaléna Trgalová, Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren

Holy Spirit, grant us openness and give us understanding of what each one of us needs to receive through Holy Scripture. When we are facing a difficult choice between the easy and the right decision, help us to choose the narrow path. We also pray for all who are about to set on an adventurous journey of faith anywhere in the world. Amen.


First Testament Exodus 32:1-14 NRSV

Second Testament Phillipians 4:1-9 NRSV

SERMON Joy in the Midst Rev. Cathy Surgenor

(Text at the end)

HYMN To My Precious Lord, Glory to God


From every place on this planet, we turn our face to you, O God. Gather us, all your people, together, to pray. In the midst of the forces which would separate us, bind us in your love as the Church, together. Strengthen us through the grace of your people gathered, no matter how we gather, with the truth of your presence.

[Call for intercessory prayer]

In a world stretching toward wholeness,

we celebrate with those whose lives bear the fruit of your Spirit

and seek to share in your call to partnership.

We celebrate with those whose efforts are making the world new.

We celebrate with all who gather

to earnestly seek your transforming work in the world.

Make us a world that grows into the shape of your communion table,

where all are welcomed and all are fed.

Make us a people who grow your family

by practices of mutuality, generosity and justice.

And may we be found to be witnesses, when Jesus returns,

to the truth of who we were created to be —

people who belong to each other,

people who belong to you, O God,

in your Son, Jesus. Amen.


You can support the work of Union Church by mailing donations to 44 Balmville Rd, Newburgh, NY 12550 or visit to donate online.





This is the table to which Jesus invites us! Let us participate joyfully!

COMMUNION HYMN Come to the Table

Ven a la mesa (Come to the Table) by Eleazar Torreglosa

lyrics collectively adapted for World Communion Sunday 2020

Refrain: Come to the table, Jesus invites you,

come to the table, come.

Bring all your worries, and your rejoicing,

Come to the table, come.

1. The broken bread feeds us,

It is the body of Jesus

To unite us in his ways

Of life and light.

2. This is the cup of joy,

a covenant of relationship

Wellbeing that Christ offers

To all creation

3. Each time we share

The Lord’s Supper

We remember our commitment

In his love.



We give thanks for this bread,

fruit of the earth and hard work,

a gift of the grace of God.

We break it and share it,

remembering the words and actions,

gestures and glances,

silences and self-offered life

of the teacher from Nazareth.

(Bread is broken and shared)

And we give thanks for the fruit of the vine,

for the joy of communion,

for alliances that endure

in the search for justice and wholeness.

We take the cup,

knowing we are part of a community-people

renewing its covenant with life.

(The cup is filled and shared)


CLOSING HYMN He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands


Rev. Cathy Surgenor Rev. Peter Surgenor

(845) 216-4328 (914) 907-9685

Union Church

44 Balmville Rd, Newburgh NY 12550

Phone: (845) 562-0954 Fax: (845) 562-0955


Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.


I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Paul writing to his favorite church while he is in prison awaiting trial. Writing to encourage them in the midst of their struggle, to rejoice, to focus on those attributes of their faith and of their lives that give them joy and unity. This letter from the teacher who had first introduced them to the Good News of Jesus Christ reminds the members of his favorite church of the times of joy and the challenging experiences they have shared in their past. In Paul’s warm grateful words, we experience the strength and warmth of their mutual respect, admiration, and joy in each other’s company. We sense their companionship. A word that we don’t hear so frequently today. We might speak of our friendship or our church fellowship. But companionship expresses a comfortable closeness, a sense of belonging that we human beings long for. Paul can’t physically be with them but sends this letter hand carried to them by a member of their church. I like to picture the congregation gathered and listening to it read aloud. ‘Therefore, my brothers and sisters, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, my beloved.”

Then Paul tells them how, how to stand firm in the Lord. Don’t focus on divisions. Work through whatever has divided you. Specifically, Euodia and Syntyche, two women who are leaders in the congregation, should come to an agreement, be of one mind. Syzygus, my loyal companion, help them. For they have struggled with me in the work. Their names are in the book of Life. And then, Paul writes, move forward as one in this the Lord’s work.

Paul puts the Philippian church situation in a broader context of Christ’s work for which the Messiah freely came to earth and died. Paul reminds them that there is joy in the struggle if they but look. There is joy in our struggles today if but look. We are not alone but part of a worldwide church. We belong.

So, this scripture passage seems especially appropriate for our celebration of World Communion even though we are a week late. For it reminds us of how we are connected with all of Christs churches around the world. The revised lectionary is uncanny in that way.

Moreover, when I looked at the liturgy prepared by the PCUSA for this year’s World Communion Sunday I was delighted to see my companion Rev. Gloria Ulloya offering the Call to Worship. You may have noticed that she twice speaks of the God of peace who accompanies us as we do the work of peace. The word companion is the root of the verb accompany. It means “To be in company with”, “to share bread with”. This is a crucial word for the Presbyterian Churches in Colombia. They understand that their calling is to accompany the displaced people who are suffering in their country – some 5 million and more people – walking with them, sharing their grief, worshipping with them, sharing bread and mutual protection from further persecution. The Colombian Church has asked for American Presbyterians to join in this peace work of accompaniment. Over one hundred of us have said yes and spent at a month or more being companions to the accompaniers. Going with them into city and village churches to worship, listen to the people’s stories and almost always sharing a meal. The stories are hard to tell and hard to hear. People speak of armed groups, sometimes guerrillas but more often paramilitaries, attacking, murdering, burning, destroying entire villages. Why? To seize their land.

Despite their dangerous and sad work, the Presbyterian churches in Colombia have this ability, this capacity for joy in the midst of struggle and persecution, doubt and fear. Rev. Gloria especially has this capacity, which is why I enjoyed her company so much. Seeing the video of her calling us to worship was like hearing Paul’s letter to his beloved brothers and sisters in Philippi. It reminded me:

Yes, the circumstances were very difficult. Paul was in prison again) awaiting trial that might lead to death. The people in his beloved church who received his letter were also being persecuted and threatened with destruction. There were disagreements. Yet they had shared their gifts with Paul providing material support that he greatly appreciated. There gifts brought him joy. And so he reminds them - Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Brothers and Sisters of Union Church, let these words seep into your hearts today. Remember that we can be infected with joy and courage and strength. Rejoice with your sisters and brothers in this congregation and around the world. As you accompany friends and neighbors through their suffering and struggles rejoice in knowing that you are a part of a mighty work ongoing throughout the world. Peace be with you. Amen

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