Dear St. Stephen’s church family,
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord (2 Peter 1:2),
Happy Thanksgiving, dear church. While it is always a good thing to give thanks, this weekend provides us with another opportunity to pause and reflect, to become both thankful people and giving people. It has been said that it is not happy people who are thankful, but thankful people who are happy. I think there is truth to this. Let us give thanks together, for the world God made, for Jesus who came to bring us abundant life and for the various tasks and vocations we have been given, opportunities to love and serve God and neighbour.
Tomorrow is Harvest Thanksgiving, with all welcome to attend the 8:30 am service. You are invited to bring an item for the food bank.
The church decorated for Confirmation and Thanksgiving!
Please note that the 10:30 service is not open to any except for the Confirmation candidates and their families. Thank you for your understanding. It is so important that we continue to do what we can to keep one another safe. This includes being mindful of social distancing, especially as we are in the midst of this fourth wave.
And you may have noticed I did not include a link to tomorrow’s sermon. We are live-streaming the Confirmation service tomorrow, on Facebook live. You may wish to tune in and participate at home. Bishop Chris will be presiding and will share a sermon with us. If you don’t know how to do that, I will post the service link next week, where you can watch it as a recording. Here is the link to our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ststephens.ca The service will not be posted until 10:25 am or so tomorrow.
Tomorrow is the last opportunity to take part in Church School on the lawn for this season. Children and families are invited to come and find a socially distant place on a blanket and spend some time hearing a bible story and doing an activity. I am so thankful for the beautiful fall weather that has made this possible, and to Julie for being present to our children and families in new and creative ways.
Yesterday was a full day at St. Stephen’s! 58 Gift baskets were assembled for Adelle House and other shelters in the city. Thank you to all who donated items and/or money towards this important project and to all who worked to make this happen, including Donna Neufeld and team. While we may see shampoo and soap and a pair of socks, those who receive these baskets feel that somebody cares, and ultimately that they are worthy of love. In this, we proclaim the gospel—the good news of God’s love for all. What an appropriate Thanks+Giving parish project.
And last night we held our much anticipated ConfirmMitzvah! After over a year of delay, and 2 postponed Confirmation dates, we were blessed with a beautiful (if chilly!) evening, fellowship and celebration. Delicious and custom made Charcuterie boxes (thank you to Cathryn Wood) were prepared ahead of time, enabling us to have snacks in a safe way. Our confirmation candidates were each given the gift of a book from the parish, carefully chosen to suit them. We played True/False—ConfirmMitzvah jeopardy (thank you to Julie for making the T/F signs). Kim DelaForest (from up the street) and her youth fiddle group, the Grace Notes, joined us outside for some beautiful tunes, and led us in a socially distant chicken dance—encouraged by Steve Hen, of course! Kim has been teaching socially distant group fiddle lessons in the Prest Hall throughout covid, when requirements have allowed. Our Bishop Chris Harper and his wife Tracy blessed us with their presence, celebrating with us and praying for our young people at the conclusion of the evening. Thank you to all who made last night possible, from setting up the tent (Matthew Dalzell) to cleaning up afterwards (everybody!).
Our book study, Celebration of Discipline, will begin on Thursday at 2 pm, with the first chapter and continue in this pattern. We will be meeting in the Mitchell Hall, socially distanced and wearing masks. I am so looking forward to learning and growing with you.
Mark your calendars for Turkey to Go on Friday, October 29th! Tell your friends and families and consider ordering turkey…to go…in support of our parish. Meals are $25 each and include turkey and all the trimmings. To place an order, send an email or call the office.
Parish Cycle of Prayer:
Monday: I am thankful for…
Tuesday: I am thankful for…
Wednesday: I am thankful for…
Thursday: I am thankful for…
Friday: I am thankful for…
A prayer from the Book of Common Prayer:
O ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hast graciously given unto us the fruits of the earth in their season; We yield thee humble and hearty thanks for this thy bounty; beseeching thee to give us grace rightly to use the same to thy glory, and the relief of those that need; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen