Family Service
St. Augustine's

July 30, 2006

Key :

instructions for congregation
movements during service
prayers and readings
sections of the service

Other information :

There are some notes on our production of the service.

A rough plan of the church is available.

A note on copyright.



Reader We welcome you here in the name of Jesus. May we learn to be people who forgive.
Narrator No collection will be taken during this service. There is a donation box at the back of the church for anyone who would like to give a donation.

If anyone would like the music for our hymns today, please put your hand up and we will bring it to you.

Toilets are between the church and the hall.

There are toys at the back for children to play with.

Please don't feel embarrassed if the children are a bit noisy, we welcome everyone here.

Reader Our theme for today is


Our sentence for today is from Luke Chapter 6 Verse 37 :

"Jesus said, 'Do not condemn others, and God will not condemn you; forgive others and God will forgive you.' "

Narrator Please stand to sing the hymn

"I believe in Jesus".

Reader goes to back;

During the last verse of this hymn : Sign Holder comes to the front ( Hospital side ), Grandma, Child 1 and Child 2 come to front on organ side.

Omitted for copyright reasons; further details.
Narrator Please sit.

( Pointing to the Cross ) We have placed this big Cross here to remind us that Jesus died that we might be forgiven. By His willingness to die for us He opened the way for us to be reconciled - which means to be put right - with God.

Those of us who choose to follow Jesus and who come before Him seeking repentance and forgiveness for the things we have done wrong are forgiven by God, provided we have forgiven those who have wronged us. Remember that Jesus taught us to pray to God, "forgive us our sins, as we forgive those that sin against us".

The blue material ( point to blue material ) surrounding the Cross reminds us that wrongs once forgiven are as if they have been thrown into the deep sea, never to be remembered any more. That's something we've known even longer - For in the book of Micah, in the Old Testament of the Bible, we are told that God will trample our sins underfoot and send them to the bottom of the sea. The small pebbles ( hold up a small pebble ) which we shall throw into the sea are symbols of our desire to forgive others and ourselves, our desire to let go of the hurt that has been done to us, and our willingness to receive God's forgiveness.

Sign Holder comes to centre with STOP sign.
Sign Holder

Perhaps the hardest part of that is letting go of the hurt. If we've somehow been done down, we often want to get even; but forgiving is recognising that there are better things than getting even with people - such as getting right with God.

So once we've thrown a wrong into the sea ( Point to the NO FISHING notice ), we can't go raking it up again. It's gone - vanished - disappeared for ever.

So the "NO FISHING" notice is a reminder to us all that being able to forgive ourselves or others can take time and can be hard work for -

The FIRST step in forgiving is deciding to do it. Say to yourself,

( emphatically ) I WILL forgive. I WILL take this problem to Jesus and leave it with Him ( which is symbolised by throwing a pebble into the 'sea' ) ( Throw a pebble into the sea. )

( normally ) The SECOND step in forgiving is to say in your mind, with as much meaning as you can,

( emphatically ) I FORGIVE

( normally ) The THIRD step is to keep on doing it.

Every time you notice yourself thinking wrong thoughts about this problem.

( emphatically ) STOP ( hold up STOP sign ) ( normally ) and repeat with as much meaning as you can,

( emphatically ) "I FORGIVE. I have given this to Jesus He is dealing with it" -

( normally ) and keep on doing this, until one day you will find that through the Grace of God you are truly forgiven. Remember that when the disciples asked Jesus how often they should forgive someone, He said that they should just keep on forgiving.

So the "NO FISHING" sign is a reminder to us to train ourselves to stop thinking about what has happened and to leave the outcome with God.

At different parts of this service we will use the "NO FISHING" SHOUT to remind us to do this.

It goes like this -

At different parts of the service I will hold up this STOP sign ( hold up STOP sign ) and say ( emphatically ) "STOP and Remember, they've gone -" ( normally ) and everyone replies ( emphatically ) "NO FISHING".

