Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Friday, November 12, 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

Companion and Friend,

forgive me

for not turning to You

more often.

For decline your

frequent invitations to dance.

The synchronicities,

the intuitions,

the dreams ….

So playful, so enchanting.

So freely and graciously given.

Each day I delight in

Your presence, and yet even now

I deny knowing You.

I so often fear

looking foolish

in accomplished circles,

so often wish to appear

the author of my own story.

Why is it that I hesitate

to express my love

for the One who

embraces me always?

Why do I so often

refrain from speaking

with the Partner who delights

in conversation with me?

Mindful of the many times

I have not taken your hand,

in gratitude

I reach for You now.

Infinite Friend, who knows

and abides in me,

forgive me

for not calling your name.

           – Lynn Harrison

Lynn Harrison is a Canadian singer-songwriter and ordained Unitarian Universalist minister serving a congregation in Toronto. This prayer was included in the collection Conversations with the Sacred: A Collection of Prayers edited by Manish Mishra-Marzetti and Jennifer Kelleher.

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 missionarys 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 Richard: today is his birthday.

For all the blessings of this life.

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

For all who have died:  Helen and Louville .

Something to share

For the Sake of Strangers

No matter what the grief, its weight,

we are obliged to carry it.

We rise and gather momentum, the dull strength

that pushes us through crowds.

And then the young boy gives me directions

so avidly. A woman holds the glass door open,

waiting patiently for my empty body to pass through.

All day it continues, each kindness

reaching toward another—a stranger

singing to no one as I pass on the path, trees

offering their blossoms, a child

who lifts his almond eyes and smiles.

Somehow they always find me, seem even

to be waiting, determined to keep me

from myself, from the thing that calls to me

as it must have once called to them—

this temptation to step off the edge

and fall weightless, away from the world.

           – Dorianne Laux

News and Updates

The Stockade-athon will take place this Sunday.  It begins at 8:30 am.   Since St. Stephen’s is inside the loop of the runners, roads will be blocked off starting before 8:30 until the runners have passed through.  And since our service time is now during the race, those who are coming to church should know that they made need to allow for extra time to get through.  Sorry for the inconvenience – but it only happens once a year! 

A different use of the church – Next week there will be an entire filming company who will be using our church for shooting a few scenes for a major television show.  (Our contract with them does not allow us to divulge the specific show until it has been aired.) The crew will be on site Monday-Wednesday and I ask you to avoid the church for those three days.  St. Stephen’s is being compensated for this use of our building.  Thank you.

New Veteran’s Day hymn – For more than a century, the Navy Hymn, “Eternal Father, Strong to Save,” has had no Army counterpart. Tom Lough, West Point, ’64, decided to do something about that. As a ten-year Army veteran and church music composer, he has developed a hymn that is being circulated for use with Veterans Day services and events. “Ever Faithful to the Call” honors the service of our soldiers as they do whatever is necessary to keep us free. We, at St. Stephen’s, will sing this new hymn this Sunday, as we honor our veterans.

Tom Lough is a combat engineer veteran with service in Korea, Vietnam, and Germany. He is also a church music composer. He and his wife, Posy, live in Round Rock, Texas, where he sings in his church choir.

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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