Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!
O God, who by the child-bearing of Mary hast bestowed upon all humanity the rewards of everlasting life: grant, we beseech thee, that we may know the succor of her intercession, through whom we have been found worthy to receive the author of life, even Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee.Adapted from the People’s Anglican Missal
Today is the Feast of the Conception of Mary
The Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary was celebrated in the Eastern Church from about 600 onwards – but it was from England that it was introduced into the Western Calendar. First celebrated in Winchester in about 1030, it spread from there to Canterbury and Exeter. The Normans treated it as an English eccentricity and stamped it out. According to St. Anselm’s Saxon biographer Eadmer, the Conception was celebrated by those of ‘purer simplicity and quite humble devotion’ and suppressed by those having ‘greater learning and spurning the simplicity of the poor’. Eadmer’s campaign resulted in the Conception being restored to the Canterbury Province’s Calendar by 1129, and it was eventually adopted more generally. Then, it was simply the Conception: the doctrine of ‘immaculate conception’ came later with its own dogma and doctrine. But clearly there was thought to be something special and important about Our Lady’s conception – otherwise it would not have been celebrated at all.
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 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: Cindi, Doug, Hugh, Debby, Irene, Jeanne, June, Theresa, Josh, Amy, Greg, Donald K., Craig, Donald, Maureen, Joseph .
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: Tom, Budd, Ruth, Cindi, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe.
For Vicki – today is her birthday!
For all the blessings of this life.
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: Shyogwe (Rwanda), Egba (Nigeria), Lafia (Nigeria).
For all who have died: Albert, George, Fred, Frances, Helen.
For one another.
Remembering That It Happened Once
Remembering that it happened once,
We cannot turn away the thought,
As we go out, cold, to our barns
Toward the long night’s end, that we
Ourselves are living in the world
It happened in when it first happened,
That we ourselves, opening a stall
(A latch thrown open countless times Before),
might find them breathing there,
Foreknown: the Child bedded in straw,
The mother kneeling over Him,
The husband standing in belief
He scarcely can believe, in light
That lights them from no source we see,
An April morning’s light, the air
Around them joyful as a choir.
We stand with one hand on the door,
Looking into another world
That is this world, the pale daylight
Coming just as before, our chores
To do, the cattle all awake,
Our own frozen breath hanging
In front of us; and we are here
As we have never been before,
Sighted as not before, our place
Holy, although we knew it not.
– Wendell Berry
Something to share
Mother! whose virgin bosom was uncrost
With the least shade of thought to sin allied;
Woman! Above all women glorified,
Our tainted nature’s solitary boast;
Purer than foam on central ocean tost;
Brighter than eastern skies at daybreak strewn
With fancied roses, than the unblemished moon
Before her wane begins on heaven’s blue coast;
Thy image falls to earth. Yet some, I ween,
Not unforgiven the suppliant knee might bend,
As to a visible Power, in which did blend
All that was mixed and reconciled in Thee
Of mother’s love with maiden purity,
Of high with low, celestial with terrene!William Wordsworth
News and Updates
Mass Food Distribution – Volunteers Needed! Catholic Charities is looking for volunteers to help in the packing and distribution of food items on December 10th at Crosstown Plaza, Watt Street, Schenectady. Masks and gloves will be provided and volunteers can take a box of food items as needed. Volunteers are asked to arrive at 8:15 AM. Interested volunteers can RSVP at email@example.com.
Share a Christmas Picture – Since Christmas is going to look very different this year from most Christmas’ past, many of us may not get a chance to see each other. We want to find a way to stay connected with one another and “see” each other, in some capacity, at the holidays. If you would like to participate please send a picture and a brief description (including name(s)) of one of the following:
· Yourself or your family getting ready for Christmas
· A special decoration that you’ve put up
· A Christmas tradition
· Any other creative ideas preparing for Christmas
Pictures and descriptions can be sent to Office@St-Stephens.Church and should be received by 12/13.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 for the link: email@example.com).
If you need a prayerbook, and are not in a position to purchase one, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
Our new office email is: email@example.com.
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!
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.