Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning Saint Stephen’s Church,
We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!
Pour your grace into our hearts, O Lord, that we who have known the incarnation of your Son Jesus Christ, announced by an angel to the Virgin Mary, may by his cross and passion be brought to the glory of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
– Book of Common Prayer, p. 240
Today is the Feast of the Annunciation
Today’s feast commemorates how God made known to a young Jewish woman that she was to be the mother of Jesus, and how Mary accepted her vocation with faith and courage. Mary’s assent to Gabriel’s message opened the way for God to accomplish the salvation of the world. Mary’s self-offering in response to God’s call is reminiscent of Abraham, the father of believers. Just as Abraham was called to be the father of God’s people, and accepted his call, so Mary was called to be the mother of the faithful. She is God’s agent in the mystery of the Incarnation.
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, and for all victims of violence and oppression.
For the Presidents of Russia and Ukraine, that wisdom and courage may prevail in the cause of peace.
For the people of Ukraine, the people of Russia, and for all who affected by violence and war;
For those who have taken up arms, whether aggressively or defensively, that a spirit of peace may reign in their hearts and in their lands.
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 Kivu – Eglise Anglicane du Rwanda.
For all who have died: Lucy Totterdale, Gertrude Dunmore, Edmund Tatge, Frieda Wyman.
For one another.
Something to share
We know the scene: the room, variously furnished,
almost always a lectern, a book; always
the tall lily.
Arrived on solemn grandeur of great wings,
the angelic ambassador, standing or hovering,
whom she acknowledges, a guest.
But we are told of meek
obedience. No one mentions
The engendered Spirit
Did not enter her without consent.
She was free to accept or refuse, choice
integral to humanness.
Aren’t there annunciations of one sort or another in most lives?
Some unwillingly undertake great destinies,
enact them in sullen pride, uncomprehending.
More often those moments when roads of light and storm
open from darkness in a man or woman, are turned away from
in dread, in a wave of weakness, in despair and relief.
Ordinary lives continue.
God does not smite them.
But the gates close, the pathway vanishes.
She had been a child who played, ate, slept
like any other child – unlike others, wept only for pity,
laughed in joy, not triumph.
Compassion and intelligence fuse in her, indivisible.
Called to a destiny more momentous that any in all of Time,
She did not quail, only asked a simple,
‘How can this be?’
and gravely, courteously took to heart the angel’s reply,
the astounding ministry she was offered:
to bear in her womb Infinite weight and lightness;
to carry in hidden, finite inwardness, nine months of Eternity;
to contain in slender vase of being, the sum of power –
in narrow flesh, the sum of light.
Then bring to birth, push out into air, a Man-child
needing, like any other, milk and love –
but who was God.
This was the moment no one speaks of
when she could still refuse.
A breath unbreathed,
She did not cry, ‘I cannot I am not worthy,’
Nor, ‘I have not the strength.’
She did not submit with gritted teeth, raging, coerced.
Bravest of all humans, consent illumined her.
The room filled with its light,
The lily glowed in it, and the iridescent wings.
opened her utterly.
– Denise Levertov
News and Updates
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.
St. Joseph’s Place – On the last Wednesday morning of each month St. Stephen’s volunteers make lunches for the guests at St. Joseph’s Place. If you would like to participate, contact Carole Merrill-Mazurek or Richey Woodzell. We welcome contributions toward the cost of the food and supplies, which you can put in the offering plate or mail to the church office.
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.