Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Sunday, December 5, 2021

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

The Collect for the Day

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Gospel

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Luke 3:1-6:

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah,

“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:

‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.

Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,

and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth;

and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'”

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, Louise, Phillip, Rick, Louise, Clara, Robin, Jackie, Waid, Dan, Hugh, Debby, Jeanne, Theresa, Josh, Amy, Gred, Warren, Steven, Craig, Donald, Gerald, Molly, Kenny, Sunny, people of and from Afghanistan  

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 Linnea- today is her baptismal anniversary!

For Louise – today is her birthday!

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Anglican Church of Burundi.

For all who have died:  Raymond, Rudolph, Albert, George, Fred, Frances, Helen.

Something to share

John the Baptist

Out of the wilderness came this prophet of fire
and repentance, his voice a flame igniting
souls out of darkness to witness the Messiah.
Wherever he went bonfires reddened the night air.

He wore a tunic of camel hair, and a rope
cincture binding unruly flesh from
appetite; he lived on locusts and burr-
nested cones. When he entered the Jordan

it flowed east, away from the sin-crusted west.
Each wave was engraved with grace as he plunged
sinners heavy with the world’s woes under
only to lift them up toward the light.
But not the Pharisees. Stones would rise sooner.

When he announced Christ passing by,
the birds of the air carried each honeyed syllable
to every open heart and sin-ridden soul.

–  Philip C. Kolin

News and Updates

This Morning’s Scripture Readings:  

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jdAFcR71D4XwFmqTggP8UUO-d5eJLRdG/view

This Morning’s Worship Bulletin:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IcrwU5rxhnqjZZjp4csAZFaKT5aVmD6d3e8RuWwsSMw/edit

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. 

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 fully 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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