Prayers of the People - 1st Sunday of Advent - Year C - November 29th, 2015

Here's a responsive Prayers of the People for the 1st Sunday in Advent (Year C), November 29th, 2015.

God of our beginning and our end,
    we confess to you that we live in a world that needs your mercy now more than ever.
    As we celebrate joyfully in anticipation of your coming son,
    we recognize that joy does not come as easily to everyone’s lips.
    So many people are using their lips to cry out for healing in a broken world.
    Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.
    We pray this day especially for children in places of violence,
        who struggle to find happiness and fulfillment,
        who hunger for love and compassion.
        Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

    We pray for women and men who are the victims of domestic violence,
        who endure pain and physical abuse,
        who long for peace and healing.
        Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

    We pray for people who suffer from alcoholism and substance abuse,
        who seek an escape from that which they cannot solve by themselves,
        who despair at seeing no way out.
        Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.
    We pray for worshiping communities of all faiths that seek to heal the world,
        who preach love in the face of hate and welcome the stranger as a friend,
        who work to better themselves and share their blessings with others.
        Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

    We pray for those dear to us who struggle with cancer and other illnesses,
        who desire comfort in the face of constant pain,
        who wait for healing and peace.
        Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

    We pray for those who will call Maureen’s Haven their home this winter,
        who shiver in the cold and fear the unknown,
        who search for people to acknowledge them as human.
        Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

    We pray for those who have lost loved ones recently,
        who grieve the loss of children and parents and other family and friends,
        who find the holidays a difficult time where joy is hard to find.
        Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

    We pray for those who we lift up to you in silence or out loud…
        (personal petitions may be made here)
        Gracious God, be mindful of your mercy.

    We trust that you are a God of righteousness, mercy, and steadfast love.
    We hope for the day when you will wipe away every tear
    and death and pain will be no more.
    Until that day comes, be mindful of your mercy and forget not your children.
    This we pray in you holy and merciful name.  Amen.

Permission is given for use in congregational worship.  Please give the following credit:  "Written by Rev. Stephen M. Fearing -"


Stephen Fearing

Stephen was born in 1988 in Cookeville, TN, where his parents met whilst attending Tennessee Tech. Shortly after, they moved to Dalton, Georgia where they put down roots and joined First Presbyterian Church, the faith family that taught Stephen that he was first and foremost a beloved child of God. It was this community that taught Stephen that it was OK to have questions and doubts and that nothing he could do could every possibly separate him from the love of God. In 1995, his sister, Sarah Kate, joined the family and Stephen began his journey as a life-long musician. Since then, he has found a love of music and has found this gift particularly fitting for his call to ministry. Among the instruments that he enjoys are piano, trumpet, guitar, and handbells. Stephen has always had a love of singing and congregation song. An avid member of the marching band, Stephen was the drum major of his high school's marching band. In 2006, Stephen began his tenure at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC where he majored in Religion and minored in History. While attending PC, Stephen continued to explore his love of music by participating in the Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, Jazz Trio, as well as playing in the PC Handbell ensemble and playing mandolin and banjo PC's very own bluegrass/rock group, Hosegrass, of which Stephen was a founding member (Hosegrass even released their own CD!). In 2010, Stephen moved from Clinton to Atlanta to attend Columbia Theological Seminary to pursue God's call on his life to be a pastor in the PC(USA). During this time, Stephen worked at Trinity Presbyterian Church, Silver Creek Presbyterian Church, Central Presbyterian Church, and Westminster Presbyterian Church. For three years, Stephen served as the Choir Director of Columbia Theological Seminary's choir and also served as the Interim Music Director at Westminster Presbyterian Church. In 2014, Stephen graduated from Columbia with a Masters of Divinity and a Masters of Arts in Practical Theology with an emphasis in liturgy, music, and worship. In July of 2014, Stephen was installed an ordained as Teaching Elder at Shelter Island Presbyterian Church in Shelter Island, NY. Later that year, Stephen married the love of his life, Tricia, and they share their home on Shelter Island with their Golden Doodle, Elsie, and their calico cat, Audrey. In addition to his work with the people who are Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, Stephen currently serves as a commission from Long Island Presbytery to the Synod of the Northeast and, beginning in January of 2016, will moderate the Synod's missions team.