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12/31/23 Bulletin


We respect tradition — and we welcome inclusive language about people and expansive language about God. Please pray using words most meaningful to you.

Open and Affirming of ALL God’s Children



December 31, 2023 – First Sunday after Christmas

This service will be in-person and on Zoom (Recorded for Facebook and YouTube)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 822 2425 2518

Passcode: 755650


The first pew in front of the pulpit has books and quiet activities for people of all ages.

Please find something that suits you, take it to your pew, and return it after the service.

Silent Prayer

Because you came to us in a baby, a sign we can understand, O God, we glorify you.  For your great love by which you call us children, we praise you.  With people of every time who have testified to your love, we sing.  Amen.


* Indicates points in the service when we stand in body or spirit




Prelude       March of the Three Kings                                                  Provençal carol/ G Martin




*Introit    What Child Is This, Who, Laid to Rest                                                               R. #153

What child is this, who laid to rest, on Mary’s lap is sleeping? 

Who angels greet with anthems sweet, while shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ the King, whom shepherds guard and angels sing:

Haste, haste to bring him praise, the babe, the Son of Mary.     


*Call to Worship

Leader:  Such a large star for such a tiny babe;

People:  Such a fuss over a poor child in a manger;

Leader:  Such a loud song for such a quiet gift;

People:  Such a celebration for a little stranger;

Leader:  Such a Love to enter our lives so softly;

All:  Such a Life to fill our hearts with Love!


*Passing of the Peace (ASL) – A Christmas Litany(in the words of Charles Dickens)


(Words of Charles Dickens, adapted)


We celebrate Christmas once again. God bless it! Let us by one consent open our shut-up

hearts and think of people as if they were fellow-passengers to the grave.

Let Christmas be once more a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time.

May we keep our Christmas humor to the last.

It is required of everyone that the spirit within us should walk abroad among our human

neighbors and travel far and wide.

This is required of our joyful allegiance to the Spirit of Jesus, a Spirit

sustained by the best in humanity ever since his day.

The common welfare is our business; charity, mercy, forbearance are all our business.

Let us go forth while it is day, and turn human misery into joy.

Let us not be haunted at this season by the shadows of things that might have been.

If our past is darkened by ill-will, let not the mirrors of our own yesterdays show us

what we shall be in years to come.

Human courses foreshadow certain ends to which, if persevered in, they must lead. But if the courses be departed from, the ends must change.

The year is waning fast, and it is precious time to us. We have the power to render

others happy or unhappy.

We have the power to make their days light or burdensome, and their work a pleasure or a


Our power lies in words or looks, in things so small that it is impossible to add and

count them up.

The happiness we give is not a small matter. A good word is worth a fortune. Let no idol

displace Love, even a golden one.

Let us carry the torch of good will, that the light may banish hate.

Let us honor Christmas in our hearts and keep it all year.

A happy New Year to all the world! God bless us, every one!


*Hymn        Angels We Have Heard on High                                                                     R. #135  

Angels we have heard on high sweetly singing o'er the plains, and the mountains in reply echo back their joyous strains:


Refrain: Glo- - - - - - ria in excelsis Deo! Glo- - - - - - - ria, in excelsis Deo!


Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong? Say what may the tidings be, which inspire your heavenly song?




Come to Bethlehem and see Christ whose birth the angels sing; come, adore on bended knee Christ, the Lord, the new-born King.




*Invocation: (in unison) 

Amazing God, you have confounded the wisdom of this world by coming to us in the form of a human baby, frail and vulnerable.  Help us to comprehend the great Love with which you open yourself to the world, that we in turn may risk to open ourselves in love toward all your children, and that we may find the source of our lives in Jesus Christ.  Amen.


