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 LAST SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY
14 February 20210
Icon of the Transfiguration, 15th c., Theophanes the Greek, (1340-1410).
Kalendar and Readings
THE LAST SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY (Year B)

Psalm 27

Click the readings above for links to the RSV
Music
Organ: Cantabile, César Franck (1822 – 1890)

Mass: Communion Service in E minor, Richard Dirkson (1921-2003)

Psalm 27, Dominus Illuminatio, Tone VII

Organ: Chorale no. 3 en La mineur, Franck
A Word from the Rector
Dear S. Stephen’s Parish,
 
This Sunday we will reach the last Sunday after Epiphany – a liturgical season which has been marked by celebrating manifestations of Christ as the Light of the World, and in which we have focused on the call of discipleship and the spread of the proclamation of God’s Kingdom.
 
As with every year, we will encounter the dramatic Transfiguration of our Lord upon the mountain on this Sunday. The light of the Star which led the Wise Men at Epiphany pales in comparison to the dazzling, blinding white light which transfigures our Lord before his closest disciples. The voice of God himself thunders from within the cloud and proclaims to these disciples “This is my Son, the beloved! Listen to him,” and they know without a doubt that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah, come to save them and all of Israel.
 
But having reached this mountain peak, it is time to set our sights towards Jerusalem, where Jesus must accomplish this saving work. We will say farewell to our “Alleluias” and the “Gloria in excelsis” at Mass. We must begin preparing ourselves for the celebration of Holy Week and the three holiest days of the year.
 
While I do not anticipate being able to return to in-person worship in time for Ash Wednesday, I am hopeful that we will make that transition sometime in the next several weeks, and certainly in time for Palm Sunday and the Triduum. I will offer ashes at the church door on Ash Wednesday for those who desire them, but I would first like to raise a couple points for your consideration:
 
1) The receiving of ashes is not a sacrament – they are blessed, the same as we bless palms on Palm Sunday, or other liturgical objects. But the ashes themselves, though signifying our mortality, are not Sacramental in the way that the Eucharist or Baptism are.
 
2) The Prayer Book does not specify that ashes be imposed – it merely reads “If ashes are to be imposed…” The recovery of Ash Wednesday as a day on the calendar is a relatively recent development, having disappeared from Prayer Book calendars for a few centuries. Even in the Roman church, it is not a day of obligation, though of course the faithful are strongly encouraged to attend that day.
 
I say this not to discourage you from either watching our livestream liturgy at 7:00 on Wednesday, nor to discourage you from receiving ashes if you would like to do so. I only offer these points to ease your mind and souls if you have any worries or anxiety about not receiving ashes this year. While profoundly moving, it is not the essential component of keeping a holy Lent. And so I will leave you with words from the Prayer Book exhortation, which reminds us of what the observance of a holy Lent is truly about.
 
“Dear People of God: The first Christians observed with great devotion the days of our Lord's passion and resurrection, and it became the custom of the Church to prepare for them by a season of penitence and fasting. This season of Lent provided a time in which converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. It was also a time when those who, because of notorious sins, had been separated from the body of the faithful were reconciled by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the fellowship of the Church. Thereby, the whole congregation was put in mind of the message of pardon and absolution set forth in the Gospel of our Savior, and of the need which all Christians continually have to renew their repentance and faith.
I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's holy Word.” (BCP pp. 264-265)
 
May God give us all the grace to keep a Holy Lent and to arrive at Easter with joy and gladness.
 
Faithfully,
Fr. Benjamin
Update on worship at S. Stephen's
We are still closed to in-person worship, with the exception of those who participate directly in creating the livestream liturgy. However, the positivity rate of COVID-19 cases in Rhode Island has declined in recent weeks, and if that trend continues we have reason to believe that we can soon resume the kind of in-person worship we practiced in the autumn months. While this is welcome news, we cannot say with certainty what that date will be. Please continue to pray for our state and local communities, and pray that the spread of this virus may abate, so that we may gather together once again in our beloved sacred space.
Ash Wednesday
On Ash Wednesday we will livestream the liturgy on our Facebook page at 7:00 PM, where it will remain for later viewing. Fr. Bill Locke will be our preacher that evening.

However, those desiring ashes on Ash Wednesday may come to S. Stephen’s, where Fr. Benjamin will be at the church doors to offer the imposition of ashes between Noon and 1:00 PM, and again from 5:00 to 6:00 PM, preceding the 7:00 PM liturgy. The Imposition of Ashes will be accompanied by a short recitation of a psalm and brief prayer, and it is hoped that this devotion is connected with a later participation in the livestream liturgy.

