Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Tuesday, November 2, 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

O God, the Maker and Redeemer of all believers: Grant to the faithful departed the unsearchable benefits of the passion of your Son; that on the day of his appearing they may be manifested as your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

         –  Holy Women, Holy Men, p. 665

Today is the Commemoration of All Faithful Departed – also known as All Souls’ Day and the Day of the Dead

Each year on November 1, the Episcopal Church celebrates All Saints’ Day. On the following day, November 2, the church celebrates the Commemoration of All Faithful Departed.

What is the difference between these two observances?

“In the New Testament, the word ‘saints’ is used to describe the entire membership of the Christian community,” explains Holy Women, Holy Men (Church Publishing, 2010). “From very early times, however, the word ‘saint’ came to be applied primarily to persons of heroic sanctity.”

So, technically, All Saints’ Day, on November 1, includes all deceased Christians; however, historically, there has been a strong inclination to remember and honor our personal loved ones on a separate day.

In the Catholic Church this remembrance on the day after All Saints’ Day is called All Souls’ Day, when the bereaved have the opportunity to offer prayers and masses for loved ones who have died. However, this practice was rejected by many Protestant reformers because the theology behind the observance was associated with the medieval doctrine of Purgatory along with the practice of paying for masses to be said for the dead to assist their souls into heaven.

At the time of the English Reformation in the mid 16th century, All Souls’ Day was integrated into the celebration of All Saints’ Day in the Church of England. But by the 19th century, some parishes influenced by the Anglo Catholic Revival reinstated the observance of All Souls’ Day on November 2. The 1979 Book of Common Prayer officially restored the observance in the Episcopal Church, renaming November 2 as the Commemoration of All Faithful Departed.

As Holy Women, Holy Men notes, although the observance had been eliminated for hundreds of years, “a renewed understanding of its meaning has led to a widespread acceptance of this commemoration among Anglicans, and to its inclusion as an optional observance in the calendar of the Episcopal 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 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, Warren, Steven, Craig, Donald, Gerald, Molly, Kenny, Sunny, people of Afghanistan, Christian missionaries and children who were kidnapped in Haiti.

For those who are homebound:  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, Joe. 

For Evan – today is his birthday!

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Diocese of Haiti – The Episcopal Church (II (2) Province).

For all who have died:  Doris, Katharine, Mae, and William.

Something to share

Death Is Nothing At All

Death is nothing at all. 

It does not count. 

I have only slipped away into the next room. 

Nothing has happened. 

Everything remains exactly as it was. 

I am I, and you are you, 

and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. 

Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. 

Call me by the old familiar name. 

Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. 

Put no difference into your tone. 

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. 

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. 

Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. 

Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. 

Life means all that it ever meant. 

It is the same as it ever was. 

There is absolute and unbroken continuity. 

What is this death but a negligible accident? 

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? 

I am but waiting for you, for an interval, 

somewhere very near, 

just round the corner. 

All is well. 

Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. 

One brief moment and all will be as it was before. 

How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

         – Henry Scott-Holland

A Season of Prayer: For a Civil Election

O Lord our Governor, bless the leaders of our land, that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to other nations of the earth. Lord, keep this nation under your care.

To the President and members of the Cabinet, to Governors of States, Mayors of Cities, and to all in administrative authority, grant wisdom and grace in the exercise of their duties.  Give grace to your servants, O Lord.

To Senators and Representatives, and those who make our laws in States, Cities, and Towns, give courage, wisdom, and foresight to provide for the needs of all our people, and to fulfill our obligations in the community of nations. Give grace to your servants, O Lord.

To the Judges and officers of our Courts give understanding and integrity, that human rights may be safeguarded and justice served. Give grace to your servants, O Lord.

And finally, teach our people to rely on your strength and to accept their responsibilities to their fellow citizens, that they may elect trustworthy leaders and make wise decisions for the well-being of our society; that we may serve you faithfully in our generation and honor your holy Name. For yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all. Amen.

–    The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations

News and Updates

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pies – This year the families at St. Stephen’s will be making “no bake pumpkin pies” just in time for Thanksgiving. Pies will be made on Saturday November 20th, ready to be picked up Sunday November 21st after the 9 am church service. Pies will be sold on a donation basis, with all proceeds going to Street Soldiers Schenectady.  Pies will contain dairy, and although there are no nuts in the pie, crusts may be made in facilities where nuts are used.

Please fill out this pie order form if you intend to purchase a pie (or pies) on November 21. Orders must be received by this Sunday, November 7. This will help us know how many pies to make! Have any questions or want to help out? Email Bethany at office@st-stephens.church. 

Order form

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.

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