Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Prayers for the repose of the soul of Jared Fahey

The prayers of St. Stephen’s are requested the repose of the soul of
Jared Matthew Fahey
who died Monday June 29.

Jared is the grandson of Greta Taylor

Please also keep Greta & Verdell, Jared’s mother Debby and their entire family in your prayers at this very difficult time.



Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your 
servant Jared. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of 
your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your 
own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of your mercy, 
into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the 
glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.

May his soul and the souls of all the departed, through the 
mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
 

Monday, June 29, 2015

The week of June 29

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Wednesday July 1   
6:00 pm – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/ preacher
Incense will be offered at this Mass
Supper afterward at a local restaurant

Thursday July 2
2:00 pm - Memorial Service for John Hagensen (+June 27, 2015)
Fr. Jamie, officiating

Friday July 3
Memorial Service for Jared Fahey (+June 29, 2015)
Fr. Jamie, officiating

Sunday June 5  – 6 Pentecost
11:00 am – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
Coffee Hour following


Thank you to everyone for yesterday

A very sincere thank you to Sandy Holbrook for leading Morning Prayer and preaching yesterday at the very last moment when I was unable to celebrate Holy Eucharist due to being sick. Thank you to Jessica Zdenek for giving the Children’s Sermon. Thank you to Leo Wilking and all of our lay ministry leaders for stepping up to the plate.  And thank you of course to James Mackay for putting together the Morning Prayer bulletin at the last minute.

The sermon I had prepared is now available on my blog if you care to peruse it:


Sunday, June 28, 2015



St. Stephen's rejoices in both the Supreme Court's decision on Marriage Equality and the election of Bishop Michael Curry as Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church

Monday, June 22, 2015

The week of June 22

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Wednesday June 24 – 
6:00 pm – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/ preacher
Incense will be offered at this Mass
Supper afterward at a local restaurant

Friday June 26
Fr. Jamie’s day off

Sunday June 28  – 5 Pentecost
11:00 am – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher

Coffee Hour following

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Today's Sermon by Jessica Zdenek


Catch the Spirit of Mother Emmanuel.

A Sermon Preached by Jessica Zdenek
Sunday June 21, 2015 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church 11 a.m.

 

I was nervous to preach my first Sunday sermon at St. Stephen’s, so I made sure to do all my research and writing in advance and I had it all written last Tuesday.  And then Wednesday came.  And I heard the reports of a young man who had walked into an historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina.  I heard how this young man was welcomed into a Bible study.  How he stayed for an hour before drawing a gun and taking the lives of nine people who had extended him hospitality.

Suddenly I had no words.  And all of the words I had written on Tuesday were not what needed to be said on Sunday.    

Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church is the oldest AME church in the south. It is referred to as "Mother Emanuel".  Emanuel has one of the largest and oldest black congregations south of Baltimore, Maryland.  This sanctuary was one of the very first places where blacks began to gather, to educate one another, to grow in dignity, and to protest their slavery.

In 1821 a group began to organize a slave rebellion and this created mass hysteria throughout the Carolinas and the south.  And the church was burned.  Worship continued after the church was rebuilt until 1834 when all black churches were outlawed.  Then they worshiped underground until 1865 when the church was formally recognized and the name Emanuel was adopted, meaning God with us.

I want us to catch the spirit of that church this morning because there is something indestructible about it.  Because we are one in the spirit.  And the same spirit that flamed the courage and dignity and perseverance and endurance of that congregation, will light our way as we face our own sins of complicity, of silence, of apathy.  Because we share the same spirit of love that cannot and will not die.  A love that will keep rising generation after generation again and again, breaking hearts of stone, crumbling our best laid plans, until we know that love is enough and there is enough for all of us.     

You would think the church is a safe place.  But I’m not exactly sure why we would think this. 

Faith is not safe.  Love is not safe.  God is not calling us to lead save lives. 

There is nothing safe about God appearing to Job in a whirlwind after his world has been ripped apart.  This God would certainly fail a pastoral care class.  “Gird up your loins!” God tells Job.  Gather your courage.  Because I’m calling you into the boat.  Into a storm.  Into transformation.  Into the presence of the One who has the power to calm the storm.  Because we use to live simple lives, but we will be transformed into disciples who have the power to do what Jesus does.  Because by the time our boat reaches the other shore we will not be the same.  Because we are being called to witness incredible miracles.  Because we are being called to end racism.

There is a stain glass window that hangs in Emmanual AME sanctuary.  It is a picture of Jesus on the cross, though his body moves with energy like a tree.  It was donated to the church in honor of the four girls who died in 1963 after a bomb exploded during Sunday morning services in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham.  The inscription on the window reads:  Whatever you have done to the least of these, you have done to me. 

Most of us love to help the least of these.  And in the face of tragedy we want to do some good.  Isn’t it always easier to be the one helping, than to feel our own least of these?  We can pretend for a while, but eventually the people we are trying to help will annoy us.  They will frighten us.  They will bring us smack up against the very things we despise and want to run away from within ourselves.  We will have to move away from the comfortable position of power to meet the least of these on an even field.  We will be asked to get in the boat and sail through murky waters.  We will have to sail through storms that only God can still.  We will want to hold onto something familiar, to keep a foot on the shore.  But certainty will not get us far. 

