Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!
For those who’ve known abandonment
God who stays,
It is so healing to belong to a God who refuses to leave us. That we can be known so deeply and still loved without conditions or demand is a harbor in a world of rejection, neglect, and abandonment. Our souls are desperate, we’ve grown weary of brittle bonds. Help us to make sense of our stories and how they’ve formed us to believe love is a scarcity—how they’ve formed us to reject love out of fear or unbelief. Grant us compassion on those who’ve left, understanding that their decision was much more about their own story and pain than us.
Liberate us from the lie that we were not worth staying for. And help us to move in the world in a way that is not predicated on proving our worth or desirability but is grounded in a deep belief that we are lovely and to be loved. Stay with us now. We believe, forgive our unbelief.
– Cole Arthur Riley
Cole Arthur Riley is a writer of prayers whose work has become popular through her Instagram account “blackliturgies.” Riley also serves as Content and Spiritual Formation Manager at Chesterton House, a center for Christian studies at Cornell University. She has a book forthcoming with Convergent Books, an imprint of Random House.
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, Molly, Kenny, 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 Belachew – today is his baptismal anniversary!
For Linda and Belachew, Marti and Austin – today is their wedding anniversary!
For all the blessings of this life.
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: The Diocese of Christ the King – The Anglican Church of Southern Africa.
For all who have died: Paul, Lila, Hugh, Tom, Louis, Michael.
For one another.
Something to share
Fruit of Loneliness
Now for a little I have fed on loneliness
As on some strange fruit from a frost-touched vine—
Persimmon in its yellow comeliness,
Or pomegranate-juice color of wine,
The pucker-mouth crab apple, or late plum—
On fruit of loneliness have I been fed.
But now after short absence I am come
Back from felicity to the wine and bread.
For, being mortal, this luxurious heart
Would starve for you, my dear, I must admit,
If it were held another hour apart
From that food which alone can comfort it—
I am come home to you, for at the end
I find I cannot live without you, friend.
– May Sarton
News and Updates
SiCM SUMMER LUNCH PROGRAM – Volunteers Needed! SiCM needs 5-8 volunteers each day to pack the meals in the mornings throughout the summer, Monday to Friday, 8-11 am. If you are interested in helping there – one time, once a week, for one whole week, or whatever fits your schedule – contact the Summer Lunch Coordinator at SiCM: Camila Grande, firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-346-4445. Respond by this Friday, June 25.
St. Stephen’s will be a summer lunch site July 6 through September 3. St. Stephen’s members will staff the site the weeks of July 6, July 12 and August 2. Thank you to those who have volunteered to help. If you would like to be a substitute for any of those days, let Richey Woodzell know by June 25.
There will be a lunch site banner on the corner of Baker and The Plaza all summer, so that kids in the neighborhood can find us.
Meals will be served at our site (in the parking lot) 11:30-12:30, and we’re asked to arrive about 10 minutes early and to clean up and help load up after. The van delivering the meals will remain at the site throughout the distribution time, and we are asked to assist; we were assured there would be plenty for us to do. The kids take their lunch & breakfast home; there won’t be a place for them to sit and eat. Parents may pick up meals for their children.
If there are kids’ books on the van, we can give them to the kids to take home. If St. Stephen’s congregants would like, you can contribute kids’ books ahead of time at SiCM, from picture books up through high school. You may drop books off at the church and we’ll get them to the pantry.
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 during the waning of the pandemic. Please see our website for further information: https://st-stephens.church/. Most parish meetings and gatherings are canceled or postponed until at least this fall.
Our office email is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 Diocese 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 during the waning of the pandemic.
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.