Thursday, July 28, 2022

Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, July 30, 2022,Presiders: Bridget Mary Meehan and Peg Bowen, ARCWP Readers: Jim Brandi and Ann Cooke Prayer Leaders: Mary Montavon and Jack McKillip IT Team: Cheryl Brandi and Peg Bowen

 Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community

Sarasota, Florida

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Jordan McDonald, Unsplash

Zoom link for video - 4:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

Meeting ID: 815 3407 5389

Passcode: 803326

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Theme:   Celebrate the full equality of all genders and all people in every life choice and ministry.

Presiders:  Bridget Mary Meehan and Peg Bowen, ARCWP

Readers:  Jim Brandi and Ann Cooke

Prayer Leaders:  Mary Montavon and Jack McKillip

IT Team:  Cheryl Brandi and Peg Bowen

Peg: Welcome

We invite you to participate in the whole of this liturgy and respond to every prayer indicated by ALL.  Each of us will be muted during the liturgy except for the Presiders who have different pieces to pray. Have bread and wine or juice near you as we pray our Eucharistic prayer.

Women were leaders and gender roles were fluid and flexible in Jesus' parables, Paul's writings, and in some Jesus groups in the first two centuries CE.  On the 20th Anniversary of the historic ordination of 7 women priests on the Danube, we celebrate the full equality of women, all genders and all people in every life choice and ministry. 

Opening Song:  All Belong Here by The Many

Peg: We begin our liturgy in the name of our Creator, the Source of all being, and of the Son, eternal Word, and of the Holy Spirit, Sophia Wisdom.

Peg & ALL:  Amen.

Peg:  Rite of Transformation:

We pause now to remember the times we have not born fruit in caring for self and others. Take a moment to recall one missed opportunity, one broken or damaged relationship.  

(Pause briefly and extend your hand over your heart)

Peg & ALL:  As we ask for and receive forgiveness, we open our hearts to Infinite Love embracing and healing us.  Let it be so, Yes, Alleluia!

Gloria by Marty Haugen - video by Bridget Mary Meehan and Mary Theresa Streck

BMM: Opening Prayer: 

Holy One, we celebrate all genders as reflections of your radiant image. We rejoice that we can experience your love in feminine and masculine images - God the loving father and loving mother, God the good shepherd and so many more. You are Divine Mystery present everywhere and beyond the beyonds and beyond that too!

Liturgy of the Word

Ann C: First Reading:

A Reading from After Jesus, Before Christianity

Although the parables are not generally read in terms of gender, several of these stories raise provocative questions about male and female roles.

In the Parable of the Lost Coin, a woman loses one of ten silver coins and searches her house to find it. Recovering the coin, she throws a neighborhood party. In this story, a woman’s role conforms to female expectations. What is unusual here is the casting of a woman in a lead role, especially a woman doing an ordinary thing. The lead role in stories of the time should really be played by a king, as indicated in many rabbinic parables. In that time, a woman was an inappropriate image for the Empire of God, or any empire for that matter. Parables may appear simple, but many explore gender in a provocative fashion.

The Parable of the Leaven, a story told in a single line — “The empire of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour, until all of it was leavened” (Matt. 13: 33; Luke 13: 21) —ups the ante. 

It compares the empire of heaven to a woman and leaven, a symbol of moral corruption. 

These inspired words of Erin Vearncombe, Brandon Scott, and Hal Taussig and we affirm them by saying, Thanks be to God

Response Psalm You have Anointed me

Jim B:  Second Reading:  Our Second Reading is from After Jesus, Before Christianity

Gender pairing also appears in the writings of Paul and later in the Gospel of John.

 In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul makes a series of radical pairings that have gone almost unremarked upon. “But because of cases of sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband,” Paul declares (1 Cor. 7: 2). 

In the ancient world, a husband owns his wife; she is his property. That relationship is clearly reflected in the first part of this pairing. The second part, however, challenges male ownership of the female in saying that the wife also owns her husband. No other writer in the ancient world says anything that radical about marriage. 

That this is Paul’s intention is made clear in verse 4: “For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” 

Again, male claims to exclusive authority are undone. 

Paul’s declarations about gender roles in 1 Corinthians find reflection in the body of Jesus as presented in Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. 