Let's try it now :

( holding up STOP sign ) STOP and Remember, they've gone -

Sign Holder Good, but let's give it one more go ( hold up STOP sign ) STOP and remember, they've gone.
Sign Holder Well done !

Sign Holder takes STOP sign and leans it against the wall and returns to her seat.

Grandma, Child 1 and Child 2 come to centre front.

Child 1 to Grandma Hello, Grandma ! I'm so glad you're here.
Child 2 to Grandma Hello, Grandma !
Grandma to Children Hello.
Child 1 Grandma - now that you're here tell us a story.
Child 2 A story ! A story about forgiveness.
Grandma You've forgotten something.
Child 2 Please, Grandma, a story.
Child 1 We love your stories.
Grandma Well, give me time to sit down
Grandma and Children move to organ side and sit down.
Grandma Now, are you ready ?
Narrator This is a true story about how God helped a minister to help a young mother.

Minister comes down centre aisle and sits on a chair in front of the altar.

One day whilst a minister was sitting in his church study there was a knock at the door.

Young Woman comes down centre aisle and knocks at door ( knock on altar rail )
Minister Come in.

( Young Woman comes in and sits on the other chair. )

How can I help you ?

Young Woman looks ashamed and distressed.
Young Woman No one can help me. I've done such a terrible thing.

It's hopeless. I can't go on living like this. It's a real mess. It all happened so long ago, I'm so miserable, so ashamed, not even Jesus can forgive my sins. My sins are too great to be forgiven.

Narrator Silently the minister prayed, "Oh Lord, how can I help her now ? You've got to help me." Then he listened for a still, small voice within his heart, and suddenly got an idea.
Minister to the Young Woman Sister, come over here.

Minister and Young Woman move over to stand by the 'sea'.

Now imagine this is a very beautiful sea shore. It's a very calm day and the sea looks like glass, and on the beach there are many pebbles.

In my hand I hold a very small pebble.

Minister picks up small pebble.

You pick up a big rock.

Young Woman picks up a big rock ( larger pebble )

Let's throw this pebble and this rock into the sea.

First it's my turn.

Minister throws pebble in the 'sea'.

Did you hear the sound it made ? A ripple. Where is my pebble now ?

Young Woman Well, it went down to the bottom of the 'sea'.
Minister Right ! Now it's your turn. Throw your rock in.
Young Woman throws her rock in.
Minister Did it make a light noise ?
Young Woman No, it made a big sound, and a large ripple.
Minister But where is your rock ?
Young Woman Down at the bottom of the sea.
Minister Well, it seems that both my small pebble and your large rock went to the bottom when they were thrown into the sea.

The only difference was the sound and the ripple.

But they are both hidden from us now.

So it is with forgiveness. Everyone needs the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. The blood of Jesus cures all sins, big and small.

Young Woman Does this mean that my sins can be forgiven by God ?
Minister Of course.
Narrator The woman began to cry and cry.

Young Woman slumps down crying.

The minister placed his hand on her head and prayed for her.

Minister places hand on her head and prays.


After a short time the woman lifted her head and her face was shining with God's glory.

Young Woman looks up with joy-filled face and stands up.
Young Woman I'm forgiven ! All my guilt has gone away. I'm truly forgiven ! It's wonderful, wonderful !
Minister and Young Woman go down centre aisle rejoicing.
Narrator God is longing for us to come to Him seeking forgiveness for past wrongs. And once we've been forgiven don't forget to leave those things with God.
Sign Holder comes to the centre holding up STOP sign.
Sign HolderSTOP and Remember, they've gone -
Narrator Thank You, Lord God, that through forgiveness we can be set free.
ALL Thank You, Lord.
Sign Holder puts STOP sign against wall and returns to seat.
Narrator Teacher's name will now teach us the actions for the next song,

"Jesus took my burdens and he rolled them in the sea".

We will sing this song twice.

( Teacher to front to teach the actions )

Please stand.

During this song stage hand scatters "stones" around in front of the altar and removes one chair from in front of altar.

Reader comes to lectern.

