Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Thursday, December 31, 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


1     The LORD is my light and my salvation;

        whom then shall I fear? *

       the LORD is the strength of my life;

        of whom then shall I be afraid?

2     When evildoers came upon me to eat up my flesh, *

       it was they, my foes and my adversaries, who

                            stumbled and fell.

3     Though an army should encamp against me, *

       yet my heart shall not be afraid;

4     And though war should rise up against me, *

       yet will I put my trust in him.

5     One thing have I asked of the LORD;

       one thing I seek; *

       that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days

                            of my life;

6     To behold the fair beauty of the LORD *

       and to seek him in his temple.

7     For in the day of trouble he shall keep me safe

                            in his shelter; *

       he shall hide me in the secrecy of his dwelling

       and set me high upon a rock.

8     Even now he lifts up my head *

       above my enemies round about me.

9     Therefore I will offer in his dwelling an oblation

        with sounds of great gladness; *

       I will sing and make music to the LORD.

10   Hearken to my voice, O LORD, when I call; *

       have mercy on me and answer me.

11   You speak in my heart and say, “Seek my face.” *

       Your face, LORD, will I seek.

12   Hide not your face from me, *

       nor turn away your servant in displeasure.

13   You have been my helper;

       cast me not away; *

       do not forsake me, O God of my salvation.

14   Though my father and my mother forsake me, *

       the LORD will sustain me.

15   Show me your way, O LORD; *

       lead me on a level path, because of my enemies.

16   Deliver me not into the hand of my adversaries, *

       for false witnesses have risen up against me,

       and also those who speak malice.

17   What if I had not believed

       that I should see the goodness of the LORD *

       in the land of the living!

18   O tarry and await the LORD’S pleasure;

       be strong, and he shall comfort your heart; *

       wait patiently for the LORD.

Psalm 27

The theme of this psalm is trust; the psalmist has no fear of threats or danger in the protective refuge of God. Verse 18 sums up the psalm’s message: O tarry and await the LORD’s pleasure; be strong, and he shall comfort your heart; wait patiently for the LORD. In Judaism Psalm 27 is recited in the late summer through the early fall, the time surrounding Rosh Hashanah, the start of the New Year.

Today is the seventh day of Christmas. Merry Christmas; Keep feasting!

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:   Corrie, Doris, Judy, Anne, Louise, Gertrude, Laurel, Greg, Joan, Justin, Michael Curry, William Daniel, Gary, Carmeen, Joe.

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 Tammy  – today is her baptismal anniversary!

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: Gasabo (Rwanda), Gboko (Nigeria).

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

For one another.

Something to share

1 January 1965

The Wise Men will unlearn your name.

Above your head no star will flame.

One weary sound will be the same—

the hoarse roar of the gale.

The shadows fall from your tired eyes

as your lone bedside candle dies,

for here the calendar breeds nights

till stores of candles fail.

What prompts this melancholy key?

A long familiar melody.

It sounds again. So let it be.

Let it sound from this night.

Let it sound in my hour of death—

as gratefulness of eyes and lips

for that which sometimes makes us lift

our gaze to the far sky.

You glare in silence at the wall.

Your stocking gapes: no gifts at all.

It’s clear that you are now too old

to trust in good Saint Nick;

that it’s too late for miracles.

—But suddenly, lifting your eyes

to heaven’s light, you realize:

your life is a sheer gift.

Joseph Brodsky

News and Updates

This Sunday’s Readings:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1iL-RHti47lZJvbyqdr7ikvmO8yOsisPM/view?usp=sharing

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 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.