26th Sunday after Pentecost - Proper 28 (Year B)

Call to Worship

God is our protection, our refuge in times of strife. Ps. 16
We have no good apart from God.

The Lord is our chosen portion and our cup.
We bless the Lord who gives us council.
Keep the Lord always before you.
Therefore, our hearts are glad and our souls rejoice!
Come, let us worship God!

Prayer of the Day

Holy and Merciful God,
we gather before you as your people
to worship your perfect name.
Inspire us this morning to worship you
with full and passionate hearts
for you alone are our chosen portion.  Amen.

Call to Confession

We are called to be penitent before God in all honesty and humility.
Together, let us confess our sins before a God who is eager to forgive.


Gracious and Merciful God,
we are not only convicted by that which we have done,
but by that which we have left undone.
Forgive us for the moments when we’ve stayed silent.
Forgive us for the moments when we’ve chosen comfort over justice.
Forgive us for the moments when we’ve done what’s easy instead of what’s right.
Give us courage to respond to your Gospel
not just in the moments when it is convenient
but especially in the moments when it’s the hardest thing to do. Amen.

Assurance of Pardon

Friends, we worship a God who is slow to anger
and abounding in steadfast love.
In the name of Jesus, I declare to you, our sins are forgiven.
Alleluia! Amen.

Prayer for Illumination

God of All Wisdom,
gather our hearts around your Word
that we might be transformed by its reading
and inspired to follow you in word and deed. Amen.

Prayers of the People

Let us pray to God, saying:
Caring God, provoke us to love and good deeds. Heb 10:24

As we approach the holiday of Thanksgiving,
remind us that true thanksgiving is not a single day of the year
but an eternal season of gratitude, a lifestyle that we practice our entire lives.
Fill our hearts to the brim with a sense of the magnitude of your grace in our world.
And give us the courage to respond to that truth by spreading it around.
Caring God, provoke us to love and good deeds.

We pray this day for this congregation,
as we look to the end of 2018 and turn our heads to a new year
and a new chapter in the life of the people who are [name of congregation].
Help us be grateful for the ways you have been present with us this year
and open our hearts to the new things that you will bring us in the next one.
Caring God, provoke us to love and good deeds.

We pray with Thanksgiving this day for the staff of this congregation,
[pray for staff by name].
Bless them and the work they do.
Caring God, provoke us to love and good deeds.

We pray this day for our sisters and brothers whose lives have been lost
in the tragic California wildfires.
We pray for those who have survived but whose lives have been altered forever.
We pray that the emergency personnel and firefighters may do their jobs
safely and that they may return home to their families.
Caring God, provoke us to love and good deeds.

We pray this day for those in our congregation who are struggling with health issues…Caring God, provoke us to love and good deeds.

Hear us, Heavenly Parent, as we pray to you
as your child 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.