Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!

Today’s Prayer

God of Goodness,

We give you praise for the ordinariness of Christmas – that the day comes the same as any other day. We give you praise that there is no sign in the heavens, and no bright star but the light of your presence in the ordinary birth of the child. We give you praise that unobtrusively you are in the center of human affairs, involved in the struggle of life, and sharing human experience. We give you praise that out of compassion you take our part, and open to us a new way of life. We pray that this day we shall be able to see its true glory.

                –  Carly Micklem, 2003 Contemporary Prayers for Public Worship

Today is the fifth day of Christmas. Merry Christmas!

Carly Micklem was an English Congregational minister and hymn writer who died in 2003. He edited the book of prayers from which this prayer comes and also served on the music committee for hymnals New Church Praise and Rejoice and Sing. In the 1990s, he served as Chairman of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland. He was also a contributor to faith-based programming on BBC radio.

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:  Adrian, Andrew, Rosemary, Fritz, Regina, Joan, Isabella, Gus, Pat, Katie, Mike, June, Kenny, Danny, Charlotte, Diana, Caleb, June, Ruth, David, Kathy Nick, Roberta, Beth, Walker, Susan, Ann, John, Stephen, Don, Ruth.

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 Diocese of Iowa – The Episcopal Church (VI (6) Province) Thursday).

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

Something to share

Joseph at the Nativity

Of any birth, I thought this

would be a clean one,

like pulling white linen

from a loom.

But when I return to the cave,

Mary throws her cloak

over the bloody straw and cries.

I know she wants me to leave.

There he lies, stomach rising

and falling, a shriveled pod

that does nothing but stare

at the edge of the feeding trough

with dark, unsteady eyes.

Is he God enough

to know that I am poor,

that we had no time

for a midwife, that swine

ate from his bed this morning?

If the angel was right, he knows.

He knows that Mary’s swell

embarrassed me, that I was jealous

of her secret skyward smiles,

that now I want to run into these hills

and never come back.

Peace, peace, I’ve heard in my dreams.

This child will make you right.

But I can only stand here,

not a husband, not a father,

my hands hanging dumbly

at my sides. Do I touch him,

this child who is mine

and not mine? Do I enter

the kingdom of blood and stars?

           –  Tania Runyan

News and Updates

Inquirers’ Classes – These sessions are an introduction to the Episcopal Church in the United States.  The four classes give an overview of how Episcopalians fit into the complex of protestant and catholic churches.  The National Episcopal Church, the Diocese of Albany, the congregation of St. Stephen’s and the relationship among all three will be explored.  Frank discussions include both the wonderful things about our Church, and also some not-so-wonderful things. This course is required for all adults who wish to be confirmed or received into the church this May, but is open to all members of the Parish Family.

Classes will be on Zoom at the participants’ convenience.  Please talk to the rector (518-522-3906) or email at james.ross.mcd@gmail.com if you would like to attend.

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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