East Brentwood Presbyterian Church

January 1, 2017 

A New Year Virtual Worship Service

Podcast and Liturgy for Individual Discernment and for

Use When Family and Friends Gather Together 

As we close out 2016 and step into 2017, we invite you to join us in this virtual worship service. We have created this podcast around the theme of “Engagement”. We hope you will to listen to John Hilley, the pastor at East Brentwood Presbyterian Church in Brentwood, Tenn., and Nate Strasser, EBPC's Music Director, as they talk share reflections on this theme. Nate plays three pieces, one of which is a piece he composed for this virtual service called “Aleppo.” It is a very timely piece, and we hope you will take to the time to listen and reflect on this important piece of music.

How to use the podcast and liturgy: First, we encourage you to read the text below from Brian Wren’s hymn “This is a Day of New Beginnings” and then reflect on the opening words and the Scripture passages following the hymn. Secondly we invite you to listen to the podcast and conclude with the Closing Prayer. 

Opening Music

“This is the Day of New Beginnings”

Brian Wren


This is a day of new beginnings,

time to remember, and move on,

time to believe what love is bringing,

laying to rest that pain that’s gone.


For by the life and death of Jesus,

love’s mighty Spirit, now as then,

can make for us a world of difference

as faith and hope are born again.


Then let us, with the Spirit’s daring,

step from the past, and leave behind

our disappointment, guilt and grieving,

seeking new paths, and sure to find.


In faith, we’ll gather around the table

to show and share what love can do.

This is a day of new beginnings;

our God is making all things new. 

Opening Words

Before I/we speak, God is here, within us and among us, knocking at our door.

Living God, open what is closed that the Spirit may come in.

Open my/our hands, to give, and to greet.

Open our minds to new truth and old wisdom.

Open our hearts to new hope and old assurance.

Open what is closed that the Spirit may come in.


Scripture Lessons                           Psalm 8:1-9 (NRSV), Matthew 25:31-46 (NRSV)

Psalm 8

1 O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.

2 Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.

3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established;

4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?

5 Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor.

6 You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet,

7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,

8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

9 O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Matthew 25:31-46

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 

37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” 

The podcast:
0:00     Intro – “This is a Day of New Beginnings (Beginnings)” – Brian Wren, played by Nate Strasser
0:59     “New Year Traditions” by Rev. John Hilley
3:35     Nate’s Artistic Comments on the opening hymn
4:39     “Engagement”, a reflection by Rev. Hilley
10:01   Nate’s thoughts on “Christmas in Sarajevo”
10:50   “Christmas in Sarajevo” - played by Nate Strasser
12:37   Nate’s thoughts about “Aleppo”, his original composition
13:35   “Aleppo” by Nate Strasser
16:16   John’s thoughts – “Resolve”
19:46   Closing Music by Nate Strasser
20:46   End

Podcast                                                     "Engagement"

(Click on the title above to hear our reflection on the New Year’s Theme.)

Closing Prayer

God of Light, You brought forth light as Your first act of creation. You brought forth light and darkness did not overcome it and You brought forth light in the form of Your Son, Jesus the Christ, who continues to shine the light of hope in a world of darkness and despair. You have called us to bring Your light to the world. As we prepare for this New Year, help us to shine Your light more brilliantly and bright in our lives. Call us into the ways of your Son’s love, peace, mercy and justice, so that we might share the light of hope with this world in this New Year. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.



Go in peace,

love and care for one another in the name of Christ,


and may the blessing of God

who established heaven and earth

fill your hearts and pour forth from you upon all people,


may the blessing of the Lord

who is born anew each Christmas time

call you towards a new tomorrow;


and may the blessing of the Spirit

who refreshes and renews all creation

guide and lead you as you enter the new year. Amen



A New Year’s Day exercise for children: http://ministry-to-children.com/new-years-coloring-page-let-your-light-shine/

Credits and Copyright info:

“This is a Day of New Beginnings (Beginnings)” by Brian Wren

CCLI Song # 231043

Brian Arthur Wren | Carlton Raymond Young

© Words: 1983, 1987 Hope Publishing Company

Music: 1987 Hope Publishing Company

For use solely with the SongSelect Terms of Use. All rights reserved. www.ccli.com

CCLI License # 2212591


In the podcast section where John talks about “resolve” he shares thoughts that were influenced by Dr. M. Craig Barnes, President of Princeton Theological Seminary in his article in The Christian Century (See “Faith Matters”, December 20, 2016).

https://re-worship.blogspot.ca/2011/12/new-years-worship-resource-index.html  was used for some of the liturgical resources.


John Hilley, Pastor: John became East Brentwood Presbyterian’s Minister in October 2013, returning to pastoral work after years of nonprofit leadership and owning a consulting and software business called Patmos, LLC. He brings a strong skill set and experience in strategic planning, organizational leadership, and stewardship.  He first came to Nashville in 1994 to serve as Senior Minister of The Downtown Presbyterian Church (1994-2000) and he has served other churches in the Middle Tennessee area, including Priest Lake Presbyterian Church.  His work in the Presbyterian Church has taken him to work with churches in South Africa, New York City, New Jersey, and Iowa.  About the church, John says: “God’s love is the mortar by which the community is built: our focus upon worship, education, and service is our proclamation.” He holds degrees from Wake Forest University and Princeton Theological Seminary and has taken post-graduate fellowship studies at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Nate Strasser, Music Director: Nate discovered his passion for music at the age of 4 when he began to study piano. At 8 years of age Nate was selected to perform at the International Music Workshop in Scotland and again in Austria at the age of 10. He received his Bachelor's Degree in Jazz Piano Performance from West Virginia University. Nate has worked extensively with bell choirs, children’s choirs, adult choirs, and praise bands. He has also composed a number of sacred works including a 2015 Commission to write a work for SATB choir, brass ensemble, and percussion that will premiere in the fall. In 2013, Nate was one of twenty candidates worldwide accepted into the Scoring for Motion Pictures and Graduate Television Program at the University of Southern California.

East Brentwood Presbyterian Church is a community church located in Brentwood, Tennessee, and made up of a loving, welcoming family of believers in honest conversation with God. We seek to emulate the ministry of Jesus through compassionate service, with stimulating and relevant exploration of God’s Word, and by sharing that Word and God’s many blessings with our neighbors in Middle Tennessee and around the world.