Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Friday, September 17, 2021

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

Good Morning, Saint Stephen’s Church,

We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!

 Today’s Prayer

The Serenity Prayer
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Amen.

                 – Reinhold Niebuhr

Reinhold Niebuhr[a] (1892–1971) was an American Reformed theologian, ethicist, commentator on politics and public affairs, and professor at Union Theological Seminary for more than 30 years. Niebuhr was one of America’s leading public intellectuals for several decades of the 20th century and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964. A public theologian, he wrote and spoke frequently about the intersection of religion, politics, and public policy.

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 the victims of Hurricane Ida: for people who have evacuated, for those who are still in their homes, for first responders and everyone who has been impacted by Hurricane Ida from Louisiana to Rhode Island.  

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 the vaccination, may God grant them wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience, and may God keep them healthy and safe.

For all essential workers: for police, firefighters, EMTs, postal workers, sanitation workers, grocery personnel, delivery and transport workers, and all who must report to work because what they do is essential for our well-being, health, and safety as we continue to deal with the Coronavirus variants. 

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 Sharhonna, Chris, Louis, Philip, Rick, Louise, Clara, Robin, Jackie, Waid, Dan, Hugh, Debby, Irene, Jeanne, Theresa, Josh, Amy, Greg, Craig, Donald, Gerald, Molly, Kenny, Sunny.

For those who are homebound: Joan, Janet and Marilyn. 

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, Assisting Bishop; 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: Eunice, Vincent, Priscilla, Ruth, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe. 

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan (Western Equatoria Province).

For all who have died:  Reginald.

Something to share

Time is a trap. This is overtly true for the billions of people who, owing to the present arrangement of things – an arrangement that is surely just and wise and not just a continuing handshake agreement between the stupidest of the powers and the meanest of the principalities – must spend nearly every second surviving. The gig worker, like the peasant farmer, wriggles in time as in a giant’s grip.

It is also true, in a far subtler way, for the few billion whose circumstances allow them some illusion of control over their own lives. For this second set of people, time can easily be mistaken for a resource. You can strategize about it. You can say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell.”

The trap is that this is true, to a point, but the location of that point never stops moving. I keep missing it.

– Phil Christman

Phil Christman teaches first-year writing at the University of Michigan and is the editor of the Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing. His work has appeared in The Christian Century, Paste, Books & Culture, and other publications. His most recent book is Midwest Futures.

News and Updates

Christian Education classes will begin on 9/26 during the 9 am service. Bethany will bring the children to the classroom after the gospel is read. If you have any questions, please email her at office@st-stephens.church.

Communion Class: Fall 2021 – I will offer a communion class this fall for any children interested.  There will be two classes, the first on October 20th meeting in the parish hall, and the second on October 27th meeting in the church.  The classes will begin at 3:30. The first class will be a mix of informational and socially distanced hands-on activities.  The second class will include a tour through the church, sacristy, and altar, allowing the children to see behind-the-scenes and up close the elements that go into a service and the preparation of the Eucharist. 

Masks must be worn at all times and we will be following social distancing guidelines. Please let us know if you plan to attend by emailing office@st-stephens.church.

Reminders 

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: james.ross.mcd@gmail.com.

Prayerbook Morning Prayer in Zoom – each weekday & Saturday morning.  Join us 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:   becky.holder@gmail.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 this fall.

Our office email is: office@st-stephens.church

Home Communions: If you or someone you know is unable to attend church on either a long or short‑term basis, please contact me (james.ross.mcd@gmail.com ) if you would like to have communion brought to you. We will make visits on Sunday after our regular Eucharist at church.

We continue to comply with all of these: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html ; the NY  Department of Public Health: https://www.health.ny.gov/ ; the Schenectady County Health Department: https://www.schenectadycounty.com/COVID19; and the Diocese of Albany https://albanyepiscopaldiocese.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/cleaning_guidance_houses_of_worship.pdf.

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.

Irish Blessing

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.

Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Thursday, September 16, 2021

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

Good Morning, Saint Stephen’s Church,

We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!

 Today’s Prayer

God, our creator, out of love and for love you made us. We are all the work of your hands. We walk the same earth and breathe the same air, and yet. . .

God of righteousness, it is your will that all people live in equity and peace, that all have a share in your abundant life, that there is liberty and justice for all, and yet. . .

God of life, you claimed us in baptism, buried us with Christ in a death like his, and promised to unite us with Christ in a resurrection like his. We have already died the only death that really matters, and yet. . .

We do not recognize the full humanity in others. There is not justice for all. In our fear, we doubt the resurrection.

The hard work of truth-telling—and truth-hearing—is set before us. The painful reality that racial equity does not exist in our nation or our church cannot be ignored. Help us resist any rush to reconciliation before repentance. The oppressed will not be comforted until their voices are heard. The oppressors will find no comfort until they relinquish power.

In your love, compassionate God, keep us in this tension. In your severe mercy, use this pain to bring action and change. We pray this through Christ, our Lord, in whom the dividing wall of hostility has already been broken down. Amen.

       –   Bishop Elizabeth Eaton

Elizabeth Eaton is the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), a denomination with which the Episcopal Church is in full communion. Last year, she was re-elected for a second six-year term as presiding bishop. She holds a Master’s of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School and, prior to her time as presiding bishop, served congregations in Ohio followed by serving as bishop of the Northeastern Ohio Synod.

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 the victims of Hurricane Ida: for people who have evacuated, for those who are still in their homes, for first responders and everyone who has been impacted by Hurricane Ida from Louisiana to Rhode Island.  

