Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Tuesday, October 5, 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 strengthen me to bear myself;

That heaviest weight of all to bear,

Inalienable weight of care.

All others are outside myself;

I lock my door and bar them out

The turmoil, tedium, gad-about.

I lock my door upon myself,

And bar them out; but who shall wall

Self from myself, most loathed of all?

If I could once lay down myself,

And start self-purged upon the race

That all must run ! Death runs apace.

If I could set aside myself,

And start with lightened heart upon

The road by all men overgone!

God harden me against myself,

This coward with pathetic voice

Who craves for ease and rest and joys

Myself, arch-traitor to mysel ;

My hollowest friend, my deadliest foe,

My clog whatever road I go.

Yet One there is can curb myself,

Can roll the strangling load from me

Break off the yoke and set me free.

        – Christina Rossetti

Christina Rossetti was a prominent nineteenth century poet who is acknowledged with a feast day in the Episcopal Church on April 27th. She produced a great wealth of poetry – with over 500 poems dealing with obviously Christian themes and subjects. The Christmas carols “In the bleak midwinter” and “Love came down at Christmas” take their lyrics from her words. Christina was a part of an artistic family; her father was a poet and her brother was a poet and painter.

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, 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 all the blessings of this life.

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

For all who have died:  Lawrence, Ralph, Leland, Blanche, and Marian.

Something to share

Letter to St. Francis

When you broke with the world, you gave up jerkins and boots

(Italian leather, no less),

the title to your name. In light of your example, I hereby forsake

(not wanting to duplicate)

the paisley, polarized shades I have wanted to buy for some months

(now on sale at Rite Aid),

plans for a new voile spread and matching shams—you see, my room

(unaltered in years),

is begging for a complete re-do. In addition, I forthwith happily resign

(and with only a little shame)

my ignorance of bird songs, apathy toward insects, and above all else

(no simple task)

my solemn right to complain—about weather, fractures, vacuuming,

(the Lord gives)

or the sudden need for new axels, a change of plans, someone to love

(the Lord takes away)

I’d also like to swear off phones, hornets, gas stations, the news

(and, while I’m at it)

the banality of prose. When it comes to relinquishing clothes, I can

(most definitely)

do without nylons and heels, and that black bridesmaid shawl I prized

(but never wore),

which has hung in my closet for years. Abandoning these worldly goods

(I sincerely trust)

will also mean the giving up of dust in all its forms: dandruff, worry, shame,

(bathtub residues)—

In truth, Francis, there are many things I’d like to lose.

        –   Abigail Carroll

Many of you have said that Stephen’s Woodzell’s cartoon did not get through last weekend, so let’s try again: 

BTW, the priest to whom I am talking is John Peatling, fourth rector of St. Stephen’s and, at the time of this cartoon, the assisting priest.

News and Updates

Family Halloween Afternoon – Please join us on Saturday, October 16 at 4:00 in the Parish Hall. We will have pumpkins for the kiddos to decorate (if you would like to carve your pumpkin, bring carving tools), haunted gingerbread houses for each family to create, crafts and games, and pizza and snacks for dinner.  Costumes are welcome! All are welcome to attend. Please RSVP to Bethany at office@st-stephens.church by 10/10.

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.

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.