Friday, October 20, 2017

St. Stephen window installed

Our 5th stained glass window in honor of our patron saint, St. Stephen, was installed this morning, just in time for its Dedication and Blessing on Sunday by Bishop Carol Gallagher.





Monday, October 16, 2017

The week of October 16

 Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Wednesday October 18 – St. Luke 
6:00 p.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/ preacher
Incense will be offered at this Mass
Supper afterward at a local restaurant


Friday, October 20-Saturday October 21   
Diocesan Convention in Bismarck

Sunday October 22  – 20 Pentecost
11:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
Bishop Carol Gallagher, celebrant/preacher
Children’s Chapel
Baptism
Confirmations/Receptions into the Episcopal Church
Dedication of the St. Stephen window

POTLUCK following

Please pray for our Convention Delegates as they head to Bismarck for  Diocesan Convention:
John Baird
Steve Bolduc
Sandy Holbrook
Catherine McMullen
Amy Phillips
Dan Rice
Gin Templeton
Leo Wilking


Monday, October 9, 2017

The week of October 9

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Wednesday October 11 –   
6:00 p.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/ preacher
Incense will be offered at this Mass
Supper afterward at a local restaurant

Friday October 13   
Fr. Jamie day off

Saturday October 14   
Wedding (off site)

Sunday October 15  – 19 Pentecost
11:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/ preacher
Children’s Chapel

Coffee Hour following

Monday, October 2, 2017

A PASTORAL LETTER FROM FR. JAMIE IN THE WAKE OF THE MASS SHOOTING IN LAS VEGAS ON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2017

October 2, 2017

Dear Members and Friends of St. Stephen’s

In the wake of the violence of October 1st in Las Vegas, I ask your prayers for Las Vegas, for the victims who died, for those who are injured, for those who survived. For family and friends and all those affected by this violence.

Please pray. But, please don't stop at prayer. Rather, let prayer be the motivating factor in our lives at this time.  Prayer should ignite the fire within us to stand up and act.

And so, I also ask at this time for your actions as well.

I ask for your action as followers of Jesus and peacemakers for the Kingdom of God.

Speak out!

Work hard in any way you can to prevent violence and counteract hatred.

I ask you not to let your anger win out, because anger caused this violence.

I ask that you not let your fear win out, because fear fed this violence.

Speak out loudly and clearly. And let the whole world hear you.

The people of St. Stephen’s represent a wide spectrum of political belief. In this divisive time, those beliefs often separate us from each other. However, in this moment, we are united.

I ask you to do anything and everything you can to bring about real change in this moment of darkness, hatred, violence and fear. This is what it means to be a follower of Christ in this world.

And may the Peace of God which passes all understanding be with us and remain among us now and always.

O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

-peace,
Fr. Jamie+

The Week of October 2

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Tuesday October 3
6:30 – Ken Bennett reading at Zandbroz

Wednesday October 4 –   
6:00 p.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/ preacher
Incense will be offered at this Mass
Supper afterward at a local restaurant

(October Healing Mass postponed to October 18 – the Feast of St. Luke)

Friday October 6   
Fr. Jamie day off

Saturday October 7   
9:00-3:30 - Jumble/Bake sale/Book Sale at the Wilking’s (1115 South 8th Street, Fargo)

Sunday October 8  – 18 Pentecost
11:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/ preacher
Children’s Chapel

Coffee Hour following

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Blessing of Animals


The week of September 25

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Wednesday September 27 – Eve of St. Michael & All Angels 
6:00 p.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/ preacher
Incense will be offered at this Mass
Supper afterward at a local restaurant

Friday September 29   
Fr. Jamie day off

Sunday October 1  – 17 Pentecost
11:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
Children’s Chapel
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
Coffee Hour following


1:00 pm – Blessing of Animals


Monday, September 18, 2017

The week of September 18

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Wednesday September 2o
6:00 p.m. – Requiem Mass for Warren Jackman (+11/10/2016)
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/ preacher
Incense will be offered at this Mass
Supper afterward at a local restaurant

Saturday September 22   
11:00 am – Requiem Mass and Committal of ashes for Marilyn Gilbert (+12/5/2015)

