Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!
Almighty God, by whose providence your servant John the Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of your Son our Savior by preaching repentance: Make us so to follow his teaching and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and, following his example, constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth’s sake; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
– Book of Common Prayer, p. 241
Today is the Nativity of St. John the Baptist.
John the Baptist was a Jewish itinerant preacher in the early 1st century AD. He is mentioned by the Hebrew historian Josephus and revered asa major religious figure in Christianity, Islam, and the Baha’I Faith. John is considered a prophet by these faiths and he is considered a saint in many Christian traditions. According to the New Testament, John anticipated a messianic figure greater than himself, and the Gospels portray John as the forerunner of Jesus. He announces Jesus’ coming and prepares the people for Jesus’ ministry. In the Gospel of Luke, John the Baptist and Jesus are cousins, whose births are six months apart.
John the Baptist is the patron saint of many different subjects, including builders, tailors, printers, conversion to faith, and people dealing with storms and their effects (like hail). He also serves as the patron saint of a variety of places throughout the world, such as Puerto Rico, Jordan, Quebec (Canada), Charleston (South Carolina), and Cornwall (England).
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: Robert, Heather, Jackson, Michael, Mary, Bill, Mary Frances, Jim, Eunice, Jane and Bruce, John, Audrey, Melanie, Joe, Rebecca .
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 Chubu – The Nippon Sei Ko Kai.
For all who have died: Paul, Lila, Hugh, Tom, Louis, Michael.
For one another.
Something to share
I am too loud when you are gone
I am too loud when you are gone
I am John the Baptist, cheated by mere water
and merciful love, wild but over-known
John of honey, of time, longing not for
music, longing, longing to be Him
I am diminished, I peddle versions of Word
that don’t survive the tablets broken stone
I am alone when you are gone.
– Leonard Cohen
News and Updates
Moving toward “normalcy” on Sunday Morning – Our ‘Church Re-opening Taskforce’ met last night and decided to ease distancing on Sunday morning. Gone are the ropes separating the pews! There will be a designated area in the Nave Extension for those over the age of twelve who are not fully vaccinated. Prayerbooks and hymnals will be restored in all pews.
Since the CDC suggests that masks be worn in all indoor gatherings, all individuals on site will need to continue to wear a mask, even if you have been vaccinated! The mask should conform to ASC standards (covering both nose and mouth, well fitted).
There is no longer any reason for signing-in each morning.
We will increase the opportunities to sing (with masks on).
Other procedures on Sunday morning will remain to limit people moving around in church, especially communion of the Host only in the pews, an offering plate at the back of the church, and the non-contact sharing of the Peace.
Live streaming of the Eucharist will continue.
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 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: 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 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.
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.