Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Friday, October 8, 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, would you be both strength and comfort for us? We know you are One who doesn’t separate the two, that you can hold both for us and do. I pray we would each, in these days, have a friend who knows us, a friend who knows how to sit in silence, a friend who doesn’t ignore or placate or “but what about…” to us.

I pray for endurance in our hearts and in our minds and in our souls and in our strength. I pray for perseverance beyond what we ever knew we could bear….

I pray for comfort. I pray for warmth in our homes….May our voices still crack with tears when we sing somehow, inexplicably now, how it is well with our soul. May we fall asleep humming good songs of hope. We are trying to sing in our sorrow, sing in our rage, and would you bless that bravery?

I pray for courage…No one told us how brave we would have to be. And yet here we are. I pray for courage to rise up in us so that we can get up out of our beds for another day and do what we need to do to carry on…

I pray for the active and intimate presence of the mystery of God to be close in ways we couldn’t name or explain or understand. We pray for the in-breaking of the Spirit for the disruption of the Way Things Have Always Been, the upending of status quo and toppling of spiritual wickedness in high places. I pray we would never lose our capacity for dreaming, for hoping, for longing.

Jesus, would you redraw our geography of the Kin-dom so that we know, truly know, that the margins are not the margins to you but the centre of your sacred heart.

May we, as the company of the people of the unanswered prayers, hold both hope and grief together.

          –  Sarah Bessey

Sarah Bessey is the author of the books Jesus Feminist: An Invitiation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women and Miracles and Other Reasonable Things: A Story of Unlearning and Relearning God, as well as the editor of an upcoming book of prayers, A Rhythm of Grace: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal.  Bessey is a cofounder of the Evolving Faith conference, which brings together those who may feel like “wanderers and misfits” in their exploration of Christianity. You can read today’s complete prayer here: https://sarahbessey.substack.com/p/a-prayer-for-us-for-today

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 Halstead, Janet Schlansker and Marilyn Causey. 

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 Gboko – The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) (Abuja Province).

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

Something to share

dialysis

after the cancer, the kidneys

refused to continue.

they closed their thousand eyes.

blood fountains from the blind man’s

arm and decorates the tile today.

somebody mops it up.

the woman who is over ninety

cries for her mother, if our dead

were here they would save us.

we are not supposed to hate

the dialysis unit. we are not

supposed to hate the universe.

this is not supposed to happen to me.

after the cancer the body refused

to lose any more. even the poisons

were claimed and kept

until they threatened to destroy

the heart they loved. in my dream

a house is burning.

something crawls out of the fire

cleansed and purified.

in my dream i call it light.

after the cancer i was so grateful

to be alive. i am alive and furious.

Blessed be even this?

         –  Lucille Clifton

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.

Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with Food For The Poor to provide humanitarian assistance to communities in Haiti that were impacted by the recent 7.2 magnitude earthquake and Tropical Storm Grace.  Food For The Poor has designed a multi-step response that will support marginalized communities both in the short term and over time.  Episcopal Relief & Development, through Food For The Poor, is sending tents to be distributed by the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti to vulnerable groups such as families led by women or those with young children in hard-to-reach communities.  Food For The Poor is also shipping parcels of food for immediate distribution.  Over the long term, the organization is planning to build schools and houses.

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.