Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Monday, November 2, 2020

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Staying Safe and Staying Connected

Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,

We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!

Today’s Prayer

O God, the Maker and Redeemer of all believers: Grant to the faithful departed the unsearchable benefits of the passion of your Son; that on the day of his appearing they may be manifested as your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

 Holy Women, Holy Men, p. 665

Today is the Commemoration of All Faithful Departed – also known as All Souls’ Day and the Day of the Dead

Each year on November 1, the Episcopal Church celebrates All Saints’ Day. On the following day, November 2, the church celebrates the Commemoration of All Faithful Departed.

What is the difference between these two observances?

“In the New Testament, the word ‘saints’ is used to describe the entire membership of the Christian community,” explains Holy Women, Holy Men (Church Publishing, 2010). “From very early times, however, the word ‘saint’ came to be applied primarily to persons of heroic sanctity.”

So, technically, All Saints’ Day, on November 1, includes all deceased Christians; however, historically, there has been a strong inclination to remember and honor our personal loved ones on a separate day.

In the Catholic Church this remembrance on the day after All Saints’ Day is called All Souls’ Day, when the bereaved have the opportunity to offer prayers and masses for loved ones who have died. However, this practice was rejected by many Protestant reformers because the theology behind the observance was associated with the medieval doctrine of Purgatory along with the practice of paying for masses to be said for the dead to assist their souls into heaven.

At the time of the English Reformation in the mid 16th century, All Souls’ Day was integrated into the celebration of All Saints’ Day in the Church of England. But by the 19th century, some parishes influenced by the Anglo Catholic Revival reinstated the observance of All Souls’ Day on November 2. The 1979 Book of Common Prayer officially restored the observance in the Episcopal Church, renaming November 2 as the Commemoration of All Faithful Departed.

As Holy Women, Holy Men notes, although the observance had been eliminated for hundreds of years, “a renewed understanding of its meaning has led to a widespread acceptance of this commemoration among Anglicans, and to its inclusion as an optional observance in the calendar of the Episcopal Church.”

From Our Prayers of the People

Today, let us pray:

For the special needs and concerns of our congregation. 

We remember people throughout the world: in places of war and strife, especially refugees and all victims of violence and oppression.

For the just and proper use of your creation: for the victims of hunger, fear, injustice, and oppression.

For those affected by the wild fires in the west and Hurricane Delta in the south: for those who are grieving the loss of homes, possessions and loved ones, that their safety and security may be restored.

For comfort and healing for all who are affected by the Coronavirus:  for physicians, nurses, and all others who minister to the sick and the suffering, may God grant them wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience, and may God keep them healthy and safe.

For all essential workers: for police, firefighters, EMTs, postal workers, sanitation workers, grocery personnel, delivery and transport workers, and all who must report to work because what they do is essential for our well-being, health, and safety.

For all historical acts of injustice and oppression: especially those perpetuated against native, Black, Hispanic and various Asian Americans in this abundant land, that we may recognize racism in ourselves, in our church, in our society, and the times we have failed to take action.

For those on the Parish Prayer Chain:  Mary Frances, Jim, Eunice, Jane, Bruce, John, Audrey, Bill, Stephanie, Hank, Nancy.

For those who are homebound: Stephen, Joan, Janet and Marilyn.

Our Government Leaders: Donald Trump, President of the United States; Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York State; Gary McCarthy, Mayor of Schenectady.

Our Church Leaders: Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop, William Love, and Daniel Herzog our bishops; James and Dennie our priests; Pat our deacon and Allison our Lay Reader.

Those who are imprisoned: those particularly vulnerable at this time, especially the women in the Schenectady County Jail.

Members who request our prayers for strength and healing: Budd,  Jean, Cindi, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe.

For Evan Love – today is his birthday!

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: Rochester (England), Rochester (The Episcopal Church), Kushtia (Bangladesh).

For all who have died:  especially August, Helen, Earl, Pauline.

For one another.

Something to share

Death Is Nothing At All

Death is nothing at all. 

It does not count. 

I have only slipped away into the next room. 

Nothing has happened. 

Everything remains exactly as it was. 

I am I, and you are you, 

and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. 

Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. 

Call me by the old familiar name. 

Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. 

Put no difference into your tone. 

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. 

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. 

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. 

Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. 

Life means all that it ever meant. 

It is the same as it ever was. 

There is absolute and unbroken continuity. 

What is this death but a negligible accident? 

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? 

I am but waiting for you, for an interval, 

somewhere very near, 

just round the corner. 

All is well. 

Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. 

One brief moment and all will be as it was before. 

How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Henry Scott-Holland

A Season of Prayer: For a Civil Election

O Lord our Governor, bless the leaders of our land, that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to other nations of the earth. Lord, keep this nation under your care.

To the President and members of the Cabinet, to Governors of States, Mayors of Cities, and to all in administrative authority, grant wisdom and grace in the exercise of their duties.  Give grace to your servants, O Lord.

To Senators and Representatives, and those who make our laws in States, Cities, and Towns, give courage, wisdom, and foresight to provide for the needs of all our people, and to fulfill our obligations in the community of nations. Give grace to your servants, O Lord.

To the Judges and officers of our Courts give understanding and integrity, that human rights may be safeguarded and justice served. Give grace to your servants, O Lord.

And finally, teach our people to rely on your strength and to accept their responsibilities to their fellow citizens, that they may elect trustworthy leaders and make wise decisions for the well-being of our society; that we may serve you faithfully in our generation and honor your holy Name. For yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Amen.

–    The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations

News and Updates

All Souls Remembrance – St. Stephen’s is remembering in a special way the departed. Here ia a slideshow of the names of the departed from our community:

Reminders                                

If you have an update/news, a prayer or poem or something inspirational you would like us to share with the congregation, please send it to us. Please also send us any prayer requests. We will incorporate these into the Morning Prayers as best we can: james.ross.mcd@gmail.com.

Prayerbook Morning Prayer in Zoom – each morning.  Join Dennie and me for an inter-active service of Morning Prayer at 9 am. Time to bring your prayer concerns will be provided.  (contact Becky Holder for the link:   becky.holder@gmail.com)

If you need a prayerbook, and are not in a position to purchase one, please contact me: james.ross.mcd@gmail.com. I will make sure you have your own Book of Common Prayer. 

Our church campus is only partially open due to the current pandemic.  Please see our website for further information: https://st-stephens.church/. Most other parish meetings and gatherings are canceled and postponed until further notice on our website.

Our new office email is: office@st-stephens.church.

Our goal is for all of us to stay in touch and connected in this time of isolation.

Share this news, and spread some love, not the virus!

Irish Blessing

May the road rise up to meet you,

May the wind be at your back,

May the sun shine upon your face,

he rains fall soft upon soft upon your fields,

And until we meet again

May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Be of good courage. We are in this together, and we will be together again soon. God bless you and may God be with us in the days ahead.