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)
6 December 2020
Isaiah (c. 1838) by Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier (1815 - 1891) The Wallace Collection, London.
Kalendar and Readings

Click the readings above for links to the RSV
Organ: Veni Redemptor Gentium, Thomas Tallis (1505 - 1585)
Master Tallis' Testament, Herbert Howells (1892 - 1983)

Mass: Messe Basse, Gabriel Fauré (1845 - 1924)

Psalm 85 vvs. 7 - 13 Benedixisti Domine, Tone IV 5

Offertory Antiphon: Aria: "Grosser Herr und Starker Konig"
from Weihnachtsoratorium BWV 248, J.S. Bach (1685 - 1750)

Organ: Voluntary in G, William Walond (1719 - 1768)
Virtual Worship Only:
In-person worship is still suspended
As we all know, in-person worship was suspended three weeks ago due to the alarming rise of COVID-19 cases in our state. That number has not gone down, and so we are still practicing safety and caution by having virtual worship only on Sundays and weekdays.

However, as a part of that virtual offering, we are endeavoring to leave the “online experience” unchanged, and so we still have a server, some musicians, someone to operate the camera, and (for now) even a reader for the lessons. This number of people keeps us at about 8 persons present, with no more than 10 – and we all maintain a physical distance of 6 ft and wear masks as necessary.

I believe that we can anticipate the building being closed to public worship for the duration of the month of December, with an update coming after Christmas as to what lies ahead in January. Please *do not* come to S. Stephen’s on Sunday morning. As you might have seen from the livestreams, there were a few souls who for one reason or another did not receive this important communication in the first few weeks of this change.

If you desire or are in need of pastoral care, that can be arranged by contacting the Rector at rector@sstephens.necoxmail.com or by calling the office.
A Word From Fr. Benjamin
Dear beloved Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
There are certain “characters” that we encounter every year in the Four Sundays of Advent. Though the readings change slightly with the three liturgical cycles (we are now in Year B, if you didn’t know), the themes remain more or less the same.

Last Sunday we began Advent by being put in mind of the final judgment and Day of the Lord. In the final week, we will encounter Gabriel and Mary. Isaiah, the “prophet of Advent” is with us in all the weeks. However, this Sunday, entering from stage right onto center stage for the next two weeks is John the Baptist.

He is often known as “the Forerunner,” and we believe that he came to prepare the way for Jesus’ ministry. He is, of course, Jesus’ cousin, and is the babe who leapt within Elizabeth’s womb when a likewise pregnant Mary came to visit. His ministry pre-dated Jesus’, and we are told that some of Jesus’ disciples were first John’s disciples.

As we all know, any time we set out to engage in a major campaign, or a significant undertaking, it’s good to set the groundwork – to start to “soften the ground” with hints or previews of what’s coming. We till the soil before we plant new seeds in our garden, so they have a chance of taking root and sprouting. That’s what John’s ministry was for Jesus’.

I pray that we can use this Advent to lay the groundwork for Christ’s coming on Christmas – to soften and till the soil of our hearts, so that he make take root and flourish anew.

He was also strange, and a little alarming to some – a loud thorn in the side of the establishment. And frankly his choice of clothing was a bit eccentric. In other words, he was model Anglo-Catholic of sorts! I jest, but in all seriousness, I hope that we may embrace blessed John the Baptist as a model for our own living and our own prayers in these next few weeks of Advent, as we journey closer and closer to the Christ Child awaiting us in the Manger.
Yours in the love of our Coming Lord and Savior,
Fr. Benjamin +
Christmas at St. Stephen's
On Christmas Eve, St. Stephen's will stream our sung mass at 10 p.m. live on our Facebook page.

