Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Saturday, September 18, 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

To listen, O God. To react. To touch. To feel. To wonder. Each new moment…each new encounter…is an opportunity to learn. How wonderful that you surround us with so much and so many to encounter. How amazing and how affirming that you bless us with the ability to explore, analyze, and understand.

O God, for all the world around us and all you give us to learn, we thank you.

For our companions along the way…each of us differently abled, each of us unique in our understandings and curiosities…

For all the ways we help each other learn, grow, become.

For those who specialize in the art and science of teaching…who dedicate their lives and answer your call to nurture others even in circumstances less than ideal, we thank you.

And for our children who even in the bleakest times and places manage to find the joy, to discover the light, to grow and gather and make their way into learning…we thank you.

For all of us, your learners of this world, we pray that the vast knowledge of life be written in our hearts and in our lives, that we may find our way while finding you imprinted on every text, in every raindrop and within the spirits of all your peoples.

God who knows we will never understand everything, we pray we accept no limits to what is possible with and for you.

So we pray for safe havens of learning…We pray that together we may all strive for a world where all people may creatively respond to you from the depths of their hearts….writing, painting, reading, singing, composing, dancing, experimenting, praying, organizing, and celebrating all of this, all of you, all that is this wonder we know as life.

       –  H. Rebecca Lockwood and Diane E. Lockwood Wendorf

H. Rebecca is an associate pastor at a United Church of Christ congregation in Indiana, while Diane ministers at a United Church of Christ Congregation in Maine. This prayer was included in the book A Child Laughs: Prayers of Justice and Hope edited by Maria Mankin and Maren C. Tirabassi, for a chapter on education. 

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 Katie, Mike, June, Kenny, Danny, Charlotte, Diana, Caleb, June, Ruth, David, Kathy Nick, Roberta, Beth, Walker, Warren, Steven, Susan, Ann, John, Stephen, Don, Ruth.

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 Chouffi, Vincent Avila, Priscilla Sprague, Ruth Turner, Mary Frances Hatfield, Debbie Trawick, Joe White. 

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Diocese of Faisalabad – The (united) Church of Pakistan.

For all who have died:  Reginald.

Something to share

Bible Study

Open the text again to every question:

Its lexicon of possibility,

Its origin and form and Sitz im Leben,

Its deep resistance and its clarity.

Untwist the thread of prejudice that binds you,

Pattern the fragments and reshape the shards,

Be lost in reading till the reading finds you,

Discern the Word that underpins the words.

Begin at the beginning, make an end

Of all your old evasions, make a start

Counting the countless stars, the grains of sand,

And find in them the fragments of your heart.

Open the text again, for it is true,

The Book you open always opens you.

        – Malcolm Guite

News and Updates

Scripture Readings for tomorrow:

Christian Education classes will begin on 9/26 during the 9 am service. Bethany will bring the children to the classroom after the gospel is read. If you have any questions, please email her 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.