Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Thursday, March 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

Spirit of Jesus–

Come with fire that refines,

Water that refreshes,

Wind that topples,

Breath that fills.

Kindle a global revival of empathy, justice, and active peacemaking.

Birth a witness of Love that is bigger and better than we inherited.

Liberate us from privilege and oppression.

Unshackle the gospel from nationalism, colonialism, white supremacy, and every other lens that shrouds the Good News.

Give us an abundance of grace for others and ourselves.

Grant us compassion for those who suffer.

Free us from the influence of money, power, and acclaim.

Restore our reputation for caring for the poor, loving our neighbors, being ambassadors of peace and stewards of the earth.

Unlock the immense resources hoarded in the Western Church and release them for your name’s sake.

Encourage us, so we do not grow cynical, isolated, and burnt-out.

Fan our hopes, our joys, and our connections.

Allow us rest when we need rest.

Enable us to see you in each person we encounter.

Show us mercy, in our humanity.      

from “A Prayer for the Church” by Rev. Emily Swan

Rev. Emily Swan is co-pastor to Blue Ocean Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a non-denominational church founded when Swan and her co-pastor Ken Wilson were unable to make progress in advocating for LGBTQ inclusion in their former denomination – Vineyard USA. Swan is also co-author of the book Solus Jesus: A Theology of Resistance. The above prayer is an excerpt from her contribution to A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal, edited by Sarah Bessey.

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, Bill, Mary Frances, Jim, Eunice, Jane and Bruce, John, Audrey, Marissa, Melanie.

For those who are homebound: Joan, Janet and Marilyn.

For our Government Leaders: Joseph Biden, President 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, retired 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:  Marilyn, Priscilla, Ruth, Cindi, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe.

For all the blessings of this life.

 For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Diocese of Auckland – The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia (Pakeha Tikanga).

For all who have died:  Galina, Mabel, Julia, Edna, Vera, Florence.

For one another.

Something to share

Just Now

In the morning as the storm begins to blow away

the clear sky appears for a moment and it seems to me

that there has been something simpler than I could ever

believe

simpler than I could have begun to find words for

not patient not even waiting no more hidden

than the air itself that became part of me for a while

with every breath and remained with me unnoticed

something that was here unnamed unknown in the days

and the nights not separate from them

not separate from them as they came and were gone

it must have been here neither early nor late then

by what name can I address it now holding out my thanks.   

W.S. Merwin

News and Updates  

Episcopal Relief & Development partners with the Anglican dioceses in SRI LANKA, the ecumenical National Christian Council of Sri Lanka and the Ecumenical Church Loan Fund on both short and long-term projects:

·         supporting efforts to build collaborative communities in the aftermath of decades of political conflict, such as training for community-led development and conflict resolution, empowering women and war-affected individuals through micro-finance and psychosocial support.

·         training staff and clergy to create disaster preparedness plans and engage their communities in building resilience and minimizing risk.

·         equipping other denominational leaders with knowledge and tools that help communities to prepare for and respond to disasters including the COVID-19 pandemic.  Diocesan staff and volunteers are distributing food, while following best practices for physical distancing, to plantation and day workers who have lost income due to the virus and shutdowns.  Additionally, the Diocese of Colombo is helping to sanitize schools and to provide them with PPE and thermometers which allow the schools to open safely and adhere to government regulations.

As a Lenten offering why not support Episcopal Relief & Development’s response to the COVID-19 Pandemic?  Please consider making a donation. You may do this through St. Stephen’s.

Reminder

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.

We continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html and the NY  Department of Public Health https://www.health.ny.gov/ for information, updates, and guidance

Be careful what you read online. There are reports of false information circulating in an attempt to create fear and confusion. It is critical to discern what and how something is said as well as what is not said. And, God forbid, always remember – any online or texted-based solicitation from me for money is A SCAM. Do not reply to such messages. Delete them.

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.