As we begin to move out into the world to work for justice and to stand in solidarity with those who have long been rejected, we will also have to move within, discovering parts of ourselves that we have long rejected too.  We will have to begin to move into more vulnerable landscapes.  Places we must stand without the armor around our hearts.  Places where new shoots and roots will grow as we practice beholding that which is uncomfortable.  Sacred ground, where we will have to face our cowardice.  Our apathy.  Our hatred.  Our fear.  Our pain.   This is where we are going.  We are moving towards the cross.  We are facing God in the whirlwind. 

To the ancient Hebrews God was above, in the highest heaven, in the holiest of holy places.  What changes radically in New Testament is the idea that God comes down to us.  God descends from the heaven to join humanity in our darkest moments, in the depths of despair—we learn that God is no stranger to pain, to injustice, even to death.   We will have to follow to God down into the darkest corners of our hearts. 

Pema Chodron writes in her book, When Things Fall Apart, “What we reject out there, we reject in ourselves, and what we reject in ourselves is what we are going to reject out there.  If we find ourselves unworkable and give up on ourselves, then we’ll find others unworkable and give up on them.  What we hate in ourselves, we’ll hate in others.  To the degree that we can have compassion for ourselves, we will also have compassion on others.  Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves, all those imperfections that we don’t even want to look at.”  

Each time we practice turning towards that which is uncomfortable within us we turn towards the cross.  We turn towards our pain and we walk this road with Jesus who can help carry our burdens so that we don’t put that pain on others, so that we can’t forget or deny or dissociate or scapegoat it away.  We are going to have to stop playing this game of perfection.  We are going to have to face the ways in which we terrorize the vulnerable parts of ourselves and so justify living lives that use fear and power to control others.  We are going to have to face the ways in which we participate in this culture of fear and scarcity, the ways in which we deny God’s abundant love.

Racism exists because we have settled for being a divided people.  Because we are terrified of God’s abundant love for all.  Terrified of not being in control.  Of having our nice little worlds ripped apart by God’s whirlwind. 

What we have yet to discover, is that which survives the whirlwind.  That which is indestructible.  The book of Job teaches us that our blessings are not signs of God’s special affection.  And our tragedies are not a signs of God’s absence.  Suffering comes to us all, because we are all human beings.  No one gets a free pass.  Our blessings will not protect us from the inevitable pain of being human or from God when he shows up in a storm.  We have to practice letting go of our plans, our perceptions, even our blessings, in order to learn how life flows back.  To see how resurrection really works. 

Jon Stewart abandoned the humor this week in his response to South Carolina shooting.  He said, “We have to peer into the abyss of the depraved violence that we do to each other and the nexus of a gaping racial wound that will not heal yet we pretend doesn’t exist.  By acknowledging it and seeing it for what it is… we still won’t do jack ****.   I hope he is wrong about us not doing anything.  

We can begin to do something by taking the plunge into our own shadows.  Let’s turn towards the whirlwinds and the crosses that appear in our lives.  Let’s gird up our courage to behold that which is painful without drinking, without overworking, without downplaying or denying the pain, without shifting the blame, without displacing our rage upon another person or race.  Let these tender spots, become invitations to our transformation.  Let’s get in the boat.  Let’s follow the same indestructible spirit that has been leading the people of God out of slavery for thousands of years, until we too are free from the chains of division that enslave us to the illusions of safety we seek in our possessions, in faith, our race, in our class, until we find the vulnerable spaces, the human spaces where love can access us, where love can heal us and make us one people under God. 

Will you persevere in resisting evil?  I will with God’s help.

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?   I will with God’s help.

Will you strive for justice and among all people and respect the dignity of every human being?  I will with God’s help.

Yes, we will with God’s help.

Amen.

 

Charleston SC memorial



Here is the shrine/condolence card William Weightman made in memory of the victims of the shooting at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The week of June 15

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Wednesday June 17 – 
6:00 pm – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/ preacher
Incense will be offered at this Mass
Supper afterward at a local restaurant

Friday June 19
Fr. Jamie’s day off

Saturday June 20
4:30 – Wedding of Joshua Starkweather & Ashley Rehling
Fr. Jamie, officiating

Sunday June 21  – 4 Pentecost
11:00 am – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/Jessica Zdenek, preacher
Coffee Hour following

3:00 – FM Veg


Monday, June 8, 2015

The week of June 8

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Wednesday June 10 – Eve of St. Barnabas 
6:00 pm – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/ preacher
Incense will be offered at this Mass
Supper afterward at a local restaurant

Friday June 12
Fr. Jamie’s day off

Sunday June 14  – 3 Pentecost
11:00 am – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
Coffee Hour following


12:45 – Vestry 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Confirmation/Bichop Michael's visit This Sunday


Join us this Sunday, June 7, as we welcome Bishop Michael Smith to St. Stephen’s on his annual visit. We will also be celebrating Confirmation and Reception, as well as New Member Sunday. A potluck will follow our 11:00 celebration of Holy Eucharist.

Tom Stickney


One of St. Stephen’s oldest and most beloved parishioners was briefly in town on Wednesday. Tom Stickney, 97, was back to supervise the cleaning out of his house in south Moorhead before moving for good to be closer to his daughter Sue in Utah. Please keep Tom in your prayers during this transition in his life.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The week of June 1

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Wednesday June 3   - Eve of Corpus Christi
6:00 pm – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/ preacher
Incense will be offered at this Mass
Supper afterward at a local restaurant

Friday June 5
Fr. Jamie’s day off

Sunday June 7  – 2 Pentecost
11:00 am – Holy Eucharist
Bishop Michael Smith, celebrant/preacher
CONFIRMATION/Reception/New Member Sunday

Potluck following