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 the vaccination, may God grant them wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience, and may God keep them healthy and safe.

For all essential workers: for police, firefighters, EMTs, postal workers, sanitation workers, grocery personnel, delivery and transport workers, and all who must report to work because what they do is essential for our well-being, health, and safety as we continue to deal with the Coronavirus variants. 

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:  Don, Jennifer, Josh, Shaun, Candace, Robert, Heather, Jackson, Michael, Mary, Bill, Jim, Eunice, Jane and Bruce, John, Audrey, Melanie, Joe, Rebecca, Skip, Curt, Jackie.

For those who are homebound: Joan, Janet and Marilyn. 

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, Assisting Bishop; 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: Eunice, Vincent, Priscilla, Ruth, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe. 

For Jo Ann  – today is her birthday!

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Diocese of Exeter – The Church of England (Canterbury Province).

For all who have died:  Reginald.

Something to share

Anthropophobia

“Before people question why the contact was made in the first place, they should understand that Myers was no angel … This is not a victim, this is a victim-maker. This is not a martyr.” — Jeff Roorda, business manager of the St. Louis police union

The steel blue ghost standing

at the podium says VonDerrit Myers

was no angel & all I can hear is

the boy was a human boy. The boy

had a best friend & 206 bones. The boy

had a name that God didn’t give him.

When he died, he did not bleed

starlight or gold. He was not half-bird.

The gun spoke, & no flaxen wing shot

from each shoulder, as if to carry him beyond

the bullet’s swift assignment. No, the boy

was not a pillar of white smoke bright

enough to break a nonbeliever, make a penitent

fall prostrate, heaving, heavy with contrition, but

let me be clear: we are simply running out

of ways to shame the dead. How else to say

that we are guilty & yet unburied? How else

to erase him, if we cannot feign omnipotence,

lay claim to the sky, excise heaven,

take aim at the boy just one more

time while everyone watches?

      – Joshua Bennett

News and Updates

Christian Education classes will begin on 9/26 during the 9 am service. I will bring the children to the classroom after the gospel is read. If you have any questions, please email me at office@st-stephens.church.

Communion Class: Fall 2021 – I will offer a communion class this fall for any children interested.  There will be two classes, the first on October 20th meeting in the parish hall, and the second on October 27th meeting in the church.  The classes will begin at 3:30. The first class will be a mix of informational and socially distanced hands-on activities.  The second class will include a tour through the church, sacristy, and altar, allowing the children to see behind-the-scenes and up close the elements that go into a service and the preparation of the Eucharist. 

Masks must be worn at all times and we will be following social distancing guidelines. Please let us know if you plan to attend by emailing office@st-stephens.church. 

Reminders 

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: james.ross.mcd@gmail.com.

Prayerbook Morning Prayer in Zoom – each weekday & Saturday morning.  Join us 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:   becky.holder@gmail.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 this fall.

Our office email is: office@st-stephens.church

Home Communions: If you or someone you know is unable to attend church on either a long or short‑term basis, please contact me (james.ross.mcd@gmail.com ) if you would like to have communion brought to you. We will make visits on Sunday after our regular Eucharist at church.

We continue to comply with all of these: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html ; the NY  Department of Public Health: https://www.health.ny.gov/ ; the Schenectady County Health Department: https://www.schenectadycounty.com/COVID19; and the Diocese of Albany https://albanyepiscopaldiocese.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/cleaning_guidance_houses_of_worship.pdf.

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.

Irish Blessing

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.

Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Tuesday, September 15, 2021

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

Good Morning, Saint Stephen’s Church,

We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!

Today’s Prayer

Our God and God of our fathers,

let our prayer come before you

and do not ignore our supplication.

For we are not so brazen-faced

 and stiff-necked

to say to you,

Adonoy, our God, and God of our fathers,

    “We are righteous and have not sinned.”

But, indeed, we and our fathers have sinned.

We have trespassed [against God and man, and we are devastated by our guilt];

We have betrayed [God and man, we have been ungrateful for the good done to us];

We have stolen; We have slandered.

We have caused others to sin;

We have caused others to commit sins for which they are called , wicked;

We have sinned with malicious intent;

We have forcibly taken others’ possessions even though we paid for them;

We have added falsehood upon falsehood; We have joined with evil individuals or groups;

We have given harmful advice;

We have deceived; we have mocked;

We have rebelled against God and His Torah;

We have caused God to be angry with us;

We have turned away from God’s Torah;

We have sinned deliberately;

We have been negligent in our performance of the commandments;

We have caused our friends grief;

We have been stiff-necked, refusing to admit that our suffering is caused by our own sins.

We have committed sins for which we are called , [raising a hand to hit someone].

We have committed sins which are the result of moral corruption;

We have committed sins which the Torah refers to as abominations;

We have gone astray;

We have led others astray.

–  English text taken from The Metsudah Machzor, via Sefaria.

Tonight begins Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people, when they are closest to G‑d and to the essence of their souls. Yom Kippur means “Day of Atonement,” as the verse states, “For on this day He will forgive you, to purify you, that you be cleansed from all your sins before G‑d.”  (Leviticus 16:30).

For nearly 26 hours Orthodox Jews “afflict their souls” by avoiding the following five actions: eating or drinking, wearing leather shoes, applying lotions or creams, washing or bathing and engaging in conjugal relations. Like Shabbat, no work is to be done, and special holiday candles are lit before the onset of the holy day.

