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Worship resources on domestic violence

Worship materials

Call to worship - view // download PDF

Prayers (1) - view // download PDF

Prayers (2) - view // download PDF

Readers' Theater - view // download PDF

Sharing - view // download PDF

Scripture (1) - view // download PDF

Scripture (2) - view // download PDF

Music - view // download PDF

Children's story - view // download PDF

Invite your congregation to sign a pledge on "Promoting peace at home." If your church signs the pledge, let us know by sending an email to A list of participating congregations will be posted online. 

The pledge and one of the prayers below are on this bulletin insert to download and print. 

Invite a su congregación para firmar un compromiso en "promover paz en el hogar." Si su iglesia  firma el compromiso, déjenos sabe enviando un correo electrónico a Una lista de congregaciones participantes se pondrá  en la internet. 

El compromiso y una de las oraciones se encuentran en la  hoja adicional para el boletín para descargarla  e imprimirla.


Call to worship

One: We gather in the name of God, who loves us and who is in our midst.
All: We gather in the name of the One who proclaims justice and mercy.
One: We gather to name our sorrow and share new visions.
All: We gather to heal our pain and rekindle our hope.
One: We gather because the journey is long.
All: We gather because we hunger and thirst for a new heaven and a new earth.
One: The spirit of life has called us to be together. The spirit of compassion has called all of creation to be transformed by love. May this gathering serve to strengthen, encourage, and renew us.
All: Thanks be to God.

Adapted from Fire in the Rose: Churches Exploring Abuse and Healing by Louise Briscoe, The Church Council on Justice and Corrections, Ottawa, 1998.

Prayers (1)

Great God of compassion, we come before you this day as a people who are broken and battered. We come as a people who need your healing. Be with us and among us, so that we may leave this time of worship strengthened and empowered to seek wholeness in our lives. Amen.

Adapted from Fire in the Rose: Churches Exploring Abuse and Healing by Louise Briscoe, The Church Council on Justice and Corrections, Ottawa, 1998.

Reader 1: Come, all who are poor in spirit; come, all who mourn; come, all who are meek; come all who hunger and thirst after righteousness.
Reader 2: Come, all who would be merciful; come, all who would be pure in heart; come, all who would be neighbor to those who suffer.
Reader 1: Let us come together. Let us confess that the source of our life is Christ Jesus who taught us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves.
All: Let us worship the Lord, our God so that we may learn anew what it means to love our neighbor.

Adapted from Lord, Hear Our Prayers, MCC Domestic Violence Worship Resources.

Prayers (2)

Jesus, courageous and vulnerable, you broke into the vicious circle.
May we break into cycles of violence.
Jesus, bold and brave, you confronted the traditional customs.
May we confront patterns of hatred and prejudice.
Jesus, assertive and strong, you challenged the perpetrators.
May we challenge victimizers and abusers in our day.
Jesus, clear and direct, you drew a line in the sand.
May we refuse to accept injustice.
Jesus, amazing and powerful, you got them to drop their stones.
May we find ways to be in the world that increase safety, establish fairness and promote peace. Amen.

Adapted from Roll Away the Stone: Lenten Reflections at the Close of the Ecumenical Decade of Churches in Solidarity with Women, editors Caryn Douglas and Ted Dodd.

God of compassion, give us openness and compassion for those who suffer from domestic violence and other forms of abuse. May our churches be a safe place where those whose lives are affected by abuse can name the truth of the violence in their lives and be heard with a spirit of oneness and caring. May it be a place where perpetrators of abuse are called to account. May it be a place where all can find justice and healing. May we hear and respond to Jesus' call "Come, follow me" as we work to end violence in all its forms. This is our prayer in the name of Jesus Christ who knows the pain of violence. Amen.

Adapted from Lord, Hear Our Prayers MCC Domestic Violence Worship Resources.


Readers' Theater

Reader 1: Loving Creator, we come before you with special concern for all who suffer from violence. For children who are harmed and humiliated by adults. We pray for healing and intervention.
Reader 2: For women who are not safe in their own homes. We pray for healing and courage.
Reader 3: For all people who are treated as commodities by others. We pray for healing and empowerment.
Reader 4: For people seeking change in institutions only to find retaliation and fear. We pray for healing and hope.
Reader 5: For all people who suffer the violence of poverty. We pray for healing and positive change.
Reader 6: For women and men, adults and children who suffer rape, molestation or assault. We pray for healing and justice.
Reader 7: For all people who suffer from war and conflict. We pray for healing and reconciliation.
Reader 8: For all people who suffer from discrimination and hostility by others. We pray for healing and wholeness.
Reader 9: For all people everywhere who are oppressed and harmed by the sin of violence. We pray for healing, intervention, courage, empowerment, hope positive change, justice, reconciliation, and wholeness. May all for whom we pray experience your compassion and love. May we all know that you never forget us. Amen.

Adapted from Fire in the Rose: Churches Exploring Abuse and Healing by Louise Briscoe, The Church Council on Justice and Corrections, Ottawa, 1998.



