1st Sunday after Christmas Day (Year C)

Call to Worship

Praise the Christ-child, the newborn Prince of Peace!
We have been redeemed. We are no longer afraid.
Praise to the God who has come to us in the flesh!
We are being created. We are no longer afraid.
Praise to the Spirit who calls us together to serve!
We will be sustained. We are no longer afraid.
Come, let us worship God!

Prayer of the Day

God of our Christmas joy,
break forth, O beauteous heavenly light
and illumine our way to the paths you would have us tread,
in the name of the Christ-child, Emmanuel, we pray. Amen.

Call to Confession

As we reach the end of one year and prepare to greet a new one,
let us confess the ways we have fallen short of God’s commandments.


Giver of Every Mercy, Col. 3:12-17
you call us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness,
humility, meekness, and patience.
However, we often clothe ourselves with different attire:
apathy, hatred, arrogance, and brashness.
Help us to bear one another and forgive each other
even as we ask forgiveness from you.
Help us to don the clothing of love,
which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
This we pray in the name of your Child, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Siblings in Christ,
hear now the good news of the Gospel:
through the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ,
our sins are forgiven. Alleluia! Amen.

Prayer for Illumination

Holy Spirit, as did the people in the Temple that day long ago, Luke 2:41-52
may we gather to listen to the wisdom of the Christ-child
through the reading of your holy word. Amen.

Prayers of the People

Let us pray to God, saying:
Gracious God, bind us together in perfect harmony. Col. 3:14

As we gather in the waning hours of 2018,
hear us as we gather in your name
to pray for those concerns on our hearts this day.
Gracious God, bind us together in perfect harmony.

We pray for those who are traveling to visit their families during this Christmas break.
Keep safe those who travel on the roads and in the air.
Give the students and school workers among us
the rest they need before they begin a new semester next week.
Be with those who are journeying through the holidays for the first time
without a loved one who was lost this past year.
Gracious God, bind us together in perfect harmony.

As we turn to a new year,
we pray that our nation might learn from the violence and division
we’ve experienced far too often in the year past.
May 2019 be a year of kindness, compassion, and, above all, justice.
Gracious God, bind us together in perfect harmony.

We pray for the politicians who have been elected and will start their terms in the new year.
May they conduct their work with humility, honor, decency, and righteousness.
We pray especially for [petitions may be made for local politicians beginning new terms].
Gracious God, bind us together in perfect harmony.

We pray for this congregation,
[petitions may be made for the congregation as it looks toward a new year].
Help us as we begin a new year.
Lead us onward with intelligence, imagination, enthusiasm, love.
Gracious God, bind us together in perfect harmony.

We pray for those on our hearts this day
whom we lift up to you in silence…
Gracious God, bind us together in perfect harmony.

Hear us now, Mighty Counselor,
as we pray the prayer you taught us to pray, saying: Our Father…


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.