Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
Alleluia. Christ is risen.
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.
Creator of all humans,
You give personal uniqueness to each of us,
while forming us to need others as community.
We vacillate, Lord, between two extremes:
Fierce individualism and sought-for interdependency.
At times, we seek and need time alone,
Time to unplug from the multiple voices within and without.
At times, we seek and need spiritual companions,
Those who fill in our emptiness and hold our confidences.
For our struggling, muddied thoughts and complicated, inner desires
demand these two responses:
time alone with You, countered with
the caring touch of others
who share laughter birthed in absurdity,
who dry stinging tears birthed in futility.
How rich is your Word, overflowing
with stories of faithful battered pilgrims who
found respite in solitude and with friends, seekers like:
Moses and Joshua,
Hannah and Eli,
David and Jonathan,
Elijah and the widow,
Jesus and Martha, Mary and Lazarus,
Paul and Timothy.
So our prayer this day, Lord,
is for the ability to discern our biggest spiritual void—
Whether for the good sense to pull away for awhile,
Or for the humility to accept the gracious touch of another.
In gratitude we recognize that your Spirit of care for us
trumps our fear,
the fear of being abandoned and alone.
And we ask that we be caringly sensitive,
open to walk alongside others whose
needs are equivalent to ours,
those who yearn for similar wisdom and friendship.
– Virgil Fry
Virgil Fry is Director Emeritus of Lifeline Chaplaincy, a non-profit organization providing spiritual care to patients in a variety of Texas hospitals. He holds a doctorate in ministry from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Christian Nurture and is the author of two books, Disrupted: Finding God in Illness and Loss and Rekindled: Warmed by the Fires of Hope.
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: Robin, Jackie, Waid, Dan, Hugh, Debby, Irene, Jeanne, Theresa, Josh, Amy, Greg, Craig, Donald, Gerald, Skip, Dennis, Sonny, Don.
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 Maggie – today is her birthday!
For all the blessings of this life.
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: The Diocese of Butere – The Anglican Church of Kenya.
For all who have died: Ellen, Elwood, Olive, Marge, George.
For one another.
Something to share
Even the Stars Look Lonesome
Many believe that they need company at any cost, and certainly if a thing is desired at any cost, it will be obtained at all costs. We need to remember and to teach our children that solitude can be a much-to-be-desired condition. Not only is it acceptable to be alone, at times it is positively to be wished for. It is in the interludes between being in company that we talk to ourselves. In the silence we listen to ourselves. Then we ask questions of ourselves. We describe ourselves, and in the quietude we may even hear the voice of God.
– Maya Angelou
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 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: 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 or postponed until further notice.
Our office email is: email@example.com.
We continue to comply with all of these: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html ; the NY Department of Public Health https://www.health.ny.gov/ ; and the Dioses of Albany https://albanyepiscopaldiocese.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/cleaning_guidance_houses_of_worship.pdf.
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.