Monday, December 28, 2015

Adolf Scott marker

Deep and sincere gratitude to Dave Anderson and Dakota Monument for donating this beautiful marker for Adolf Scott, whose abandoned urn was buried in the St. Stephen's Memorial Garden on November 11. Thank you, Dave! 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The week of December 28

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Wednesday December 30   
6:00 p.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
Incense will be offered at this Mass
Supper afterward at a local restaurant

Sunday January 3  – Epiphany Sunday
11:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
Baptism of Parker Ray Broten
Proclamation of the Date of Easter/Blessing of the Chalk
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
No Children’s Chapel
Coffee Hour following


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmastide 2015

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Wednesday December 23   
FAREWELL TO ADVENT
6:00 p.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/John Anderson, preacher
James Mackay, music
Incense will be offered at this Mass
Supper afterward at a local restaurant

Thursday December 24 Christmas Eve 
7:00 p.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/ preacher
James Mackay, music
Children’s Tableau

Friday December 25 Christmas 
10:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/ preacher
James Mackay, music

Sunday December 27  – St. Stephen (transferred)
11:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
No Children’s Chapel
Coffee Hour following


Special music:  
Before the Christmas Eve liturgy, join us for a short recital of familiar Christmas songs and organ music. Michelle Gelinske Patnode will sing 'Gesù Bambino' by Italian composer Pietro Yon, 'Stille Nacht' (according to Franz Gruber's original score), and 'O Holy Night' by French composer Adolphe Adam. These will be interspersed with Christmas selections on German tunes from Johann Sebastian Bach's "Little Organ Book".

Friday, December 18, 2015

Advent/Christmas Letter from Fr. Jamie

Advent-Christmas, 2015

My Friends at St. Stephen’s,

Blessed Advent! Well, it has definitely been an exciting year for us at St. Stephen’s. We have witnessed amazing growth. We have seen loved ones pass from our sight. We have bid others farewell as they have moved away. We stood up for the Gospel of Jesus and the Baptismal Covenant as we understand it. We have done what we have been called to do in very real and important ways—mission, worship, prayer and outreach. It is certainly exhilarating to be serving alongside all of you.

As we anxiously await the celebration of Jesus’ birth, I hope you will all know that I do so with true joy in my heart. This joy comes from knowing that we, at St. Stephen’s, are growing and expanding and being a vital and important presence in the community and the larger Church. I think we all have to admit that it is a great time to be at St. Stephen’s.

As we celebrate Christmas, be assured that I pray for each of you individually by name over the course of each week in my daily observance of the Daily Office. Also know that I will be remembering all of you at the altar during celebration of the Mass both on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening.

In return, I ask you to pray for me also. Pray also for the ministry and mission of St. Stephen’s. In your prayers, please ask you that God’s Spirit continues to be present here, and to refresh, renew and sustain us so that we can do the work we have been called to do.

My sincerest blessings to you and to all those you love and cherish during this season of joy, hope and love.

                                                                        PEACE always,

                                                                        Jamie+

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Special Music this Sunday



At this Sunday's Eucharist, we'll be treated to three selections for soprano and organ particularly appropriate to the Gospel account of the Annunciation. Before the liturgy, soprano Michelle Gelinske Patnode and organist James Mackay will perform Magnificat (from Douze Pièces, Op. 10) by Joseph Bonnet (1884-1944). The text of the Song of Mary are interspersed with responses by the organ. At the communion, we will hear 'Ave Maria,' in the setting of Prelude No. 1 in C (BWV 846) by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1760), arranged by Charles Gounod in 1853, Méditation sur  le Premier Prélude de Piano de S. Bach. The aria, 'O thou that tellest good tidings,' from Messiah (HWV 56) by George Frideric Handel (1685-1759), follows the dismissal. Join us as we bring the Season of Advent to a musical conclusion.


