A Prayer for Late in Lent | Fifth Sunday in Lent (Year C)

The following prayer is from the United Methodist Church. God of the desert, God of the forty years of wandering, God of the forty days in the wilderness, bring us to the waters of the Jordan and into Easter's promise. Sustain us in the remaining days of this Lenten desert so that at last we rejoice in the contrasts of fasting and feasting, of stones one side of the waters and of milk and honey on the other.

Steady us so that we are present to the rigors of each day's trek. Let unsought silences and deprivations be occasions to "be overruled and swallowed up" in your vast action. Turn hungers for the things that we left behind in Egypt into spiritual leanness glad for the Bread of Heaven. Increase in us hospitality to the stranger. Convert us as we journey with candidates for baptism and confirmation. Subdue the enemy within us as you make peace in all the world. Work repentance in your church until our unity in Christ overpowers our cherished divisions. Go before us as the desert gives way to Easter's Alleluia. Amen.

Quotation from Evelyn Underhill's "Abba" based on her retreat address on the Lord's Prayer.

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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.