Gathering in


A simple call to worship for a multicultural, multigenerational gathering which involves participants wrapping a ball of string around their wrist or waist before passing on to the next person until the entire community is literally joined together.

The “gathering” words below can be prayed repetitively until the binding is complete or once followed by a chorus such as “Bind us together, Lord,” or similar.

Father, we come from different places,
with different names
and different faces.
As we pass this piece of string:
gather us in.
Gather us in.

Jesus, we come with different creeds,
with differing opinions
and different needs.
As we pass this piece of string:
make us all kin.
Make us all kin.

Spirit, we come with different stories,
with different joys
and different worries.
As we pass this piece of string:
let peace begin.
Let peace begin.


A few necessary notes on “detangling” ….

Depending on the intent of the entire service (and length), you could keep people connected for it’s duration with untangling happening with twirling or turn-taking or careful scissor work – often with much accompanying laughter outside the gathering afterwards. This works best with participants attached at the waist during the service and can illustrate quite practically how inconvenient community can be and how intentional we have to be about maintaining our connections with one another.

If there are lots of little ones who might need toilet breaks or concern about people’s comfort or the connection interfering with other parts of worship, then the string should be wrapped in a single loop around people’s wrists. They can easily slip their wrist out at the desired point in the service. These can be replaced by prayer cards with thanksgivings or requests that they write but that requires a lot of extra preparation – punching holes in the cards for the string to be slipped through, providing pens etc. but it can be a tangible reminder of the experience if hung in the foyer or sanctuary afterwards.

About Yvonne Ghavalas

A minister in the Uniting Church in Australia, sharer of stories, sandwich enthusiast, seeker, and sometimes fool (archaic), sporadic blogger at

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