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Service Template for the week of July 4th

Fostering a Compassionate America

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During the Seasons for Peace & Nonviolence Program:





3. MUSICAL NUMBER BY __________

4. (Minister) STATEMENTS of PURPOSE for Today's Service

A. Declaration of Human Rights (Optional, at discretion of minister)

In today’s service, we celebrate Independence Day with gratitude for the freedom and rights with which we in the United States are so blessed, and we hold in our consciousness the commitment to secure those same rights and freedoms for all people, as mandated in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948.

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

B. The "Declaration of Interdependence"
As we celebrate today our American Declaration of Independence (signed in 1776), we also affirm our fundamental Interdependence with fellow citizens of our community, our country and the planet. The first Declaration of Interdependence was written by Will Durant in 1944, and since then there have been many versions offered by different people and organizations. We choose this affirmation to read by Melanie Bacon:

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

That all life is interconnected, and endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights and responsibilities,
That among these are presence, compassion, and the pursuit of happiness.

That to secure these rights and responsibilities,

We open our minds and hearts to the needs of others, and our own true needs,
We hear the sound of the living universe in our ears, and add our voices to the song,
We live every moment with awareness of the purity and power of existence.

And for the support of this Declaration, we pledge to each other our love and our breath,
For the freedom of the one is the freedom of the all, and the pain of the one is the pain of the all;
The breath of the one is the breath of the all, and the breath of the all is the breath of God.



A. Intro to a Season for Humane Service
There is nothing better equipped to create a meaningful understanding of our interdependence than the universally held ideal of BEING IN SERVICE. There is no race, culture, creed, or religion on this planet that does not value in its own way, the notion of being in service to our fellow human beings and to the greater good of our society. Here in the United States, in light of the tremendous freedoms and privileges we enjoy as our birthright, spiritual communities like ours can lead the way toward a renewed sense of a Compassionate America. We can do this, as spiritually motivated citizens, by expressing our abundance and compassion for others through our gift of service, in whatever form that might take for us.

As we enter the Association for Global New Thought’s program: A Season for Humane Service, we are joining hundreds of task forces around the world in meaningful programs, dedicated to compassion-in-action. The focus of this summer Season, which spans the months of June through August, is to be of service to our friends, our neighbors, and all the members of our extended human family. The foundation of compassionate service is set in motion by the spiritual laws of this human family, expressed in the unique voices of the world’s religious and spiritual traditions.

B. MEDITATION ON SERVICE: Quotations from 13 Spiritual Traditions
OPTION a) Play the video on its own as a meditation
OPTION b) Play the video and read each quotation aloud as they appear on the screen
LINK TO VIDEO (project using full screen)


Seva is a spirit of love, an expanded understanding of realty of oneness, a state of consciousness in which the we recognize or at least begin to recognize that the Self in me is the same as the Self in the other; and that by serving the other and worshipping the other and loving the other and caring for the other-- I serve, worship, care for and love my own Self; and in both cases, the server and the served, both are God.

Seva is giving without restriction, giving without calculation, giving without care of recognition; giving because giving feels the most natural thing to do …Seva is the Sankalpa or intention of the divine Self seated within that feels kinship with God and experiences oneness and intrinsic interconnectedness with all of God’s creation.

An insecure mind or tired body cannot shake the arising Seva consciousness in wise souls. The performance of Seva unleashes an inner Shakti that is like that of a thousand suns. The service of even one hungry, helpless, homeless being or animal in need awakens the sleeping God within, that blesses us again and again, in ways untold, unheard and unimagined.

~Pratichi Mathur

OPTION a) In advance of service, invite members of staff, Board, congregation, friends to participate in these readings
OPTION b) Ask for volunteer readers onsite to line up and take turns reading from podium (depending on number of volunteers, each may read one or one may read several at a time).
OPTION c) Arrange in advance for members of the church youth group to read the quotations

VIEW OR DOWNLOAD pre-selected quotations by world’s great teachers and thinkers


How can we, as individuals, one person at a time make a difference in the scope of a huge undertaking? We can do this in three specific ways on a daily basis. The first way is personally. An example of this would be : learning, believing, meditating, and caring. The second way would be interpersonally, and an example of that would be: discussing, listening, cooperation, and accountability. The third way would be through your community. An example would be: advocacy, action, commitment, communication and celebration. You see, through one person at a time, we can make a difference. By one intention at a time, we touch a family, a community, and ultimately, a world. Now we are going to take a few minutes for you to share your vision with us. Here are some questions to consider:

1. What do we mean by humane or humanitarian service?
2. What are some general topics and issues that would be placed in this category? (ie: human rights, poverty, homelessness, education, gender inequity)
3. Which of these might you see as being more of a global issue, and which could be addressed at the local level? What would the differences in approach be?
4. How many people in your group are currently engaged in this type of work or have been in the past?
5. Is there anything that might be keeping you from being more active in these areas? (ie: time, don't know where to start, overwhelming)
6. Does your spiritual center itself have any humane service programs?


Today we celebrate Independence Day, Interdependence Day, and we build this intention in our everyday lives, our families, our communities, our nations, and on our planet. Take these last moments to consider the many ways in which you, yourself, can Be The Change. To start, consider whether it feels right for you that, to initiate or re-inspire your commitment today, you will visit AGNT’S Season for the Humane Service Resource Website. Some of you might be inspired there to find ways to become involved--as an individual, or by taking leadership for a group connected with this spiritual center. We will know that, for those who do not wish to participate in this way, you will find your own unique ways in which your voice for the earth will be expressed.

Go to: http://www.agnt.org/season-for-humane-service
There you can find information on all programs, and how to participate in SHS activities.

SUGGESTED: MUSICAL NUMBER- Chant including congregation

10. Closing Prayer/Meditation