Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Monday, January 11, 2021

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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

When the song of the angels is stilled,

when the star in the sky is gone,

when the kings and princes are home,

when the shepherds are back with their flocks,

the work of Christmas begins:

to find the lost,

to heal the broken,

to feed the hungry,

to release the prisoner,

to rebuild the nations,

to bring peace among the people,

to make music in the heart.    

Howard Thurman, 1981

Howard Thurman was an influential author, theologian, and pastor. In the 1940s, he co-founded The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples, the first major racially integrated church in the United States. Prior to founding this church, he served as dean at the chapel of Howard University and in the same role at Boston University. He is known for being a significant theological influence on leaders of the civil rights movement. Particularly, Martin Luther King, Jr., was shaped significantly by Thurman’s book Jesus and the Disinherited.

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 all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: The Diocese of Afikpo – The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) (Enugu Province).

For all who have died:  Helen, Dave, Richard, George.

For one another.

Something to share

Dear Lord, I have swept and I have washed but

still nothing is as shining as it should be

for you. Under the sink, for example, is an

uproar of mice it is the season of their

many children. What shall I do? And under the eaves

and through the walls the squirrels

have gnawed their ragged entrances but it is the season 

when they need shelter, so what shall I do? And

the raccoon limps into the kitchen and opens the cupboard 

while the dog snores, the cat hugs the pillow;

what shall I do? Beautiful is the new snow falling

in the yard and the fox who is staring boldly

up the path, to the door. And still I believe you will

come, Lord: you will, when I speak to the fox,

the sparrow, the lost dog, the shivering sea-goose, know 

that really I am speaking to you whenever I say,

as I do all morning and afternoon: Come in, Come in. 

Mary Oliver

News and Updates

Sherry Springstead  wrote:

Good morning, it has been far too long since we have seen each other! Shortly after we returned from our honeymoon, they changed Brian’s shifts to nights, and as you may remember, he is away almost half of the week, which now includes Sundays. We miss you all terribly, but I work in a hospital that is inundated with COVID patients, and I will not risk members of our older community in any way. We take comfort in your daily prayers, and I am currently watching live on Facebook! When the madness of the world dies down a bit, we have every intention of returning, and hopefully by then, Brian will have a different place of employment. Thank you for your commitment to each one of us, and allowing us to still feel hopeful and connected. Until we see each other again, we will continue to attend via Facebook, and it is still good to see you even if it isn’t in person.

Massive Food Program Event – the upcoming Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, and Catholic Charities Mobile Outreach Vehicle Extension [CC MOVE] massive food program event will be held in the parking lot of Crosstown Plaza this coming Wednesday, January 13. We are hoping you will consider volunteering there – and don’t hesitate to invite a friend, family member or co-worker. The event will be outside, masks required, and plastic gloves will be provided. Volunteers are asked to arrive at 8:15 AM. 

Prayers for Our Nation – In the two weeks leading up to the presidential inauguration, the National Cathedral will offer brief inline prayers for our nation, together with our interfaith and ecumenical colleagues each day at 5 pm. We invite you to spend five minutes in prayers for safety, solace and national unity. Just go to https://cathedral.org/.

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 Friday, 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 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.