Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!
Almighty and everliving God, we humbly pray that, as your
only-begotten Son was this day presented in the temple, so
we may be presented to you with pure and clean hearts by
Jesus Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you and the
Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
– Book of Common Prayer, p. 239
Today is the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord.
The Presentation in the Temple is an early episode in the life of Jesus, describing his presentation at the Temple in Jerusalem in reference to the instruction in the Torah that every firstborn son, forty days after his birth, had to be dedicated to God in memory of the Israelites’ deliverance from Egypt. Mary and Joseph’s presentation of their son is described in chapter 2 of Luke’s Gospel. Within the account, “Luke’s narration of the Presentation in the Temple combines the purification rite with the Jewish ceremony of the redemption of the firstborn.
Today’s feast is also known as Candlemas, the day when the candles for the entire church year would be blessed. In the northern hemisphere today is also considered the last cold day of winter. Today is also known as Groundhog Day. If the day is clear and the groundhog sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. If no shadow is seen, then the expectation is for more moderate weather in the weeks ahead.
Sailors are often reluctant to set sail on this day, believing that any voyage begun today will end in disaster.
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 vaccinations, may God grant them wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience, and may God keep them healthy and safe.
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: Walker, Gerald, Dan, Mary, Bill, Diana, Jackie, Susan, Robert, Adrian, Hugh, Craig.
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 and Carol Gallagher, Assisting Bishops; 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, and all their families.
For Daniel: today is his birthday!
For all the blessings of this life.
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: The Diocese of Western Kansas – The Episcopal Church (VII (7) Province)
For all who have died: Edwin Tolan, Lee Doolitte, and Olive Maloy.
Something to share
A Song for Simeon
Lord, the Roman hyacinths are blooming in bowls and
The winter sun creeps by the snow hills;
The stubborn season has made stand.
My life is light, waiting for the death wind,
Like a feather on the back of my hand.
Dust in sunlight and memory in corners
Wait for the wind that chills towards the dead land.
Grant us thy peace.
I have walked many years in this city,
Kept faith and fast, provided for the poor,
Have taken and given honour and ease.
There went never any rejected from my door.
Who shall remember my house,
where shall live my children’s children
When the time of sorrow is come?
They will take to the goat’s path, and the fox’s home,
Fleeing from the foreign faces and the foreign swords.
Before the time of cords and scourges and lamentation
Grant us thy peace.
Before the stations of the mountain of desolation,
Before the certain hour of maternal sorrow,
Now at this birth season of decease,
Let the Infant, the still unspeaking and unspoken Word,
Grant Israel’s consolation
To one who has eighty years and no to-morrow.
According to thy word,
They shall praise Thee and suffer in every generation
With glory and derision,
Light upon light, mounting the saints’ stair.
Not for me the martyrdom, the ecstasy of thought and prayer,
Not for me the ultimate vision.
Grant me thy peace.
(And a sword shall pierce thy heart,
I am tired with my own life and the lives of those after me,
I am dying in my own death and the deaths of those after me.
Let thy servant depart,
Having seen thy salvation.
– T.S. Eliot
News and Updates
Episcopal Relief & Development – After weeks of unusually heavy rainfall, two dams in the northeastern Brazilian state of Bahia collapsed on Christmas weekend, intensifying flooding and causing evacuations throughout the area. Approximately 70,000 people were left homeless and over 600,000 were affected by the rains. In addition to losing their homes, many families lost their crops and main source of income. The waters have begun to subside and people are in need of supplies to help them as they return to their homes.
Episcopal Relief & Development with local agencies is working to distributing food, clean water, bedding and other supplies to people who have been displaced. Additionally, the local diocese is sending clergy to provide pastoral care.
Free Covid-19 Test Kits – the federal government is making free covid-19 test kits available for each household (4 total). You can make the request at www.covidtests.gov. Anyone who may have more test kits than they need can donate them to SiCM. They will be distributed to those SiCM serves.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: email@example.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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Home Communions: If you or someone you know is unable to attend church on either a long or short‑term basis, please contact me (email@example.com ) if you would like to have communion brought to you. We will make visits on Sunday after our regular Eucharist at church and always wear a mask.
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.