A Prayer for World AIDS Day in a Time of Coronavirus

The author with faith community leaders at a Methodist HIV/AIDS awareness and response event in Durban, South Africa in 2011

Bonjour, mon Dieu.  Comment ça va?

(Hello, my God.  How are you?)

Je suis triste aujourd’hui, mon ami.

(I am sad today, my friend.)


But God, you knew what this plague was, as we floundered and feared for years for explanations.

And God, you know what this plague is, as we struggle and stumble to disperse treatment.


And you know us – so well – every fragile sinew and cell of our being.


And we know you –

we know you to say that if one suffers, we all suffer as one.

  Read more

A Prayer for Unseen Parents

Today, we offer a prayer for those individuals and families who grieve the absence of a child due to death, infertility, or other loss. The absence of a child does not take away the coveted title of “parent.” Love for a child, seen and unseen, is what makes an individual a parent and what forms a family. We pray that all of these parents and families feel God’s peace this season.


In this season focused on joy and hope, we pray for the unseen parents, carrying the hope and prayer for a child out of the sight of others…

Aching as they send another Christmas card, filled with adventures and excitement but missing the laughter of a little one…

Looking past the dinner seat where a high chair should be…

Struggling to be thankful when so much seems wrong…

Grateful for a reason to miss a family party where they will feel forced to celebrate another new baby, not their own…

Read more

The author prays over her morning coffee.

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

The author prays over her morning coffee.

The author prays over her morning coffee.

Holy One,

Source of all good things in this world:

Let’s be honest. It’s 2020.

You’ve seen this year happen.

In a year of pandemic, and politics,

and isolation, and exhaustion,

we feel a lot more like saying,

“How long, O Lord?”

instead of “in all things, give thanks.”


Give us eyes to see your wonders, O God,

even in a year like this one.

Give us hearts that overflow with gratitude

for the ways we’ve made it through.

For binge-worthy shows and new crafting skills,

for fresh pots of coffee and surprise deliveries of wine,

for fires to burn and rooms to paint,

Good Lord, we give you thanks.

For decent internet connection and love-to-hate-it Zoom,

for the ding of a text and long phone chargers,

for online shopping and unemployment checks,

Good Lord, we give you thanks.

Read more

2020 Thanksgiving Prayer

“Thanksgiving Drive” by katmeresin is licensed under CC BY 2.0

God of all of us,

Life as we knew it has changed.

Thanksgiving as we knew it is different this year.

We have lost people we love.

We have lost gathering in the ways we used to gather.

Some of us have lost jobs or trust or optimism.

So we grieve today, even as we give thanks.

We lament today, even as we hold onto moments of joy.

You are a God who hears and knows our lament.

We also lament the state of our nation and the division among us.

We don’t want to move too quickly to unity

without addressing the pain that lies under that division.

We give you our hurt. We give you our anger.

May your hearing of our prayers and our pain

open the way for healing and new hope and restored community.

Read more

A Prayer for Essential Workers

“Thank you essential workers!” by spurekar is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Loving God,
While some of us are in the safety of our homes,
you have called others to risk themselves and their families to keep our communities running.
We give you thanks for the doctors, the nurses, the respiratory therapists, and all working in healthcare.
We give you thanks for the store employees, factory workers, and delivery people.
We give you thanks for those who feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and bury the dead.
We give you thanks for the teachers working to raise up the next generation in physical and virtual classrooms.
Read more

A Prayer for the Theatre World as Broadway Stays Dark

Creating God,

The author is photographed here in her role as Salome Musgrove in Grand Canyon University’s 2006 production of The Robber Bridegroom.

Your children are out-of-joint.

They tap dance as they stock shelves,
they sing to themselves as they apply for unemployment,
they recite monologues as they tend their sourdough starters,
the show is stopped, only going on in their hearts.

Your children are out-of-sorts.
The only lights to run are Christmas icicles along November roofs,
the only costuming is for Zoom Halloween parties,
the only makeup done is whatever can be seen above the mask,
the show is stopped, only going on in their hearts.

Read more

A Prayer for Farmers


Garlic harvest from June 2019, A Place on Earth CSA farm in Turners Station, KY.

God of all Creation,
we give you thanks for those who cultivate the earth,
for those who wake before dawn and labor in the fields,
for those who care for livestock,
for those who plant and tend with care.
We pray they know they are appreciated beyond measure.

Too often, we overlook the gift of farmers
as we grow ever more distant from the processes
that bring food to our tables.
We pray that we see and know
those who do the planting, tending, and harvesting.
They are a community of sowers
on whom our survival and flourishing depend.

