Prayers of the People | Baptism of the Lord | Year C | January 10th, 2016

Prayers of the People

Baptism of the Lord (Year C)

January 10th, 2016

    Baptismal God,
    your grace springs forth creation’s song:
        in the beginning, your spirit moved over the water’s surface;
        during the flood, water carried Noah’s family to safety and creation was reborn;
        on water, Moses floated down the river to bring your people home;
        through water, the Israelites were led and the Egyptians were defeated;
        from water Jesus made wine at the wedding party,
        over water Jesus walked and calmed the chaotic tempest.
    throughout scripture, water is bent to your will
    and used to prove your power over creation.
    We remember how your Son, our savior,
    walked to the river to meet your prophet John,
    how he was baptized with all of them, and all of us,
    how the heavens opened up, and the Spirit descended,
    and your happiness was showered upon all who were there.

    We give you thanks that you find happiness in us,
    for why else would you send your son to save us?
    We give you thanks that your Son was baptized with us,
    that through him our baptisms seal our place within your fold.
    Gracious God,
    surely you know that there are still many within your fold
    that cry out for the fulfillment of baptismal promises…
        for those who feel grief and sadness…
        for those who did not go home for Christmas…
        for those shivering on a cold winter’s night…
        for those who, like you, were born into poverty…
        for those who seek employment…
        for those who have lost employment…
        for those dealing with chronic pain…
    Remind us, God with whom we are baptized,
    that our baptisms seal us to go out and serve those who need your grace.
    Help us to remember that our baptisms are sufficient for our calling.

    Help us to remember that our baptisms are not merely a kodak moment, 
    a hallmark card memory of nostalgia and cuteness,
    but that each baptism is the beginning of faith’s formation,
    a journey that both begins and ends with death and resurrection.
    Keep us strong, keep us faithful,
    lead us beside still waters,
    that we might abide with you and you in us.  
    This we pray in your holy and good name.  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.