5th Sunday after the Epiphany (Year C)

Call to Worship

By the grace of God, we are called to this place.
We are summoned to worship with joy and thanksgiving.
By the grace of God, we are united in a common mission.
We are summoned to bring our whole selves to the work of worship.
By the grace of God, we are welcomed just as we are - beautiful and broken.
We are summoned to give praise to our Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer.
Come let us worship the Triune God.

Prayer of the Day

Giver of Every Grace and Goodness,           Ps. 138:8
bless us with your presence today
that your purpose might be fulfilled in our worship 
and our service to your holy name.  Amen.

Call to Confession

We bring all of ourselves to worship - our beauty and our brokenness.
Let us confess to our brokenness that we might be forgiven by our merciful God.

Confession

Holy and Gracious God,
it is far easier to judge the sin of someone else
than it is for us to accept the sin that belongs to us.
Forgive us for the times when we’ve been judgmental.
Forgive us for the times when we’ve been self-righteous.
Forgive us for the times when we’ve fallen short of the mercy you show us.
Heal us.  Repair us.  Renew us.
This we pray in your merciful name.  Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Peter once said to Jesus:  Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful person!             Luke 5:8
Jesus did just the opposite - he walked with Peter and loved him relentlessly.
God does the same with us.
I announce to you this day, our sins are forgiven.
Alleluia!  Amen.

Prayer for Illumination

Triune God,         1 Cor. 15:2
help us hear your holy word
and hold firmly to its message
through the power of your Spirit.  Amen.

Prayers of the People

Let us pray to God, saying:
Holy God, stir our hearts with your grace.

In this Black History Month,
we give gratitude for the gifts of ministry
that our sisters and brothers of color share with us.
For the theologians, elders, musicians, missionaries, pastors, and others
who have shaped us and continue to challenge us to become the Beloved Community,
we give thanks.
Help those of us who are not persons of color to respect their leadership
and value their stories in order that we might embody the unity of the Body of Christ.
Holy God, stir our hearts with your grace.

We pray for those who struggle with addiction and for their families and friends.
We ask that they may find the help they need and that they may not be shamed for their illness.
Help us be a community of support for those who are drowning in substance abuse.
Holy God, stir our hearts with your grace.

We pray for those among us who have elderly parents with health problems.
Our parents have done so much for us and, for many of us,
the time has come for us to care for them.
For those who feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities before them, we pray.
Holy God, stir our hearts with your grace.

We pray for all those who need your love and mercy
who we lift up to you now in silence…
Holy God, stir our hearts with your grace.

Hear us, Gracious God,
as we pray the prayer you taught us to pray, saying:  Our Father…

Comment

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.