St. Stephen’s E-News – July 7, 2020

May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith; and may you be rooted and grounded in love! — Jim Dalton

A Blessing
Be thou a bright flame before us,
Be thou a guiding star above us,
Be thou a smooth path below us,
Be thou a kindly shepherd behind us,
Today – tonight – and for ever. Amen.
– St. Columba (c.521-597)

Order of Service for Sunday Worship: Sunday, July 12, 10:30 AM

The Word of God, Book of Common Prayer, page 355

Opening Hymn
Opening Salutation, BCP, pg. 355
Collect for Purity
Gloria (unison) BCP pg. 356
The Collect of the Day, BCP, pg. 357
The Lessons
OT Reading: Genesis 25:19-34

Psalm 119:105-112
Epistle Reading: Romans 8:1-11
Gospel Hymn
Gospel Lesson: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23
The Sermon
The Nicene Creed, BCP, pg. 358
The Prayers of the People: Form VI, BCP, pg. 392
Covid 19 Prayer
Confession, BCP, pg. 393
Priest’s Blessing
The Peace
Closing Hymn

Prayer of the Week
Lord God, whose son, Jesus Christ,
understood people’s fear and pain
before they spoke of them,
we pray for those in hospital;
surround the frightened with your tenderness;
give strength to those in pain;
hold the weak in your arms of love,
and give hope and patience to those recovering;
we ask this through the same Jesus Christ, or Lord.
Christine McMullen, The Book of a Thousand Prayers

Worship Update
It is looking as if we will not be returning to face-to-face worship anytime soon. I know it is frustrating not being the church in the way that we wish to be the church, but we need to continue to be vigilante in our efforts to stop spreading this virus; while, staying connected every opportunity we have. I hope that you are participating in our worship opportunities every chance you get. When you are on line watching a service, please make comments if you can. Say hello to your church members. Those connections with each other are important just like our connection to God is important.

In a letter from our Bishop this week he said that an epidemiologist, who has been advising the bishops in their weekly Zoom meetings, says worshiping outdoors is “a thousand times safer than inside.” Fresh air is safer than re-circulated air. He also advises that when we do worship indoors, it was better to have more services and limit the number of attendees at any one service. If worshiping outdoors, more people can certainly be accommodated, provided that they socially distance themselves and understand that they are not to congregate before or after the service ;-(

I think we may try having some outdoor services for special Sundays this fall. Perhaps we can sit up chairs outside for our Education Sunday “Blessing of the Backpacks”, on Sept. 6; All Saints Sunday, November 1 and the First Sunday of Advent, November 29. Your clergy and church administrators will have discussions about face-to-face worship options and your vestry will be involved in discussions with clergy before decisions are made about holding face-to-face worship services. Please know you are welcomed to share your thoughts with me as part of this decision making. I’d love to hear your thoughts and share them with our clergy, church administration, and vestry.

Church Finances
We normally do not discuss church finances at this time of year …but, it is a weird year! If you are like me during this most difficult time …I loose track of days and weeks, all the sudden I realize I’m two weeks late on my monthly pledge to the church. Let’s all try to remember our gift to God through our church each month. Our church has been in a place before where we couldn’t make payments without the diocese’s help …it’s much better now. That has not been the case for the past seventeen years, let’s keep it that way!

A Huge Thank – You!
Thanks to everyone who participated in the Sunday worship services the past to Sundays: Paul, Anita, Don, Sharon, Laura, and Pat; with special thanks to Pat and Laura for planning and coordinating the worship services! I really appreciate all of you!