The traditional confessional prayer, the Vidui, is composed of two parts, the Ashamnu and the Al Chet, that we read aloud on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The Ashamnu (translated as “we have trespassed” or “we are guilty”) is an abbreviated confession, an alphabetic acrostic, and written in first person plural. Jews recite this confessional in the plural to represent our shared responsibility and culpability in all of our lives and missteps. They also share this confessional as a reminder that forgiveness is also shared. 

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 the victims of Hurricane Ida: for people who have evacuated, for those who are still in their homes, for first responders and everyone who has been impacted by Hurricane Ida from Louisiana to Rhode Island.  

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 the vaccination, may God grant them wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience, and may God keep them healthy and safe.

For all essential workers: for police, firefighters, EMTs, postal workers, sanitation workers, grocery personnel, delivery and transport workers, and all who must report to work because what they do is essential for our well-being, health, and safety as we continue to deal with the Coronavirus variants. 

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 Katie, Mike, June, Kenny, Danny, Charlotte, Diana, Caleb, June, Ruth, David, Kathy Nick, Roberta, Beth, Walker, Warren, Steven, Susan, Ann, John, Stephen, Don, Ruth.

For those who are homebound: Joan, Janet and Marilyn. 

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, Assisting Bishop; 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: Eunice, Vincent, Priscilla, Ruth, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe. 

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) (Niger Delta Province).

For all who have died:  Reginald.

Something to share

Poem for Yom Kippur

From the left and from the right I hear:
“We have sinned, we have dealt treacherously, we
have slandered.”

But I hear another song in my heart:
I believe in the truthfulness of art
In being energetic, in being sensitive, in the essentials

Today I believe in prayerfulness
I believe in the man to come
who will give water to the barren areas
But first and foremost I believe in Love

And until we stop shedding blood
I live in a dream
Waiting for the day of love (and), understanding, the day (today).

– Leonard Bernstein

News and Updates

Christian Education classes will begin on 9/26 during the 9 am service. I will bring the children to the classroom after the gospel is read. If you have any questions, please email me at office@st-stephens.church.

Communion Class: Fall 2021 – I will offer a communion class this fall for any children interested.  There will be two classes, the first on October 20th meeting in the parish hall, and the second on October 27th meeting in the church.  The classes will begin at 3:30. The first class will be a mix of informational and socially distanced hands-on activities.  The second class will include a tour through the church, sacristy, and altar, allowing the children to see behind-the-scenes and up close the elements that go into a service and the preparation of the Eucharist. 

Masks must be worn at all times and we will be following social distancing guidelines. Please let us know if you plan to attend by emailing office@st-stephens.church. 

Reminders 

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: james.ross.mcd@gmail.com.

Prayerbook Morning Prayer in Zoom – each weekday & Saturday morning.  Join us 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:   becky.holder@gmail.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 this fall.

Our office email is: office@st-stephens.church

Home Communions: If you or someone you know is unable to attend church on either a long or short‑term basis, please contact me (james.ross.mcd@gmail.com ) if you would like to have communion brought to you. We will make visits on Sunday after our regular Eucharist at church.

We continue to comply with all of these: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html ; the NY  Department of Public Health: https://www.health.ny.gov/ ; the Schenectady County Health Department: https://www.schenectadycounty.com/COVID19; and the Diocese of Albany https://albanyepiscopaldiocese.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/cleaning_guidance_houses_of_worship.pdf.

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.

Irish Blessing

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

Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

Good Morning, Saint Stephen’s Church,

We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!

Today’s Prayer

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross that he might draw the whole world to himself: Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

                – Book of Common Prayer, p.244

Today is Holy Cross Day.

According to Christian tradition, the True Cross was discovered in 326 by Saint Helena, the mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, during a pilgrimage she made to Jerusalem. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was then built at the site of the discovery, by order of Helena and Constantine. The church was dedicated nine years later, with a portion of the cross. One-third remained in Jerusalem, one-third was brought to Rome and deposited in the Sessorian basilica Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (Holy Cross in Jerusalem), and one-third was taken to Constantinople to make the city impregnable.

The date of the feast marks the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 335. This was a two-day festival: although the actual consecration of the church was on September 13, the cross itself was brought outside the church on September 14 so that the clergy and faithful could pray before the True Cross, and all could come forward to venerate it.

The Second Council of Nicæa of 787, drew the distinction between veneration of the cross and worship or latria, “which, according to the teaching of the faith, belongs to the Divine nature alone. It was noted that this cult must be considered as not belonging to the substance of religion, but as being one of the things not absolutely necessary to salvation.  Thus, the honor paid to the image passes to the prototype; and he who adores the image, adores the person whom it represents.

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 the victims of Hurricane Ida: for people who have evacuated, for those who are still in their homes, for first responders and everyone who has been impacted by Hurricane Ida from Louisiana to Rhode Island.  

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 the vaccination, may God grant them wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience, and may God keep them healthy and safe.

For all essential workers: for police, firefighters, EMTs, postal workers, sanitation workers, grocery personnel, delivery and transport workers, and all who must report to work because what they do is essential for our well-being, health, and safety as we continue to deal with the Coronavirus variants. 

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 Sharhonna, Chris, Louis, Philip, Rick, Louise, Clara, Robin, Jackie, Waid, Dan, Hugh, Debby, Irene, Jeanne, Theresa, Josh, Amy, Greg, Craig, Donald, Gerald, Molly, Kenny, Sunny.

For those who are homebound: Joan, Janet and Marilyn. 

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, Assisting Bishop; 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: Eunice, Vincent, Priscilla, Ruth, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe. 

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Diocese in Europe – The Church of England (Canterbury Province).

