Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Thursday, September 16, 2021

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

Good Morning, Saint Stephen’s Church,

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

 Today’s Prayer

God, our creator, out of love and for love you made us. We are all the work of your hands. We walk the same earth and breathe the same air, and yet. . .

God of righteousness, it is your will that all people live in equity and peace, that all have a share in your abundant life, that there is liberty and justice for all, and yet. . .

God of life, you claimed us in baptism, buried us with Christ in a death like his, and promised to unite us with Christ in a resurrection like his. We have already died the only death that really matters, and yet. . .

We do not recognize the full humanity in others. There is not justice for all. In our fear, we doubt the resurrection.

The hard work of truth-telling—and truth-hearing—is set before us. The painful reality that racial equity does not exist in our nation or our church cannot be ignored. Help us resist any rush to reconciliation before repentance. The oppressed will not be comforted until their voices are heard. The oppressors will find no comfort until they relinquish power.

In your love, compassionate God, keep us in this tension. In your severe mercy, use this pain to bring action and change. We pray this through Christ, our Lord, in whom the dividing wall of hostility has already been broken down. Amen.

       –   Bishop Elizabeth Eaton

Elizabeth Eaton is the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), a denomination with which the Episcopal Church is in full communion. Last year, she was re-elected for a second six-year term as presiding bishop. She holds a Master’s of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School and, prior to her time as presiding bishop, served congregations in Ohio followed by serving as bishop of the Northeastern Ohio Synod.

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 our allies around the world in harm’s way: for those who are still trying to leave Afghanistan; may God be with them and their families.

For the victims of Hurricane Ida: for people who have evacuated, for those who are still in their homes, for first responders and everyone who has been impacted by Hurricane Ida from Louisiana to Rhode Island.  

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 as we continue to deal with the Coronavirus variants. 

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 recognize 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:  Don, Jennifer, Josh, Shaun, Candace, Robert, Heather, Jackson, Michael, Mary, Bill, Jim, Eunice, Jane and Bruce, John, Audrey, Melanie, Joe, Rebecca, Skip, Curt, Jackie.

For those who are homebound: Joan, Janet and Marilyn. 

For our Government Leaders: Joseph Biden, President of the United States; Kathy Hochul, Governor of New York State; Gary McCarthy, Mayor of Schenectady.

For our Church Leaders: Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop; Michael G. Smith, Assisting 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, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe. 

For Jo Ann  – today is her birthday!

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Diocese of Exeter – The Church of England (Canterbury Province).

For all who have died:  Reginald.

Something to share

Anthropophobia

“Before people question why the contact was made in the first place, they should understand that Myers was no angel … This is not a victim, this is a victim-maker. This is not a martyr.” — Jeff Roorda, business manager of the St. Louis police union

The steel blue ghost standing

at the podium says VonDerrit Myers

was no angel & all I can hear is

the boy was a human boy. The boy

had a best friend & 206 bones. The boy

had a name that God didn’t give him.

When he died, he did not bleed

starlight or gold. He was not half-bird.

The gun spoke, & no flaxen wing shot

from each shoulder, as if to carry him beyond

the bullet’s swift assignment. No, the boy

was not a pillar of white smoke bright

enough to break a nonbeliever, make a penitent

fall prostrate, heaving, heavy with contrition, but

let me be clear: we are simply running out

of ways to shame the dead. How else to say

that we are guilty & yet unburied? How else

to erase him, if we cannot feign omnipotence,

lay claim to the sky, excise heaven,

take aim at the boy just one more

time while everyone watches?

      – Joshua Bennett

News and Updates

Christian Education classes will begin on 9/26 during the 9 am service. I will bring the children to the classroom after the gospel is read. If you have any questions, please email me at office@st-stephens.church.

Communion Class: Fall 2021 – I will offer a communion class this fall for any children interested.  There will be two classes, the first on October 20th meeting in the parish hall, and the second on October 27th meeting in the church.  The classes will begin at 3:30. The first class will be a mix of informational and socially distanced hands-on activities.  The second class will include a tour through the church, sacristy, and altar, allowing the children to see behind-the-scenes and up close the elements that go into a service and the preparation of the Eucharist. 

Masks must be worn at all times and we will be following social distancing guidelines. Please let us know if you plan to attend by emailing office@st-stephens.church. 

Reminders 

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 Daily 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).

Our church campus is only partially open during the waning of the pandemic.  Please see our website for further information: https://st-stephens.church/. Hopefully, most parish meetings and gatherings will resume this fall.

Our office email is: office@st-stephens.church

Home Communions: If you or someone you know is unable to attend church on either a long or short‑term basis, please contact me (james.ross.mcd@gmail.com ) if you would like to have communion brought to you. We will make visits on Sunday after our regular Eucharist at church.

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/ ; the Schenectady County Health Department: https://www.schenectadycounty.com/COVID19; 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.

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.