Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Sunday, November 7, 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 we celebrate All Saints’ Sunday.

The Collect for the Day

Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

The Gospel

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew 5:1-12:

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. 

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 

The Gospel of the Lord.

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 all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.

For all who have died:  Helen and Louville.

Something to share

Beatitudes

1.

My child wants to know if the mountains really cowered.

“How do you know when a sea or a river is afraid?

How do you know when the sky is thinking yes or no?

And why did Adam say yes—Did he know that

all the other creatures refused? Was he arrogant

or just ignorant? Was he God’s last choice?”

2.

“Did you really have a party the day the dictator died?

And you had a cake decorated with all the flags?

Did you think his death will fix everything?

Why did we spend all that time there?

Why couldn’t we just stay here?

Isn’t this our country too?

And all these people fleeing and drowning,

what are they hoping for? Whose fault is it?

How long must we wait for things to improve?”

3.

She speaks to me in our language

in front of her friends, to share a secret,

or—cool and beaming—to show off.

I wonder how long it will last, this pride,

this intimacy. Sometimes she puts her arm

next to mine and tells me I have the lighter skin.

“Why are you doing this,” I ask.

But she doesn’t point to the flag

or say, “It’s the way of the world.”

Instead she tells me not to worry, that she is “the most

kid kid in my class, the least mature one, Baba!”

Not all kinds of wisdom console, I tell her.

Then I begin to think of words she’ll soon hear

that can make her wish she wasn’t who she is.

Lead me to virtue, O love, through the smoke of despair.

4.

“Let’s walk through the woods,” she tells me.

“Let’s walk by the rocky shore at sunrise.”

“Let’s walk through the clover fields at noon.”

In the rainforest she is silent, mesmerized.

She’d never prayed—we never taught her—

but she seemed to then, eyes alert with joy.

She points to a chameleon the size of a beetle,

teaches me the names of flowers and trees,

insects we can eat if we’re ever lost here.

“I’m teaching you how to entrust the world

to me,” she says. “You don’t have to live

forever to shield me from it.”

–  Khaled Mattawa 

Born in Benghazi, Libya, in 1964, Khaled Mattawa is a poet and translator of contemporary Arabic poetry. He served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2014 to 2020.

News and Updates

Our Sunday Eucharist begins at 9am.  You will need to wear a mask, even if you have been vaccinated!

If you would like to attend the Sunday service from home,  just  visit:  https://www.facebook.com/SaintStephensSchenectady/ at 9am and wait for the live stream to be posted. If there are technical issues with the livestream so that it stops, please try re-entering. Do not wait for it to come back on. It may take a few minutes for the livestream to start again, so please be patient.  The live video is automatically recorded, so it will be available for viewing later on in the day or week if you can’t be online at 9:00. 

This Morning’s Lessons:  

This Morning’s Bulletin: 
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IcrwU5rxhnqjZZjp4csAZFaKT5aVmD6d3e8RuWwsSMw/edit?usp=sharing

Interfaith Thanksgiving Service
Sponsored by Schenectady Clergy Against Hate
Sunday, November 21st at 3:00pm
Schenectady Urban Farm
Fehr Avenue & Central Park Road in Schenectady, NY

Our annual Schenectady Clergy Against Hate Interfaith Thanksgiving Service is back! The service will begin at 3:00pm and will feature prayers, music and conversation amongst folks of all faith traditions that call Schenectady home. Grounded in the outdoor beauty of the Schenectady Urban Farms Initiative, this brief service will allow everyone to regather, reflect, and reconsider what it means to give thanks in the unique times we are living in. Ample street parking is available.

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 today, 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 next year.

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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