Note: On April 4, 2000 The Oasis NJ began to offer an Ecumenical 12-Step Communion Service for all those in Recovery, as well as their family and friends. The first service was at St. John's, Montclair, NJ. We did this because it was hard to miss the need for this service, since so many of our members "passed" on the communion wine or just happened to mention that they found out about our ministry by attending 12-Step Meetings in the Undercroft (Basement) of an Episcopal Church. When you consider that, for generations, the only real social gathering place for LGBT people was The Bar . . . well . . . as they say in 12-Step Programs, "If you hang around a barber shop long enough, you're going to get a haircut." The assumption was that those who came to this service had probably not been to a church service - much less sat in a church sanctuary - for a long time.
Given all the conversation around the Palermo/Cook/DioMD tragedy, I thought it might be time to resurrect that Service from the dusty files and share it. Please feel free to use it, adapting it to your local use (all good liturgy is 'stolen and adapted'), but please also give proper attribution. One last thing: I have found that the more you give away, the more you get. So, give away as much of the Leadership of this service as you can. It's important but especially so for people with addictions who have felt judged and excluded.
A 12-Step Communion Service:
An Ecumenical Celebration for all those in Recovery,
their family and friends.
Call to Worship:
Leader: Come into the circle of love and
into the community of mercy, holiness and health
and you shall know peace and joy.
Leader: I light this candle for all those
who have not yet found the path to recovery. May they be guided by the light of
truth and hope.
Opening Hymn Day
journey to recovery brings us to a place where we come to believe that a Power
greater than ourselves can restore us to wholeness of life. We call upon that
Power by many names and in many ways.
ata Adonnai! (Hebrew)
bless you for your steadfast and faithful love.
Leader: Gloria! (Christian)
People: We praise you for the gift of
creation and all your creatures, great and small.
Leader: Kyrie eleison! (Orthodox)
People: We thank you for your boundless
compassion, mercy and forgiveness.
Leader: Om! (Buddhist)
People: We echo the sound at the center of
the universe which is everywhere, not the least place in the human heart.
Leader: Alleluia! (Judeo-Christian)
People: We praise you for love that survives
anger and despair, which outlives sorrow and death.
Leader: Nam myo-ho renge Kyo! (Hindu)
People: We thank you for the calm which is
the seed in the dark.
Leader: Salaam! (Islam)
People: We bless you for the peace which
passes all human understanding, all human barriers, all human failings.
Leader: Ache! (Yoruba)
People: We praise you for the power which
comes when we admit our powerlessness and for the strength which comes when we
People: For endings that are beginnings, for
beginnings that are endings.
People: We are going on.
People: Blessed be!
The First Lesson The Wisdom of Solomon
am mortal, like everyone else, a descendant of the first formed child of the
earth, and in the womb of a mother was I molded into flesh within a period of
10 months. While I was born I began to breathe the common air, and fell upon
the kindred earth. My first sound was a cry, as is true of all. I was nursed
with care in swaddling cloths; no kind has had a different beginning of existence.
There is for all one entrance and one way out. Therefore I prayed, and the
spirit of wisdom came to me.
The Contemporary Psalm The Prayer Attributed to St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
there is sadness, joy.
O, Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love;
it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are
it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
The Contemporary Lesson Wild Geese (Mary Oliver)
You do not have to be
good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the
desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what
it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the
world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving
across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and
the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading
home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to
your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting, over
and over announcing your place in the family of things.
Gospel Hymn Wonderful
Words of Life
The Gospel Luke
“That’s why I tell you,
keep asking and you’ll receive; keep looking and you’ll find; keep knocking and
the door will be opened to you. For whoever asks, receives; whoever seeks,
finds; whoever knocks, is admitted. What parent among you will give a snake to
their child when the child asks for a fish, or a scorpion when the child asks
for an egg? If you, with all your sins, know how to give your children good
things, how much more will our heavenly Abba give the Holy Spirit to those who
Prayers of People in Recovery
Adapted from the 12 Steps of Alcoholics
Anonymous World Services, Inc.
One: We admitted we were powerless over
our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.
People: Holy God, we ask that you always
disturb us with your truth, comfort us in our affliction, and unite us in your
Leader: Step Two: Came to believe that a
Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
People: Help us remember that you are always
with us, and open our ears to listen for your word as you express yourself in
Leader: Step Three: Made a decision to turn
our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God.
People: Sustain our desire to stop our
addiction to food, alcohol, drugs, money, sex, gambling or any other
addictions, which is the only requirement to begin our recovery.
Leader: Step Four: Made a searching and
fearless moral inventory of ourselves (Silence is maintained for a period of
People: Forgive us those things, known and
unknown, done and left undone which have hurt others and ourselves. We are
truly sorry and we humbly repent.
