Staying Safe and Staying Connected
Good Morning, Saint Stephen’s Church,
We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!
Alleluia. Christ is risen.
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.
help us find our way again.
Turn us back towards the road
spotted with your other pilgrims, wayfarers, and repentant servants.
Remind us that you Way is the way of returning.
Guide us by your Spirit and by your Light.
Make us remember the Power of the Spirit within us.
Make us remember the gifts of our minds, our hearts, and our bodies that you have bestowed on us,
that we would use them to honor the directives and the invitations you lay upon us.
We know that our ways are not your ways.
And we thank you for this.
Help us trust your ways over our ways…
In your immeasurable love, grace, mercy, and wisdom, do not abandon us,
regardless of how often we lose our way.
Place your wounded hands upon our broken hearts and turn us towards you.
Lord of Light, Lord of the Life,
Lord of Resurrection.
– Enuma Okoro
This prayer is excerpted from a longer prayer titled “A Prayer For When We’ve Lost Our Way Again,” included in the book A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal. Enuma Okoro is a Nigeran-American writer who has published multiple books, including a spiritual memoir Reluctant Pilgrim: A Moody, Somewhat Self-Indulgent Introvert’s Search for Spiritual Community and an Advent devotional. Okoro is also a certified spiritual director, as well as a workshop leader, speaker, and teacher on topics like “Exploring Identity and (Dis)Belonging through the Personal Essay” and “Understanding How to Reframe the Global Narrative about Africa.”
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: Reena, Jim, Bruce, Chris, Audrey, June, Caleb, Josh T, Pat J., Daniel, Doris, Camellia, Beverly
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: Mary Ann, David, Janet, Marilyn, Eunice, Ruth, Mary Frances, Vincent, Priscilla, Joe, and all their families.
For Dave & Denise and Katryn & Brian – today is their wedding anniversary!
For all the blessings of this life.
For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion: The Diocese of London – The Church of England (Canterbury Province).
For all who have died: Ellen Stokes, Elwood Welsh, and Olive Carter Luczk.
For one another.
Something to share
From “Religion of the Heart”
In healthy religion, morals, dogma, and ritual remain rooted in authority of the heart. And remember, the heart stands for the whole person…. It always has to be the whole person that stands behind the religious response, not only your intellect, not only your will, not only your emotions…
The basic question is, “Where does your ultimate religious authority reside?” And if your answer is, for example, “In the Bible,” then you have to ask yourself, “And who tells me that the Bible has authority for me?” For other people the ultimate authority resides in the Koran or in other sacred scriptures. Who gives the Bible authority over me? Is it not my own heart that freely (and authoritatively) recognizes authority and so validates it? If we continue questioning, we come to the insight that our ultimate religious authority resides within each one of us. I say it resides there. I’m not saying that each one of us is the ultimate religious authority. That would be nonsense. But my ultimate religious authority is also “within,” or else I could never recognize it “out there.” The heart “recognizes” authority in a threefold sense of the word. The intellect recognizes authority in the sense of identifying it as such. The will recognizes authority in the sense of acknowledging its claims. The emotions recognize authority in the sense of appreciating that it deserves to be honored. Only when intellect, will, and emotions, each play their part, is the recognition of authority wholehearted. The moment I accept responsibility for recognizing authority in my own heart, my religion comes of age….
Obedience as virtue in Jewish tradition, in Christian tradition, in other great religious traditions in the world, means far more than doing what somebody else tells you to do. It means, ultimately, listening with the heart. It is an intensive form of listening, the most intensive form of listening…
We think that human beings find it extremely hard to submit to external authority. The opposite is true. We all have an inordinate tendency to yield to the demands of external authority, even in flagrant violation of our own hearts’ better judgment….The fact is we are so prone to be submissive to authority, that all our efforts should go into teaching children to stand on their own feet against authority if necessary. Only if we bend backwards, may we hope to overcome our congenital bent to conform to external authority. …
Because obedience as virtue is a listening with the heart, training in obedience is not training in conformity. Its highest goal is not to produce puppets, but prophets. For a long time religious traditions have known that the highest obedience is the obedience of the prophet.
– Brother David Steindl-Rast
News and Updates
Calling all graduates – Families – if you have a graduate in your family (at any level – preschool all the way through college and beyond), or a child who has received a special honor or award at the end of the year please message Bethany at email@example.com. This information will be shared in the June messenger.
From the Senior Warden – We have obtained the services of The Very Reverend Marshall J. Vang to be our Supply Priest beginning Sunday July 3rd and continuing through the months of July and August; his service can continue, if needed, thereafter. On July 10th, Mother Elizabeth Papazoglakis, co-Rector at St George’s in Clifton Park , will conduct Sunday services. She will then meet with the Vestry after coffee hour to discuss transition procedures. Father Vang will resume his service on July 17th. Father Vang is very familiar with Saint Stephen’s and is known to many of our parishioners. A complete biography on Father Vang will appear in the June Messenger. Budd Mazurek
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.
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.