On this page you will find worship resources for communities of faith engaged, or wanting to engage, in various forms of housing ministry as part of their social mission.
The resources range from prayers, songs & hymns, preaching texts, and liturgies that can be used in a worship service, to on-site liturgies like house blessings and building dedications. For churches that observe the seasons of the church year, Advent is an appropriate time to bring the needs of those who are homeless or housing-insecure before the congregation, as Advent is a season to reflect on our brokenness and our need for the saving presence of Christ, the Lord—always remembering, as Fleming Rutledge put it in her book on Advent, that “Worship is empty, indeed it is offensive to God, where there is no concern for the poor and the defenseless.”
These resources were compiled, and in many cases, written, by Sue Rozeboom and Linnea Scobey. Sue Rozeboom is Associate Professor of Liturgical Studies at Western Theological Seminary. She is passionate about exploring with others the meaning and significance of the Sacraments with respect to the Word, the mission of the Church, and the life of discipleship. Linnea Scobey is an alumna of Western Theological Seminary who previously served as an Americorps member with the Salvation Army’s Housing Assessment Program. For many years she was an involved resident of the Creston neighborhood of Grand Rapids, MI, where she also led worship at Creston Christian Reformed Church.
The links below provide worship resources in PDF format. You may copy the texts and paste them into a Word or Google doc and then edit and re-format at will.
Seasons of the Church Year
Songs & Hymns Index
The link above is to a Google spreadsheet that includes a survey of sixty-some songs and hymns explicitly relatable to themes of justice, dwelling, shelter, and homelessness. The spreadsheet includes notes about the songs and their possible use in worship, including commissioning and dedication services.
Scripture Passages Index
The link above is to a Google spreadsheet that includes a survey of over seventy Scripture passages explicitly relatable to themes of justice, dwelling, shelter, and homelessness. The spreadsheet includes notes about each passage, making connections to these themes, noting possible uses in worship, and suggesting songs to accompany each passage.
Liturgical Elements by John Terpstra
Award-winning Canadian poet and published liturgical writer, John Terpstra, was commissioned to compose a series of confessions, prayers, and benedictions for the CNU-MCC website. These pieces were written for the season of Advent and intended for churches of means, resources—and, thus, with responsibilities. John Terpstra holds the copyright to these pieces. Churches and congregations are free to copy, format, reprint, and use them, without charge, with author acknowledgement.
Below are links to the elements in Word docx file format.
Calls to Worship
Call to Worship 1
Call to Worship 2
Prayers of Confession
Prayer of Confession 1
Prayer of Confession 2
Prayer of Confession 3
Prayers of the People
Prayers of the People 1
Prayers of the People 2
Prayers of the People 3
Prayers of the People 4
A Talking Prayer
On-Site Prayers and Blessings
It is a good thing to mark the opening of a building with a public prayer of thanks that focuses the intention and desires of the community on the building and its future use. Written by Thea Leunk, senior pastor, Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church.
For a prayer of dedication of an office building or the offices of an organization devoted to the advance of affordable housing, click here for a PDF, or click here for a downloadable Word docx document.
For a prayer of dedication of a new building that offers affordable housing, click here for a PDF, or here for a downloadable Word docx document.
Blessings and Dedications for Houses, Buildings, Gardens, and Land
Compiled, edited, and written by Linnea Scobey and Sue Rozeboom. Click here for PDF. Text within the PDF may be copied and pasted into Word or Google docs for re-formatting and editing.
When a new unit of affordable housing—be it a house or an apartment—opens it is a good thing to ask for God’s blessing on it and its inhabitants. Edited by Lee Hardy. Text within the PDFs may be copied and pasted into Word or Google docs for re-formatting and editing.
For a house blessing where the new occupants are present and wish to play a role in the blessing, click here for a PDF.
For a house blessing where the new occupants are present but would prefer not play a special role in the blessing, click here for a PDF.
For a house blessing in the absence of the new occupants, click here for a PDF.