Congregation Liturgy (Psalm 126) | Fifth Sunday in Lent (Year C)

I stumbled across the liturgy by Dan Schifeling and was intrigued by the contextual specificity of this prayer. He takes the fortunes that are named in the Psalm and combines them with the narrative of his community. How might you use the language of Psalm 126 to give voice to the grace that God has bestowed to the community which you serve? When God brought our people back from captivity in Babylon, we were like those who dream. Then we shook with laughter, then we shouted for joy! When God came to us in a poor baby born in a stable... When God spoke to us from a mountain top... When God shattered the power of the tomb... When God poured out Spirit from the heavens... When God built our church on a farm field... When God blessed us with children and a church school... When God called us into small groups... When God empowered us to serve the hungry... When God comforted our broken hearts... When God helped our youth build houses for the poor... When God strengthened us in a time of illness... When God joined our voice for justice with other churches... When God inspired us to create wonderful music... When God moved our 3rd & 4th graders to raise a mile of pennies... When God started us thinking about an elevator... When God opened the way for us to welcome all kinds of people... Then we shook with laughter, then we shouted for joy! May we always trust in your goodness, Loving God! May our tears of sorrow water seeds of joy. May our times of tribulation bear a harvest of justice and peace.

~ written by Dan Schifeling, and posted on the WorshipCalls blog.


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.