For all who have died:  Reginald.

Something to share

The royal banners forward go

The royal banners forward go,

The cross shines forth in mystic glow

Where He through whom our flesh was made,

In that same flesh our ransom paid.

Fulfilled is all that David told

In true prophetic song of old;

How God the nations’ King should be,

For God is reigning from the tree.

O tree of beauty, tree most fair,

Ordained those holy limbs to bear

Gone is thy shame, each crimsoned bough

Proclaims the King of Glory now.

Blest tree, whose chosen branches bore

The wealth that did the world restore,

The price which none but he could pay

To spoil the spoiler of his prey.

O cross, our one reliance hail!

Still may thy power with us avail

To save us sinners from our sin,

God’s righteousness for all to win.

To Thee, eternal Three in One,

Let homage meet by all be done;

As by the cross Thou dost restore

So rule and guide us evermore. Amen.

       –   Hymnal 1982, #162; Venantius Honorius Fortunatus

News and Updates

Communion Class: Fall 2021 – I will offer a communion class this fall for any children interested.  There will be two classes, the first on October 20th meeting in the Begley Hall, and the second on October 27th meeting in the church.  The classes will begin at 3:30. The first class will be a mix of informational and socially distanced hands-on activities.  The second class will include a tour through the church, sacristy, and altar, allowing the children to see behind-the-scenes and up close the elements that go into a service and the preparation of the Eucharist. 

Masks must be worn at all times and we will be following social distancing guidelines. Please let us know if you plan to attend by emailing office@st-stephens.church. 

Reminders 

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: james.ross.mcd@gmail.com.

Prayerbook Morning Prayer in Zoom – each weekday & Saturday morning.  Join us 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:   becky.holder@gmail.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 this fall.

Our office email is: office@st-stephens.church

Home Communions: If you or someone you know is unable to attend church on either a long or short‑term basis, please contact me (james.ross.mcd@gmail.com) if you would like to have communion brought to you. We will make visits on Sunday after our regular Eucharist at church.

We continue to comply with all of these: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html ; the NY  Department of Public Health: https://www.health.ny.gov/ ; the Schenectady County Health Department: https://www.schenectadycounty.com/COVID19; and the Diocese of Albany https://albanyepiscopaldiocese.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/cleaning_guidance_houses_of_worship.pdf.

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.

Irish Blessing

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.

Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Monday, September 13, 2021

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

Good Morning, Saint Stephen’s Church,

We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!

Today’s Prayer

Hear our humble prayer, O God, for our friends the animals who are suffering; for any that are hunted or lost or deserted or frightened or hungry…. We entreat for them all Thy mercy and pity, and for those who deal with them we ask a heart of compassion and gentle hands and kindly words. Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to animals and so to share the blessings of the merciful. Amen.  – Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer was a theologian, organist, musicologist, writer, humanitarian, philosopher, and physician. A Lutheran, Schweitzer challenged both the secular view of Jesus as depicted by the historical-critical method current at this time, as well as the traditional Christian view. His contributions to the interpretation of Pauline Christianity concern the role of Paul’s mysticism of “being in Christ” as primary and the doctrine of Justification by Faith as secondary.

He received the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize for his philosophy of “Reverence for Life”, becoming the eighth Frenchman to be awarded that prize. His philosophy was expressed in many ways, but most famously in founding and sustaining the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, which up to 1958 was situated in French Equatorial Africa, and after this in Gabon. As a music scholar and organist, he studied the music of German composer Johann Sebastian Bach and influenced the Organ Reform Movement (Orgelbewegung).

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 the victims of Hurricane Ida: for people who have evacuated, for those who are still in their homes, for first responders and everyone who has been impacted by Hurricane Ida from Louisiana to Rhode Island.  

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 the vaccination, may God grant them wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience, and may God keep them healthy and safe.

For all essential workers: for police, firefighters, EMTs, postal workers, sanitation workers, grocery personnel, delivery and transport workers, and all who must report to work because what they do is essential for our well-being, health, and safety as we continue to deal with the Coronavirus variants. 

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:  Joe, Don, Jennifer, Josh, Shaun, Candace, Robert, Heather, Jackson, Michael, Mary, Bill, Jim, Eunice, Jane and Bruce, John, Audrey, Melanie, Joe, Rebecca, Skip, Curt, Jackie.

For those who are homebound: Joan, Janet and Marilyn. 

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, Assisting Bishop; 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: Eunice, Vincent, Priscilla, Ruth, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe. 

For Allison– today is her baptismal anniversary!

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe – The Episcopal Church (II (2) Province).

For all who have died:  Reginald.

Something to share

We live in a time when the good faith of peoples is doubted more than ever before. Expressions throwing doubt on the trustworthiness of each other are bandied back and forth.… We cannot continue in this paralyzing mistrust. If we want to work our way out of the desperate situation in which we find ourselves, another spirit must enter into the people.… We must approach them in the spirit that we are human beings, all of us, and that we feel ourselves fitted to feel with each other; to think and will together in the same way.

        – Albert Schweitzer in Peace or Atomic War, 1923

News and Updates

Episcopal Relief & Development continues to support dioceses providing assistance in response to disasters:  See  https://www.episcopalrelief.org/press-resources/press-releases/2021-press-releases-press-releases/ to read the latest updates on supporting partners in Haiti after the earthquake, continuing support around the world in the response to COVID-19, partnering with diocese in Louisiana after Hurricane Ida, and supporting the diocese of Northern California in response to wildfires.

Reminders 

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: james.ross.mcd@gmail.com.

