S. Stephen's Church
in Providence
"Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." (Acts 7:56)
THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY: THE BAPTISM OF OUR LORD
10 January 20210
The Baptism of Christ (c. 1475) from the studio of Andrea del Verrochio (c. 1435 - 1488) including contributions by Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519), Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.
Kalendar and Readings
THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY (Year B)


Click the readings above for links to the RSV
Music
Organ: Prélude sur l'introit de l'Epiphanie, Maurice Duruflé (1902 - 1986)

Mass: Missa XIV (Jesu Redemptor), Plainchant

Psalm 89, vs. 21-30, Tone Ib

Organ: Fugue sur le thème du carillon de la Cathedral de Soissons, Duruflé
A Word from the Rector
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
 
Like many of you, I was deeply shaken by what I witnessed on live television on Wednesday, January 6th, as protests turned to riots and our United States Capitol Building was overrun, sending lawmakers and police officers alike running for cover, and fearful for their safety.
 
Whatever our political leanings, as Christians we can agree that violence is never the answer to solve our differences. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are committed to a Way of Love which always seeks the good of the other. As citizens of a Republic, we are supposed to use elections and democratic processes to resolve our disagreements in the body politic – not threats and intimidation. When talking of the Body of Christ and its many members, Saint Paul tells us that one of the gravest sins within the Body is for one member of the body to say to another, “I have no need of you.” Such a rejection and a dismissal of another’s worth and dignity is repugnant to the Gospel of Christ, wherein all are to be honored as being made in God’s image, and all loved as fellow children of God.
 
The kind of polarization that Saint Paul warns against was on full display for the world to see this past week. I firmly believe that the voice of the Church and its calls for reconciliation and peacefulness are more important now than ever. The ethical framework of our Judeo-Christian heritage hinges upon love of God and love of neighbor and upon the restoration of right relations between God and God’s people. This love and this kind of witness is not heard enough in the news or from many of our political leaders.
 
My prayer for the coming days, weeks, and years is that the Church learns once again to proclaim with boldness the love of God in Christ, and that the Church might become a leading voice and an agent of transformation in this country as we model virtuous Christian living. This means seeking understanding of another viewpoint when it comes into conflict with our own; listening to our neighbor who we disagree with and honoring them as being made in the Image of God; and practicing reconciliation and charity with those we have hurt, born out of the love that God has shown us in Christ. You and I can do that together – we can both model and embody the radical way of living in Christ that has the power to change the world.
 
These are concrete ways of living out the promises we made at our Baptism, which we will recall and renew this Sunday as we celebrate the Baptism of Our Lord. May God give us the grace to uphold them, now and always.
 
Faithfully,
Fr. Benjamin +
"When are we re-opening?"
As you might easily imagine, one of the questions I’ve received most in the recent weeks and around Christmas is “When are we going to re-open?” We all long for that day to arrive, no one more so than myself. Together with your Wardens, I am monitoring the numbers in Rhode Island with regard to rate of transmission and positive cases. With numbers beginning to decline, and the distribution of the vaccine, I am hopeful. While I will not speculate as to how soon we might re-open for in-person worship, the good news is that we’ve already gone through this once before, and that we have supplies and procedures in place already. Because of that, when we DO reach the decision to re-open we can do it quickly and safely.
Keeping the Faith at Home
Remember Your Baptism

This Sunday is the Baptism of Our Lord, a major feast of the church year, and one on which we would normally renew our baptismal vows at Mass, and be sprinkled with Holy Water as a reminder of our baptism.
 
While we can’t gather in person this Sunday, parishioners are strongly encouraged to have a small bowl of water ready as they view the online liturgy. When the time for the sprinkling arrives, we hope that you will take some water and splash it on your own forehead, or the foreheads of those in your household, as you say “Remember your baptism.” Another option is to simply dip your thumb in the water and trace the sign of the cross on your forehead/another’s forehead.
 
While we are physically apart, the tangible sign of water is an important and powerful reminder of the Baptism that has given us life in Christ and united us all as members of his Body. That tie is unbreakable, and neither a pandemic nor even death can dissolve that bond. Let us remember our baptisms, and be thankful.

Chalking the Doors

Another tradition we might have usually observed this past week as part of our celebration of the Epiphany is the blessing of chalk which would be used to mark the doorways of our homes with the traditional Epiphany blessing, C + M + B (together with the year number). The letters recall the names traditionally given to the Wise Men: Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar, but also are an abbreviation of “Christus Mansionem Benedicat,” which means “May Christ Bless this House.”
 
Though we are not distributing blessed chalk, if you have some at home, you can still mark the lintel of your front door, or any door, or even your sidewalk or driveway with the following blessing: “20 + C + M + B + 21”. These are just a handful of small ways we can practice our faith in our homes, even as our worship life continues primarily via livestream.
2021 Annual Meeting
The Annual Meeting will be on January 31st at 12:00 noon via Zoom.