Children’s Message           “The Tale of the Three Trees”  by Angela Elwell Hunt

Hebrew Scripture                                                                                                     Ruth 4:13-17

Christian Scripture                                                                                                   Luke 2:22-40     


Special Music        Prelude on “Es ist ein Ros”                                                arr. Craig Penfield 


Message    “Christmas Is Not Just For Children”/ “Anna and Simeon”- Iona Community

Worship Group


*Hymn       Who Would Think That What Was Needed                                                     R. #157

Who would think that what was needed to transform and save the earth

might not be a plan or army proud in purpose, proved in worth?

Who would think, despite derision, that a child should lead the way?

God surprises earth with heaven, coming here on Christmas Day.


Shepherds watch and sages wonder, monarchs scorn and angels sing;

such a place as none would reckon hosts a holy, helpless thing;

stable beasts and passing strangers watch a baby laid in hay:

God surprises earth with heaven, coming here on Christmas Day.


Centuries of skill and science span the past from which we move,

yet experience questions whether with such progress we improve.

In our search for sense and meaning, lest our hopes and humor fray,

God surprises earth with heaven, coming here on Christmas Day.


Prayers of the People – Sharing Joys & Concerns 

Our Father (Creator, Mother) who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come,

thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen


   Lead me Lord, lead me in thy righteousness, make thy way plain before my face.

   For it is thou Lord, thou Lord, only, that makest me dwell in safety.        


Invitation to Offering –


Offertory             Today in Bethlehem                                                    Polish carol/ Rick Parks 


*The Doxology

     Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise God, all creatures here below;

     Praise God for all that love has done; Creator, Christ, and Spirit, One. Amen


*Prayer of Dedication (spoken in unison)

Loving God, we give you thanks that Jesus was born, the Word made flesh.  Receive the gifts we offer in union with Christ’s gift for us.  Clothe us with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, that we may be love incarnate for others.  In his name we pray.  Amen. 


*Hymn       Go Tell It On the Mountain                                                                            R. # 160  


Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere;go, tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born!


While shepherds kept their watching o’er silent flocks by night,behold throughout the heavens there shone a holy light.




The shepherds feared and trembled when lo! above the earthrang out the angel chorus that hailed our Savior’s birth.




Down in a lowly manger the  humble Christ was born,and God sent us salvation that blessed Christmas morn.






*Sung Christmas Blessing (sung to Eventide)

Go with us, Lord, throughout this Christmas tide: be our protector, brother, friend, and guide.

Give us your peace and keep us in your care: help us your love and grace with all to share.


Postlude               Raise Now Your Song on High                            Saent-Saens/ arr. Lani Smith 


(Please remain seated for the Postlude)


If you are visiting with us today, please sign our Guest Book in the back of the sanctuary. 


Support our Church Financially

Please visit Hancock (Maine) UCC on Facebook or our webpage

or visit this link to our PayPal account:  

or mail offerings to:

Union Congregational Church, PO Box 443, Hancock, ME 04640 (Attention: Treasurer)


 Contact Us

                    207.422.3100                                                                          207.323.6743


Many thanks to those who make this service possible –

in front of the camera and behind the scenes.


Music Minister – Debbie Riley

Deacons –  Pat Summerer and Vicky Espling

Liturgist – 

Audio-Video Support –  Ron Schwizer

Office Secretary – Vicky Espling

Settled Minister – Rev. TJ Mack

The Body of Christ – You


"Permission to podcast / stream the music in this service obtained from ONE LICENSE,                   

License #A-738532. All rights reserved.

What Child Is This

Music - ©1993 Pilgrim Press, The

Contributors: William C Dix


Angels We Have Heard On High

Words and Music - ©1997 Hal Leonard Corporation (select catalogs)

Contributors: Traditional French carol, James Chadwick, Traditional French carol


Who Would Think that What Was Needed

Words - ©1987 Iona Community / WGRG (North America)

Contributors: John Bell


Go, Tell It On The Mountain

Words and Music - ©2005 Shawnee Press

Contributors: African-American spiritual, John W Work, Jr, African-American spiritual


Sung Christmas Blessing by Jan Chamberlain in Gifts in Open Hands – Tirabassi & Eddy


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