Prayerbook Morning Prayer in Zoom – each weekday & Saturday morning.  Join us 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:   becky.holder@gmail.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 this fall.

Our office email is: office@st-stephens.church

Home Communions: If you or someone you know is unable to attend church on either a long or short‑term basis, please contact me (james.ross.mcd@gmail.com) if you would like to have communion brought to you. We will make visits on Sunday after our regular Eucharist at church.

We continue to comply with all of these: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html ; the NY  Department of Public Health: https://www.health.ny.gov/ ; the Schenectady County Health Department:  https://www.schenectadycounty.com/COVID19; and the Diocese of Albany  https://albanyepiscopaldiocese.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/cleaning_guidance_houses_of_worship.pdf.

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.

Irish Blessing

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.

Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Sunday, September 12, 2021

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

Good Morning, Saint Stephen’s Church,

We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!

Today is the twenty-fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 The Collect for the Day

O God, because without you we are not able to please you, mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Gospel

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark 8:27-38:

Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.

Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. 

The Gospel of the Lord.

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 the victims of Hurricane Ida: for people who have evacuated, for those who are still in their homes, for first responders and everyone who has been impacted by Hurricane Ida from Louisiana to Rhode Island.  

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 the vaccination, may God grant them wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience, and may God keep them healthy and safe.

For all essential workers: for police, firefighters, EMTs, postal workers, sanitation workers, grocery personnel, delivery and transport workers, and all who must report to work because what they do is essential for our well-being, health, and safety as we continue to deal with the Coronavirus variants. 

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:  Sharhonna, Chris, Louis, Philip, Rick, Louise, Clara, Robin, Jackie, Waid, Dan, Hugh, Debby, Irene, Jeanne, Theresa, Josh, Amy, Greg, Craig, Donald, Gerald, Molly, Kenny, Sunny.

For those who are homebound: Joan, Janet and Marilyn. 

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, Assisting Bishop; 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: Eunice, Vincent, Priscilla, Ruth, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe. 

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Anglican Church of Tanzania.

For all who have died:  Reginald.

Something to share

In 1569, in Holland, a Mennonite name Dirk Willems, under threat of capital sentence as a heretic, was fleeing from arrest, pursued by a “thief-catcher .” As they ran across a frozen body of water, the thief-catcher broke through the ice. Without help, he would have drowned… What Dirk Willems did was turn back, put out his hands to his pursuer, and save his life. The thief-catcher, who then of course wanted to let his rescuer go, was forced to arrest him. 

–         Wendell Berry

News and Updates

Our Sunday Eucharist begins at 9am.  You will need to wear a mask, even if you have been vaccinated!

If you would like to attend the Sunday service from home,  just  visit:  https://www.facebook.com/SaintStephensSchenectady/ at 9am and wait for the live stream to be posted. If there are technical issues with the livestream so that it stops, please try reentering. Do not wait for it to come back on. It may take a few minutes for the livestream to start again, so please be patient.  The live video is automatically recorded, so it will be available for viewing later on in the day or week if you can’t be online at 9:00. 

Readings:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1aWJOgvDQ-Tw0eayDJY9Ur1mUTa605MZk/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=109485766909959793279&rtpof=true&sd=true

Sunday’s Bulletin:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IcrwU5rxhnqjZZjp4csAZFaKT5aVmD6d3e8RuWwsSMw/edit?usp=sharing

Episcopal Relief & Development continues to support dioceses providing assistance in response to disasters:  See  https://www.episcopalrelief.org/press-resources/press-releases/2021-press-releases-press-releases/ to read the latest updates on supporting partners in Haiti after the earthquake, continuing support around the world in response to COVID-19, partnering with dioceses in Louisiana after Hurricane Ida, and supporting the diocese of Northern California in response to wildfires.

Reminders 

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: james.ross.mcd@gmail.com.

Prayerbook Morning Prayer in Zoom – each weekday & Saturday morning.  Join us 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:   becky.holder@gmail.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 this fall.

Our office email is: office@st-stephens.church

Home Communions: If you or someone you know is unable to attend church on either a long or short‑term basis, please contact me (james.ross.mcd@gmail.com) if you would like to have communion brought to you. We will make visits on Sunday after our regular Eucharist at church.

We continue to comply with all of these: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html ; the NY  Department of Public Health: https://www.health.ny.gov/ ; the Schenectady County Health Department: https://www.schenectadycounty.com/COVID19; and the Diocese of Albany https://albanyepiscopaldiocese.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/cleaning_guidance_houses_of_worship.pdf.

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.

Irish Blessing

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.

Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Saturday, September 11, 2021

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

Good Morning, Saint Stephen’s Church,

We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!

Today’s Prayer

Lord of Mercy, Prince of Peace,

This date, 9-11, carries a heavy burden of memory.
This day does not pass in the calendar without our remembering. We remember images of death and destruction. Images that human eyes were never meant to see. We remember words our ears were never meant to hear, the tender last words of husbands and wives who would never embrace again.

We imagine the feeling of emptiness in the arms of children who at the end of the day could not find mom or dad for their welcome home hug. We remember our own feelings of emptiness as our sense of security, as our own confidence in the predictable order of life and work was radically shaken.

This date, 9-11, carries a heavy burden of memory.
We remember the heroism of the many that lost their lives in saving others. We remember all those who suffered and died, we grieve for them still, friends and strangers alike, along with their families and friends.

This date, 9-11, carries a heavy burden of memory.
And it is right that it should not pass from our memory. But today and in this prayer, along with our remembrance of profound loss, it also seems right that we give voice to our deep longing for peace, and with this prayer, commit ourselves to those actions that will draw us closer to our most ancient and most holy desire, peace among all God’s children.

