Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
Alleluia. Christ is risen.
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.
We are told that God’s love is measurable and finite, that there are borders and boundaries between those who are and are not loved by God.
When we begin to see your love as a limited commodity and ourselves as its arbiters,
God, give us the humility to trust that your perfect love is freely given to all….
We are told that there is nothing we can do, that we are powerless, that things have always been this way, and that energy is wasted trying to speak words of truth to a tiny of lies.
When we choose to avoid conflict because it’s easier, to waste our voice in spaces of influence, and to justify our privilege,
God, give us the fortitude to step into the fray and speak your perfect love and into an imperfect space.
– Bruce Reyes-Chow
This is an excerpt from a prayer called “Perfect Love Drives Out Fear: A Litany for Sifting Through the News and Social Media Headlines” by Bruce Reyes-Chow, included in the book Rally: Communal Prayers for Lovers of Jesus and Justice. Reyes-Chow is a pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, a consultant on issues of church leadership through the Convergence consulting group, and the author of five books.
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, and for those administering the vaccination, 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 perpetrated 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: Jackie, Waid, Dan, Hugh, Debby, Irene, Jeanne, Theresa, Josh, Amy, Greg, Craig, Donald, Gerald.
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; 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: Eunice, Priscilla, Ruth, Cindi, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe.
For Denise – today is her baptismal anniversary!
For Dave and Aralyn – today is their birthday!
For all the blessings of this life.
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: The Diocese of Blackburn – The Church of England (York Province).
For all who have died: Irene , David, Frances, George, Howard, Hazel, William, Marjorie, Mary, Fred, Peter.
For one another.
Something to share
An Old Story
We were made to understand it would be
Terrible. Every small want, every niggling urge,
Every hate swollen to a kind of epic wind.
Livid, the land, and ravaged, like a rageful
Dream. The worst in us having taken over
And broken the rest utterly down.
A long age
Passed. When at last we knew how little
Would survive us—how little we had mended
Or built that was not now lost—something
Large and old awoke. And then our singing
Brought on a different manner of weather.
Then animals long believed gone crept down
From trees. We took new stock of one another.
We wept to be reminded of such color.
– Tracy K. Smith
News and Updates
This Sunday’s Readings:
Interfaith Earth Day Mitzvah – Sunday April 25th at Vale Cemetery – On Sunday afternoon, April 25th, join Schenectady Clergy Against Hate, Schenectady Community Ministries, (SiCM) and Nemeton of the Ways for an afternoon of interfaith service both honoring our ancestors and caring for creation by helping clean up the Historic Vale Cemetery! Building off the long tradition of an event organized by Nemeton of the Ways, faith communities from across greater Schenectady will work together to build unity, learn more about one another and give back to their community. The event will begin with a brief blessing at 1:00pm at the Green Burial section. Please come prepared with work gloves, yard tools, face masks and be willing to practice good social distancing.
Schenectady CROP Hunger Walk Virtual Kick Off – Sunday, May 2, 2021, Come Join us for the 2021 Crop Walk When: Sunday, May 2 @ 10:15 am Where: Meet in the St. Stephen’s parking lot What: A 30 minute walk (about 1 ½ – 2 mile) Why: To raise money and awareness for the thirsty and hungry in our community and world. To Register for our team or To Donate: https://events.crophungerwalk.org/2021/team/st-stephens-schenectady
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: email@example.com.
Prayerbook Morning Prayer in Zoom – each weekday & Saturday morning. Join us 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: firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you need a prayerbook, and are not in a position to purchase one, please contact me: email@example.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 or postponed until further notice.
Our office email is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 and transition.
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,
the rains fall soft upon soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of God’s 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.