Leader: Step Five: Admitted to God, to
ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
People: We pray for our families, friends
and neighbors, for all who are sick, friendless and needy, and for those who
live alone. We ask for the courage to love and serve one another as you have
loved and served us.
Leader: Step Six: Were entirely ready to
have God remove all these defects of character (Silence is maintained for a
period of time.)
People: Strengthen us in the words of the
Psalmist: The sacrifice of God is a troubled spirit; a broken and contrite
heart, O God, you will not reject.
Seven: Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
People: Have mercy on us, O God, according
to your loving kindness; in your great compassion, blot out our offenses. Wash
us through and through and keep us in your mercy and wholeness.
Eight: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends
to them all.
People: Have compassion on those who suffer
from any grief or trouble that they may be delivered from their distress. Give
to the departed eternal rest, let light perpetual shine upon them.
Leader: Step Nine: Made direct amends to
such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or
People: Give us grace to do your will in all
that we undertake, that our works may find favor in your sight.
Leader: Step Ten: Continued to take personal
inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admit it.
People: Lord, you are our shepherd, we shall
not be in want; even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
we will fear no evil, for you are with us, guiding our feet on the path which
returns us to you.
Leader: Step Eleven: Sought through prayer
and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood God,
praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that
People: Day by day, dear Lord, of thee three
things we pray: to see thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, follow thee
more nearly, day by day.
Leader: Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual
awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other
addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
People: God grant us the serenity to accept
the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can and the
wisdom to know the difference.
Leader: Lord, you said to your apostles,
“Peace I give to you, my own peace I leave with you:” regard not our sins, but
the faith of your Church, and give to us the peace and unity of that heavenly
City, where with God our Creator and the Holy Spirit, you live and reign, now
The peace is
shared, and the service continues with the Offertory and Holy Eucharist.
Ecumenical Eucharist in Celebration of Recovery
The Spirit of
God be with you
And also with you
hearts to heaven
Where Christ in glory reigns
Let us give
thanks to God
It is right to offer thanks and praise
It is right
indeed to give you thanks most loving God,
our Christ and our Redeemer,
With us always, one of us, yet from the
heart of God.
For with your
whole created universe
we praise you
for your unfailing gift of life.
God’s love is shown to us: while we were
Christ died for us.
In that love,
dear God, righteous and strong to save,
you came among
us in Jesus our Christ, our crucified and living Lord.
You make all things new.
You pour out
your Spirit on all. You empower us to know your truth
and fearlessly to proclaim your gospel among the
Your love fires
our hearts; and in your Spirit
we hunger and
thirst for justice in the world.
Now is the acceptable time,
now is the day of salvation.
saints and martyrs, apostles and prophets,
With all the
redeemed, joyfully we praise you and say,
Holy, holy, holy! God of mercy, giver of
earth and sea and sky and all that lives
declare your presence and glory.
Hosanna in the highest!
Blessed is the One who comes in the Name of
Hosanna in the highest!
praises, living God, for Jesus our Christ,
the one perfect
offering for the world,
who in the
night that he had supper with his friends,
gave thanks, broke it, gave it to his disciples and said:
+ Take, eat, this is my body which is given
do this to remember me.
After supper he
took the cup; and when he had given thanks,
He gave it to
them and said:
+ Drink this, all of you. This is my blood
of the new covenant
which is shed for you, and for many, to
do this to remember me.
celebration with your Holy Spirit,
+ breathe on
these bodily gifts that they may be for us
the Body and
Blood of Jesus, our Christ.
Feed us with your life, fire us with your
confront us with your justice, and + make us
one in the body of Christ
with all who share your gifts of love.
of all creation, in the suffering and death of Jesus,
we meet you in glory.
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.
Here and now,
with this bread and cup, we celebrate your great acts of liberation,
and living in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen,
who was and is
and is to come.
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.
in the power of the Holy Spirit,
with all who
stand before you in earth and heaven
we worship you,
Creator God, now and forever
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.
And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, let us
join hands in solidarity and say . . .
“Abba, Our Mother, Our Father . . . Who art
in heaven . . . . ..”
An Invitation to Communion
love God so much that you love nothing else too much;
fear God enough that you need fear nothing else at all.
you who hunger and thirst for the living God.
Come to the
table to eat and drink.
Communion Hymn Amazing
Let me be
at peace within myself. Let me accept that I am profoundly loved and need never
be afraid. Let me be aware of the Source of Being that is common to us all and
to all living creatures. Let me be filled with the presence of the Great
Compassion towards myself and towards all living beings. Let me always be an
instrument of liberation and not oppression. Let me see the face of Jesus in
others; let me be the face of Jesus for others. Let me be at peace within
Closing Hymn Day by Day