Monday, December 14, 2015

The week of December 14

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Monday December 14
2:00 pm – Burial Liturgy for Mark Sherouse at Hanson-Runsvold
Fr. Jamie, officiating

Wednesday December 16   - St. Lucy (transferred)
6:00 p.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/ preacher
James Mackay, music
Incense will be offered at this Mass
Supper afterward at a local restaurant

Sunday December 20  – 4 Advent
11:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
Children’s Chapel
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
Coffee Hour following
1:oo pm – Greening of the Church


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Prayers for the repose of the soul of Lonnie De La Garza

The prayers of St. Stephen’s are requested for the repose of the soul of Lonnie De La Garza, who died today (Dec. 13) . Please also keep his brother and sister-in-law, Ciro and Betty De La Garza, and their family in your payers.


Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your 
servant Lonnie. 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.

Letter regarding St. Stephen's accepting Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight

December 13, 2015
3 Advent/Gaudete

Dear Members and Friends of St. Stephen’s,

This afternoon, the congregation of St. Stephen’s met following our regular service of Holy Eucharist to discuss Bishop Michael Smith’s offer of Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) for St. Stephen’s. The meeting, much like our process of discernment, began and ended with prayer. Following the meeting and, after hearing feedback from our congregation, our Vestry met to vote on Bishop Smith’s offer. The vote was unanimous in favor of Bishop Smith’s offer of DEPO.

With our acceptance of this offer, Bishop Carol Gallagher will share her ministry and Episcopal oversight of our congregation, beginning January 1, 2016.

What does this mean for us as a congregation?

+ This was a vitally important decision on our part. It means that we, as a congregation, will continue to  live out the ministry we feel we have been called to do as a congregation. We see this as an extension of a ministry based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Baptismal Covenant of respecting the worth and dignity of all people, as we see it and have discerned it for ourselves.

+ After January 1, Bishop Carol Gallagher will now have direct Episcopal oversight of our congregation. She will visit our congregation on an annual basis.

+ We will now be allowed to recognize and celebrate marriage rites for all people, without distinction.

+ All of our members will be able to pursue their ministries without hindrance.

+ With this vote, we are NOT “breaking away” from the Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota. In fact, we will remain a contributing and active presence in the Diocese of North Dakota. The Diocese will continue in our collective and personal prayers, as we will in the prayer cycle of the Diocese.

+ We will continue to have a personal relationship with Bishop Smith, and we will continue to invite him to share in the life and joys of our congregation.

Your prayers are requested for our congregation of St. Stephen’s as we move forward together. I also ask your prayers for Bishop Carol Gallagher, for Bishop Smith and the Diocese of North Dakota, as well as your continued prayers for the Episcopal Church. I also ask for your continued prayers for me and for the Vestry of St. Stephen’s.

Fr. Jamie Parsley and the Wardens and Vestry of St. Stephen’s


Saturday, December 12, 2015

In anticipation of the December 13th meeting

Please join us this Sunday, December 13 following our celebration of the Holy Eucharist for a special CONGREGATIONAL MEETING to discuss Bishop Michael Smith’s offer of Delegated Episcopal Pastoral Oversight (DEPO) for St. Stephen’s.

This is a very IMPORTANT MEETING and your feedback is important to us.

In anticipation of this meeting, it is important that we clear up some misconceptions as well as list pros and cons to consider prior to the meeting:

First of all, and very importantly, it must be clear that we are NOT “breaking away” from the Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota. We WILL remain of a full-fledged member of the Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota should we accept the offer of DEPO. This is a very important aspect of our understanding of the DEPO process. We will still be contributing members of the Diocese. We will still pay Our Fair Share to the Diocese. We will still attend Diocesan Convention and ministers’ conferences. Ministries that are headed by members of our congregation such as the Guatemala Medical Mission and the East Africa Fund will continue to be diocesan ministries. By all outward appearances, little will change on that level.

+ It is important to remember that it is Bishop Smith who is offering us this option of DEPO and that we are responding to his offer.

+ If we choose DEPO, it will sever our professional relationship with Bishop Smith. If we accept his offer, Bishop Smith will appoint Bishop Carol Gallagher to have official Episcopal oversight of our congregation. This, however, does not mean that personal relationships with Bishop Smith will be severed. We are asking all people to be respectful to Bishop Smith at all times.

