Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!
Spirit of Jesus–
Come with fire that refines,
Water that refreshes,
Wind that topples,
Breath that fills.
Kindle a global revival of empathy, justice, and active peacemaking.
Birth a witness of Love that is bigger and better than we inherited.
Liberate us from privilege and oppression.
Unshackle the gospel from nationalism, colonialism, white supremacy, and every other lens that shrouds the Good News.
Give us an abundance of grace for others and ourselves.
Grant us compassion for those who suffer.
Free us from the influence of money, power, and acclaim.
Restore our reputation for caring for the poor, loving our neighbors, being ambassadors of peace and stewards of the earth.
Unlock the immense resources hoarded in the Western Church and release them for your name’s sake.
Encourage us, so we do not grow cynical, isolated, and burnt-out.
Fan our hopes, our joys, and our connections.
Allow us rest when we need rest.
Enable us to see you in each person we encounter.
Show us mercy, in our humanity.
– from “A Prayer for the Church” by Rev. Emily Swan
Rev. Emily Swan is co-pastor to Blue Ocean Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, a non-denominational church founded when Swan and her co-pastor Ken Wilson were unable to make progress in advocating for LGBTQ inclusion in their former denomination – Vineyard USA. Swan is also co-author of the book Solus Jesus: A Theology of Resistance. The above prayer is an excerpt from her contribution to A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal, edited by Sarah Bessey.
From Our Prayers of the People
For the special needs and concerns of our congregation.
For people throughout the world: in places of war and strife, especially in the Ukraine, 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 and the Ukraine; 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: Candace, Daryl, Joan, Charline, Ralph, Mary Ann, Joe, Jeanne, Theresa, Josh, Donald.
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: Liz, Kathy, Janet, Marilyn, 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 Kilmore, Elphin & Ardagh – The Church of Ireland (Armagh Province).
For all who have died: Jane Hallock, Galina Bayer, Mabel Stewart, Julia Hillman, Edna Whitbeck, Vera Hughes.
Something to share
In the morning as the storm begins to blow away
the clear sky appears for a moment and it seems to me
that there has been something simpler than I could ever
simpler than I could have begun to find words for
not patient not even waiting no more hidden
than the air itself that became part of me for a while
with every breath and remained with me unnoticed
something that was here unnamed unknown in the days
and the nights not separate from them
not separate from them as they came and were gone
it must have been here neither early nor late then
by what name can I address it now holding out my thanks
– W.S. Merwin
News and Updates
Sunday Lector – If you would like to read the Sunday scripture lessons on a rotating basis, please contact Doreen, email@example.com, so that she can put you on the schedule.
Coffee Hour Sign-up – If you would like to take a week for COFFEE HOUR for the coming weeks, please sign-up at https://docs.google.com/document/d/10ZXG2ODgQSDCqwUXnUHj_3Bsx053IfVL2Thk7IJvHvY/edit so that we can continue to enjoy fellowship after church uninterruptedly.
There is still time to participate in LENT MADDNESS: https://www.lentmadness.org/category/lent-madness-2022/
Episcopal Relief & Development help for Ukrainians – ER&D is mobilizing with Anglican agencies and other partners in order to provide humanitarian assistance to people fleeing the violence in Ukraine.
Working through the Action by Churches Together Alliance (ACT Alliance), Episcopal Relief & Development will provide cash, blankets, hygiene supplies and other needed assistance.
Please pray for all those affected. Donations to Episcopal Relief & Development’s International Disaster Response Fund will provide humanitarian assistance for the crisis in Ukraine.
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 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.
Masks are optional for all gatherings at the church.
Our office email is: email@example.com.
Our goal is for all of us to stay in touch and connected.
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.