Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Friday, September 24, 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

Show me what the attachments and cravings are, which hold me down below your level of total self-surrender, real love. Show me the things that lumber up my heart, so that it cannot be filled with your life and power. What are they? People? Ambitions? Interests? Comforts? Anxieties? Self-chosen aims?

        –  Evelyn Underhill, 1941

Evelyn Underhill was an English Anglo-Catholic writer and pacifist known for her numerous works on religion and spiritual practice, in particular Mysticism and Worship. Her most valuable contribution to spiritual literature must surely be her conviction that the mystical life is not only open to a saintly few, but to anyone who cares to nurture it and weave it into everyday experience, and also that modern psychological theories and discoveries, far from hindering or negating spirituality, can actually enhance and transform it. Evelyn Underhill was conferred with an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from Aberdeen University and made a fellow of King’s College. She was the first woman to lecture the clergy in the Church of England as well as the first woman to officially conduct spiritual retreats for the Church.

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:  Sharhonna, Chris, Louis, Philip, Rick, Louise, Clara, Robin, Jackie, Waid, Dan, Hugh, Debby, Irene, Jeanne, Theresa, Josh, Amy, Greg, Craig, Donald, Gerald, Molly, Kenny, Sunny.

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 all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Diocese of Central Florida – The Episcopal Church (IV (4) Province).

For all who have died:  Mildred, Kathryn, Reuben, Timothy, Dennis, and Elsie.

Something to share

Crown of Pain

We wear it like a scar

often hidden from public view

as though a mark of shame.

We wear it with a stoic smile

we hardly feel our own, for even

a simple smile is not without effort.

It erodes our countenance

like the rush of scouring waters

on a hillside; it claws

at our peace of mind

until it tears the skin of our patience

and draws blood from our despair.

It is, for reasons that still elude us,

the co-conspirator with the night, asserting

its presence with greater insistence.

It turns each day into

an unwanted journey rather than

a pleasant walk.

It is warfare for which we have

no protective armor, no defenses,

no allies, except endurance.

It is an endless encounter

bravely fought, never won,

never conquered. It is that

unwanted heroism we grudgingly

condescend to wear –

more a crown of thorns than laurel.

         – Maurice Rigoler

News and Updates

New Parish Directory – We are in the process of updating our congregational directory.  Would you please take the time to fill out the form sent out on Monday?  I would like EVERYONE to fill it out, even if your information has not changed.  This is in order to further communication among congregants.  A new Parish Directory will be sent out as soon as we have all the updated forms. Thank you so much.

Celebration of Life – Millie Gittinger is inviting the congregation to a celebration of her late husband’s life this Saturday at the church, 11am.  A Reception will follow in the Courtyard.

Christian Education classes will begin on this Sunday 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.

Episcopal Relief & Development continues to support dioceses providing assistance in response to disasters:  See https://www.episcopalrelief.org/press-resources/press-releases/2021-press-releases-press-releases/ to read the latest updates on 

·         supporting partners in Haiti after the earthquake, 

·         continuing support around the world in response to COVID-19, 

·         partnering with dioceses in Louisiana after Hurricane Ida, and 

·         supporting the diocese of Northern California in response to wildfires.  

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.