2:00-5:00 – Jim and Joy Coffey’s 65th Anniversary Open House

Sunday September 24  – 16 Pentecost
11:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
Children’s Chapel
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
Coffee Hour following

12:45 - Vestry


Sunday, September 10, 2017

The week of September 11

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Wednesday September 13 –Eve of the Feast of the Holy Cross 
6:00 p.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/ preacher
Incense will be offered at this Mass
Supper afterward at a local restaurant

Friday September 15
Fr. Jamie’s day off

Saturday September 16   
Wedding (off site)

Sunday September 17  – 15 Pentecost
11:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
Children’s Chapel
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher

Coffee Hour following

Dedication Sunday

Today was one of those perfect Sunday mornings. We had a full house, lots of children, plus we blessed  backpacks, kicked off a  new year of Children's Chapel, launched our first Capital Campaign in 20+ years and blessed and dedicated our fourth stained glass window, welcomed three new members, as well as celebrated our music ministry with some truly beautiful music. I am so fortunate to serve such an eclectic, unique congregation.

 Blessing backpacks
 Blessing the new window
 Dan Rice, Amy Phillips, James Mackay, Annette Morrow and Fr. Jamie in front of the new window
 Amy Morrow, who played flute during Mass this morning, in front of the window dedicated in memory of her grandparents

James Mackay in front of the panel dedicated to his long music ministry to St. Stephen's

Saturday, September 9, 2017

St. Cecilia Window installed

 Our fourth stained glass window in our nave was installed this morning. Thank you to Michael Orchard and Nick Walberg of Michael Orchard Studios for their hard work.



Friday, September 8, 2017

Prayers for the soul of Warren Jackman

I just learned of the death last November of one of our members, Warren Jackman. Warren, who died Nov. 3, 2016, moved to Galena, Illinois, following the death of his wife Levon on February 5, 2016.

A memorial mass was held at Grace Church Galena on Saturday November 26 2016. Burial of ashes was in Resurrection Gardens at Grace Church next to Levon’s.

Warren and Levon made friends with many of us at St. Stephen’s in the short time they were members of St. Stephen’s. News of his death, even this long afterward, is met with great sadness.

Your prayers are requested for the repose of Warren’s soul.

We will include prayers in Warren’s honor at the Wednesday evening Mass on September 20 at 6:00 p.m. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

The week of September 4

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s
Monday September 4
Ambassador deadline


Wednesday September 6
6:00 pm – HEALING Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant
Incense will be offered at this Mass
Supper following at a local restaurant

Friday September 8
Fr. Jamie’s day off

Sunday September 10  – DEDICATION SUNDAY
11:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
+ Dedication of New Stained Glass Window +  New Member Sunday + Children’s Chapel start-up + Blessing of Backpacks +

 POTLUCK following

Monday, August 28, 2017

The week of August 28

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s
Wednesday August 30
6:00 pm – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant
Incense will be offered at this Mass
Supper following at a local restaurant

Friday September 1
Fr. Jamie’s day off

Sunday September 3  – 13 Pentecost
11:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/ preacher
Coffee Hour following


Sunday, August 27, 2017

It was with great sadness that we said goodbye to Jan and Mike Stewart, who have been long-time members of St. Stephen's. They are moving to Pittsburgh this coming week.





Kristofer Sando did a great job on his first Sunday as acolyte


Monday, August 21, 2017

The week of August 21

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Wednesday August 23
6:00 pm – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant
Incense will be offered at this Mass
Supper following at a local restaurant

Friday August 25
Fr. Jamie’s day off
  
Sunday August 27  – 12 Pentecost
11:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
Coffee Hour following

Farewell to the Stewarts

Monday, August 14, 2017

The week of August 14

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s
Wednesday August 16
6:00 pm – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant
Incense will be offered at this Mass
Supper following at a local restaurant

Saturday August 19  
Wedding (off site)

Sunday August 20  – 11 Pentecost
11:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
Coffee Hour following
12:45 p.m. Vestry

2:00 – 7:00 pm - Sundaes on Sunday


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Katie Sando's first Sunday as Acolyte



Katie Sando did a great job on her first Sunday as Acolyte

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Pride in the Park 2017

Thank you all for making St. Stephen's presence at FM Pride in the Park today a strong one. I was not counting but we had a steady stream of people at our table all afternoon. (Thanks, William, for setting us up with the beading project--a very good idea.) Our gentle witness is important to the LGBTQ community and to the St. Stephen's family.

