Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Wednesday, December 30, 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

God of Goodness,

We give you praise for the ordinariness of Christmas – that the day comes the same as any other day. We give you praise that there is no sign in the heavens, and no bright star but the light of your presence in the ordinary birth of the child. We give you praise that unobtrusively you are in the center of human affairs, involved in the struggle of life, and sharing human experience. We give you praise that out of compassion you take our part, and open to us a new way of life. We pray that this day we shall be able to see its true glory.

Carly Micklem, 2003 Contemporary Prayers for Public Worship

Today is the sixth day of Christmas. Merry Christmas. Keep feasting.

Carly Micklem was an English Congregational minister and hymn writer who died in 2003. He edited the book of prayers from which this prayer comes and also served on the music committee for hymnals New Church Praise and Rejoice and Sing. In the 1990s, he served as Chairman of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland. He was also a contributor to faith-based programming on BBC radio.

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:   Warren, Cindi, Doug, Hugh, Debby, Irene, Jeanne, June, Theresa, Josh, Amy, Greg, Donald K., Craig, Donald, Maureen, Joseph, Tom.

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 all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: Gahini (Rwanda), Gambia (West Africa).

For all who have died:  Anna, Solon, Helen, Lillian, Isabella, Burleigh, Ida.

For one another.

Something to share

Joseph at the Nativity

Of any birth, I thought this

would be a clean one,

like pulling white linen

from a loom.

But when I return to the cave,

Mary throws her cloak

over the bloody straw and cries.

I know she wants me to leave.

There he lies, stomach rising

and falling, a shriveled pod

that does nothing but stare

at the edge of the feeding trough

with dark, unsteady eyes.

Is he God enough

to know that I am poor,

that we had no time

for a midwife, that swine

ate from his bed this morning?

If the angel was right, he knows.

He knows that Mary’s swell

embarrassed me, that I was jealous

of her secret skyward smiles,

that now I want to run into these hills

and never come back.

Peace, peace, I’ve heard in my dreams.

This child will make you right.

But I can only stand here,

not a husband, not a father,

my hands hanging dumbly

at my sides. Do I touch him,

this child who is mine

and not mine? Do I enter

the kingdom of blood and stars?

Tania Runyan

News and Updates

The Stewardship campaign: To date 41 pledges have come in totaling $130,000 – most encouraging, we have 3 new pledges. We still have a ways to go but are off to a good start. To those who have pledged God bless, to those who have yet to pledge please pray and pledge so our Vestry can budget for 2021. If you need a pledge card, please contact the office (office@st-stephens.church). You can mail us your pledge or drop it off at the church. Letting us know now what you hopefully will give in 2021 helps us to better plan for the year.

Nominations for Vestry and Diocesan Convention Delegates are Open –  At the virtual January 24th Annual Meeting, the parish will elect three new members of the Vestry for terms of three years each,  one new members of the Vestry for a terms of two years and one warden, as well as three delegates to the Diocesan Convention. The vestry members elected will vote for a new rector and the Diocesan delegates will elect a new bishop. These positions hold new importance in our community life.

Please consider your own interest and ability – and the talents of those you know -to serve the Saint Stephen’s community in one of these roles. Any and all who may be interested in serving on the Vestry or as a delegate are encouraged to contact Nominating Committee members: Budd Mazurek, Dan Schuldt, Jean Stefanski and Doreen May. Please submit nominations by Tuesday, January 15th.

 Qualifications for and Expectations of Saint Stephen’s Church Vestry:

● Vestry members must be baptized and are expected to attend services regularly.

● As lay leaders and as role models for the congregation, Vestry members should make an annual financial pledge to support the operating budget of Saint Stephen’s Church.

● Regular attendance at Vestry meetings (second Monday of the month at 7:30 pm) is expected.

● Vestry members should consider it part of their responsibility to attend parish events and liturgical services outside of regular attendance.

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.

Our 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.