1.   Jesus took my burdens and He rolled them in the sea,
  Rolled them in the sea,
  Rolled them in the sea.
  Jesus took my burdens and He rolled them in the sea.
  Never to remember any more.

2.   Now I am so happy, as happy as can be,
  happy as can be,
  happy as can be.
  Now I am so happy, as happy as can be,
  Never to remember any more.

Narrator Please sit.
Grandma and Children come to centre.
Child 2 That was a great story !
Child 1 You mean Jesus forgives us and we don't need to feel guilty or dirty inside any more  ?
Grandma That's right.

If we're truly sorry, we can say "Sorry" to Jesus and He forgives us, but the trouble is many people find it difficult to receive Jesus's forgiveness.

Child 2 How do we receive forgiveness ?
Grandma Well, we say "I'm sorry, please forgive me and help me not to do it again", then, in our minds we give all the guilt, all the hurt, all the dirt to Jesus and leave it with Him ( that's the "No Fishing" bit ) and we just keep on giving it to Jesus until it has all gone.

We find that God's gift of grace - love, joy, peace, forgiveness - begins to fill us instead of the hurt.

Child 2 Another story, Grandma !
Child 1 Please, Please !
Child 2 One from the Bible this time.
Child 1 Isn't there one about people about to throw some stones and Jesus stops them ?
Child 2 OOh yes, that's a good one.
Grandma and Children return to organ side and sit down.
Reader The Bible story is taken from John Chapter 8 verses 2-11 and can be found on Page 1181 of the Church Bibles.

Early the next morning Jesus went back to the Temple.

( Jesus comes down the centre aisle and sits on chair in front of the altar, slightly to organ side. )

All the people gathered round Him.

People come from various direction and stand behind Jesus. Do not stand in front of Him.

The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees brought in a woman who had been caught committing adultery.

Teachers and Pharisees accompany two who bring woman down centre aisle - don't be too gentle with her - and stand towards Hospital side half facing congregation, woman half lies on floor to Hospital side of Jesus.
Head Pharisee ( to Jesus and pointing at the woman ) Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. In our Law Moses commanded that such a woman must be stoned to death.
People, teachers and Pharisees all pick up 'stones' and look ready to throw them.
Head Pharisee ( to Jesus ) Now, what do You say ?
Reader They said this to trap Jesus, so that they could accuse Him.

But He bent over and wrote on the ground with His finger.

Jesus bends over and writes on the ground with his finger.

Teachers and Pharisees mime asking Jesus questions.

Reader As they stood there asking Him questions,

Teachers and Pharisees continue to mime asking Jesus questions.

He straightened up and said to them :

Jesus Whichever one of you has committed no sin may throw the first stone.
Reader Then He bent over again and wrote on the ground.
Jesus bends over and writes on the ground again.
Narrator No one knows what Jesus wrote on the ground but many people believe He wrote down possible sins.
Reader They all left, one by one, the older ones first.
Narrator We invite you all to call out words He might have written.
PAUSE for suggestions. As they are given, Narrator repeats them, so all can hear.

During this pause, Teachers, Pharisees, and People one by one drop their "stones" into the basket and slink away down Hospital side - don't be in too much of a hurry.

As the people leave, the woman slowly stands up.

Reader Jesus was left alone with the woman standing there.

Jesus straightened up and said to her :

Jesus straightens up.
Jesus to woman Where are they ? Is there no one left to condemn you ?
Woman to Jesus No one, sir.
Jesus to woman Well, then, I do not condemn you either. Go, but do not sin again.
Woman moves over to basket of 'real pebbles', picks one up and throws it into the 'sea', and stands looking at the Cross.

Jesus goes down organ side.

Sign Holder comes to the centre holding up STOP sign.
Sign HolderSTOP and Remember, they've gone -
Narrator Thank You, Lord God, that You don't condemn those who don't condemn others.
ALL Thank You, Lord.
Sign Holder places STOP sign against wall and returns to seat.

Woman goes down Hospital aisle, Reader goes to back down Hospital side.

