Second Sunday after Epiphany – January 17, 2021

God’s Word reminds us that we have a wonderful and attractive calling to invite others to “Come and See” what it is really like to be a part of a faith community. The pandemic has caused all of us to re-evaluate our priorities and to emphasize our relationships with each other, our world and God. As we move into receiving the vaccine and seriously diminishing its dangers, these scripture readings call us to help our neighbors know God and their place in our world better through our church.

At St. Stephen’s we have developed a cherished and poignant annual tradition of remembering our own baptism throughout this Epiphany time. It will be very hard not to be in one another’s presence and give each other the blessing of the God’s Spirit through the water on our hands touching the forehead of our neighbor in the sign of the cross. As your pastor, it is one of my all-time favorite images: to see you all giving each other this blessing and caring for one another’s spirit in this visible way.

BUT WE WILL ADAPT! So please have your bowl of water ready to either make the sign of cross on your own forehead or on your loved ones at the beginning of the service.

Our gathering for worship each Sunday in our homes, or wherever we can, is very essential to strengthen us to meet the world’s challenges. These days, especially, we cling to the messages of our faith that call us to new beginnings and living a new life. We seek to have “an epiphany” as we join with the Magi of old and offer our lives and gifts to God through our church.

Previous weeks worship services are recorded as well.  Please find attached, the bulletin cover artwork, scripture readings and prayers in the Celebrate.

Thank you for your continued faithfulness in your financial giving back to God through our church. Please remember to either give your offering through the mail, through our website donation option, signing up for monthly electronic giving, OR if you just want to get out of the house, then come by the church and drop it off in the mailbox in a secure slot called “Incoming mail”!  Office hours are M-Th 8:30-2:30. If you come during those times, you may also want to step into the sanctuary for some prayer and quiet time with God. We would love to see you.  Our library is also open to you with quite a variety to choose from.

Thank you to those of you who have been sending us notes and messages of encouragement and support. They help keep us hopeful and joyful! We always love to hear how things are going.  We would like to share your experiences in the Newsletter each month.  So, give some thought to what’s been happening in your life – we all miss each other, and would be thrilled to hear what’s up!

Other notes:

  • If any of you would like to participate, we are open to a few people Reading Scripture and offering the Prayers of Intercession from the Celebrate page.  Or if you would just like to come to worship – Saturdays 11:00 am.  Call Leslie at 476-4700 to schedule your spot .  
  • Habitat for Humanity Lunches.  We will be providing Lunches (sandwiches, chips, fruit & cookies) for 10 volunteers.  Reply to this email or call office if you would like to help out.  Our next date is Tuesday, January 26.
  • A few copies of “White Fragility” are available to borrow.  Call the office to inquire.

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Jim