Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Today is the Fourth Sunday of Advent.
The Collect for the Day
Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to 1:39–55:
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
From Our Prayers of the People
For the special needs and concerns of our congregation.
For comfort and healing for all who are affected by the deadly tornadoes devastating communities in six states this weekend.
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.
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: Charline, Janet, Marilyn, Don, Eunice, Ruth, Mary Frances, Vincent, Priscilla, Joe.
For all the blessings of this life.
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: The Church of the Province of Central Africa.
For all who have died: Gertrude Welter, Clifford Santer, Gladys Titterington, Jeffery Knight, Margaret Collins, Suzanne Fleischmann.
Something to share
· 17 December: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
· 18 December: O Adonai (O Lord)
· 19 December: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
For December 19, the antiphon is based on Isaiah 11:1, 10, Isaiah 52:15 and Romans 15:12.
O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.
O stock of Jesse, set up as the rallying sign for the nations! In Your presence rulers are silent and the peoples make supplication: Come deliver us; do not delay.
From Evening prayer:
O Flower of Jesse’s stem,
you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples;
kings stand silent in your presence;
the nations bow down in worship before you.
let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.
From O Come, O Come Emmannuel:
O Come, Thou Rod of Jesse’s stem,
from ev’ry foe deliver them
that trust Thy mighty power to save,
and give them vict’ry o’er the grave.
Stock of Jesse
In His human nature, Christ is the descendant of Jesse, Father of David, the great king of God’s people. Our Lord is the King of kings. His power extends to all peoples and to their rulers. In the desperate perils of our age, we pray Christ to come quickly and deliver us, to establish in all hearts His kingdom of truth and of life, of justice, love and peace.
News and Updates
Postponed Pageant – We will be postponing our pageant until Epiphany Sunday (January 9th) due to a COVID exposure and the need to quarantine one of our little actors. Thank you for your flexibility. We want all the kiddos to be able to be part of the pageant and enjoy all of their hard work!
4:00 p.m. Eucharist
9:00 a.m. Morning Prayer (Zoom)
FEAST OF ST. STEPHEN SUNDAY
9:00 a.m. Eucharist
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.