The Nominations Committee respectfully submits the following names for election by the church membership at our annual meeting on January 31st, 2021:
 
Vestry class of 2023 - Karl Benziger, Louis Verdolotti; Vestry class of 2024 - Leana Hooks, Lynne deBenedette; Convention Delegates 2021 - Rhoda Steinhart, Richard Noble; Convention Alternates 2021 - Cathy Bledsoe, Nancy Gingrich. Our By-laws allow for the potential of additional nominations by church members. Please contact Alison Huff at alisonhuff12@gmail.com or 401-576-8029 for more information.
Sunday Livestreams
We have begun using a new streaming app for our Sunday 10:00 Mass. One thing we are unable to do is link to the Facebook “event” that we were previously creating, but if you go to our Facebook page you can easily see that we are going live and it should come up in your feed.
Zoom Church School
On second Sundays of the month, there will be a 9:00 Zoom “Children’s Sermon” and check-in with Fr. Benjamin open to school-age children and their parents, available here.
Volunteers for Sunday Masses
We are seeking people to serve as lectors and camera operators during our Sunday masses. If you are interested and are comfortable being socially distanced in the church with others, please write to the office at office@sstephens.necoxmail.com or by phone at 401.421.6702: training is available. Thank you to all who have and continue to fill these positions.
Giving to St. Stephen's
You can mail your pledge card or weekly/monthly offering to the church office, or pledge online here. Thank you for all the many ways in which you are already supporting S. Stephen’s. 
Epiphany Proclamation
Dear friends in Christ, the glory of the Lord has shone upon us, and shall ever be manifest among us, until the day of his return. Through the rhythms of times and seasons let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation. Let us recall the year’s culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord: his last supper, his crucifixion, his burial, and his rising celebrated between the evening of the first day of April and the evening of the third day of April.

Each Easter – as on each Sunday – the Holy Church makes present the great and saving deed by which Christ has for ever conquered sin and death. From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on the seventeenth day of February. The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated on the thirteenth day of May. Pentecost, the joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on the twenty-third day of May. And, this year the First Sunday of Advent will be on the twenty-eighth day of November.

Likewise the pilgrim Church proclaims the Passover of Christ in the feasts of the Holy Mother of God, in the feasts of the Apostles and Saints, and in the commemoration of the faithful departed.

To Jesus Christ, who was, who is, and who is to come, Lord of time and history, be endless praise, for ever and ever. Amen.
For your Prayers
Prayers have been requested for: Patti Barnes, Lola Campagna, Ruby Campagna, the Rev. Norman Catir, Diana Clarke, Sarah Clarke, Grace Deneault, Norman Gibbs Jr., Harrington Gordon, Joan Gordon, James Howley, the Rev. Jay C. James, Conrad Johnson, Ann Brooke Mason, Beverly Myers, Beverly Ryan, Rhoda Steinhart, Crystal Sylver, and Christopher Whittingham.

Birthdays this week: Joan Gordon (1/11), Jason Connell (1/13)

The faithful departed: Recently departed: David Whitham, Jr. Year's mind: Margaret Ethel Worthington (1/10), Elizabeth Ann Baronie (1/10), Gary Paul Eckhardt (1/11), Harry Johnson (1/12), Mary Ann Wiggins (1/12), Florence T. Bustamante (1/14).

Anglican and Diocesan Cycles of Prayer: In the Anglican Cycle of Prayer, we are asked to pray for the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia. In the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer, we are asked to pray for the newly baptized, and all who share in the Baptism of our Lord.
This Week at St. Stephen's
EXTRA-PAROCHIAL EVENTS HOSTED AT S. STEPHEN’S
Tuesday 12 January
Vestry Meeting (on Zoom) 7:00 pm

Saturday 16 January
Epiphany Soup Kitchen (Meal Pickup Only)  2:30-4 pm

LITURGICAL CALENDAR & SERVICE SCHEDULE
All Services Streamed on our Facebook Page

Sunday 10 January
FIRST SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY: THE BAPTISM OF OUR LORD
Children's Sermon 9:00 am
Sung Mass 10:00 am

Daily Office and Mass Lectionary

Monday 11 January
William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1645 (transferred from the 10th)
Evening Prayer 5:30 pm
Low Mass 6:00 pm

Tuesday 12 January
Aelred, Abbott of Rievaulx, 1167
Noonday Prayer 12 noon
Low Mass 12:10 pm

Wednesday 13 January
Hilary, Bishop of Poiters, 367
Sung Evening Prayer 5:30 pm
Low Mass 6 pm

Thursday 14 January
Kentigern (Mungo), Bishop, Missionary in Galloway, Founder of Glasgow, 612
Noonday Prayer 12 noon
Low Mass 12:10 pm

Friday 15 January
Feria
Paul of Thebes, First Hermit, c. 345
Noonday Prayer 12 noon
Low Mass 12:10 pm

Saturday 16 January
Monthly Low Requiem Mass, Guild of All Souls 10 am
Richard Meux Benson, Monk, Founder of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist, 1915
Charles Gore, Bishop, Teacher, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, 1932

Next Sunday
SECOND SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY
Sung Mass 10:00 am
Zoom Coffee Hour: 11:30 am

Monday January 18th
THE CONFESSION OF SAINT PETER THE APOSTLE
Evening Prayer 5:30 pm
Low Mass 6:00 pm