+ St. Stephen’s might be the only congregation in the diocese to actually accept Bishop Smith’s offer for DEPO. This will no doubt make us feel alienated at times.

+ There are no doubt unforeseen circumstances that we have not yet considered. We trust in the Holy Spirit to guide us and lead us during this time.

 If the Vestry votes for DEPO…

+  we, as a congregation, will continue to  live out the ministry we feel we have been called to do as a congregation. We see this as an extension of a ministry based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Baptismal Covenant of respecting the worth and dignity of all people, as we see it and have discerned it for ourselves.

+  St. Stephen's will, at this time, be the only church in the Diocese where marriage rites for all people no matter their sexual orientation can be performed. I will be the only priest in the Diocese allowed to perform such rites, and will be allowed to do so for couples from other Episcopal congregations in the diocese (though not in their church buildings).

+ This is not the first time St. Stephen’s has been at the forefront of such stances. St. Stephen’s was the first congregation in the Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota to have a female Warden. It was the first congregation in the diocese to have female acolytes.  And it was the first congregation in the Diocese to call a female priest to head a congregation, as well as many other “firsts”  including being the first congregation to being an Open and Affirming Congregation of Integrity.  Our acceptance of this offer is very much in line with our long-lasting commitment to being a fully inclusive congregation for all people.

 + HOWEVER, this is more than issue of being allowed to perform marriage rites equally. It will be a clear statement to the diocese and to the larger church that we are following our conscience, our conviction and our commitment to serve all God’s people in an inclusive way.

+ We are aligning ourselves squarely with the larger Episcopal Church which approved equal marriage rites for all people this past summer at General Convention.

+ Probably the most important aspect of accepting DEPO will be the fact that by doing so we will actually make a difference in our congregational life, in the life of the Church and, most importantly of all, in the lives of people who need us to be the Church for them.

Ultimately, outside of these issues, nothing really changes. We will still be the congregation we have always been. We will still practice the radical love, acceptance, and hospitality for which we are known.

As for what others may think of us: people who look at St. Stephen’s differently have already been looking at us in such a way for many years and for issues other than this.   The reality is that we are simply aligning ourselves with the larger Episcopal Church. And, in three years (or six years), the stance we are considering making tomorrow will be the norm throughout the entire Episcopal Church.  

ABOUT THE MEDIA: The media has been aggressively interested in this meeting. The Wardens and Vestry are asking that all members of St. Stephen’s refrain from speaking to the media about this meeting on Sunday December 13 pending the release of a statement from the vestry and me following the meeting. We wish to conduct this meeting prayerfully and with dignity, as well as respect for all opinions of our members. We are asking that the media respect the complexity of this situation for us at this time so our members can feel comfortable in sharing their opinions and concerns honestly and openly.  Again, a statement will be released following the meeting which should summarize the meeting and any implications of our final vote.

Most importantly, we ask for your prayers at this time. We ask for prayers for The Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota, for Bishop Smith, for Bishop Gallagher. And we ask your prayers for St. Stephen’s. We ask that the Holy Spirit may be present with us at this time, to open our hearts to love and our minds to consider that ways in which we have been called to live out the Gospel of Christ and the Baptismal Covenant to which we are bound as Christians.

Please know that I am personally grateful for each of you. It pains me deeply to know of the divisions and the personal pains these situations have long caused in our church and with each of you as individuals. My prayer is that we may proceed unified and as a congregation committed to the Gospel of Jesus and the worth and dignity of all people.  

Fr. Jamie+ 



Monday, December 7, 2015

The Requiem Eucharist for Harriet Blow

The Requiem Eucharist for Harriet Blow will be 11:00 a.m. Friday, December 11th at St. Stephen’s.

A portion of her ashes will be buried in the St. Stephen’s Memorial Garden; the remainder will be buried in the grave of her mother, Myrtle, at Holy Cross Cemetery in north Fargo.

Harriet A. Blow, 82, Fargo, died Saturday, December 5, 2015 in her home, under the care of Hospice and Tami’s Angels.

