2nd Sunday of Advent (Year C)

Call to Worship

Christ is coming!
Valleys will be filled and mountains will be made low! Luke 3:1-6
Christ is coming!
The crooked shall be made straight and the rough ways will be made smooth!
Christ is coming!
All flesh shall see the salvation of God!
Siblings in Christ, we have work to do.
Let us prepare the way of the Lord.
Come, let us worship God.

Prayer of the Day

God of Peace,
still our hearts this morning
as we gather to prepare the way for your Child.
Help us let go of what is weighing us down
and open our arms to welcome Emmanuel. Amen.

Call to Confession

John the Baptist, that wild man in the wilderness,
proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Together, let us confess our sins and turn to God.


I confess to the ways I have damaged my relationships
with God and one another
by what I have done and what I have left undone.
I wish to be forgiven and set free.
Know that you are ferociously loved.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we declare to you that you are forgiven.
Thanks be to God!  Amen.

We confess to the ways we have damaged our relationships
with God and one another
by what we have done and what we have left undone.
We wish to be forgiven and set free.
Know that you are ferociously loved.
In the name of Jesus Christ, I declare to you that you are forgiven.
Thanks be to God!  Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Friends, our God desires us to live lives of peace
and, because we have been forgiven,
we can now live such lives with the help of God.
Alleluia! Amen.

Prayer for Illumination

Holy Spirit,
come to this place
and settle your wisdom on our hearts
that we may hear what you are saying the Church today. Amen.

Prayers of the People

Let us pray to God, saying:
God of Harmony, guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:79

Prince of Peace,
when you first created the world,
you intended us to live in peace with one another.
But we have fallen terribly short of that intention.
We have made idols out of warfare and weapons,
and have profited from the conflicts of other nations.
Help us turn our swords into plowshares.
God of Harmony, guide our feet into the way of peace.

Wonderful Counselor,
we pray for our nation and long for the day when conflict will cease.
We pray for communities that have been ravaged by gun violence,
for families that have been torn apart by domestic violence,
for those who suffer as a result from systemic racism,
and for those who find themselves in patterns of unhealthy relationships.
Counsel us, Gracious God, that we may live in the peace you intend.
God of Harmony, guide our feet into the way of peace.

Everlasting Parent,
we pray for the children among us,
the most vulnerable of society.
We pray for children who do not have shelter and clothing,
for children who do not have a meal when school is out,
for children who are not given the resources they need to thrive,
for children who are the victims of bullying and abuse,
and for children whose desperate parents seek better opportunities elsewhere.
God of Harmony, guide our feet into the way of peace.

Mighty God,
we cannot save ourselves,
but through the live, death, and resurrection of your only child,
we rejoice that we have not been left to our own devices.
We praise you, Lord, for you are our sole redemption
and we, your beloved and broken children, give thanks.
God of Harmony, guide our feet into the way of peace.

Emmanuel, God-With-Us, hear our prayer
as we pray as you taught us to pray, saying: Our Father…

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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.