In August, The Uniting Church in Australia celebrated 200 years of Methodism in Australia.
A prayer from Margaret Reeson, Chair of the Historical Reference Committee.
Two hundred years ago in August 1815, a little group of Christians welcomed the first Methodist minister to the colony of New South Wales.
Remembering that this has been one stream of our heritage as Uniting Church in Australia, let us pray.
God who calls us, we remember the Methodist lay people and ministers who ventured to be part of establishing colonies in this land. In new settlements in east, south, west and north, over the years they made new homes and as pilgrim people followed your leading.
We pray that today’s people on the move will follow your leading still.
We thank you for the little communities of faith who first met to worship you in their homes, on verandas or under trees.
Remind us that you have never been limited to church buildings and surprise us by meeting us in unexpected places.
We thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, for those who have found their way home to you through the ministries of the Methodist Church through the years. In struggle, failure and despair, men and women have heard a message of good news. They have turned back in repentance to discover forgiveness for which they had never dared to hope.
Remind us, Lord Christ, of the message of hope and life we still have to share with others.
We thank you, Holy Spirit, for the times when you breathed on the people and they were refreshed and revived in their spirits.
Breathe on us today and renew our lives.
We thank you, holy God, for those people called Methodists who took seriously the possibility of a holy life, a life lived for you.
Forgive our easy acceptance of something less.
We remember, righteous God, the ways in which our forebears have failed you. For years they shut their eyes to the presence of the First People of the land. They lost sight of their first love for you as they grew more prosperous. They wasted their strength on things that were not important.
Shine a light on the failings of our church today and help us to live honestly in that light.
We thank you, Lord Jesus who calls us, for those who followed your call to serve you in remote, or difficult, or unwelcoming places, for your sake and the sake of the gospel.
Give strength and courage to those who follow this uncomfortable call today.
We thank you, Holy Spirit, for those ancestors whom you have inspired to work for justice, for workers, for migrants, for the disadvantaged, for the outsiders.
Confront us still with the needs of our world and make our acts match our words.
For those who have influenced us, taught us, loved and inspired us, and all those who have pointed us to you, Creator, Redeemer and Friend, we give you thanks.