Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
In the beginning there are a great many battles and a good deal of suffering for those who are advancing towards God and afterwards, ineffable joy. It is like those who wish to light a fire; at first they are choked by the smoke and cry, and by this means obtain what they seek (as it is said: ‘Our God is a consuming fire’ [Heb. 12.24]): so we also must kindle the divine fire in ourselves through tears and hard work.
–Syncletica of Alexandria, 4th century
Syncletia was a Desert Mother of the 4th century, who lived in Egypt. Desert mothers were women living as Christian monastics or hermits and were considered spiritual teachers in their own right, alongside desert fathers. Twenty-eight sayings are attributed to her in the collections of sayings from desert fathers and mothers recorded in the 5th century. Syncletia had been born to a wealthy family, but gave away her inheritance to the poor and moved, with her sister, into a family tomb. She attracted many women followers interested in her wisdom.
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: Adrian, Andrew, Rosemary, Fritz, Regina, Joan, Isabella, Gus, Pat, Katie, Mike, June, Kenny, Danny, Charlotte, Diana, Caleb, June, Ruth, David, Kathy Nick, Roberta, Beth, Walker, Susan, Ann, John, Stephen, Don, Ruth
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 Humphrey, Eunice Chouffi, Vincent Avila, Priscilla Sprague, Ruth Turner, Mary Frances Hatfield, Joe White.
For all the blessings of this life.
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: The Diocese of Ibadan – The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) (Ibadan Province).
For all who have died: Earnest, William, and Dorothy.
Something to share
I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead — you first,” “I like your hat.”
– Danusha Laméris, poet laureate of Santa Cruz County, CA.
News and Updates
Things of my Very Own – This Christmas season our church will be collecting new, unwrapped items for the children supported by Things of my Very Own. Items we are collecting:
- Brand new twin and full sized bedding sets
- Brand new undergarments (Many of the girls and boys that we serve are not comfortable wearing tight fitting undergarments after experiencing certain types of trauma. For this reason, we are always in need of all sizes of boxer shorts.
- Hair Brushes (Simple things that allow you to feel good about yourself are especially important in helping children heal from the trauma they have endured).
- Personal hygiene supplies
- Brand new clothing for boys and girls, especially in children’s sizes 12-20.
- Brand new toys
There will be a display in the nave extension for “Things of my Very Own” where items can be left on or before Sunday, December 12. If you would like to make a monetary donation instead of purchasing an item from the list, checks may be made out to Things of My Very Own, Inc. and left in an envelope with the other donations or mailed to the office (please be sure to note it is for the Christmas items collection).
Thank you for your support in making these children’s Christmas (and lives!) more joyful!
Episcopal Relief & Development is kicking off its annual Year-End Match, offering supporters the opportunity to transform lives with twice the impact this holiday season. Thanks to a very generous group of donors, contributions that Episcopal Relief & Development receives between now and December 31 will be doubled, dollar for dollar, up to a total of $650,000.
The Year-End Match will benefit the organization’s Global Needs Fund, supporting key programs in three priority areas: Women, Children and Climate. Gifts will bolster work promoting the health and wellbeing of children, empowering women and helping communities adapt to our changing climate. They will also strengthen the organization’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic in marginalized communities in the United States and around the world.
Contributions made to Episcopal Relief & Development before the end of the year are eligible for matching, including Gifts for Life, the organization’s alternative giving catalog, and direct contributions online, over the phone, or by mail. Gifts of stock or from an IRA are also included in the Year-End Match Challenge.
Donate online at episcopalrelief.org/match, or call 1.855.312.4325. Gifts can also be mailed to Episcopal Relief & Development, PO Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Home Communions: If you or someone you know is unable to attend church on either a long or short‑term basis, please contact me (email@example.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!
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.