Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Friday, December 31, 2021

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

Today is the seventh day of Christmas. Merry Christmas!

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

Today’s Prayer

God of all time,

help us enter the New Year quietly,

thoughtful of who we are to ourselves and to others,

mindful that our steps make an impact

and our words carry power.

May we walk gently.

May we speak only after we have listened well.

Creator of all life,

help us enter the New Year reverently,

aware that you have endowed

every creature and plant, every person and habitat

with beauty and purpose.

May we regard the world with tenderness.

May we honor rather than destroy.

Lover of all souls,

help us enter the New Year joyfully,

willing to laugh and dance and dream,

remembering our many gifts with thanks

and looking forward to blessings yet to come.

May we welcome your lavish love.

May we cast off the small, vindictive god our fears have made.

May the grace and peace of Christ bless you now and in the days ahead.

Vinita Hampton Wright has edited books for Loyola Press, a Jesuit ministry, for 21 years, serving as managing editor in recent years. She has published her own fiction and nonfiction, including the most recent Small Simple Ways: An Ignatian Daybook for Healthy Spiritual Living.

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, Daryl .

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 Denise – today is her birthday!

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Diocese of Irele – Eseodo – The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

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

Something to share

New Year: A Dialogue

Mortal:    “The night is cold, the hour is late, the world is bleak and drear;

Who is it knocking at my door?”

The New Year:  “I am Good Cheer.”

Mortal:    “Your voice is strange; I know you not; in shadows dark I grope.

What seek you here?”

The New Year:    “Friend, let me in; my name is Hope.”

Mortal:     “And mine is Failure; you but mock the life you seek to bless. Pass on.”

The New Year:    “Nay, open wide the door; I am Success.”

Mortal:    “But I am ill and spent with pain; too late has come your wealth. I cannot use it.”

The New Year:  “Listen, friend; I am Good Health.”

Mortal:    “Now, wide I fling my door. Come in, and your fair statements prove.”

The New Year:   “But you must open, too, your heart, for I am Love.”

–          Ella Wheeler Wilcox

May you find in this year good cheer, hope, success, good health, and, of course, love.

News and Updates

Double Your Generosity – good news: Our match amount has just increased from $650,000 to $900,000, amplifying our collective impact worldwide. But there is only today left for this match. The Year-End Match will benefit the organization’s Global Needs Fund, supporting key programs in three priority areas: Women, Children and Climate. Gifts will bolster work promoting the health and wellbeing of children, empowering women and helping communities adapt to our changing climate. They will also strengthen the organization’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic in marginalized communities in the United States and around the world.

Contributions made to Episcopal Relief & Development before the end of the year are eligible for matching, including Gifts for Life, the organization’s alternative giving catalog, and direct contributions online, over the phone, or by mail. Gifts of stock or from an IRA are also included in the Year-End Match Challenge. 

Donate online at episcopalrelief.org/match, or call 1.855.312.4325. Gifts can also be mailed to Episcopal Relief & Development, PO Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-70

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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