God's Peace,
Steve Bolduc




Thursday, August 10, 2017

May Peace prevail...

The Peace Pole at St. Stephen's

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

St. Stephen's PRIDE Events


Pride 2017
Saturday, August 12
11:00 –4:00 —Pride in the Park
Island Park, Fargo

Sunday, August 13
2:00 pm—Pride Parade


For more info, contact Steve Bolduc (srbolduc@gmail.com)

Monday, August 7, 2017

The week of August 7

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s
Monday August 7
Ambassador deadline

Wednesday August 9
6:00 pm – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant
Incense will be offered at this Mass
Supper following at a local restaurant

Friday August 11
Fr. Jamie’s day off

Saturday August 12
10:oo am – 5:00 pm Fiber Arts Festival at Rheault Farms

11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. – Pride in the Park, Island Park, 616 1st Ave. S., Fargo

Sunday August 13  – 10 Pentecost
11:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher
Coffee Hour following
Pride Parade
PRIDE WEEKEND EVENTS for ST. STEPHEN’S

Saturday August 12  
11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. – Pride in the Park, Island Park, 616 1st Ave. S., Fargo (set up is at 10:00 a.m.). Volunteers for the St. Stephen’s booth are much appreciated. Please contact Steve Bolduc srbolduc@gmail.com if you are able to volunteer.

Sunday August 13   
2:00 pm – Pride Parade (beginning at the Intersection of 5th St and 4th Ave. N.)

If you are planning on marching with the float, please meet on NP Avenue just east of the corner of NP Avenue and Broadway between 1:15-1:30. The event should be over by 3:00 p.m.

For more information on the Pride events, please contact Steve Bolduc (srbolduc@gmail.com

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Another new acolyte

It was Nate Demmons first Sunday as acolyte this morning. He did a great job.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Prayers for Justin Rudnick

The prayers of St. Stephen’s are requested for Justin Rudnick, who is having surgery on his jaw tomorrow (August 2). Please pray for his mother, Janie, as well during this time.  

Lord Jesus Christ, Good Shepherd of the sheep, you gather
the lambs in your arms and carry them in your bosom: We
commend to your loving care this child Justin.  Relieve his pain,
guard him from all danger, restore to him your gifts of
gladness and strength, and raise him up to a life of service to
you.  Hear us, we pray, for you dear Name's sake. Amen.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

The week of July 31

oin us this week at St. Stephen’s

Wednesday August 2 The Feast of the finding of the relics of St. Stephen
6:00 p.m. – Healing Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/ preacher
Supper at a local restaurant follows

Friday August 4
Fr. Jamie’s day off

Sunday August 6  – TRANSFIGURATION
11:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher

Coffee Hour following

Farewell to Darcy

A sad day as we said farewell to the truly wonderful Darcy Corbitt, who is moving back to Alabama this week. We'll miss you, Darcy!!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Marriage of Amanda and Roxanne

It was an honor to bless the marriage of two wonderful people this evening, Amanda and Roxanne Mohs.

The Feast of Sts. Mary and Martha

"Open...our hands to welcome and serve you in others..." The Feast of Sts. Mary & Martha

Monday, July 24, 2017

The week of July 24

Join us this week at St. Stephen’s

Wednesday July 26  
6:00 p.m. – Holy Eucharist
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/ preacher
Supper at a local restaurant follows

Friday July 28
Fr. Jamie’s day off

Saturday July 29
10:00 a.m. – noon – Great Plains Food Bank

4:30 - Wedding (off site)

Sunday July 30  – 8 Pentecost
11:00 a.m. – Holy Eucharist
Farewell to Darcy Corbitt-Hall
Fr. Jamie, celebrant/preacher

Coffee Hour following

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Darcy Corbitt's sermon from this morning

7 Pentecost

July 12, 2017

In the name of God, + Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen.

