About Gifts in Open Hands

Welcome to Gifts in Open Hands – A Blog for a Pentecost Year

Nine years ago, on Pentecost Kathy Wonson Eddy and I published the anthology Gifts in Open Hands – More Worship Resources for the Global Community (Pilgrim Press, 2011). I began this blog to highlight prayers, poems and liturgical resources from that book and invited the one hundred and forty-seven contributors representing forty-three countries to share new work. Some were in English; many more were in other languages. 

Since this beginning, Maria Mankin and I have published From the Psalms to the Cloud — Connecting to the Digital Age (Pilgrim Press,2013) and A Child Laughs — Prayers of Justice and Hope (Pilgrim Press, 2017) both anthologies with a wonderful globally diverse community of writers. I have re-shaped this blog to include a wider range of contributors and more of my own work, including my new book of poetry Christmas Eve at the Epsom Circle McDonald’s and Other Poems, and I encourage others to share poetry, liturgy and prose reflections.

As each year Pentecost returns, I am recommitted to the fresh wind, new language and descending Spirit of hope that shares a common story. I had originally come up with the book title “Gifts in Open Hands” and it continues to express what I hope shall be the content of this blog.

Richard Bott, liturgical writer and United Church of Canada pastor wrote to me in a personal letter,  Sometimes I think that we have the best job in the world. The rest of the time I *know* it. Where else could we have the space to play with words for the purpose of helping people encounter themselves, their neighbors, and the One that is greater than the sum of what is?

I agree with Richard. How could we have more fun?

This blog has two very fluidly regular posts, on Mondays when I will share my poetry or liturgy, and on Thursday, when I will share guest posts that highlight the poetry, prose, liturgy, essays or stories of others. In addition there will certainly be many other occasions that will call for prayers or in which I’ve received a contribution that fits best during the week.  I am also willing to write for an issue that you lift up and try to do so when I receive it. Please send your request to giftsinopenhands@gmail.com

I hope that some of you may want to contribute to this blog, willing to let others be blessed by the gift of your words. Please send your submissions to giftsinopenhands@gmail.com. If I am able to use your work, I will notify you by email immediately and then again after it is on the blog so that you see it there. Please be aware that others will given permission to use your work as outlined here.

These are, indeed, gifts. Permission to copy these prayers, poems and worship resources is freely given for church bulletins, newsletters, congregational and educational use, and even personal blogs, as long as there is appropriate acknowledgement. There is no need to contact copyright holders. For my work, adaptations with integrity by abridging, altering to express or include a local community concern, or gently re-writing to change the season of the year honors my original intention.

Reprinting the resources in this blog in any other way, such as a book, a curriculum, or a workshop for which a fee is charged requires additional permissions of the copyright holders. I handle requests for my work and will put you in touch with other writers. These are gifts to be honored and remembered, to be used for your spiritual growth and to enrich communities of faith of which you are a part.

15 Responses to About Gifts in Open Hands

  1. margo dahl says:

    So good to hear of this fine, hope-filled program! Three Cheers for the good in the world and for God’s love in the hearts of the people. May our prayers help to overcome the things that make us less than whole. ‘glad I subscribed! md

    • Maren says:

      Thank you so much for your good words. These are early weeks of the blog, but I must say that the prayers and poems are nurturing me as I choose them!I’m not very skilled at gathering new readers — working on it!!! — so please pass this on to anyone you know who would like it, and thank you for reading and following.

      • Anne Cohen says:

        Love this site – thank you Maren! I contributed once to one of your collections. Hope to send you some stuff along the way for this blog. I just rewrote the liturgy for Installation of a Minister. Can you use it? xxoo Anne Cohen

      • Maren says:

        Absolutely. Send it to giftsinopenhands@gmail.com Obviously I don’t use long, long things or sermons, but the sharing of liturgy is just what I like! Thanks so much for following.

  2. Rosalie Sugrue says:

    Hi Maren, I was a contributor to GIOH and as a very active lay preacher make frequent use of this excellent resource. I have just been told about this site. I am continually preparing liturgies, prayers and reflections have material to offer. I have written a reflection a poem concerning the couple who lived at Emmaus that may be of current interest but I do not know how to make a ‘post’ – would you please enlighten me. Rosalie Sugrue NZ.

    • Maren says:

      Hello Rosalie, I am so sorry that you are just now hearing about this site. I had emailed you earlier and perhaps your email has changed, although nothing bounced back to tell me so or something happened that destroyed the communications. I used your Christmas characters and emailed you that I did so. People were very responsive. Please email me at the giftsinopenhands@gmail.com address with materials and I will post them. I would love to see the Emmaus ones. In general I try to work ahead a few weeks so that people can use them in their own worship. Such a joy to hear from you.

  3. Elizabeth Sterner says:

    Hi Maren:

    We would like to use the image from the cover of Gifts With Open Hands for our worship bulletin. Is this okay and if so, who is the the artist?

    Thank you

    • Maren says:

      He Qi is the artist. Feel free to use for one time congregational worship. More use (workshop, conference etc.) go to to He Qi’s website and get permission. He is a great person and will get back immediately. As you will see from the book, worship use for everything is permitted freely and for all other uses, go to the index in the back to see which contributors retained copyright. Those folks contact directly — I can help and for the others go to Pilgrim.

      • Sue Ellen Hall says:

        I just noticed this….. Small world story alert. He Qi was teaching art at Nanjing Theological Seminary in 1986 when our group of Amity teachers (the second) arrived. He is a great person! Love that his art is now global….

      • Maren says:

        I was in touch with HeQi back in 1990 when we brought his papercut art into widespread appreciation in the US with Gifts of Many Cultures, Kathy and my first global worship book. Remarkable gifts and so very gracious!

  4. Elizabeth Sterner says:

    Thank you so much!

  5. wonderful blog-thank for you gifts to us-many blessings…

  6. Vicky Tusken says:

    Please add me to your biweekly posts

    • Maren says:

      Thank you. I am delighted to add you to my posts. They are not as regular as bi-weekly — sometimes more frequent and sometimes less frequent. I appreciate your presence.

  7. Debra Brauner says:

    I have appreciated your poems and worship resources for quite some time. I recently shared several of your poems at a virtual “Open Mic Poetry Reading Night” hosted by my church. I wonder if you might consider being a guest poet and sharing some of your work at one of our virtual poetry nights?

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