Harriet Ann Blow was born Nov. 17, 1933 in Grafton, North Dakota, to Harry and Myrtle (Falconer) Blow. Because she was not expected to live, she was baptized on Nov. 20, 1933 at St. James Episcopal Church, Grafton. She grew up in Grafton and Fargo. She was confirmed at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Fargo, on Jan. 14, 1960. Following the death of her mother, Harriet lived in several homes in Fargo, eventually finding a warm and nurturing community at New Horizons Manor.

Despite the many disabilities in her life, Harriet proved to be a strong and independent person. Although she was initially not expected to live long, she survived her entire immediately family. Despite the many setbacks in her life, she remained happy and upbeat, and always had a smile on her face. She was a gentle and compassionate person who was loved deeply by all who knew her.

She had a strong faith, and her parish of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church was a second home to her. She was one of the longest-serving members of St. Stephen’s. She served for many years as a lector and a Stephen minister. A magnet on her refrigerator said, “I find strength in God,” and it seems she truly did.

She enjoyed bowling (for which she won many trophies and awards) and listening to country music (especially her beloved Billy Ray Cyrus)

She is survived by several nieces and nephews, her many friends and caregivers, her fellow parishioners at St. Stephen’s and all the many people who were inspired by and loved her.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Harry Sr. (died 1962) and Myrtle (died 1973); brothers Harry Jr (died 1995) and Merle (died 1940); and her dear friend, Greg Craychee (died 2010).

Funeral Home: Korsmo Funeral Service, Moorhead, MN. 

The week of December 7

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Wednesday December 9   
6:00 p.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/Annette Morrow,  preacher
James Mackay, music
Incense will be offered at this Mass
Supper afterward at a local restaurant

Sunday December 13  – 3 Advent  
11:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
Children’s Chapel
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
Coffee Hour following


12:15 – Congregational Meeting to discuss the DEPO process
Special Vestry meeting following

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Remembering Harriet on Sunday morning

It's a strange feeling to realize Harriet Blow will never worship with us again at St. Stephen's after 50+ years. But there is comfort this morning that she is now part of the worship that goes on without end, just on the other side of the Veil. (This is where Harriet's wheelchair sat every Sunday until earlier this year)


St. Nicholas Day at St. Stephen's

"Bishop" John Gelinske celebrating St. Nicholas Day.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Prayers for the repose of the soul of Harriet Blow

When Harriet Blow was born in November, 1933 she was not expected to live the week and was immediately baptized. She was then not expected to live to see age ten. No one expected her to see the age of 20. Certainly not 30. The one they all thought would never live to adulthood outlived her entire family. In May, when she was put under Hospice care, I was certain she wouldn’t make it to the end of the month and we had her Requiem mass planned and her obituary written. Last month she turned 82.  Finally, tonight, she went quietly and alone in her sleep after a very difficult several months. When I got up to her room to say the prayers at death and anoint her not very long after the nurse found her, she was long gone. Despite all the many hardships, difficulties, and physical limitations of her life, she maintained not only an amazing inner strength through it all, but an outstanding and unwavering faith. And, of course, there was always that smile. Into paradise may the angels lead you, Harriet. At your coming may the martyrs receive you, and bring you into the holy city Jerusalem.

------------------------------------------------------------------

The prayers of St. Stephen’s are requested for the repose of the soul of Harriet Blow, who died this evening. Harriet was a long-time and deeply loved member of St. Stephen’s. A requiem mass will be held at St. Stephen’s in the coming week on a day and time to be announced.

Deliver your servant, Harriet, O Sovereign Lord Christ, from all 
evil, and set her free from every bond; that she may rest with 
all your saints in the eternal habitations; where with the 
Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, one God, for 
ever and ever. Amen.


+ May her soul, and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace, and rise in glory. Amen. 



St. Nicholas celebration

Will St. Nicholas visit us on Sunday (his feast day)? Maybe he’ll leave some chocolate gold coins for all the kids who have been good this year?
Also remember, it’s Pledge In-gathering Sunday, so bring your pledge cards/time-and-talent sheets tomorrow.