HEARTBREAK. That burning, twisting, empty feeling in the pit of your stomach, heart-wrenching, soul-crushing, blow with a two-by-four to the upper chest that knocks the wind right out of you. That hell through which all must pass before they finally understand what it means to be truly, head-over-heels in love. Not the Hollywood version of heartbreak, that oversimplified pining while downing pint after pint of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia. I am talking the real deal. The sense of being lost in a wide-open space, of being disconnected from that which brought infinite joy and peace in a world of sorrow and turmoil that can only be achieved by the safe, encompassing passion that is true love.

In Minot last weekend, I encountered something I’ve always dreaded: A fundamental evangelist in the very place he ought not be. It was Minot Pride, and he was there to turn the fabulous of Minot to Jesus. He approached me with a friendly smile, and it wasn’t long into our conversation that I realized what he was and what he was trying to do. I’ve always wondered what I would do in this situation. Would I get defensive and scream down curses on his head? Would I pepper the air with my signature expletive and with a z-formation snap tell him I was “born this way, baby?” Would I preach a sermon in the style of Jonathan Edwards? Would he be a sinner in the hands of an angry Darcy? What he got surprised both him and me. In fact, he got a lot more than he bargained for.

I tend to have that effect on men.

Growing up, I was taught that sin was evildoing that people did because they are inherently fallen beings. Salvation, therefore, is the act of casting off sin and actively working to be good enough for God. This dichotomy between being naturally bad and having to atone for one’s own nature resulted, for me and unfortunately for most of those attempting to live Christian lives in America, in a life of fear of getting it wrong and being subjected to eternal damnation for missing one Wednesday night prayer meeting to go to a movie with friends. Sadly, my Minot friend was operating under this ideological quagmire.

He explained to me that he deserved death because of the sin in his life, but Jesus took the death penalty for him. He explained that he served Jesus because Jesus paid his debt. Then things got weird. He asked me if I knew the love of God. Normally, this is a triggering question for me conditioned over a lifetime of people making me feel like I wasn’t a good Christian because I refuse, point blank, to be legalistic about my faith. This time it was different. When he asked me if I knew God’s love, I felt it well up in me in an overwhelming and emotionally charged flood. I responded: “I am overflowing with God’s love.”

I told you he got more than he bargained for.

He saw my response as a foot in the door and replied that he, too, was in love with God, but not in that way. I asked him what he meant by in that way, to which he replied, “you know, in the way a man loves his wife.”
            “Why not in that way?” I asked.
                “Because it would be inappropriate,” he said.
            “How so?” I pressed.
                “Because God is different than us.”
            I replied, glossing over the fact that since Jesus is God incarnate and the Holy Spirit dwells in us and if we have been baptized Christ lives in us so God is like us and we are like God: “If you            aren’t loving God like a spouse then you     aren’t doing it right.”
Yeah, he wasn’t recovering from this one.

As a psychologist in training I know that when it comes to the bare basics of love, the psychological process, the very cognitive mechanism that drives love is the same no matter who it is we love. Ultimately, love is the deep, very real bond that exists between people who feel able to be emotionally vulnerable with one another. It is the feeling of safety, of warmth, of actual togetherness. You know what I mean. We’ve all been in a room full of people, even people we know, and still feel empty and alone. I wager there are people in this room today who feel alone even when surrounded by the warm and loving faces of this congregation. When you are with someone you love, however, you never feel alone. Because that bond, that connection exists in your mind as if it were a literal chain connecting their soul with yours.

When we love God, truly love God, it is as if we are connected to God by a very real chain connecting the spirit of God to our own soul.

Consequently, sin is the separation between a person and God. The unfinished links connecting God’s chain to your chain. And hell is the experience of heartbreak at being separated from the one we know will make us feel safe in our raw vulnerability. You might ask, “how can one feel heartbreak over something they’ve never had?” In the same way we feel longing for things we’ve never owned, places we never been, or people we’ve never known. We feel the lack of connection just as surely as every step we make in our journey of self-discovery is one link closer to God’s chain.

