Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Sunday, May 2, 2021

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

 Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,

Today is the Fifth Sunday of Easter

Alleluia. Christ is risen.

The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.

The Collect for the Day

Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know your Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Gospel

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to John 15:1-8:

Jesus said to his disciples, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

The Gospel of the Lord

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 comfort and healing for all who are affected by the Coronavirus around the world:  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 a reverence for the earth as God’s own creation: that we may use its resources rightly in the service of others and to God’s honor and glory, and for wisdom, guidance, and persistence as we face the challenges of climate change and work for the flourishing and health of all the earth.

For those on the Parish Prayer Chain:  Jackie, Waid, Dan, Hugh, Debby, Irene, Jeanne, Theresa, Josh, Amy, Greg, Craig, Donald, Gerald, Skip, Dennis, Sonny.

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 Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East.

For all who have died:   Chris, Nancy, John, Margaret, Caroline, Jeanette, George, Clinton. 

For one another.

Something to share

Only a Branch

“I am the vine, ye are the branches.”–John 15:5

“Tis only a little Branch,

A thing so fragile and weak,

But that little Branch hath a message true

To give, could it only speak.

“I’m only a little Branch,

I live by a life not mine,

For the sap that flows through my tendrils small

Is the life-blood of the Vine.

“No power indeed have I

The fruit of myself to bear,

But since I’m part of the living Vine,

Its fruitfulness I share.

“Dost thou ask how I abide?

How this life I can maintain?–

I am bound to the Vine by life’s strong band,

And I only need remain.

“Where first my life was given,

In the spot where I am set,

Upborne and upheld as the days go by,

By the stem which bears me yet.

“I fear not the days to come,

I dwell not upon the past,

As moment by moment I draw a life,

Which for evermore shall last.

“I bask in the sun’s bright beams,

Which with sweetness fills my fruit,

Yet I own not the clusters hanging there,

For they all come from the root.”

A life which is not my own,

But another’s life in me:

This, this is the message the Branch would speak,

A message to thee and me.

Oh, struggle not to “abide,”

Nor labor to “bring forth fruit,”

But let Jesus unite thee to Himself,

As the Vine Branch to the root.

So simple, so deep, so strong

That union with Him shall be:

His life shall forever replace thine own,

And His love shall flow through thee.

For His Spirit’s fruit is love,

And love shall thy life become,

And for evermore on His heart of love

Thy spirit shall have her home.

         – Freda Hanbury

News and Updates 

Sunday Eucharist Live stream – this morning —- Just  visit:  https://www.facebook.com/SaintStephensSchenectady/ before 9am on Sunday the 2nd and wait for the live stream to be posted.

If you plan to attend in person this morning, May 2nd at 9:00am, for the celebration of Holy Eucharist, to help you understand what to expect, please click on this link: 

And/or, this morning, join us for the celebration of Holy Eucharist live-streamed from the National Cathedral at 11:15am.  This is another way in which we can worship together albeit remotely. All you have to do is click on the link below, and it should take you to the service.

Prayerbook Morning Prayer in Zoom – this morning.  Join our parishioners for an inter-active service of Morning Prayer at 8 am. Time to bring your prayer concerns will be provided. (contact Becky for the link:   becky.holder@gmail.com).

Today’s complete Scripture Readings: 

 https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-S7lyOW1tLqW3I988_nrL9kMk4uy7jZXqk4kutAcgHw/edit?usp=sharing

Schenectady CROP Hunger Walk Virtual Kick Off – Today, 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

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.