Read more

A Prayer for Veterans Day

In the United States, we are approaching Veterans Day – a day set aside to remember and honor those who have served in the military. But more than simply saying “thank you,” it also offers the opportunity to turn our attention to the stories and lives of our veterans. Hold them in prayer and listen to their stories, truly seeing the child of God in your midst. They are your neighbors and are sitting in your pews. Maybe ask them to share their story with you, for it is in sharing the story that community exists, God is present, and healing may be possible.

The author (center), in her capacity as Chaplain.

God of all that was and is and is to come,

You, who bear witness to our creation and usher us home at our final moments,

we ask that you turn our ears to the cries of those we often do not hear,
to open our eyes to the stories in our midst,
to hear the stories of those called,
to hear the stories of those who answer the call.

Open our ears to the story of the seventeen-year-old

who yearns to serve in a world with honor,
who seeks an escape from the drug-riddled streets he calls home…
only to be sent to a place where the streets are riddled
with a different kind of violence, replacing one form of hate with another.

Give us the eyes to see the single mother,

yearning for a better life for her son,
who is called into harm’s way,
her son sent away to his grandparents yet once again,
in hopes that she is able to provide a better life for him,
who has more of a relationship with her son over phone video
than she does in real life,
only to hear cries of judgment for being a “bad mother.”

Read more

Dear Clergy: A Letter for November

My dear, weary, fierce colleagues in ministry,

It’s been a year, hasn’t it? None of us knew going in to 2020 what would come; none of us expected to spend the majority of the year figuring out how to minister to and with people we couldn’t be within an arm’s reach of. And yet, here we are.

photo taken by the author at a clergy retreat in 2019

Let’s recap, shall we? We ended Lent during stay-at-home orders and celebrated Easter in parking lots and dining room tables. We canceled VBS, camps, and mission trips. We figured out cameras and live streaming and answered questions we never even knew we needed to ask. We learned Zoom and taught it to our congregations. Then taught it again. Then trouble-shot it. We switched platforms, software, hardware, and techniques, using skills that we never learned in seminary. We planned sermon series to speak to our trauma and danger; we found new ways to distribute food and serve our communities. We have planned and started over and planned some more; we have figured out how to administer communion in ways that are theologically and physically sound; we have presided over weddings and funerals over cameras and screens. We have held relationships together that are strained because of a contentious election; we have risked and weighed when, how, and how much to speak prophetically. We provided care over phone calls and texts instead of hospital beds and coffee tables. We have cried and prayed, wondered and doubted… all while trying to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and our congregations healthy.

Whew. That list isn’t even exhaustive.

And yet. AND YET. Every step of the way, pastors made it happen. Surrounded and upheld by the Spirit, we served God’s beloved. You served God’s beloved.

Read more

A World Communion Story and Liturgy for Strange Times

A Story before the Meal

Communion at Calvary United Methodist Church in Frederick, MD.

I was not excited about my first in-person communion service during the pandemic. I felt like the virus was just taking away one more thing. It had taken from my life in big ways, like the deaths of people that I loved, and in smaller ways, like canceling first-year milestone celebrations for our long-awaited child. At that first in-person service, we were finally together, but the feast of abundance I usually loved to celebrate was not possible in these strange times.

As we partake of the one loaf, we who are many are one body, I recited. But we weren’t partaking of the one loaf. Instead, we were holding individually wrapped wafer-and-juice combo packs. And we were separated by masks and chalk marks six feet apart, seemingly so far from ever being one body. How could this be communion?

That Sunday, half of us couldn’t open the cellophane to get to the wafer. The next time we had communion, we used juice boxes and rolls crammed into snack-size plastic baggies three days before worship and made jokes about juice boxes at the Last Supper. But even in the imperfection of the symbolism, this meal nourished us. It nourished me.

I acknowledged: It is right to give our thanks and praise. “So what are you thankful for?” I asked right in the middle of the liturgy. As we prepared to take our meal, I asked where people saw the Spirit poured out in these strange times. I was thankful to see faces distant and masked but still full of warmth. I saw the Spirit poured out as we lifted up in prayer those who work in hospitals, those who protest for justice, and those who work in education. Even in the strangeness and disappointment I felt as I approached the table, I also felt lifted out of my isolation, if for a moment. I felt directed toward the day not when we feast at the heavenly banquet but when we could feast together without barriers of masks and cellophane.

Read more