Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Thursday, November 26, 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

Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the

fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those

who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of

your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and

the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer, p. 246

Today is Thanksgiving Day. Happy Thanksgiving!

Prayers of thanks and special thanksgiving ceremonies are common among almost all religions after harvests and at other times. The Thanksgiving holiday’s history in North America is rooted in English traditions dating from the Protestant Reformation.

In the English tradition, days of thanksgiving and special thanksgiving religious services became important during the English Reformation in the reign of Henry VIII and in reaction to the large number of religious holidays on the Catholic calendar. Some Puritans wished to completely eliminate all Church holidays, including Christmas and Easter. Can you imagine that?!? Heaven forbid! 

The holidays were to be replaced by specially called Days of Fasting or Days of Thanksgiving, in response to events that the Puritans viewed as acts of Divine providence or intervention. Unexpected disasters or threats of judgment from on high called for Days of Fasting. Special blessings, viewed as coming from God, called for Days of Thanksgiving. For example, Days of Fasting were called on account of drought in 1611, floods in 1613, and plagues in 1604 and 1622. Days of Thanksgiving were called following the victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588 and following the deliverance of Queen Anne in 1705. Pilgrims and Puritans who emigrated from England in the 1620s and 1630s carried the tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving with them to New England.

From Our Prayers of the People 

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 Hurricane Eta in Central America: 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:   Luca, Brittney, Mary Alice, Mia, Wim, Corrie, Doris, Judy, Anne, Louise, Gertrude, Laurel, Greg, Joan.

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

Our Government Leaders: Donald Trump, President of the United States; Joseph Biden, President-elect 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 emeritus 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, Ruth, Cindi, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe.

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  Saskatchewan (Canada), East Ruwenzori (Uganda), East Tennessee (The Episcopal Church).

For all who have died:  especially Porter, Thomas, Carol, Jane, Rossman, Helbert,  Stephen.

For one another.

Something to share

O Great Spirit

whose voice I hear in the winds,

and whose breath gives life to all the world,

hear me! I am small and weak, I need your strength

           And wisdom.

Let me walk in beauty, and make my eyes

           ever behold the red and purple sunset.

Make my hands respect the things you have made

           and my ears sharp to hear your voice.

Make me wise so that I may understand the things

           you have taught my people.

Help me to remain clam and strong

in the face of all that comes towards me.

Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every

           leaf and rock.

Help me seek pure thoughts and act

           with the intention of helping others.

Help me find compassion without

           empathy overwhelming me.

I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,

           but to fight my greatest enemy – myself.

Make me always ready to come to you with clean

           hands and straight eyes.

So when life fades, as the fading sunset,

my spirit may come to you without shame.

Traditional Native American Prayer

News and Updates

If you plan to attend Thanksgiving Eucharist in person this morning, November 26th at 10:00am, to help you understand what to expect, please watch the video below: 

Prayerbook Morning Prayer in Zoom – this morning and every morning.  bJoin our parishioners for an inter-active service of Morning Prayer at 9 am. Time to bring your prayer concerns, especially thanksgivings, will be provided.  (contact Becky for the link:   becky.holder@gmail.com)

The Stewardship campaign is underway with the mailing of pledge materials, which you should receive last week. Please read these materials carefully and prayerfully reflect on your contribution. If you have not received the mailing, please let us know. We need the participation of all members if we are to sustain our ministries, meet unexpected expenditures and continue to provide support for others in our community. You can mail us your pledge or drop it off at the church.  If possible, we hope you can submit your pledge before Thanksgiving. Thank you.

Double Your Generosity This Holiday Season – Sow seeds of resilience this Christmas season with a donation that doubles! Until 12/31, your tax-deductible donation will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $765,000. Now, you can do even more to spread hope and sow seeds of resilience and lasting change when the world needs it most.

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 informationhttps://st-stephens.church/. Most other parish meetings and gatherings are canceled and postponed until further notice.

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.