Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Saturday, April 24, 2021

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

 Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,

 Alleluia. Christ is risen.

The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.

 We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!

Today’s Prayer

Gracious, eternal, and all wise God; Thou who formed what is out of nothing and called us into being to serve You — You, O Lord, who weigh every nation in the balance of Your own standards….

Trouble the soul of this nation as in the days of Amos so that no one is at ease in Zion. Use our prophetic words and our prophetic actions to remind those in the seats of power that they are not God. Trouble this nation with the voice of concern and the voice of compassion. Make us mindful of the thousands without paths to the pursuit of happiness.

Shake the foundations of our conscience until we cannot help but change our course. Move on us to study war no more. Cause us to live our lives to serve others. Teach us that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness requires justice and hope and help and caring. Expand our morality beyond the narrowness of personal piety into the broadness of public policy. Give us the strength to challenge racism, poverty, unchecked militarism, and ecological devastation…Lord, as you stirred up dry bones in the valley, stir up hope, and stir up righteousness.

Restore the Prophets and the prophetic voices to the land. Revive the spirit of Medgar, Martin, Malcolm, Corretta, Harriet, Rosa, Cinque, Douglass, Dubois, Sojourner, Jordan, Wilkins and Bethune. Call us and challenge us again. Teach even this nation that with all our power and all our resources, we will still have to stand before Your judgment one day. Give us leaders who understand that the purpose of power and influence is to help someone. Grant us a citizenry determined to be yoked together in common humanity. Let us know the only way to a more perfect union is for our laws and policies to reflect Your kind of love.

Let faith be a conviction, not a convenience.

        –   Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II

William Barber is president of Repairers of the Breach, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to lifting up our country’s treatment of the poor, workers, and immigrants, among others, as important moral issues. Barber also co-chairs the Poor People’s Campaign, which is dedicated to bringing poor and low-income people across the country together for activism and advocacy. Additionally, Barber pastors Greenleaf Christian Church, a Disciples of Christ congregation in North Carolina. The above paragraph is an excerpt from a prayer titled “A Prayer for America at the End of 2017.” 

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:  Danny, Charlotte, Diana, Caleb, June, Ruth, David, Kathy Nick, Roberta, Beth, Walker, Warren, Steve, Susan, Ann.

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, Vincent, Priscilla, Ruth, Cindi, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe.

For all the blessings of this life.

 For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Diocese of Brandon – The Anglican Church of Canada (Rupert’s Land Province).

For all who have died:   Chris, John, John, Dorothy, Jennifer, James, Lorraine, George, Ronald, Sarah. 

For one another.

Something to share

Black Credit

Lord—

Your good daughter I have been

my whole life.

I’ve kept your house

clean as sucked bone,

starved myself of everything

your other children have told me is sin.

I’ve sharpened my teeth on the slate

of your Word for your work’s sake.

Bridled the glint of my tongue

so men will feel strong

and not be seen trembling

under the soft of it.

I’ve behaved

and for what

do I hunger, myself growing slight

on tomorrow’s meat:

words, words, your words

as valued here as Black credit

at an all-American bank.

They say, Lord, piety is speaking to you,

but madness is hearing you

speak back. And under this,

like all good jokes lies

the truth: no one

in this equation seems to be listening

anyway. To you, to our own damned selves.

Tell me

how many Black girls

does it take to change a mind,

or a home      or a block

or a scale            or a heart

or a course     or a country?

You, Lord, as you have

with your other minor prophets,

have dragged—or is it called us

up the mountain, where in the thin air

there are those who got here

long before I ever dreamed of it,

still waiting on you

to finally cash this check.

Natasha Oladokun

News and Updates  

The May Messenger:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rEOYiAwZstz4LI7DDxqUT-KUpcTcydu3/view?usp=sharing

Interfaith Earth Day Mitzvah – Tomorrow, April 25th at Vale Cemetery –  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

This Sunday’s Readings: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1qb-9yix6v2jxRqZ_rilGyTwN_cYU5G58/view?usp=sharing

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 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:   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 or 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 and transition.

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,

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.