Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Thursday, November 25, 2021

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

 Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church

Today’s Prayer

For the laughter of the children,

For my own life breath,

For the abundance of food on this table,

For the ones who prepared this sumptuous feast,

For the roof over our heads,

The clothes on our backs,

For our health,

And our wealth of blessings,

For this opportunity to celebrate with family and friends,

For the freedom to pray these words

Without fear,

In any language,

In any faith,

In this great country,

Whose landscape is as vast and beautiful as her inhabitants.

Thank You, God, for giving us all these. Amen.

            – Rabbi Naomi Levy

Rabbi Levy was born and raised in the Boro Park section of Brooklyn, New York. She attended Bialik School and Yeshiva of Flatbush. Her first book, To Begin Again (1998), discusses recovery from suffering and tragedy, and relates her own loss when her father was murdered in an armed robbery when she was 15. Her 2002 book, Talking to God, discusses the transformative effect of prayer. In 2004 Rabbi Levy founded Nashuva, a spiritual outreach service for Jews turned off to traditional Jewish service. Nashuva holds Shabbat services the first Friday of each month at a church in Brentwood, drawing capacity crowds of 300 people. Nashuva, which means “we will return” in Hebrew, also leads monthly social service and social action projects in the Los Angeles area. “The goal of prayer isn’t only personal peace,” says the group’s web site. “At Nashuva we believe that prayer leads us to action. It reminds us that we are here to heal this broken world. Nashuva is a service that leads to service.”  She lectures widely on topics of faith, strength, renewal, spirituality, healing and prayer.  In 2010 she published her third book, Hope Will Find You: My Search for the Wisdom to Stop Waiting and Start Living, which deals with what happened after her then 6-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a serious disease.  Rabbi Levy lives in Venice, California with her husband, Robert Eshman, editor-in-chief of the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, and their two children.

Today is Thanksgiving Day. Happy Thanksgiving!

Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the

fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those

who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of

your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and

the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

              –  Book of Common Prayer, p. 246

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: Alice, Lisa, Rick, Bette Ann, Phil, Jennifer, Josh, Shaun, Candace, Robert, Heather, Jackson, Michael, Mary, Bill, Jim, Eunice, Jane and Bruce, John, Audrey, Melanie, Joe, Rebecca, Skip, Curt, Jackie.

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 Doreen & May- today is their wedding anniversary!

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Diocese of Idah – The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) (Lokoja Province).

For all who have died:  Porter, Thomas, Carol, and Jane.

Something to share

What A Wonderful World

I see trees of green

Red roses too

I see them bloom

For me and you

And I think to myself

What a wonderful world

I see skies of blue

And clouds of white

The bright blessed day

The dark sacred night

And I think to myself

What a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow

So pretty in the sky

Are also on the faces

Of people going by

I see friends shaking hands

Saying how do you do

They’re really saying

I love you

I hear babies cry

I watch them grow

They’ll learn much more

Than I’ll ever know

And I think to myself

What a wonderful world

Yes, I think to myself

What a wonderful world

Ooh, yes (Louie Armstrong)

– Bob Thiele / George Douglas / George Weiss

News and Updates

The Stewardship campaign is underway with the mailing of pledge materials, which you should receive earlier this month. Please read these materials carefully and prayerfully reflect on your contribution. If you have not received the mailing, please let us know. We need the participation of all members if we are to sustain our ministries, meet unexpected expenditures and continue to provide support for others in our community. You can mail us your pledge or drop it off at the church.  If possible, we hope you can submit your pledge on or before this Sunday. Thank you.

Double Your Generosity This Holiday Season – 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.

Things of my Very Own – This Christmas season our church will be collecting new, unwrapped items for Things of my Very Own.  Items being collected are: 

·  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!

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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