4th Sunday after the Epiphany (Year C)

Call to Worship

If we speak without love,   1 Cor. 13:1-13
we are nothing more than a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal.
God calls us to speak words of love:
patient, kind, relentless love.
God’s love never ends,
and today we are called to tell that story.
Let us rejoice in the truth
and hope all things together.
And now faith, hope, and love abide.
And the greatest of these is love.
Come, let us worship God!

Prayer of the Day

God of Love,
send your Spirit to infuse your love in our veins
that it may course through our bodies
and bind us together in perfect harmony.
This we pray in your holy and gracious name.  Amen.

Call to Confession

Let us gather before our merciful God
to ask for God’s forgiveness.


O God, our rock and our fortress,         Ps. 71:1-6
you have rescued us so many times from the graves we dig for ourselves.
Time and time again, we have been released, redeemed, and renewed
through nothing more or less than your steadfast love.
Forgive us for the moments when we place our trust elsewhere,
for the times when we try to be our own saviors,
for when we turn our backs on your salvation.
Forgive us our sins, Gracious Lord, and heal us with your mercy.  Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Friends, by the never-ending mercy of our gracious God, our sins are forgiven!
Alleluia!  Amen.

Prayer for Illumination

Holy God,
you touched the mouth of your prophet Jeremiah Jer. 1:9
and instilled your words upon his lips.
Send your Spirit that She might do the same with us
through the hearing and proclamation of your word.  Amen.

Prayers of the People

Let us pray to God, saying:
Merciful God, hear our prayer.

Gracious God,
we give thanks this day for the more than 125 military chaplains in the Presbyterian Church.
Both at home and on the battlefield, they care for those whose calling it is to keep us safe.
Bless their ministry that they might tend to your flock.
Merciful God, hear our prayer.

God who calls us home,
we are reminded, in this week of frigid temperatures,
of those among us who do not have a roof over their heads.
Help us to be a part of a faith that does not accept or normalize
the reality of homelessness in our communities.
Help us to remember that economics and justice are part of the same conversation.
Help us never forget that “justice is what love looks like in public.” (Cornel West)
Merciful God, hear our prayer.

God of Abundance,
with many schools around the country cancelling school due to the weather,
we lift up to you the children who do not have meals when school is out.
We pray for the economically vulnerable among us:
may the homeless have shelter,
may the hungry be fed,
may the unemployed be hired,
and may cycles of poverty be broken.
Merciful God, hear our prayer.

God of Community,
we pray this day for this congregation,
[personal petitions for local congregation(s)]
We also pray for the members of our congregation, and others,
that need your steadfast love this day
Merciful God, hear our prayer.

Giver of Every Blessing,
hear us as we pray the prayer you taught us to pray, saying:  Our Father…

Prayer of Great Thanksgiving

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give our thanks and praise.

God, our Rock and Refuge,
Author of our lives and Giver of every mercy,
we praise you for your redemptive creation
that relentlessly refuses to allow evil to win.
We lift to you our songs of praise
for you are the creator of life,
the redeemer of creation,
and the sustainer of your children.
You turn chaos to beauty,
dust into fertile soil,
and sorrow into joy.
Hear us, gracious God as we lift up your holy name:

Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

We give you thanks, Gracious God,
for the blessed gift of your child, Jesus Christ,
who came to us in the flesh
because you loved us too much to remain apart from us.
Jesus came and preached a dangerous word of redemption,
speaking truth to power,
and subverting the systems that cause injustice and suffering.
Give us the courage to follow his lead
and welcome with open arms the justice that you call us to embody.

We remember how Jesus, on the night he was arrested for threatening the status quo,
gathered with his beloved friends for a final meal.
We remember how Jesus took the bread,
and when he had given thanks,
broke it and gave it to them, saying,
This is my body, which is broken for you.
Do this in remembrance of me.

We remember how after supper, he took a cup, saying,
This cup that is poured out for you
is the new covenant in my blood.
Take, drink, do this in remembrance of me.

With are deepest thanks and truest devotion,
we share this holy meal and proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again.

Pour out your Holy Spirit upon us, Gracious God,
that your presence might stir our hearts to your service.
Seal us in this meal to go out into the world
to serve as your disciples
bringing peace to a violent and broken community.

Until the day you wipe the tears from every eye,
lead us forward in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ,
in whose name we pray.  Amen.


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.