A Call to Worship, Opening Prayer, and Confession inspired by Mark 10:46-52

A Call to Worship, Opening Prayer, and Confession Prayer inspired by the story of the Healing of Blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52, 22nd Sunday after Pentecost, Year B).
Painting by Scott Anderson.  http://www.artobsessions.com/Scott-Anderson.html
Call to Worship
One:     Take heart!  For we are gathered in the Father's presence
Many:   to proclaim the wonders of the Lord.
One:      Get up!  For we are beckoned by the Risen Son
Many:   to respond to grace undeserved.
One:      God is calling us!  For we are united by the Spirit
Many:    to follow Jesus on the way.
One:      Come, let us worship God, as we pray together saying....
Opening Prayer (unison)
Creator of all, Redeemer of all, Sustainer of all,
we are gathered in your presence
to stand side by side with those who have gone before us,
who have lived the mystery of your grace
and responded by following you on the way.
May your Holy Spirit guide us as we follow you
to the places that you are calling your church to be.  Amen.
Prayer of Confession (unison)
Merciful God,
our thoughts and deeds too often
do not reflect the grace you show us.
Our speech and actions too often
do not proclaim your salvation.
Forgive us, Lord, for the sins that we bear
both as individuals and as your Church.
Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on us.
Our teacher, let us see again!
Give us the courage to take heart in your grace.
Give us the strength to get up.
Give us the wisdom to hear your calling.
Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on us.

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.