Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Friday, October 1, 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

I arise, facing East,

I am asking toward the light;

I am asking that my day

Shall be beautiful with light

I am asking that the place

Where my feet are shall be light,

That as far as I can see

I shallow follow it aright.

I am asking for the courage

To go forward through the shadow,

I am asking toward the light!

          – Mary Hunter Austin

Mary Hunter Austin, who lived from 1868 to 1934, was a writer in many genres, including short stories, novels, and plays, based in the American Southwest. Austin’s work tended to have a particular focus on nature. Among other things, Austin studied and wrote about Native American culture in the Mojave desert. She also wrote articles advocating for socialism and women’s rights. Her most famous book was a book of essays, The Land of Little Rain.

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 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: Don, Eunice, Vincent, Priscilla, Ruth, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe. 

For Oto – today is his baptismal anniversary!

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Diocese of Freetown – The Church of the Province of West Africa (West Africa Province).

For all who have died:  Robert, Dorthy, Helen, Donald, Alfred, John, Angus, Ronald, Robert, Robert, and Harry.

Something to share

Articulation

— After Miguel Cabrera’s portrait of Saint Gertrude, 1763

In the legend, Saint Gertrude is called to write

after seeing, in a vision, the sacred heart of Christ.

Cabrera paints her among the instruments

of her faith: quill, inkwell, an open book,

rings on her fingers like Christ’s many wounds—

the heart emblazoned on her chest, the holy

infant nestled there as if sunk deep in a wound.

Against the dark backdrop, her face is a wafer

of light. How not to see, in the saint’s image,

my mother’s last portrait—the dark backdrop,

her dress black as a habit, the bright edge

of her afro ringing her face with light? And how

not to recall her many wounds: ring finger

shattered, her ex-husband’s bullet finding

her temple, lodging where her last thought lodged?

Three weeks gone, my mother came to me

in a dream, her body whole again but for

one perfect wound, the singular articulation

of all of them: a hole, center of her forehead,

the size of a wafer—light pouring from it.

How, then, could I not answer her life

with mine, she who saved me with hers?

And how could I not, bathed in the light

of her wound, find my calling there?

         –  Natasha Trethewey

News and Updates

Prayers for Haiti and Afghanistan:   https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/pressreleases/

Episcopal Migration Ministries – The Episcopal Church has served immigrants new to the U.S. since the late 1800s, when the Church opened port chaplaincies to minister to sojourners on both coasts. In the 1930s, local parishes collected donations to provide steamship passage for those fleeing Nazi Europe. Out of this effort, the Presiding Bishop’s Fund for World Relief (PBF) was born, the forerunner organization to Episcopal Relief & Development and Episcopal Migration Ministries. Through the mid- and late 20th century, we partnered with other faith organizations to resettle those oppressed by the Iron Curtain and the genocides of Southeast Asia. In the 1980s Episcopal Migration Ministries was formally established and, in partnership with a network of affiliate agencies, dioceses, churches, and volunteers, is today one of only nine national agencies through which all refugees enter the United States. Episcopal Migration Ministries is trying to find sponsors and housing for Afghan people entering the U.S.   Perhaps this is a way St. Stephen’s congregation could provide this ministry. 

https://episcopalmigrationministries.org/volunteer-community-interest-form/

Bagged Lunch Making for Street Soldiers – We will continue to support Street Soldiers Schenectady this year by making bagged lunches the first Sunday of each month to be handed out at their community pick up point at Zion Lutheran Church.  This Sunday, 10/3, will be our first meeting of the year. If you are interested in helping please come to the parish hall following the service.  We will provide the sandwich materials, bags, and gloves. If you are able to, please consider bringing a drink or individually wrapped snack/dessert/fruit to put in each bag. We will plan on making about 30 lunches. All are welcome.

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. Sunday Morning Prayer is at 8:00am.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.

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.

For All Gatherings at the Church – Every individual on site NEEDS to wear a mask, even if you have been vaccinated! The mask should conform to ASC standards (covering both nose and mouth, well fitted – not a bandana/gator/scarf).  Let’s work together to keep the few activities we have!

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.