Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Saturday, December 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

We give you thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the

first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed

for his persecutors to your Son Jesus Christ, who stands at

your right hand; where he lives and reigns with you and the

Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer, p. 237

Today is the Feast of St. Stephen, our Patronal Feast Day and the second day of Christmas. Merry Christmas

Keep feasting

Stephen was a Christian deacon in Jerusalem who was known for his service to the poor and his status as one of the first Christian martyrs (he was stoned to death in 36AD). Acts of the Apostles speaks of his preaching and performing many miracles. These activities resulted in him being accused of blasphemy and brought before the Sanhedrin. His powerful sermon before the Council is recorded in the seventh chapter of Acts. His words enraged the Council so much that they dragged him out of the city and stoned him to death.

Saul, later called Paul, stood by, consenting to Stephen’s death, but Stephen’s example of steadfast faith in Jesus, and of intercession for his persecutors, was to find fruit in the mission and witness of Paul after his conversion. The Christian community in Jerusalem scattered out of fear for what happened to Stephen. It was in this moment that the Gospel of Christ began to spread beyond Jerusalem.

Stephen is the patron saint of deacons, acolytes, stonemasons, and casket makers.

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:   Mary Frances, Jim, Eunice, Jane and Bruce, John, Audrey, Cheryl, Marissa, Melanie, Kathy, Joe, Debbie T, Donald, Nick, Roberta, Beth.

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, Ruth, Cindi, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe.

For Suzanne – today is her baptismal anniversary!

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: Sialkot (Pakistan), Egba West (Nigeria).

For all who have died:  Clifford, Gladys, Jeffrey, Margaret, Suzanne.

For one another.

Something to share

Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas looked out

On the Feast of Stephen

When the snow lay round about

Deep and crisp and even

Brightly shone the moon that night

Though the frost was cruel

When a poor man came in sight

Gathering winter fuel

Hither, page, and stand by me,

If thou knowst it, telling

Yonder peasant, who is he?

Where and what his dwelling?

Sire, he lives a good league hence,

Underneath the mountain

Right against the forest fence

By Saint Agnes fountain.

Bring me flesh and bring me wine

Bring me pine logs hither

Thou and I shall see him dine

When we bear them thither.

Page and monarch, forth they went

Forth they went together

Through the rude winds wild lament

And the bitter weather

Sire, the night is darker now

And the wind blows stronger

Fails my heart, I know not how

I can go no longer.

Mark my footsteps, good my page

Tread thou in them boldly

Thou shall find the winters rage

Freeze thy blood less coldly.

In his masters step he trod

Where the snow lay dinted

Heat was in the very sod

Which the Saint had printed

Therefore, Christian men, be sure

Wealth or rank possessing

Ye, who now will bless the poor

Shall yourselves find blessing.

John Mason Neale

News and Updates

Sunday Eucharist Live stream – tomorrow morning —- Just  visit:  https://www.facebook.com/SaintStephensSchenectady/ before and wait for the live stream to be posted.

If you plan to attend in person tomorrow morning December 27th at 9:00am, for the celebration of Holy Eucharist, to help you understand what to expect, please watch the video below: 

And/or, tomorrow morning, join us for the celebration of Holy Eucharist live-streamed from the National Cathedral at 11:15am.  This is another way in which we can worship together albeit remotely. All you have to do is click on the link below, and it should take you to the service.

Prayerbook Morning Prayer in Zoom – tomorrow morning and every morning.  Join our parishioners 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:   becky.holder@gmail.com).

Intro to Old Testament – We all might be spending much more time at home in the first few months of 2021. Why not use that time for a Bible Study?  Announcing a Zoom Bible Study on Wednesday mornings 10:30 – noon, beginning January 6th (don’t worry if you can’t make all the classes).  Contact me at james.ross.mcd@gmail.com for the Zoom link.

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 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.

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.