Resources for leading chapel services
An end of year blessing: This blessing was written by Rev Malcolm Gordon in December 2018 for Presbyterian Ministry Interns graduating from the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership, Dunedin. The Interns recorded the blessing and the filming was done in the stairwell at KCML!
Mā te huruhuru, ka rere te manu: Adorn the bird with feathers, so it may fly.
Introduction to – Ash Wednesday
Ash Wednesday is an ancient church ritual that announces the beginning of Lent (which are the six weeks leading up to Easter). As its name indicates it is usually held on a Wednesday and involves placing ash on a person. Applying ash has been seen as sign of repentance or grief for centuries by many cultures. Thus Ash Wednesday can have a multiplicity of understandings. It can be sign of leaving behind worldly things in order to get right with God. It can also the start of a time committed to extra prayer or other special actions, such as fasting, for the period of Lent. It can also be a moment of solidarity with those who are mourning or suffering in the world.
HELPFUL HINTS: While more traditional denominations make the ashes from the burnt remains of dry palm crosses saved from the previous Palm Sunday, ordinary ash can be used. In fact preparation before the event is highly recommended as burning dry flax pieces in public and then mixing the hot ash with oil can be considered dangerous. Oil made holy by blessing from a bishop or such is also not needed in Presbyterian context..
My usual process is burning waste paper to ash (or carefully sifting cold ashes from a wood fire). When cool I mix it with unscented cooking oil (scented massage or anointing oils can be too smelly and can trigger allergic reactions, as well as being expensive). Mix in just enough oil to make the mixture easy to apply.
Ash is applied by drawing the sign of cross using the ash mixture on the forehead or hand of the participant. (Placing ash on the hand is for those who don’t want it on their forehead) Some will argue there is a special way or finger to use when applying the ash, but I suggest it is more important to be gentle and watch your fingernails.
Ash Wednesday Resources
Please contact the Resource Office if you have a service which you would be happy to share on this web-site.
James Bond – Man of Faith.
A reflection on how the driving forces in our lives shape us.You could also refer to Malcolm Gordon’s paper to the 2014 Church Schools’ conference ‘Singing the Story – Faith Formation and Music’ to help you in your preparation.
A reflection on the value of excellence, not just as an individual pursuit, but as community action, with reference to Dietrich Bonhoeffer.Includes a call to worship and a closing prayer.
Same same, but different.
A reflection on the changes in our culture and the constancy of God’s presence with us.
The black hole
A reflection on integrity
A healthy diet for the mind
Making good choices about what we see and hear. By Rev Caleb Hardie.
Download: A healthy diet for the mind (1)
Asking the right questions
Based on Luke 16:1-3 this reflection explores the idea of lucky and unlucky and discovering God’s presence with us.
Download: Asking the right questions
Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young.
Mzee and Owen, the story of an unlikely friendship.
Mzee the very old tortoise and Owen, a hippo who became separated from his family in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, provide a great illustration of how we can find reminders of hope and life in the strangest of places and the most challenging of times. The attachment includes a link to a Vimeo movie of Mzee and Owen’s story. Could be linked to e.g Psalm 27
Attachments: Mzee and Owen
What is a blessing?- a puppet show
A puppet show to explain what a blessing is. Could be linked to the beatitudes. For primary aged children.
Attachments: What is a blessing?