Narrator Please stand to sing the hymn "God forgave my sin in Jesus name".
During this hymn stage hand moves card table and four chairs in front of altar.
Omitted for copyright reasons; further details.
Grandma and Children come to middle again.
Child 1 They all went away !
Grandma Yes, they all left. We would do the same, for none of us is perfect.
Child 2 But Jesus forgives us.
Grandma Yes, Jesus forgives those who forgive others.
Child 1 Another story, another story !
Child 2 Please, Grandma, another story.
Child 1 We so love your stories.
Child 2 Another one about forgiveness, please, please.
Grandma ( Looking apologetic ) Ooo, I'm not sure I know any more that would do. I think you've heard all my stories before.
( Children look hopefully at her. A few moments of silence. )
Narrator Er. Excuse me, but perhaps I could help.
( Children turn to look at Narrator with surprise. )
Grandma ( gratefully ) Oh, thank you - that would be very helpful. Come on, children, let's listen to a new story.
Grandma and Children return to organ side and sit down.

People get ready at back for the next story, Mum, Child 3 and Child 4 at back, Dad at Hospital side.

Narrator Let me think. I know - I'll tell you one of the stories that I read in a book.

It's about a missionary family, I can't remember what country they were working in.

But they had a real problem.

There was Mummy and Daddy and a couple of children all living in a fairly small house with an old Aunt of the mother.

This Aunt had nowhere else to live and was miserable and difficult. She never said a kind word to anyone.

She didn't wash very often so she was a bit smelly.

She sat in the best chair and got in everyone's way.

She found fault with everything - the children, the weather, the food, the country they were living in, absolutely everything.

She made life so miserable for the whole family.

They tried to be kind and loving but it was SO HARD.

Even Mummy was getting exhausted.

One day the children came home from school.

Children come down centre aisle and stop at altar rail looking around, Mum comes down organ side ready for her part.

They couldn't believe their eyes or their ears - no nagging voice, no Aunt sitting in her chair. They listened hard.

Children listen.

No - they really couldn't hear her, no nasty cough or sniffle, no nagging voice.

Where was Aunty ?

They ran inside.

Children run inside towards table.
Child 3 Hi Mum ! Where are you ?
Mum Here, dear.
Hurries in from organ side.
Child 4running up to Mum and whispering in her ear.

Where's Aunty ?

Mum She's gone out for a meal.
Child 4 Gone out, Yippee !
Mum Shh, dear you mustn't be like that.
Child 3 But, Mum, you know how difficult she is.
Mum Yes, dear I know. In fact your Dad and I have talked about it and we're going to have a family talk about Aunty as soon as we've eaten.

Quick, wash your hands and come to the table, let's forget all about her until after the meal.

Children go behind altar and run out again rubbing hands together.

Dad comes in from Hospital side, they all sit round the table eating.

Child 3 We've finished.
Mum ( to Dad ) Yes, dear. I think it's time we talked about Aunty.

I know she is my Aunt and has nowhere else to live, and no money to go anywhere else. We can't afford to rent a place for her, but she really is making our lives very difficult.

Dad Yes, I'm aware of all that, but we can't just throw her out.

I don't know what to do either.

Child 4 It's dreadful, none of my friends like coming here any more.
Child 3 Nor mine. What can we do ?
Dad I think we should have a time of prayer. God knows our difficulty, let's just sit quietly here and ask Him to show us what to do.
Mum Well we've tried everything else. We'll be quiet for five minutes and listen for God's answer.
( Family bow heads and pray silently. )
Dad( Looks at his watch ) Well the five minutes are up; did God give any of you any ideas ?
Child 3 I just heard the words "Bless her, bless her !", over and over in my mind.
Mum I thought, "Love her, love her".
Child 4 I thought, "Smile, smile, smile".
Dad Yes, those were the thoughts going through my mind too.

I know what we could do.

Mum, Child 3, Child 4 What ?
Dad Every night, as we lie down to sleep, let's all make a promise to say with meaning, "God, bless Aunty tonight", and when we wake up in the morning repeat the same prayer, "God, bless Aunty and help her enjoy today".
Mum I suppose we could.
Dad Yes, and let's have another meeting in four weeks time to discuss what's happened.
Narrator They all held hands round the table and asked God to help them do this.
Family hold hands and pray briefly.

