Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!
Ever-present God, I give you grateful thanks for the gift of communications. In a world where change comes quickly, life is fast paced, jobs change and families move and grow, the ability to stay connected with those whom we love keeps us whole and the ability to interact with those whom we do not know reminds us of the interconnectedness of all those in your creation. From cave art to smoke signals, through pigeon and post, telephone and text message, we thank you, the Word who came to earth to communicate your steadfast love to us. Amen.Alicia Graham
This prayer was included in a booklet of prayers published by the United Thank Offering for their 125th anniversary in 2015. United Thank Offering is a ministry of the Episcopal Church that encourages people to give, out of gratitude, to the mission of the church, both in the U.S. and all over the world. The United Thank Offering grew out of the Women’s Auxiliary Board to the church’s missionary society, founded in 1871, and was a significant ministry headed up by women in a time where they were not fully incorporated into church leadership. At the time of publication, Alicia Graham, who wrote this prayer, was a member of Christ Church, New Brunswick, in the Diocese of New Jersey.
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, Joseph, Lorraine.
For those who are homebound: Joan, Janet and Marilyn.
For 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.
For 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.
For those who are imprisoned: those particularly vulnerable at this time, especially the women in the Schenectady County Jail.
For Members who request our prayers for strength and healing: Dennie, Ruth, Cindi, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe.
For Samuel Schuldt – today is his baptismal anniversary!
For all the blessings of this life.
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: The Diocese of Ajayi Crowther – The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) (Ibadan Province).
For all who have died: Donald, Arnette, Frances L., Pierre, Emilie, Jesse, Gladys.
For one another.
Something to share
Bennacht (Blessing)John O’Donahue
On the day when
The weight deadens
On your shoulders
And you stumble,
May the clay dance
To balance you.
And when your eyes
The grey window
And the ghost of loss
Gets in to you,
May a flock of colours,
Indigo, red, green,
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
In the currach of thought
And a stain of ocean
Blackens beneath you,
May there come across the waters
A path of yellow moonlight
To bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.
News and Updates
National Moment of Remembrance – President-elect Joe Biden’s inaugural committee will lead a national moment of unity Today to remember the 400,000 people who have died with coronavirus. The ceremony will feature a lighting of Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool in Washington at 5:30 pm and cities nationwide will join by illuminating their building and ringing church bells. We, at St. Stephen’s, will light up the church and ring our church bell this evening at 5:30pm, in conjunction with others in our community.
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/.
“Souper” Bowl Fund Drive – Super Bowl LV is rapidly approaching (February 7, 2021), and we are once again looking for support of our annual “Souper” Bowl Fund Drive! 100% of the money raised from this drive will be used to help the SiCM Food Pantry feed families throughout Schenectady County. In 2020, the Food Pantry served 300 families a week and served a total of 454,000 meals, indicating the challenge of hunger in the County continues. SiCM purchases food from the Northeastern Regional Food Bank for $.16 per pound, so monetary donations go a long way toward providing food for those in need. Click on:
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.