Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church
In the spirit I see all suspended,
In the spirit I know everything held:
The flesh hanging from the soul
The soul held aloft by the air
The air suspended from the ether
Fruits manifest themselves out of the Depth
A child emerges from the womb
Valentinus, (flourished 2nd century AD), Egyptian religious philosopher, founder of Roman and Alexandrian schools of Gnosticism, a system of religious dualism (belief in rival deities of good and evil) with a doctrine of salvation by gnosis, or esoteric knowledge. Valentinian communities, founded by his disciples, provided the major challenge to 2nd and 3rd century (so-called, prot-Orthodox) Christian theology.
Valentinus studied philosophy at Alexandria. His disciples claimed that he had been educated by Theodas, a purported pupil of St. Paul, and was baptized a Christian. Valentinus moved to Rome c. 136, during the time of Pope St. Hyginus (c. 136–140), and exercised influence there for some 25 years achieving a fusion of Christian Pauline theology with Gnostic principles.
The Valentinian system developed into Eastern and Western forms in greater complexity, although the earlier structure was similar to Pauline mystical theology, with its emphasis on the instrumentality of Christ’s death and resurrection in effecting Christian deliverance. Current scholarship tends to increase the importance of Valentinian anthropocentric modes of Christian spirituality, leaving traces in every era of the church down to the present.
This prayer was written by Valentinus during his time in Rome (139-160AD). In it he offers a brief summary of his vision of the universe, beginning from below and ending with the Aeons being produced by Depth and Silence in the Fullness.
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, Audrey, Sunny, Diana
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 Matilda – today is her birthday!
For all the blessings of this life.
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: The Diocese of Idoani – The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) (Ondo Province).
For all who have died: Helbert, Bertha, Irene.
Something to share
I believe in the life of the word,
the diplomacy of food. I believe in salt-thick
ancient seas and the absoluteness of blue.
A poem is an ark, a suitcase in which to pack
the universe—I believe in the universality
of art, of human thirst
for a place. I believe in Adam’s work
of naming breath and weather—all manner
of wind and stillness, humidity
and heat. I believe in the audacity
of light, the patience of cedars,
the innocence of weeds. I believe
in apologies, soliloquies, speaking
in tongues; the underwater
operas of whales, the secret
prayer rituals of bees. As for miracles—
the perfection of cells, the integrity
of wings—I believe. Bones
know the dust from which they come;
all music spins through space on just
a breath. I believe in that grand economy
of love that counts the tiny death
of every fern and white-tailed fox.
I believe in the healing ministry
of phlox, the holy brokenness of saints,
the fortuity of faults—of making
and then redeeming mistakes. Who dares
brush off the auguries of a storm, disdain
the lilting eulogies of the moon? To dance
is nothing less than an act of faith
in what the prophets sang. I believe
in the genius of children and the goodness
of sleep, the eternal impulse to create. For love
of God and the human race, I believe
in the elegance of insects, the imminence
of winter, the free enterprise of grace.
– Abigail Carroll
News and Updates
Envelopes- Envelopes for 2022 will be available at the back of the church on Sunday mornings for those who requested them. Extras are available for those who haven’t yet requested them but would like to. Please contact Denise Crates firstname.lastname@example.org, if you want them.
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 is 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!
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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org).
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: email@example.com.
Home Communions: If you or someone you know is unable to attend church on either a long or short‑term basis, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.