My evangelist asked me if I believed I was made in the image of God? I replied that I was. To which he predictably responded: “then how can you claim to be transgender if God made you and God is perfect and can’t make mistakes?” I was ready for him, he fell into my trap. I responded, “You are assuming that being transgender is a mistake. Actually, it is because God is perfect and doesn’t make mistakes that I accept that I am transgender and am perfectly happy with it.”

This is when he walked away.

As a trained therapist, I feel very safe in saying that nearly everything the Bible lists as a sin is the result of one thing: trauma. When you strip away individual experiences and abuses trauma is merely the outcome of a psychological distancing from reality. We experience abuse, horrible life situations, repeated invalidation, and our brain distances itself from reality so that it can survive the horror of what is happening to it. Over time, systematic exposure to toxic environments and people and experiences can, and usually does, lead to maladaptive behaviors. The extent to which these maladaptive behaviors control us and hurt ourselves and others depends upon the length of time the trauma was experienced and the severity of the triggering event.

The experience of trauma causes us, in a very real sense, to lose sight of who we are and how valuable we are. Our consciousness becomes so distant from reality that we often cannot see ourselves as other people do. Which is why we all know people who, no matter how many times we tell them they look good or are smart or are fun to be with, still feel ugly and dumb and boring. We cannot accept ourselves as we really are. The way God sees us as we are and accepts us as we are. The tragedy is that we cannot love God unless we love ourselves. The holy paradox is we cannot love ourselves unless we love God.
This is where the chain comes in.

When I decided to come back to the church I spoke to a priest friend of mine about getting re-baptized. I told him: “Fr. Richards, I feel as if I was coerced as a teenager by fear into baptism. I was baptized by another name, I want to be baptized by my real name.” His response made me see this heartbreak from God’s eyes. “Darcy,” he said, “so many people are coerced into baptism. The cool thing about baptism is that we don’t have to do anything for it to change us. It changes us whether we like it or not. And when you were baptized, God knew your real name. Even before you knew it.” There it was, plain and simple. God knew exactly who I was, trauma, self-loathing, fear, cellulite, and all. And God loved me in spite of it.

I am no stranger to heartbreak. In fact, my heart has been breaking ever since December. I am no stranger to trauma, to having my identity invalidated and spat on. I’m no stranger to bestowing love on people and having it thrown back in my face. And I am no stranger to the very real place of hell. I’ve spent 84% of my life there. Yet, during my tenure in hell God was forging our bond, link by link, even if I didn’t know it. Looking back, I remember hearing the faint whisper of the words, “you are beautiful and perfect” every time I felt badly about not being treated as a girl. The more I fought to be Darcy, the louder the voice became. Little did I know that every day I fought to be Darcy I was frantically forging link after link of my bond with God, bringing it, and myself, closer and closer to God.

And God was doing the very same thing, and it is God who puts the final link in our chain once we open our heart to God’s love.

Three days before I left Alabama for Fargo the final link in the chain connecting me to God was completed. I was sitting in a friend’s living room debating the existence of God. I was arguing the notion of God was an archaic remnant of a superstitious past. She finally asked me, “you’ve told me that you’ve thought about suicide many times. And you’ve told me that you’ve tried a couple times. What stopped you?” I replied, “a voice inside of me told me to keep hoping and to keep pushing on.” To which she said squarely, “have you heard of the Holy Spirit?” In a flash I realized that in spite of the days of empty loneliness that stretched before me (even to today), that even in the rejection of my parents, my grandparents, my childhood friends, even the men and women I’ve loved, I will never be alone again.

St. Paul in our Epistle today exhorts us to remember that

18 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

We are all in bondage to doubt, to invalidation of our identities, to insecurities and self-loathing forced upon us by years and years of conditioning. The time is coming, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe after you’ve lived 21 years, when your eyes will be opened to the glory of God, your ears will hear the validation you’ve longed for your whole life, and your heart will know fully that you are loved. Until that time, you are surrounded by the creation waiting with eager longing for the heartbreak to be over, for the radiant love of God to engulf us with its marvelous healing embrace. Let us love you and embrace you and help you forge the chain, link by link, that moors you to God’s eternal love. In so doing, you will never be alone again.

AMEN