Sermon: Downward Mobility and the Call to Welcome Children – Mark 9:30-37, Philippians 2:7

Jesus asks them, “What were you arguing about along the way?” They are all silent. I’ve been wondering why. The gospel tells us they were arguing about who was the greatest.  And why were they arguing about greatness? Two things have happened just before this argument. The most recent thing is that Jesus called the disciples “faithless” when they couldn’t cast the demon out of the boy. He told them that in front of a whole crowd of people. That must have smarted. They were disciples, they had left everything to follow Jesus, and he just told them they were faithless. Ouch!

Read More »

Sermon: Supersize it! God in a Box – I Corinthians 13, Isaiah 40:12, 28-31, Job 12:7-10

As human beings we are bound to make “scale errors” when it comes to God, because our knowledge is incomplete. We see this in theology. The church in a certain century has a view of God that they think is extremely important…several centuries later, the church realizes that maybe that wasn’t as big and important as they thought it was. Conversely, something considered a little theological issue for a thousand years suddenly looms large. We can see this in our own lives as well.

Read More »

Indigenous Land Acknowledgement – For Children

Our church, First Mennonite, wants to tell you something about the land we live on…
the land where our church, our homes, our towns and cities and farms are.
We aren’t the first people to live here,
 there were people here for thousands of years before we got here.
They are called indigenous people, and they still live here;
they have beautiful names:  Anishinaabe, Haudenosauneee, Attawandaron.
Let’s say those names:  Can you repeat after me? Anishinaabe.  Haudenosauneee, Attawandaron.
We didn’t live up to the promises we made with them on how to share the land,
and it’s not been fair to them.
We have hurt the people with these beautiful names, the indigenous peoples.
We are trying to figure out how to make things right,

Read More »

Open Arms Congregational Prayer

Thank you God for the slanting rays of the sun in the morning,
making everything golden and new.
For the blessing of snow, falling on everything,
covering everything like a benediction.
Thank you for the shock of cardinals against bare branches,
and the liveliness of squirrels running through trees.
Thank you for the smell of coffee and tea in the morning,
for warm houses and comfortable clothes,
for days off and time to relax.
Thank you for this day, which we have been given as a gift!
We long to know you, and your will for our lives.
We confess there are places in our lives where we are confused and puzzled.
In complicated family relationships, we don’t know where to turn.
In heavy financial difficulties, we feel stuck.

Read More »

“What Child is This?” Prayer for Children

What child is this?

This hungry child, this child with AIDS,

this child afraid of bombs and soldiers,

this child too poor to go to school,

this child from a refugee camp,

this child abused and neglected,

this child crying and uncomforted.

What child is this?

This child is not a statistic,

this child is not collateral damage,

Read More »

Prayer for Sick Children

Something is not right.

The fever that won’t break,

the lump that we never noticed before,

the appetite that’s disappeared,

the weight put on, or off,

the persistent headache,

the seizure, the flushed face,

the voice crying, “It hurts.”


Parents flocking to doctors,

holding babies, hugging toddlers,

arms around adolescents,

hanging on to the hands of teenagers….

Read More »

God Save the Children

God, save the children tonight.

Save them from empty stomachs and hunger pangs.

Preserve them from beatings and harsh words.

Protect them from bullets and bombs.

Shield them from sexual abuse.

Guard them from pain and disease.

Shelter them from anger and discord.

In their innocence, grant them peace.

God saves the children tonight.

Saves them when someone sends food for body and soul.

Preserves them when a neighbour intervenes….

Read More »

Child Dedication Blessing

Little girl, welcome to this house of worship

and to the community of faith.

Prayers have surrounded you these many months

as we waited expectantly for your safe arrival.


Little girl, you are a magnet for our love,

a compass that points to your Creator.

We are drawn to your fresh beauty,

fascinated by your personality, newly-minted….

Read More »

About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

Recent Posts

Posts By Month
  • Popular Tags

    Your browser doesn't support the HTML5 CANVAS tag.