They stand up and drop a pebble in the sea and go to the back down the Hospital aisle.

Narrator So that's what they did - and a very wonderful thing happened.

By the end of three weeks Aunty was a completely different person.

She'd stopped grumbling, almost.

She'd begun to smile.

She was taking regular baths and the whole house was transformed.

It was truly amazing what God did in those few weeks as each member of the family prayed night and morning for this difficult lady.

Child 1, Child 2 and Grandma come to front.
Child 1 to Grandma I could pray for that boy at school who keeps bullying me.
Grandma Yes, dear, you could. Just whisper his name in my ear ( Child 1 whispers in Grandma 's ear ) and I'll pray for him too.

Right - every night before I go to sleep I'll pray for him.

Child 1 So will I.
Child 2 And I could pray for whoever it is who keeps stealing things at school.
Grandma Yes, we could all three pray for that person as well.
Grandma and the Children go and throw a pebble in the sea, and stand looking at the Cross.
Sign Holder comes to the centre holding up STOP sign.
Sign HolderSTOP and Remember, they've gone -
Narrator Lord, help us to love and pray for those who are mean and nasty to us.
ALL Help us, Lord.
Sign Holder leans STOP sign against wall and goes to her seat.

Grandma and the Children go down Hospital side to their seats.

Narrator Please stand to sing the hymn "Forgive our sins".
Omitted for copyright reasons; further details.
During this hymn :

The Messager picks up the "poisons" and comes to the lectern;
Narrator returns to her seat down Hospital aisle;
Actors come to stand in a long line against the wall at the organ side;
Helper prepares to give correct pieces of paper to actors as needed;
2nd helper stands near altar ready to remind actors what to do;
3rd helper stands at back to direct actors who get confused.

Narrator Please sit.
MESSAGER But why should I forgive ?

When our grandchildren started crawling we had to do a bit of a clean up at our house.

Our daughter-in-law, who is a doctor, helped us and we searched through all our cupboards for poisons.

Things like methylated spirits ( hold up ), medicines ( hold up ), dish washing powder ( hold up ), Janola ( hold up ) and other things.

We moved all these things to a safer place and put child-proof locks on our bathroom and laundry cupboard doors too.

We certainly didn't want our grandchildren, or anyone else, to find and accidentally take poison in our house.

BUT many of our houses are full of another sort of poison which we all should recognise and deal with,.this is the poison that is caused by unforgiveness.

Unforgiveness makes it difficult for us to form good relationships with God and with other people, it acts like a slow poison and shows itself in actions such as :

For each item in the following list of "poisons", Helper gives an actor the paper showing the item's name, and tells the actor when to move. The actor takes the paper with the word on it, walks along by the altar rail, holding up the paper to show to the congregation, then walks across to the 'sea', screws up the paper and throws it into the 'sea'. The actor then goes down the centre aisle to the back.
Messager ( adjusting speed to progress of action )












Helper encourages all the actors to sit down against organ side wall.
Messager We can spread all these poisons, and more, if we go through our lives bearing grudges against other people - and as long as this poison remains in us we find it difficult to live as we would like.

The family with the difficult Aunty had this problem, as each day Aunty dropped little bits of poison into their lives. They found that as they all agreed to pray for Aunty, God was able to help them love her more, and Aunty found that God was beginning to change her on the inside.

But, some people say, "How can I possibly forgive that person, their actions were so dreadful ?" In fact there have been at least two articles, recently, in the Herald newspaper where people have said, "I will never forgive the person who did that dreadful act to a member of my family". And I understand how they feel.

But my reply is - how can you possibly not forgive them ? - for whilst their evil act remains unforgiven in us, we continue to scatter little drops of poison around as we move through life. And that one dreadful act continues to ruin our lives, sometimes for years.