Begin by reading Isaiah 65:17-25 or Luke 4:16-21

One: Without the vision of a better future, the world seems hopeless.

Invite those present to share some signs of hope and their vision for a better future. After a vision has been shared, the group may respond. "So be it."

One: We offer ourselves to you, O God our Creator.
All: May we be instruments of your healing.
One: We offer our hearts and our tears as the hurt of victims of abuse echoes within us.
All: We offer our anger. Make it a passion for justice. We offer all our skills. Use our gifts to end violence.
One: May we be co-creators with you of a world where all are safe and free.
All: May She who is Strength of Life lead us to New Life.
May He who had Courage to confront inspire us.
And may Love be our constant Companion. Amen.

Adapted from December 6th Services Worship Resources provided by Women's Inter-Church Council of Canada, and found in Fire in the Rose: Churches Exploring Abuse and Healing by Louise Briscoe, The Church Council on Justice and Corrections, Ottawa, 1998.

Scripture (1)

Read these words of the Psalmist and imagine that this is a person caught in an abusive relationship:

Psalm 9:9-10, 18-20

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
For the needy shall not always be forgotten,
nor the hope of the poor perish forever.
Rise up, O Lord! Do not let mortals prevail;
let the nations be judged before you.
Put them in fear, O Lord;
let the nations know that they are only human.

Psalm 44: 23-26

Rouse yourself! Why do you sleep, O Lord?
Awake, do not cast us off forever!
Why do you hide your face?
Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?
For we sink down to the dust;
our bodies cling to the ground.
Rise up, come to our help.
Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.


Psalm 55: 4-8, 12-14, 20-23

My heart is in anguish within me
the terrors of death fallen upon me.
Fear and trembling come upon me.
And horror overwhelms me.
And I say, "Oh that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest; truly, I would flee away;
I would lodge in the wilderness;
I would hurry to find a shelter for myself
From the raging wind and tempest.
It is not enemies who taunt me - I could bear that;
It is not adversaries who deal insolently with me
I could hide from them.
But it is you, my equal, my companion, my familiar friends;
With whom I kept pleasant company;
We walked in the house of God with the throng.
My companion laid hands on a friend
And violated a covenant with me
With speech smoother than butter,
Yet with a heart set on war;
With words that were softer than oil,
But in fact were drawn swords.


Psalm 118:5-7

Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
the Lord answered me and set me free.
With the Lord on my side I do not fear.
What can people do to me?
The Lord is on my side to help me;
I shall look in triumph on those who hate me.


Scripture (2)

Ezekiel 34:1-11

The word of the Lord came to me: “Mortal, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel: … "Ah, you shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?... You have not strengthened the weak, you have not healed the sick, you have not bound up the injured, you have not brought back the strayed, you have not sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled them…. Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: As I live, says the Lord God, because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild animals… I am against the shepherds; and I will demand my sheep at their hand, and put a stop to their feeding the sheep; no longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, so that they may not be food for them. For thus says the Lord God: I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out.‟”

Matthew 18:6, 10

“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea….Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven.”

Mark 4:21-25 (The Message translation)

Jesus went on: "Does anyone bring a lamp home and put it under a washtub or beneath the bed? Don't you put it up on a table or on the mantel? We're not keeping secrets, we're telling them; we're not hiding things, we're bringing them out into the open. 3"Are you listening to this? Really listening? Listen carefully to what I am saying—and be wary of the shrewd advice that tells you how to get ahead in the world on your own. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes."

Luke 4:16-19

When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord‟s favor.”



Fitting songs that are in Hymnal: A Worship Book

  • Will You Let Me Be Your Servant
  • There is a Balm in Gilead (African-American spiritual)
  • Healing River


Children's story

Invite children to come to the front of the church for a children's feature. Ask if anyone knows if there is someone in this church who is the perfect person to love and serve God. Listen to their responses as they think. Tell them you want to find out if any of them are absolutely perfect enough to love and serve God and your dialogue might go something like this:

"Does anyone here have perfect knees? Do you? Let's see you bend your seems to work really great! Are there any scratches, how about on your other knee? How about you, how's your knee? Do your knees work okay? Oh oh, looks like you got a little bit of a scrape. How about ears...does anyone here have perfect ears? (This one is great because they have to check each other's ears and will say they are perfect or that they found a good one.) Can anyone find some good eyes too? How about elbows...does anyone here have perfect elbows? Any scrapes? Hmmm, seems like most of us have some scars or bruises somewhere."

"You know what, to serve and love God and to come to church, we don't have to be perfect. God loves us and each of us is the perfect person to serve God even though we all get bumps and bruises and scars and sometimes we get angry or hurt. God made each one of us exactly like we are and each one of us is totally perfect enough to love and serve God."

"God made each one of us different with different things we can do and can't do. Some of us might have perfect hands or eyes, some of us can sing or talk lots without getting tired, and everyone of us is perfect enough to love God, no matter what we are like."

by Elsie Wiebe Klingler, 2003