9/11 Remembrance Service


This year was the 15th anniversary of the attacks on 9/11, so we devoted our worship service that Sunday to remembering and honoring that day – those who lost their lives that day, the various experiences that we had of that day, and how that day has changed our lives as individuals and as a nation. We also celebrated communion, coming together at God’s table as one body in reverence and in hope.

In addition to the service, we folded white peace cranes in remembrance of the lives lost that day. In each sanctuary, we hung 300 cranes – 1 crane for every 10 lives lost.


Cranes from the back of the sanctuary at First Congregational Church UCC – Zumbrota


Cranes close up at First Congregation Church UCC – Zumbrota


Cranes at The Presbyterian Church of Oronoco


Cranes from the side at The Presbyterian Church of Oronoco

So here is our service …


Letting God In
During this time, we invite you to prepare your heart and your mind for worship. We want you to be able to use this quiet time to settle your thoughts, set aside any distractions that may be troubling you, and focus your whole self on God. Open your heart, your mind, and your spirit, and let God into your life.

Centering Prayer: September 11, 2001
Contemplate that day in our history –
as Americans, as Christians,
as human beings.
Remember how you felt,
what you thought,
and what your gut reactions were that day.
How has this terrible event changed you?

* Gathering Hymn #2128 (Sing the Faith) – Come and Find the Quiet Center

* Litany of Remembrance: (adapted from UMC Discipleship Ministries)
One: We gather fifteen years after the day when politics, religion, and culture clashed in a tragic way. On this anniversary day, we gather to remember the events of September 11, 2001. Let us not forget that we are God’s people journeying towards God’s kingdom. On this day, violence created chaos, destroyed lives, and generated fear. We remember the suffering born in pain. We remember the media images of frightening scenes and of human terror that are forever burned into our consciousness. We remember with confidence born of faith that this is not God’s way.

All: We remember and journey together to build God’s kingdom.

 Light 1st candle – 8:45 a.m.
First plane hits north tower

One: On this day, lives were lost, peace was shattered, and hope was endangered. We remember the cries of the people caught amid fire and dust, the families whose loved ones never returned home after that day, the shared mourning of a frightened nation We remember the day when the skies were no longer peaceful, but rather threatened with a vision of fear. We remember with confidence that hope is still God’s way.

All: We remember and journey together to build God’s kingdom.

Light 2nd candle – 9:03 a.m.
Second plane hits south tower

One: On this day, strangers became friends, and ordinary people become heroic. We remember courageous men and woman who worked tirelessly to save lives, seek the lost, and heal the wounded. Ours hearts cry out in thanksgiving and in grief for those who rushed headlong into danger and uncertainty to save their fellow human beings – those who placed more value on the lives of others than on their own precious lives.

All: We remember and journey together to build God’s kingdom.

Light 3rd candle – 9:45 a.m.
Third plane hits the Pentagon 

One: On this day, we pray for hearts to be softened and for peace to move lives. We remember men and women living in danger far from home and their families who need God’s peace. We remember women, men, and children around the world who live in constant fear and danger. We remember that God loves all the children of the world.

All: We remember and journey together to build God’s kingdom.

Light 4th candle – 10:05 a.m.
South tower collapses

One: On this day, we pray for God’s kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven. We remember that God’s kingdom is where the last are first, the lost are found, and the weak are made strong. We remember that we are required to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God. We remember that we are called to love our neighbor as ourselves.

All: We remember and journey together to build God’s kingdom.

Light 5th candle – 10:10 a.m.
Flight 93 crashes in Pennsylvania

One: On this day, we work for the kingdom of God on earth; come to the house of the Lord on the high mountain seeking the way of God. We remember that Love comes from the very heart of God embracing all humanity. We remember that true power is born of humility, obedience, and justice. We remember that God’s grace is a gift that gives life to the world.

All: We remember and journey together to build God’s kingdom.

Light 6th candle – 10:28 a.m.
North tower collapses

One: On this day, we remember,

All: We remember and journey together to build God’s kingdom.

One: On this day, we pray.

All: We remember and journey together to build God’s kingdom.

One: On this day, we work.

All: We remember and journey together to build God’s kingdom.


