Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Sunday, December 26, 2021

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

Today is the Feast of St. Stephen, our Patronal Feast Day and the second day of Christmas. Merry Christmas!

Today’s Prayer

We give you thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the

first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed

for his persecutors to your Son Jesus Christ, who stands at

your right hand; where he lives and reigns with you and the

Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

            – Book of Common Prayer, p. 237

Keep feasting!

Stephen was a Christian deacon in Jerusalem who was known for his service to the poor and his status as one of the first Christian martyrs (he was stoned to death in 36AD). Acts of the Apostles speaks of his preaching and performing many miracles. These activities resulted in him being accused of blasphemy and brought before the Sanhedrin. His powerful sermon before the Council is recorded in the seventh chapter of Acts. His words enraged the Council so much that they dragged him out of the city and stoned him to death.

Saul, later called Paul, stood by, consenting to Stephen’s death, but Stephen’s example of steadfast faith in Jesus, and of intercession for his persecutors, was to find fruit in the mission and witness of Paul after his conversion. The Christian community in Jerusalem scattered out of fear for what happened to Stephen. It was in this moment that the Gospel of Christ began to spread beyond Jerusalem.

Stephen is the patron saint of deacons, acolytes, stonemasons, and casket makers.

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 Suzanne– today is her baptismal anniversary!

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  Iglesia Anglicana de la Region Central de America.

For all who have died:  Anna Kastensmith, Solon Duff, Helen Bradish, Lillian Peterson, Isabella Dewhurst, Burleigh Douglass, Ida Rossiter, Sondra Grady.

Something to share

Good King Wenceslas

Good King Wenceslas looked out

On the Feast of Stephen

When the snow lay round about

Deep and crisp and even

Brightly shone the moon that night

Though the frost was cruel

When a poor man came in sight

Gathering winter fuel

Hither, page, and stand by me,

If thou knowst it, telling

Yonder peasant, who is he?

Where and what his dwelling?

Sire, he lives a good league hence,

Underneath the mountain

Right against the forest fence

By Saint Agnes fountain.

Bring me flesh and bring me wine

Bring me pine logs hither

Thou and I shall see him dine

When we bear them thither.

Page and monarch, forth they went

Forth they went together

Through the rude winds wild lament

And the bitter weather

Sire, the night is darker now

And the wind blows stronger

Fails my heart, I know not how

I can go no longer.

Mark my footsteps, good my page

Tread thou in them boldly

Thou shall find the winters rage

Freeze thy blood less coldly.

In his masters step he trod

Where the snow lay dinted

Heat was in the very sod

Which the Saint had printed

Therefore, Christian men, be sure

Wealth or rank possessing

Ye, who now will bless the poor

Shall yourselves find blessing.

             –  John Mason Neale

News and Updates

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. 

This morning’s lessons:

This morning’s bulletin:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IcrwU5rxhnqjZZjp4csAZFaKT5aVmD6d3e8RuWwsSMw/edit?usp=sharing

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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