2023 Convention Projects: Water & Soil
August 31, 2023
Bishop Deon Johnson is asking our all our communities of faith to participate in two special projects that culminate at our 2023 annual convention. One involves water; the other involves soil.
Please read / download the Bishop's instructions.
Our story begins in water. In the beginning God’s very being hovered over the deep waters and called all things into being. In the new beginning the Word made flesh in Jesus received the baptism of John in the River Jordan. In the beginning of our earthly pilgrimage of faith we were baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and united one to another in the waters of Baptism. Our story is intimately and ultimately tied to the story of creation and redemption. In the waters that surround and support our lives we see echoes of the Divine story of salvation, uniting us in, “one lord, one faith, one baptism.”
In the Diocese of Missouri, we tell the old stories all the while writing new chapters in our unfolding story of God. All of our stories are woven together in the simple yet sacred waters of life. As we continue to expand the story of a renewed Diocese, you are invited to gather water from a natural source close to your place of worship. These waters will be combined with water from all the communities of faith across the Diocese, blessed at Diocesan Convention in November, and shared as a tangible symbol of our unity in Christ and our dependence on each other in faith.
Each community of faith is invited to collect at least 10oz of water from a natural source, spring, creek, river, lake etc., which should then be boiled (with a rolling boil for at least 1 minute), and brought to the Convention Eucharist on Friday, November 3, 2023. We invite your community to offer prayers while collecting the water and a blessing before the water is sent to Diocesan Convention.
PRAYERS FOR COLLECTING WATER :
Dear friends in Christ, as many rivers merge together into the sea, we have come together to give thanks to God, the fountain of living water, for the blessing and gift of water. Water sustains and supports all life, water refreshes and restores all things. With hearts welling up in praise for God the fountain of all goodness, let us give thanks to our Creator for the gift of water.
L. Let us pray.
L. God of the deep ocean and the tiny brook, we praise you and adore you for the gift of water that sustains all life. We remember with thanksgiving the manifold manifestations of your grace through the gift of water.
L. We remember the waters of Massah and Meribah and
A. we praise and thank you for you are the God of gracious provision.
L. We remember the healing waters of the pool of Siloam and
A. we praise and thank you for you are a God of ceaseless compassion.
L. We remember the baptism in the waters of the river Jordan and
A. we praise and thank you for you are a God of transformation.
L. We give thanks to you, God of provision, compassion and transformation.
A. Let this symbol of water enable us to be responsible stewards of your provision, channels of your compassion and agents of your transformation. Amen.
L. May God, who caused rain to water the face of the earth, may Jesus Christ, who gives us the water of eternal life, may the Holy Spirit, who quenches thirst with gifts from the spring of life inspire and challenge us to become advocates for water justice and bless us all to flow as ‘justice rolls down as waters’ both now and forever more.
Our story finds its ending and beginning in the earth. When God began to create, God sculpted the earth according to God’s image and formed humanity from the dust of the earth. Each year on Ash Wednesday we are reminded that we are, “dust and to dust you shall return.” The earth beneath our feet holds the countless stories of those who have gone before. It is a constant reminder that we too will one day take our place among the dust.
Over the last two years of pandemic we have all experienced grief and loss for those who died due to COVID-19. As a way of acknowledging and remembering those who have been lost each community of faith that makes up the Diocese of Missouri are invited to collect soil which will be blessed and set apart as a Diocesan Memorial to those who were lost during the Pandemic. The soil should be collected from the grounds of the place of worship or a significant site to the life of the community. Approximately eight to ten ounces of soil should be collected by each community.
THANKSGIVING FOR SOIL:
L. Creating God, who lifted up the mountains and formed the dry land,
whose hands have shaped us out of the dust of the earth, who has formed the soils and made this earth a place of beauty and abundance:
A. We give you thanks for the gift of soil.
L. Create in us such a sense of wonder and delight in this and all your gifts, that we might
receive them with gratitude, care for them with love, and generously share them with all your creatures.
A. We give you thanks for the gift of soil, to the honor and glory of your holy name. Amen.
Those appointed, break the ground and scoop a portion of the soil.
The Leader then addresses the community saying:
L. O Lord, we bring before you this soil, teeming with the life of tiny creatures, full of nutrients and goodness. Without soil no life would exist upon the earth. By it we are nourished and to it we will return.
Let us pray.
L. In solidarity with the good earth beneath our feet;
A. We remember those who have gone before us.
L. In communion with the symphony of deep rooted trees about us;
A. We recall the times of joy and sorrow, of hope and despair entrusted here.
L. In harmony with the burrowing creatures beneath our feet;
A. We recall with thanksgiving the bounty provided by the earth.
L. O Creator God, Maker of all that is, we offer to you this soil; we praise you for this marvelous and intricate creation. Help us, out of reverence and respect, to give thanks for this humble soil as your chosen means of feeding and providing for us. Bless this soil and all the soil around us, the soil in our fields and gardens, the soil on the hills and in the woodlands, so that the whole earth gives glory to you; now and for ever.
 Prayers adapted with permission from the World Council of Churches