Candles at First Congregational Church UCC – Zumbrota


Candles at The Presbyterian Church of Oronoco

Time of Silence

Scripture reading – Lamentations 3:19-29, read from The Message
19 I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. 20 I remember it all – oh, how well I remember – the feeling of hitting the bottom. 21 But there’s one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: 22 God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. 23 They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! 24 I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over). He’s all I’ve got left. 25 God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. 26 It’s a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. 27 It’s a good thing when you’re young to stick it out through the hard times. 28 When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. 29 Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. 

Hymn – Amen (insert)

Hearing the Stories – Cynthia Tumulty-Ollemar

Hymn #2200 (Sing the Faith) – O Lord, Hear My Prayer

Sharing Our Own Stories – a time to share our own stories of our experience and how those experiences have shaped us
         Where were you?
         What do you remember?
         How did this affect you?

Passing of the Peace

* Song of Peace: Let There Be Peace on Earth (back of the NCH)

Reading – “Who Am I?” by Kimberly Dunne
I am no one special.

I’m the little boy that gives up his favorite teddy bear so that a stranger might be comforted.

I’m the single mother who has been trying to teach her child to sleep in their own bed, who holds them tight long into the night, thanking God it wasn’t her child that died.

I’m the old man, angry and resentful that his military doesn’t want him because of his age.

I’m the teenage girl that spends hours cutting ribbons for others to wear as a symbol of remembrance.

I’m the young man who doesn’t understand why his father was running up the stairs as the building fell, trying to save just one more person, instead of saving himself.

I’m the old woman who will never see her grandchild again.

I’m the little girl, playing with her doll, who can’t understand when someone screams hateful things at her because of where her family is from.

I’m the police officer, trying to keep idiotic reporters safe, when his wife is still among the missing.

I’m the fire fighter that called in sick that day, only to discover that someone else died in his place.

I’m the man who survived the falling building only to learn that his sister and baby niece were in the plane.

I’m the secretary, angered by the seemingly callous response of those around her.

I’m a spelunker, who is climbing down into the remains of a building, hoping to find someone still alive.

I’m the dog handler, searching for bodies, that has to comfort my animal when only death remains.

I’m the woman who stands in line for five hours in order to give blood, hoping to help strangers in need.

I’m the man who gets up and goes to work every day, in spite of the tragedy, because he still has a family to feed.

I’m the first passenger to get back on a plane, even though I’m terrified, because I know somebody has to be first.

Who am I?

I’m nobody special.

I’m just an American.

Hymn #2013 (Sing the Faith) – Bless the Lord

Scripture reading – Psalm 23, read from the New Revised Standard Version
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; 3 he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff— they comfort me 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.

Celebrating the Lord’s Supper – Our tradition in this congregation is to partake of the bread whenever you feel prepared to do so and to hold the wine/juice until all have been served so that we can all partake together. This gives us the chance to participate in this holy mystery as we participate in our faith – both as individuals and as a community.
          Invitation to the Table
Communion Hymn #2261 (Sing the Faith) – Life-Giving Bread
Great Thanksgiving
One: God be with you.
               Many: And also with you.
                One: Lift up your hearts.
               Many: We lift them up to God.
                One: Let us give thanks to God Most High.
               Many: It is right to give our thanks and praise.
          Communion Prayer
Lord’s Prayer: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
          Words of Institution
Sharing the Bread and the Cup
Prayer of Thanksgiving

Hearing the Stories – David Hood

Time of Silence

* Hymn of Response #785 (NCH)
* Prayer of Dedication

Scripture reading – Revelation 21:1-6, read from the Common English Bible
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “Look! God’s dwelling is here with humankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples. God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look! I’m making all things new.” He also said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 Then he said to me, “All is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will freely give water from the life-giving spring.

Reading – “I Hold in My Hands” by Aaron J. Walsh
I hold in my hands …
The dust.
The dust and wreckage of the towers.
Even though I wasn’t there,
I can still feel it.
It has damaged my hands with dirt.
It has damaged my heart with sorrow.
It has damaged my body with fear,
and it has damaged my life with war.

I hold in my hands …
My life.
My life could soon be filled with war,
cruelty at its worst.
Miles away, I can hear the planes’ roaring engines, gliding through the air.

I hold in my hands …
My future.
My life ahead.
Whether it will be filled with war or peace, we will not know.
My future keeps me going from dawn to dusk.

I hold in my hands …
Hope for the future.
Hope for peace.
Hope for my country’s freedom.
And hope for America to win this war on terrorism.

* Charge & Benediction

* Sending Hymn #2156 (Sing the Faith) – Give Peace 


* indicates please rise in body or spirit as you are able

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