It is only as we let go of this unforgiveness and begin the hard process of forgiving that we are set free, by the Grace of God, to live free and unfettered lives and to truly display Godly attitudes which are antidotes to the poisons, such as -

Helper gets the actors to stand up;

2nd helper goes to altar to receive cards.

For each item in the following list of "antidotes", Helper gives an actor the card showing the item's name, and tells the actor when to move. The actor takes the card with the word on it, walks along by the altar rail, holding up the card to show to the congregation, then gives it to 2nd helper, who sticks it on the front of the altar. The actor then returns to the congregation and sits down again.

Messager ( adjusting speed to progress of action )











Some past events which have left us with bad feelings can get in the way of how we feel and act today.

I want to encourage all of us to give these past hurts to Jesus, to ask Him to deal with that whole problem and to heal us.

Often to start this process of healing we need to come before Jesus and say :

"I WILL forgive the past,

I WILL forgive that person who hurt me,

I WILL forgive the hurts of childhood,

I WILL forgive myself for lost opportunities,

I WILL forgive God,

I WILL forgive whatever or whoever it may be,

I TRULY WILL forgive.

I no longer want to live in this state of unforgiveness and hurt.

Dear Lord Jesus, teach me to forgive, fill me with Your grace so that I may be a forgiving and a forgiven person."

God honours this prayer and begins to teach us to forgive. Remember this can take time and hard work, for while God will look after the teaching, we still have to do the learning. But eventually, if we work at it, we do find ourselves filled with God's gift of Grace to forgive completely.

I'll just remind you of the forgiveness steps we need to take.

The FIRST step in forgiving is deciding to do it. Say to yourself,

( emphatically ) I WILL forgive. I WILL take this problem to Jesus and leave it with Him.

( normally ) The SECOND step in forgiving is to say in your mind, with as much meaning as you can,

( emphatically ) I FORGIVE.

( normally ) The THIRD step is to keep on doing it.

Every time you notice yourself thinking wrong thoughts about this problem,

( emphatically ) STOP ( normally ) and repeat with as much meaning as you can,

( emphatically ) "I FORGIVE. I have given this to Jesus He is dealing with it." -.

( normally ) and keep on doing this, until one day you will find that through the Grace of God you are truly forgiven.


We invite you now to come forward and throw a 'pebble' in the 'sea' as a symbol of repentance and the desire to be forgiving and forgiven.

Organist plays "Make me a channel of Your peace".

When all who want to have come forward :

Narrator Prayerfully we sing :
1.   Make me a channel of Your peace -
  Where there is hatred, let me bring your love;
  Where there is injury, Your pardon, Lord;
  And where there is doubt, true faith in You :

  Chorus :
    O Master, grant that I may never seek
    So much to be consoled as to console;
    To be understood as to understand;
    To be loved, as to love with all my soul.

2.   Make me a channel of Your peace.
  Where there's despair in life, let me bring hope;
  Where there is darkness, only light;
  And where there's sadness, ever joy :


3.   Make me a channel of Your peace.
  It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
  In giving to all men that we receive,
  And in dying that we're born to eternal life.

Narrator Together we pray -
ALL Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come, Your will be done,
in earth, as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread;
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil,
for the Kingdom, the power, and the glory are Yours, now and for ever.
Narrator Please stand for our final hymn,

"Amazing Grace".

1.   Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
  That saved a wretch like me !
  I once was lost, but now am found,
  Was blind but now I see.

2.   'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
  And grace my fears relieved.
  How precious did that grace appear
  The hour I first believed.

3.   Through many dangers toils, and snares
  I have already come.
  'Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
  and grace will lead me home.

4.   When we've been there ten thousand years,
  Bright shining as the sun,
  We've no less days to sing God's praise.
  Than when we first begun.

Narrator Please remain standing for the Blessing.



We invite you to join us for a cuppa in the Hall at the end of this service.

Those taking part :

Children, Dad, Grandma, Head Pharisee, Helpers, Jesus, Message, Minister, Mum, Narrator, Organist, Reader, Sign Holder, Teachers, Pharisees, Woman, Young Woman