Dona nobis pacem.

Lord, grant us peace. Amen.

        –   Catholic Charities of NY

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 the victims of Hurricane Ida: for people who have evacuated, for those who are still in their homes, for first responders and everyone who has been impacted by Hurricane Ida from Louisiana to Rhode Island.  

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 the vaccination, may God grant them wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience, and may God keep them healthy and safe.

For all essential workers: for police, firefighters, EMTs, postal workers, sanitation workers, grocery personnel, delivery and transport workers, and all who must report to work because what they do is essential for our well-being, health, and safety as we continue to deal with the Coronavirus variants. 

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 Joe, Katie, Mike, June, Kenny, Danny, Charlotte, Diana, Caleb, June, Ruth, David, Kathy Nick, Roberta, Beth, Walker, Warren, Steven, Susan, Ann, John, Stephen, Don, Ruth.

For those who are homebound: Joan, Janet and Marilyn. 

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, Assisting Bishop; 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: Eunice, Vincent, Priscilla, Ruth, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe. 

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) (Bendel Province).

For all who have died:  Marian, Robert, Lucie, Margaret, and Ruth.

Something to share

 The Dead of September 11

Some have God’s words; others have songs of comfort

for the bereaved. If I can pluck courage here, I would

like to speak directly to the dead–the September dead.

Those children of ancestors born in every continent

on the planet: Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas…;

born of ancestors who wore kilts, obis, saris, geles,

wide straw hats, yarmulkes, goatskin, wooden shoes,

feathers and cloths to cover their hair. But I would not say

a word until I could set aside all I know or believe about

nations, wars, leaders, the governed and ungovernable;

all I suspect about armor and entrails. First I would freshen

my tongue, abandon sentences crafted to know evil—wanton

or studied; explosive or quietly sinister; whether born of

a sated appetite or hunger; of vengeance or the simple

compulsion to stand up before falling down. I would purge

my language of hypberbole; of its eagerness to analyze

the levels of wickedness; ranking them; calculating their

higher or lower status among others of its kind.

Speaking to the broken and the dead is too difficult for

a mouth full of blood. Too holy an act for impure thoughts.

Because the dead are free, absolute; they cannot be seduced by blitz.

To speak to you, the dead of September 11, I must not claim

false intimacy or summon an overheated heart glazed

just in time for a camera. I must be steady and I must be clear,

knowing all the time that I have nothing to say–no words

stronger than the steel that pressed you into itself; no scripture

older or more elegant than the ancient atoms you

have become.

And I have nothing to give either–except this gesture,

this thread thrown between your humanity and mine:

I want to hold you in my arms and as your soul got shot of its box of flesh to understand, as

you have done, the wit

of eternity: its gift of unhinged release tearing through

the darkness of its knell. 

–          Toni Morrison

News and Updates

Pastoral word from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry on 20th anniversary of Sept. 11

As followers of Jesus, and with our siblings in other faith traditions, we place great value on the act of remembrance. As we reflect on the solemn anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, we remember many loved ones lost and first responders who put their lives at risk, modeling the sacrificial love of Jesus, who said: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

While 20 years have passed, I also want us to pause and remember the days that followed these tragic events. There was a moment in the aftermath when people came together. We were praying, grieving, and also working together. Because in that moment, however fleeting it was, we knew with immediacy and vulnerability that we need God, and we need each other.

Memories of that tender cooperation—of love for each other as neighbors—serve as guiding lights for the present. Amidst the ongoing pandemic and natural disasters that have taken so many lives and pushed first responders to their limits, and amidst a worldwide reckoning with the sin of racism, we are called to become the Beloved Community whose way of life is the way of Jesus and his way of love.

Episcopal Relief & Development continues to support dioceses providing assistance in response to disasters:  See https://www.episcopalrelief.org/press-resources/press-releases/2021-press-releases-press-releases/ to read the latest updates on 

supporting partners in Haiti after the earthquake, 

continuing support around the world in response to COVID-19, 

partnering with dioceses in Louisiana after Hurricane Ida, and 

supporting the diocese of Northern California in response to wildfires.  

This Sunday’s Readings:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1aWJOgvDQ-Tw0eayDJY9Ur1mUTa605MZk/edit?usp=sharing&ouid=109485766909959793279&rtpof=true&sd=true

Reminders 

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: james.ross.mcd@gmail.com.

Prayerbook Morning Prayer in Zoom – each weekday & Saturday morning.  Join us 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:   becky.holder@gmail.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 this fall.

Our office email is: office@st-stephens.church

Home Communions: If you or someone you know is unable to attend church on either a long or short‑term basis, please contact me (james.ross.mcd@gmail.com) if you would like to have communion brought to you. We will make visits on Sunday after our regular Eucharist at church.

We continue to comply with all of these: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html ; the NY  Department of Public Health: https://www.health.ny.gov/ ; the Schenectady County Health Department: https://www.schenectadycounty.com/COVID19; and the Diocese of Albany https://albanyepiscopaldiocese.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/cleaning_guidance_houses_of_worship.pdf.

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.

Irish Blessing

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.

Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Friday, September 10, 2021

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

Good Morning, Saint Stephen’s Church,

We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!

Today’s Prayer

Father, Mother, God,

Thank you for your presence

during the hard and mean days.

For then we have you to lean upon.

Thank you for your presence

during the bright and sunny days,

for then we can share that which we have

with those who have less…

For those who have no voice,

we ask you to speak.