In this letter, Paul famously states, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one [in the Anointed Jesus]” (Gal. 3: 28).

Judean, Greek, enslaved, free, male, and female are all integrated in the body of the Anointed Jesus.  Jesus’s body merges with and becomes these things, according to Galatians. Jesus’s body, in this writing, is both male and female. 

Paul affirmed for the Galatians that indeed, there was no longer a division between male and female. The body of the Anointed, so prominent in 1 Corinthians, is viewed by Paul as both male and female. 

These are the inspired words of Erin Vearncombe, Brandon Scott, and Hal Taussig and we affirm them by saying, Thanks be to God

Alle Alle Alleluia

Peg: Gospel: A Reading from the Gospel of Luke: (Luke 15: 3-7)

Jesus then addressed this parable to them. "Who among you have a hundred sheep and losing one of them, doesn't leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and search for the lost one until it is found. And finding it, you put the sheep on your shoulders in jubilation. Once home, you invite friends and neighbors and say to them, 'Rejoice with me, I have found my lost sheep.'"

What woman who has ten silver pieces doesn't light a lamp and sweep the house in a diligent search until she finds what she has lost?" And when it is found, the household calls in her friends and neighbors and says: 'Rejoice with me, I have the silver pieces I have lost.' I tell you there will be the same kind of joy before the angels of God over one repentant sinner."

These are the inspired readings according to the Gospel of Luke and we respond to them by saying, Thanks be to God. 

Homily Starter: Bridget Mary Meehan

In revolutionary new book, After Jesus Before Christianity, a historical exploration of the first two centuries of Jesus movements, three Bible scholars from the Westar Christianity Institute begin by asking two fundamental questions:

What do we really know about how Christianity took shape?

Do the rituals, practices and beliefs common today look anything like those of the earliest Christians? 

Highlighting many archaeological and manuscript discoveries over the past twenty years, these scholars offer new information that provide a paradigm shifting picture, including:

1. There was no religion called Christianity before the third century.

2. There were multiple, diverse Jesus movements, not a singular one.

3. There was much more flexibility and diversity within Jesus’s movement before it became centralized in Rome, not only regarding the Bible and religious doctrine, but also, in understandings of gender, sexuality and morality.

The findings indicate gender bending and gender pairing and raise provocative questions about male and female roles that have not been previously explored. 

In our Gospel today, Jesus offers examples of gender pairing. 

 Both the woman at home upon finding her missing coin, and the shepherd in the field who finds the lost sheep rejoice. The scholars conclude: “While both figures play typically gendered social roles in the parables—a woman at home, a shepherd in a field—their juxtaposition implies their equality

Paul makes a series of radical pairings that challenge male claims to exclusive authority over women. In 1 Corinthians 7: 4 challenges male ownership of the female in saying that the wife also owns her husband: “For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” This teaching reflects a rejection of both male dominance and female passivity.

The followers of Jesus practiced gender bending- that is, gender roles were fluid and flexible.  According to Paul’s Letter to the Galatians: They was neither male nor female but all were one. (3:28.)

A variety of Jesus groups lived in extended families of multiple generations and in chosen families outside of blood or married relationships for mutual support and affection.

Some, with Paul’s approval, rejected marriage and traditional families

Women cut their hair and dressed like men. 

Women were named in Paul’s letters as leaders in the same way as male contemporaries were named. Junia and her husband Andronicus were both named as apostles in Romans 16:7. 

However, patriarchal domination, operating at all levels of society in these early Jesus diverse groups. gradually emerged, and Junia, a female name, was changed into Junias, a male name, thus erasing apostle Junia from later biblical translations. 

The early group of the Savior in which women were leaders and teachers with religious authority according to the Gospel of Mary was not the same group that found 1 Timothy meaningful – “Let a woman learn in silence and submission” (p. 104) 

In conclusion, there was a great diversity among Jesus’ followers on gender roles and gender identity as there is today.  

Contemporary Catholic communities, like MMOJ support the full equality of all genders and reject patriarchal structures that discriminate against LGBTQI.  We embrace all people and all genders, as equal images of the Holy One. 

