Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!
Lord of winter, God of cold, whose presence we are often told is unobtrusive, almost imperceptible, let me catch a passing glimpse of things to come. Enhance our sometimes anxious wait: the painful passage of fear-filled days, worry- weakened winter dreams, chilled delays…O hidden God, you quite confound us with your presence underground. Frost-bitten faith is wearing thin, looking hard for lasting confirmation of longed-for comings-to-be.
Lightsome God, send us sun – your spirit’s warming breath. Unfreeze us, ease our doubts, free our frozen faith and icy dreams. Teach us once again your mystery sent in season – a rousing encore of life from death. Come swiftly, quickening Lord. Let winter thaw and gift our hearts with spring.
-Fr. Michael Moynahan, S.J.
Michael Moynahan is a Jesuit priest serving at a Catholic church in Sacramento, California. Ordained in 1973, he has published many poems, prayers, and meditations over his career, including books such as Orphaned Parables: Meditations for Lent and Once Upon A Miracle: Dramas for Worship and Religious Education. In addition to serving in parishes, he has held academic positions at Santa Clara University and Gonzaga University.
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: Maggie, Reena, Jim, Bruce, Chris, Audrey, June, Caleb, Sunny, Josh T, Pat J.
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 all the blessings of this life.
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: The Diocese of Kanyakumari – The (united) Church of South India.
For all who have died: Edwin Tolan, Lee Doolitte, and Olive Maloy.
Something to share
Our Lady of Snow Forts
Lady of February, of Frozen Light, of Time Siphoned into Crystalline Brightness
As mother to Mother, thank you
for snow-mortared snow, my children laboring in your winter tabernacle
for packed white bricks—one layer, then three, then six deep—each brick stacked & locked in place
for the sparkling eyes & runny noses of your disciples, the pile of shed shells & wet gloves, thank you
Their breath-steam scarves wrapping rapt faces
How they huddle over an ice-block table, chapped hands cupping sandwiches, plain PB&J that you, Lady of Luminous Grains, change to ambrosia, thank you
for dogs brushing heels that become arctic wolves scouting their hunting grounds
blue jays and finches, fillers-in for buntings, jaegers, terns, thank you
Bless the neighborhood mother you send as scourge to tell off a bully, his wrecking-ball fists
Bless the bully, those fists, let the hoarfrost fall from his eyes that he may behold the fort’s holiness, make of his hands trowels, pulleys
Bless your fervent followers, one more layer, one more brick, working till purple-grey dusk, till dark, till the silver bells of winter stars ring them home
How they wish for canceled school, another day in your paradise of ice—paradice—time enough to roof the igloo
After warm soup and a hot bath, for the benison of ruddy cheeks, your cold-burn kiss pressed to cool linen, thank you
Hopeful, devoted, they’ll dream your snow-pillowed heaven—dream you shaking out your down on our town’s sleepy streets.
– Dayna Patterson
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.