20th Anniversary Prayer Rev. Mary Apicella July 25, 2021   God of our past, we gather today to give thanks for the past. We think back to those who first had a vision of a church in this place, to those who put their names on a loan so it could come to happen, to those who gave of their labor, their treasure, their time to make it happen.  We offer our thanks and praise to you as we remember the efforts of the founders and builders, the dreamers and the way makers.  God of growth, we remember too those who helped the new church to grow in wisdom and in faith. We think of study group leaders, clergy, choir directors, Sunday School teachers, and many others who provided leadership. We remember Coordinating Council members and Ministry Team leaders, women and men who stepped forward to provide guidance and leadership. And for all these varied forms of leadership we are grateful. God of community, we remember events that brought us together: Hymn Sings on the Porch, D3 and Deeper, Noon Prayers, Worship Meals, Wednesday night potlucks, Asheville Tourist baseball games, and many more. For the gifts of friendship and fellowship we say thanks. We think also of the many groups that have met in this space: PFLAG, AA, After-school tutoring, and book groups for study and discussion; gatherings that provided times of fellowship, and times of support in grief and loss as we remembered the lives of those we love who remain present with us as part of the cloud of witnesses in the Larger Life with you. God of our present, on this day we remember all that led this congregation to this day. For 20 years of ministry to and with this community, for 20 years of growing together in love, for all that has made us what we are now, we give you thanks, we give you praise. And God you are also God of our future. As we gather here today we look for hope. The future is uncertain, we wonder what it will bring. Fill us with a vision for what we could be. Give hope for this congregation and our community. Grant it that the choices made lead to life in abundance. God of hope, in a time of uncertainty it is easy to fall into fear and worry. Show us the opportunities in our chaotic world, remind us to consider seriously where our priorities and loyalties lie, push us to see how our choices matter, and then fill us with hope in a new heaven and a new earth. God of our future, may we walk boldly into what may come, as people, not only of faith, but of hope. May we never grow weary or cynical in sharing your hope and promise with the world in which we live. Amen. – Adapted from a prayer by Gord Waldie. http://worshipofferings.blogspot.com/2008/10/prayers-of-thanksgiving-and-hope-for.html

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