We are currently exploring options for a brief candlelight service outside of the church earlier in the evening around 5:30. With so many unknown factors related to the current rise in COVID-19 cases, we are unable to make any definitive plans at this time, but we hope to announce something by December 13. Please stay tuned for updates.
Zoom Coffee Hour:
11:30, this Sunday
Join us for Virtual "Coffee Hour" via Zoom after Mass this Sunday by clicking here. A reminder that these Zoom gatherings are now on First and Third Sundays only (and the occasional rare Fifth Sunday).
Daily Advent Meditations
We hope that you have been enjoying the daily Advent meditations going out on weekdays every morning. As we prepare to open our hearts for our coming Lord and Savior, this is a wonderful way to open our hearts to each other while unable to gather physically. We still have plenty of slots open, and there is no limitation on writing just once! So please contact the Rector or Andrew Welch in the office at office@sstephens.necoxmail.com if you would like to submit one.
Lessons and Carols
Next Sunday, December 13, 4:00 pm, S. Stephen’s will premiere a virtual Lessons & Carols service comprised of parishioners reading the lessons from their homes and music coming from S. Stephen’s. It will be a wonderful and cheery way for us to stay connected and celebrate the season, even while physically distanced as we approach the Christmas Holiday. Zoom “Hot Cider” gathering to follow.
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.
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.
"What is Anglo-Catholicism?" Series: Coming in January
Once we have moved past the Advent and Christmas season, the Rector will offer a series (via Zoom) that explores some of the questions raised about what it means to be Anglo-Catholic and examine the “whys” of certain practices. This course will likely be offered on Wednesday evenings. If you have any questions, please feel free to submit them to rector@sstephens.necoxmail.com!
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, Charles Calverley, Sandra Calverley, Lola Campagna, Ruby Campagna, the Rev. Norman Catir, Vinnie Ciummo, Diana Clarke, Sarah Clarke, Harrington Gordon, Joan Gordon, Phebe Hodson, James Howley, Hunter Jacobs, the Rev. Jay C. James, Conrad Johnson, Ann Brooke Mason, Beverly Myers, Tom Oakes, Angela Rose, Beverly Ryan, Rhoda Steinhart, Crystal Sylver, Jeanette White, and Christopher Whittingham.

Birthdays this week: Lisa Elliot (12/8), Andrew Mead (12/8), Beverly Myers (12/9), Christarie Sylvia (12/9), Lynne deBenedette (12/10), and Joshua Travis (12/12).
The faithful departed: Recently departed: Bradford Atwood, Julia Callanan, Pamela Piper, and Barbara Stenning. Year's mind: Homer Shirley (12/7), Lillian Lynch (12/9), George Lockwood (12/10), Elinor Elizabeth Ripley (12/10), Truman Cladius Bledsoe (12/12).

Anglican and Diocesan Cycles of Prayer: In the Anglican Cycle of Prayer, we are asked to pray for the Reformed Episcopal Church of Spain, and the Right Reverend Carlos López-Lozano. In the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer, we are asked to pray for the Clergy and People of Emmanuel, Cumberland and Emmanuel, Newport.
This Week at St. Stephen's
Tuesday 8 December
Vestry Meeting 7:00 pm (on zoom)

Saturday 12 December
Epiphany Soup Kitchen (Meal Pickup Only)  2:30-4 pm

All Services Streamed on our Facebook Page

Sunday 6 December
Sung Mass 10:00 am
Zoom Coffee Hour 11:30 am

Daily Office and Mass Lectionary

Monday 7 December
Monday in the Second Week of Advent
Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, Teacher, 379
Evening Prayer 5:30 pm
Low Mass 6:00 pm

Tuesday 8 December
Tuesday in the Second Week of Advent
Noonday Prayer 12 noon
Low Mass 12:10 pm

Wednesday 9 December
Wednesday in the First Week of Advent
Evening Prayer 5:30 pm
Low Mass 6 pm

Thursday 10 December
Thursday in the First Week of Advent
Noonday Prayer 12 pm
Low Mass 12:10 pm

Friday 11 December
Friday in the First Week of Advent
Noonday Prayer 12 pm
Low Mass 12:10 pm

Saturday 12 December
Saturday in the First Week of Advent
Morning Prayer 9:30 am
Low Mass 10:00 am

Next Sunday
Sung Mass 10:00 am
Zoom Coffee Hour 11:30 am