Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!
Lord Jesus Christ,
You always had the nature of God,
but you did not try to remain equal with God.
Of your own free will you gave up all you had,
and took the nature of a servant.
You became like a human being
and appeared in human likeness.
You were humble and walked the path of obedience
all the way to death – your death on the cross.
For this reason God raised you to the highest place above
and gave you the name that is greater than any other name.
And so in honor of your name, I fall on my knees,
and openly proclaim that you are my Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:6-11 (adapted)
Today is the twelfth and last day of Christmas. Merry Christmas. This evening is Twelfth Night; Keep the feast!
Twelfth Night refers to the twelfth night of Christmas, also referred to as the eve of Epiphany, a day that commemorates the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus. This night brought the Christmas season to a close and was often celebrated with a temporary suspension of rules and social orders. One of the most popular Twelfth Night traditions was to hide a pea and a bean within a Three Kings cake. The man who discovered the bean would be proclaimed Lord or King of Misrule, while the lady who found the pea would be Lady or Queen of Misrule. The Lord of Misrule was usually a peasant or commoner who lead the drinking and debauchery, as Twelfth Night was one of the few times of the year where servants were allowed to mix with their masters, sometimes even switching roles through disguises or by virtue of the coveted bean.
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 Shirley– today is her baptismal anniversary!
For all the blessings of this life.
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: The Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney – The Scottish Episcopal Church.
For all who have died: Dawn, Betty.
For one another.
Something to share
The Twelve Lights of Christmas
Light the first light of Christmas for thankfulness and prayer…
And everything you see and hear and feel and do.
Light the second light of Christmas for happiness and joy…
And be cheerful with everyday and everyone around.
Light the third light of Christmas for colors and music…
Gifts in people, gifts for people, gifts everywhere from God.
Light the fourth light of Christmas for thoughtfulness and love…
And be gentle and kind to all God’s people and animals.
Light the fifth light of Christmas for mercy…
So we can be forgiving and forgiving like our God.
Light the sixth light of Christmas for all miracles…
Like babies and Jesus and things
That happen like magic, but they’re not.
Light the seventh light of Christmas for understanding…
So we can have peace inside ourselves and all around the world.
Light the eighth light of Christmas for our Earth…
It’s the only planet where humans can survive.
Light the ninth light of Christmas for Heaven and Angels…
We can keep them all around us, everywhere, with goodness.
Light the tenth light of Christmas for life…
No matter how short or long it is,
It’s a wonderful blessing from God.
Light the eleventh light of Christmas for spirit…
The strongest part of us that rises out of death forever.
Light the twelfth light of Christmas for Heartsongs…
The glow inside of us that keeps the light of Christmas bright.
And when our hearts glow with the Lights of Christmas,
We will remember spirit and life and Heaven and Angels,
And Earth and understanding and miracles and mercy,
And thoughtfulness and love and colors and music,
And happiness and joy and thankfulness and prayer…
And become better people throughout the whole, entire year.Mattie Stepanek
News and Updates
Cindi Love recently spoke with Gillian Woodcock and shares this:
I spoke with Gil the other day. She sounds good and says she is doing well and keeping busy. She sold her house, which is a relief and one less thing she has to worry about. Her daughters are very close by so she sees them often. She misses everyone and asked me to say hi. She watches St. Stephen’s streaming mass every Sunday so still feels a part of our community. I told her that was good to know as it is a connection, we hold dear to our hearts. Please pass on to the congregation her well wishes.
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 parish meetings and gatherings are canceled and postponed until further notice.
Our 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.