Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!
I am definitively loved and whatever happens to me—I am awaited by this Love. And so my life is good.
-Josephine Margaret Bakhita
The Episcopal Church recognizes the feast day of Josephine Margaret Bakhita today, on February 8th. Bakhita is a canonized saint in the Roman Catholic tradition and is considered the patron saint of Sudan. Born in 1869, her early years were spent in the Darfur region of Sudan before she was kidnapped and enslaved. Josephine Bakhita suffered under slavery for twelve years, in multiple households, eventually ending up in Italy. Bakhita temporarily stayed with the religious order, the Canossian Sisters, while still enslaved; this was at the arrangement of a family that was away on business. When the family returned, Bakhita would not go with them. She was finally declared free by an Italian court after some advocacy from the Sisters and the patriarch of Venice; slavery had been officially illegal in Sudan before Bakhita’s birth and was also illegal in Italy. It was during her time with the Canossian Sisters that Bakhita became committed to Christianity. She was baptized in 1890 and joined the order herself in 1896. She spent the next 50 years living out her calling as a Canossian Sister, functioning as a sacristan, cook, and doorkeeper and making meaningful connections with the local community. The world began to take notice of her when a biography was published about her life in 1931. Immediately after her death, many began calling for her to be recognized as a saint.
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, Eunice, Ruth, Mary Frances, Vincent, Priscilla, Joe, and all their families.
For Paul & Allison: today is their wedding anniversary
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: The Diocese of Karachi – The (united) Church of Pakistan.
For all who have died: Don Humphrey, Edna Phillips and Alice Hurst.
Something to share
Dark Testament Verse 8
Hope is a crushed stalk
Between clenched fingers
Hope is a bird’s wing
Broken by a stone.
Hope is a word in a tuneless ditty —
A word whispered with the wind,
A dream of forty acres and a mule,
A cabin of one’s own and a moment to rest,
A name and place for one’s children
And children’s children at last . . .
Hope is a song in a weary throat.
Give me a song of hope
And a world where I can sing it.
Give me a song of faith
And a people to believe in it.
Give me a song of kindliness
And a country where I can live it.
Give me a song of hope and love
And a brown girl’s heart to hear it.
– Pauli Murray, first African-American woman to be ordained in the Episcopal Church
News and Updates
SiCM Donations – Thank you very much for the donations of personal care items to the food pantry during January. Because their guests frequently ask for them, SiCM has requested that we continue donating these items next month. In particular, the pantry needs soap and body wash, deodorant, lotion and men’s disposable razors, as well as toilet paper and paper towels, which are often hard to keep in stock at the pantry. SiCM can also use 1-lb. boxes of sugar and Splenda, which are in addition to the grocery bags they hand out.
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 Morning Prayers as best we can: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Prayerbook Morning Prayer in Zoom – each morning. Join Dennie and me for an inter-active service of Morning Prayer at 9 am. Time to bring your prayer concerns will be provided. (contact Becky for the link: email@example.com).
If you need a prayerbook, and are not in a position to purchase one, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I will make sure you have your own Book of Common Prayer.
Our church campus is only partially open due to the current pandemic. Please see our website for further information: https://st-stephens.church/. Most parish meetings and gatherings are canceled and postponed until further notice on our website.
Our office email is: email@example.com.
Our goal is for all of us to stay in touch and connected in this time of isolation.
Share this news, and spread some love, not the virus!
May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be at your back,
May the sun shine upon your face,
he rains fall soft upon soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the palm of his 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.