If neither of those times works, and you would like to receive ashes, please call the office and see if another time can be scheduled.
Pancake Supper
Pancakes anyone? We can't gather on Shrove Tuesday but we can still eat pancakes together! Show off your flipping skills or just pop in to say hello at 5:30pm on Tuesday, February 16. Here is the link for Zoom Pancake Supper!
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.
Absalom Jones
February is designated in our country as Black History Month, and as part of our shared ministry goals in raising awareness for our Diocese’s Center for Reconciliation, which seeks to foster racial reconciliation and racial justice by confronting the legacy of slavery, we want to draw attention to one story within our own Episcopal Church. 
Tomorrow, February 13, we will commemorate in our celebration of the mass the life of Absalom Jones, an abolitionist and the first black man ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church. You can read more about his life and witness here. We will hope to look at other stories within our own parish and our diocese in the weeks and months to come. Please also take a moment to look at the website for the Center for Reconciliation and learn more about their important work.
Multiple Parish Lenten Study
Four historic Anglo-Catholic parishes (St. Stephen's, St. John's Newport, St. Paul's Brooklyn, St. Thomas' in Toronto) are joining forces to offer a special Wednesdays in Lent series at 7 p.m. each week via Zoom. "The Eucharist in a time of Pandemic: Sacramental Theology for when you cannot receive the Sacrament," will begin on Wednesday, February 24 and run for five sessions through Wednesday, March 24.

Wednesday, 24 February
Foundations in Scripture with Fr. D'Angelo & John Lord
What are the Biblical roots of the Eucharist?
Wednesday, 3 March
Patristic Development with Fr. D'Angelo & Fr. Humphrey
How did the Church Fathers interpret the Biblical Witness?
Wednesday, 10 March
Medieval Unfolding with Fr. Straley & Fr. Ogburn
Amidst the Black Death, how was the Eucharist understood and practiced?
Wednesday, 17 March
Reformation Response with Fr. Ogburn & Fr. Humphrey
What lasting insights did the English Reformation impart?
Wednesday, 24 March
Anglo-Catholic Synthesis with Fr. Humphrey & Team Faculty  
How does Anglo-Catholic theology and practice promise life in the midst of death?


Information, including a Zoom link, will be forthcoming. Please contact the office if you have any questions.
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. 
For your Prayers
Prayers have been requested for: Patti Barnes, Lola Campagna, Ruby Campagna, the Rev. Norman Catir, Diana Clarke, Sarah Clarke, Grace Deneault, Harrington Gordon, Joan Gordon, the Rev. Jay C. James, Conrad Johnson, Ann Brooke Mason, Beverly Myers, Beverly Ryan, Rhoda Steinhart, Crystal Sylver, and Christopher Whittingham.

Birthdays this week: Tristan Kinloch (2/20)

The faithful departed: Recently Departed: James Howley. Year's mind: M. Marie Pearson (2/14), Jeffrey James Groves (2/14), Alan Edward Beniere (2/15), James Stephen Clarke (2/15), Christopher Dunstan (2/16), Gary Lee Stamps (2/17), James W. Randolph (2/17), John Walker (2/18), Coribel Page Stiles (2/18), Elizabeth Bernadette Stewart (2/18), Frederick A. Starks, Sr. (2/19).

Anglican and Diocesan Cycles of Prayer: In the Anglican Cycle of Prayer, we are asked to pray for the Anglican Church of Canada. In the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer, we are asked to pray for all the clergy widows and widowers of the Diocese.
This Week at St. Stephen's
EXTRA-PAROCHIAL EVENTS HOSTED AT S. STEPHEN’S
Saturday 20 February
Epiphany Soup Kitchen (Meal Pickup Only)  2:30-4 pm

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

Sunday 14 February
THE LAST SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY
Sung Mass 10:00 am
Zoom Coffee Hour 11:30 am

Daily Office and Mass Lectionary

Monday 15 February
Thomas Bray, Priest, Missionary, Founder of the SPCK, 1730
Sigfrid, Bishop, Apostle of Sweden, 1045
Evening Prayer 5:30 pm
Low Mass 6:00 pm

Tuesday 16 February
"Shrove Tuesday"
Noonday Prayer 12 noon
Low Mass 12:10 pm

Wednesday 17 February
ASH WEDNESDAY
Distribution of Ashes 12 - 1 pm, 5 - 6 pm
Sung Mass 7 pm

Thursday 18 February
Thursday after Ash Wednesday
Noonday Prayer 12 noon
Low Mass 12:10 pm

Friday 19 February
Friday after Ash Wednesday
Noonday Prayer 12 noon
Low Mass 12:10 pm

Saturday 20 February
Saturday after Ash Wednesday
Monthly Low Requiem Mass, Guild of All Souls 10 am

Next Sunday
THE FIRST SUNDAY IN LENT
Sung Mass 10:00 am