For those who feel unworthy,

we ask you to pour your love out

in waterfalls of tenderness.

For those who live in pain,

we ask you to bathe them

in the river of your healing.

For those who are lonely, we ask

you to keep them company.

For those who are depressed,

we ask you to shower upon them

the light of hope.

Dear Creator, You, the borderless

sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the

world that which we need most—Peace.

       –  Maya Angelou, 2014

Maya Angelou was an award-winning American author and civil rights activist who died in 2014. Her writing spanned a variety of genres, including autobiography, poetry, and plays. Maya Angelou’s most famous book may be one of her autobiographies, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, but she was also often known as the “black women’s poet laureate.” Angelou’s poetry received more widespread public attention after she read a poem at Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration in 1993, making her only the second poet in U.S. history to read at an inauguration.

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 the victims of Hurricane Ida: for people who have evacuated, for those who are still in their homes, for first responders and everyone who has been impacted by Hurricane Ida from Louisiana to Rhode Island.  

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 the vaccination, may God grant them wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience, and may God keep them healthy and safe.

For all essential workers: for police, firefighters, EMTs, postal workers, sanitation workers, grocery personnel, delivery and transport workers, and all who must report to work because what they do is essential for our well-being, health, and safety as we continue to deal with the Coronavirus variants. 

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: Don, Jennifer, Josh, Shaun, Candace, Robert, Heather, Jackson, Michael, Mary, Bill, Jim, Eunice, Jane and Bruce, John, Audrey, Melanie, Joe, Rebecca, Skip, Curt, Jackie.

For those who are homebound: Joan, Janet and Marilyn. 

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, Assisting Bishop; 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: Eunice, Vincent, Priscilla, Ruth, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe. 

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) (Bendel Province).

For all who have died:  Marian, Robert, Lucie, Margaret, and Ruth.

Something to share

Children cannot become mature human beings by themselves. They experience our love and warmth as a cocoon that protects them from harm. They need us to set appropriate boundaries and guidelines, yet give them as much freedom to explore as they can handle. They need us to be both strong and compassionate, people who understand the importance of living a life that is good and beautiful and true. And they need our faith in their ability to find their own way in life, so they can fulfill their own unique purpose. In short, they need us to strive to become full human beings, so we can help them do the same. 

            –  Novelist Eugene Vodolazkin recalls his days in Soviet kindergarten.

News and Updates

Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program team is continuing daily coordination calls with the Episcopal dioceses of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Western Louisiana in response to Hurricane Ida and is in contact with other partners as they assess the damage from the storm.

“Right now, our focus is on identifying and meeting immediate needs,” said Katie Mears, Senior Director of the US Disaster Program. “We are grateful for the response from the community of people wanting to help and we ask that you not donate in-kind items because our partners don’t have the capacity to sort and store them.”

Please continue to pray for the people who have evacuated, those who are still in their homes, first responders and everyone who has been impacted by Hurricane Ida from Louisiana to Rhode Island.  Please consider a donation to Episcopal Relief & Development’s Hurricane Relief Fund to support our continued response to Hurricane Ida and other storms.

Reminders 

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: james.ross.mcd@gmail.com.

Prayerbook Morning Prayer in Zoom – each weekday & Saturday morning.  Join us 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:   becky.holder@gmail.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 this fall.

Our office email is: office@st-stephens.church

Home Communions: If you or someone you know is unable to attend church on either a long or short‑term basis, please contact me (james.ross.mcd@gmail.com or by phone) if you would like to have communion brought to you. We will make visits on Sunday after our regular Eucharist at church.

We continue to comply with all of these: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html ; the NY  Department of Public Health: https://www.health.ny.gov/ ; the Schenectady County Health Department: https://www.schenectadycounty.com/COVID19; and the Diocese of Albany https://albanyepiscopaldiocese.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/cleaning_guidance_houses_of_worship.pdf.

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.

Irish Blessing

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.

Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Thursday, September 9, 2021

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

Good Morning, Saint Stephen’s Church,

We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!

Today’s Prayer

Lord, take me where You want me to go;

Let me meet who You want me to meet;

Tell me what You want me to say;

And keep me out of Your way.

–  Fr. Mychal F. Judge, O.F.M., 2001

Mychal Judge, OFM, was a Franciscan and chaplain to the New York Fire Department. He prayed this prayer daily; it was a guide to his approach to his pastoral ministry, a ministry rich in life-giving compassion. On September 11, 2001 at 9:59am, at the time the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed, Father Judge entered paradise. He is the first listed casualty of the 9/11 attack on the Twins Towers.

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 the victims of Hurricane Ida: for people who have evacuated, for those who are still in their homes, for first responders and everyone who has been impacted by Hurricane Ida from Louisiana to Rhode Island.  

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 the vaccination, may God grant them wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience, and may God keep them healthy and safe.

For all essential workers: for police, firefighters, EMTs, postal workers, sanitation workers, grocery personnel, delivery and transport workers, and all who must report to work because what they do is essential for our well-being, health, and safety as we continue to deal with the Coronavirus variants. 

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: Don, Jennifer, Josh, Shaun, Candace, Robert, Heather, Jackson, Michael, Mary, Bill, Jim, Eunice, Jane and Bruce, John, Audrey, Melanie, Joe, Rebecca, Skip, Curt, Jackie.

For those who are homebound: Joan, Janet and Marilyn. 

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, Assisting Bishop; 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: Eunice, Vincent, Priscilla, Ruth, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe. 

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) (Bendel Province).