(Source: After Jesus before Christianity, Erin Vearncombe, Brandon Scott, and Hal Taussig for the Westar Christianity Seminar)

Statement of Faith 

Jack M and ALL:

We believe in one God, a divine mystery 

beyond all definition and rational understanding, 

the heart of all that has ever existed, 

that exists now, or that ever will exist. 

We believe in Jesus, messenger of God's Word, 

bringer of God's healing, heart of God's compassion, 

bright star in the firmament of God's  

prophets, mystics, and saints.


We believe that We are called to follow Jesus 

as a vehicle of God's love, 

a source of God's wisdom and truth, 

and an instrument of God's peace in the world. 

We believe in the Holy Spirit, 

the life of God that is our innermost life, 

the breath of God moving in our being, 

the depth of God living in each of us. 

We believe that God's kin-dom is here and now, 

stretched out all around us for those 

with eyes to see it, hearts to receive it, 

and hands to make it happen.

Mary M: Prayers for the Community

We bring to this table our blessings, cares and concerns. Please feel free to voice your intentions beginning with the words “I bring to the table….”   

[end with]   We pray for these and all unspoken intentions. Amen.

Liturgy of the Eucharist

Preparation Of the Gifts

BMM:  Blessed are You, Holy One, through Your divine providence we have this bread, to share, the Bread of Life. 

BMM & ALL:   Blessed are You, Holy One, forever.  

Peg:  Blessed are You, O Loving One, through Your divine providence we have this wine to share, our spiritual drink. 

Peg & ALL:   Blessed are, You, Holy One, forever.

BMM:  Nurturing One, we are united in this sacrament by the love of Christ, whose presence we are as we proclaim the liberating power of your Spirit Sophia, in our humanity and divinity, calling us to build the unity of Love in a more compassionate and just world.  

BMM & ALL:  Amen.

Eucharistic Prayer


Mary:  Our God is with you.

Jack M & ALL:  And also with you. 

Mary: Lift up your hearts.

Jack M & ALL:  We lift them up to our God.

Mary: Let us give thanks to our loving God.

Jack M & ALL:  It is right to give God thanks and praise.

Peg: All-loving and ever-living God beyond all imagining, we give You thanks for the gift of awareness that allows us to recognize Your presence and action in our universe. Everything we have, everything we see, everything we do, everyone we love and everyone who loves us, reveals Your sustaining presence.  We thank You for Your presence which animates life and all that exists.  

BMM: You express yourself in human life and through us you sing and dance, speak and write, love and create.  In this we never cease to hope, and for this we always thank and praise You.  We join with the saints of all times and places as they sing forever to Your glory: 

ALL:  Holy Holy Holy (MMOJ) by Karen Drucker (shortened)

Ann C: Loving God, we live and move and have our being in You. We give thanks for those throughout history who have affirmed your loving presence and moved your people to give witness.  They have witnessed to your presence in lives characterized by love, mercy, compassion, generosity and forgiveness.

Jim B:  We thank you for Jesus, who loved so greatly, taught so clearly, and proclaimed so courageously.  He set people free from images, ideas and religious practices that bound them in fear and a false sense of separation from you. Through Jesus, we know our loving actions become a share in your life.  In Jesus, we see your Spirit challenging us to make your presence more visible on earth.


Mary M: We thank You for Your Spirit of life and love among us. We are grateful that Your Spirit sets us free to discover your presence within us and in all of creation.  And for this we thank and praise You.  

Peg: (addressing the assembly)  I invite you, the People of God, to extend your hands and pray with me:

Peg & ALL: Loving God, your Spirit fills this bread, this cup, and all gathered today.  They, and we, are the Body and Blood of Jesus the Christ.  It is your presence that makes us and all of creation whole and holy.  

BMM & ALL: We remember that on the night before he died, while at supper with his friends, Jesus took the Bread, spoke the blessing, broke the bread and offered it to them saying: Take and eat, this is my body.



Peg & ALL: When supper was ended, Jesus took the cup of wine, spoke the blessing and offered it to them saying: Take and drink of the covenant made new again through my life in you. Do this in memory of me.


Jack M:  Let us proclaim the mystery of faith.

Jack & ALL: Nurtured by your Word, nourished by your food, called anew to be your people, we acclaim your praise.

