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Circles of Hope

  • Circles of Hope

Of all the things I get to do, one of my favorite things is designing and leading Annual Conference worship (annual meeting, synod, etc. – whatever each denomination calls it). It is akin to designing a series for local church worship over a liturgical season or message series, but it is concentrated time so we get to have an immersion experience of the theme in a short amount of time.


The River of Tears

I also like it because ritual is best experienced in relationship to the “business” of our life together. And annual conferences are crucibles in which we get to look closely at our relationships. We laugh, cry, struggle, get confused, get clear, get excited and despair in a very short amount of time. And in the midst of all of this, we turn to God time and again to call for help, express our praise and exhort each other to new heights.

The New England Annual Conference was just such a gathering. I loved working with their theme, “Circles of Hope.” Circles are such ancient symbols. Throughout the history of humanity, we have gathered in circles around a fire or around tables to share stories that help to bind us together as one body.


Gathering a stone to help remind us to pass on the stories and seek to heal relationships

We especially circled up to offer our confession through an Act of Repentance for the ways in which the church has, and still does, collude in the oppression of indigenous peoples. The service I designed there was based on the one I did for the United Methodist General Conference of 2012. I am uploading the script here, hoping that if you are wanting to find words to express lament and be spurred to change and action, you will find that in these pages.

Download the Act of Repentance here.

Peace & passion,

Dr. Marcia McFee  www.worshipdesignstudio.com

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