For all who have died:  Marian, Robert, Lucie, Margaret, and Ruth.

Something to share

When Death Comes

When death comes

like the hungry bear in autumn;

when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;

when death comes

like the measle-pox

when death comes

like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:

what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything

as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,

and I look upon time as no more than an idea,

and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common

as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,

tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something

precious to the earth.

When it’s over, I want to say all my life

I was a bride married to amazement.

I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder

if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,

or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

        –  Mary Oliver

News and Updates

Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program team is continuing daily coordination calls with the Episcopal dioceses of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Western Louisiana in response to Hurricane Ida and is in contact with other partners as they assess the damage from the storm.

“Right now, our focus is on identifying and meeting immediate needs,” said Katie Mears, Senior Director of the US Disaster Program. “We are grateful for the response from the community of people wanting to help and we ask that you not donate in-kind items because our partners don’t have the capacity to sort and store them.”

Please continue to pray for the people who have evacuated, those who are still in their homes, first responders and everyone who has been impacted by Hurricane Ida from Louisiana to Rhode Island.  Please consider a donation to Episcopal Relief & Development’s Hurricane Relief Fund to support our continued response to Hurricane Ida and other storms.

Reminders 

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: james.ross.mcd@gmail.com.

Prayerbook Morning Prayer in Zoom – each weekday & Saturday morning.  Join us 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:   becky.holder@gmail.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 this fall.

Our office email is: office@st-stephens.church

Home Communions: If you or someone you know is unable to attend church on either a long or short‑term basis, please contact me (james.ross.mcd@gmail.com ) if you would like to have communion brought to you. We will make visits on Sunday after our regular Eucharist at church.

We continue to comply with all of these: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html ; the NY  Department of Public Health: https://www.health.ny.gov/ ; the Schenectady County Health Department: https://www.schenectadycounty.com/COVID19; and the Diocese of Albany https://albanyepiscopaldiocese.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/cleaning_guidance_houses_of_worship.pdf.

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.

Irish Blessing

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.

Saint Stephen’s Daily Prayers, Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Staying Safe and Staying Connected

Good Morning, Saint Stephen’s Church,

We continue our life of daily prayer. The Lord be with you!

Today’s Prayer

God of life,

         Surge through every cell of my being.

From my core through all that I am,

         to all the world that surrounds me.

Through my fears,

         My unknowing,

         My dreams,

         My detachments.

Let me know myself, and simply be.

And from that point, let me reach out to all my complexities,

         gently,

         lovingly.

I Am.

         In the great “I AM.”

                 –  Donna J. Maebori

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 the victims of Hurricane Ida: for people who have evacuated, for those who are still in their homes, for first responders and everyone who has been impacted by Hurricane Ida from Louisiana to Rhode Island.  

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 the vaccination, may God grant them wisdom and skill, sympathy and patience, and may God keep them healthy and safe.

For all essential workers: for police, firefighters, EMTs, postal workers, sanitation workers, grocery personnel, delivery and transport workers, and all who must report to work because what they do is essential for our well-being, health, and safety as we continue to deal with the Coronavirus variants. 

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: Katie, Mike, June, Kenny, Danny, Charlotte, Diana, Caleb, June, Ruth, David, Kathy Nick, Roberta, Beth, Walker, Warren, Steven, Susan, Ann, John, Stephen, Don, Ruthy.

For those who are homebound: Joan, Janet and Marilyn. 

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; 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: Eunice, Vincent, Priscilla, Ruth, Mary Frances, Debbie, Joe. 

For all the blessings of this life.

For our dioceses in the Anglican Communion:  The Diocese of Enugu North – The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) (Enugu Province).

For all who have died:  Marian, Robert, Lucie, Margaret, and Ruth.

Something to share

I Might Have Sung of the World

I might have sung of the world

And said what I heard them say

Of the vast and passing dream

Of today and yesterday.

But I chose to tell of myself,

For that was all I knew—

I have made a chart of a small sea,

But the chart I made is true.

       – Sara Teasdale

News and Updates

Episcopal Relief & Development’s US Disaster Program team is continuing daily coordination calls with the Episcopal dioceses of Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Western Louisiana in response to Hurricane Ida and is in contact with other partners as they assess the damage from the storm.

“Right now, our focus is on identifying and meeting immediate needs,” said Katie Mears, Senior Director of the US Disaster Program. “We are grateful for the response from the community of people wanting to help and we ask that you not donate in-kind items because our partners don’t have the capacity to sort and store them.”

Please continue to pray for the people who have evacuated, those who are still in their homes, first responders and everyone who has been impacted by Hurricane Ida from Louisiana to Rhode Island.  Please consider a donation to Episcopal Relief & Development’s Hurricane Relief Fund to support our continued response to Hurricane Ida and other storms. 

Reminders 

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: james.ross.mcd@gmail.com.

Prayerbook Morning Prayer in Zoom – each weekday & Saturday morning.  Join us 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:   becky.holder@gmail.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 this fall.

Our office email is: office@st-stephens.church

Home Communions: If you or someone you know is unable to attend church on either a long or short‑term basis, please contact me (james.ross.mcd@gmail.com) if you would like to have communion brought to you. We will make visits on Sunday after our regular Eucharist at church.

We continue to comply with all of these: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html ; the NY  Department of Public Health: https://www.health.ny.gov/ ; the Schenectady County Health Department: https://www.schenectadycounty.com/COVID19; and the Diocese of Albany https://albanyepiscopaldiocese.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/cleaning_guidance_houses_of_worship.pdf.

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.

Irish Blessing

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.