Mary: Loving God, through Jesus You entrusted this pledge of love to us.  We celebrate the memory of his life, death and resurrection, and bring to You the gifts You have given us: reconciliation, justice, and peace. You fill us with Your Spirit in the sharing of this meal. You keep us in communion with one another and with all living beings. Your Spirit makes us a sign of unity, a model of equality and instruments of Your peace.

Jack M: Inspire our leaders, both religious and political, so that they act without fear to bring your justice. May they become peacemakers who transform your church and society so that all living beings and our planet may thrive.

Ann C: You have gathered us around this table in friendship, with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, the apostles, and all the saints. May all who are suffering in any way be strengthened and consoled by your Presence. You bless all who have gone before us and bring them into the lasting joy and peace of your presence.


Jim B: You gather together women, men and children of every race, language, religion and way of life to share in your one, eternal banquet. In your presence, we give you glory with all creation and with Jesus through whom your goodness flows.


All lift cup and plate

BMM & ALL: Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ in the unity of the Holy Spirit, may all glory and honor be Yours, all-loving God, forever and ever. 

The Great Amen

Prayer of Jesus

Mary M: Let us pray together the prayer that Jesus taught us: 

Mary & ALL:  O Birther!  Father ~ Mother of the Cosmos, 

You create all that moves in light.  Focus your light within us.  Make it useful as the rays of a beacon show the way. Create your reign of unity now through our fiery hearts and willing hands. 

Your one desire then acts with ours, as in all light, so in all forms. 

Grant what we need each day in bread and insight: subsistence for the call of growing life.  Loose the cords of mistakes binding us, as we release the strands we hold of others' guilt. 

Don't let surface things delude us, but free us from what holds us back. From you is born all ruling will, the power and the life to do, the song that beautifies all, from age to age it renews.

Truly – power to these statements -- may they be the source from which all actions grow.  Sealed in trust and faith.  Amen.

(adapted from Aramaic Lord's Prayer)

Sign of Peace

Peg:  Jesus said to his disciples, “My peace I leave You.  My peace I give You.”  We send peace and love to all our sisters and brothers everywhere especially those suffering loss from violence and war.

As we share our joy, let us share God’s abundant peace.  Let us now extend a sign of peace to one another by saying, 

Peg & ALL:   “Namaste, Namaste, Namaste”.


BMM: Please join in praying the prayer for the breaking of the bread:

BMM & ALL: Loving God, You call us to live the Gospel of peace and justice.     We will live justly.   

Loving God, You call us to be Your presence in the world.     We will love tenderly.

Loving God, You call us to speak truth to power.     We will walk with integrity. 

All lift bread

Peg: This is the Bread of Life. How blessed are we who are called to this Table.

Peg & ALL:  Jesus, you affirm our worthiness and by your word, we will heal the world. 

Receive the Bread and the Wine and pray the words:

The Spirit in me sees the Spirit in you. 

Communion Song:   

At This Table – Idina Menzel


Prayer After Communion

BMM:  We go forth with gratitude for MMOJ and all our inclusive faith communities throughout the world in 13 countries and 34 states. We go forth, to dream new dreams of gender equality, justice and Gospel inclusivity in our church and world.  Amen. 


Peg: May God bless you to fearlessly speak out about injustice, unjust laws, corrupt politicians, mass violence and patriarchal oppression of women and all genders, poverty and the abuse of our Earth. 

BMM: May God bless you to continue God's work in diverse partnership in ministry as together we co-create new life and grace into everything and everyone we touch.

Peg: May God bless you as you go forth to proclaim the teachings and to live according to the example of Jesus to co-create inclusive empowered communities and ministries where all are loved and all are equal. 

BMM: Go in peace to live the dream!

BMM & ALL:  Thanks be to God.  Let it be so! Alleluia! 

Closing Song: Sing a New Church

Liturgy adapted by Bridget Mary Meehan from 20th Anniversary RCWP Celebration at ARCWP Retreat on July 10, 2022.

If you would like to add your intercession to our MMOJ Community Prayers book,

Please send an email to Joan Meehan

If you would like to invite another person to attend our liturgy please refer them to where the day’s liturgy is found. Zoom instructions are also included there.

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