Thirteenth Sunday After Pentecost – August 30

Dear St. Stephen’s Family,

As we send this message to all of you, many members of our church family are still experiencing the stress of evacuations due to the lightning fires in the Santa Cruz mountains. In addition to the Curry / Abler Family, we welcomed Jean & Mark Petersen to shelter here.  All are doing as well as can be expected.  Tara McMilin has been told it will be 2-3 months before she can return home….transitional housing is needed beginning in September.    

It is really hard to believe that on top of everything else, this is taking place and some are finding themselves in even more dire circumstances. Please offer your prayers for the well-being of everyone affected and for those fighting the fires and that people’s homes will be spared.

At this time, that is what is needed most. As the situation further unfolds and we learn of other ways that we can help, we will let you know. Right now, know that your church facility is serving as a much-needed and welcome refuge for dear people in our church and that they are so very appreciative that their church has been here for them to turn to in a very desperate situation.

In the meantime, it is all the more needed for us to turn to our faith for comfort, strength and hope as we surround one another with love and God’s promises to always stay with us – especially in times like these. Please set aside an hour on Sunday to connect with each other in spirit as we offer our lives to God in thanksgiving for God’s blessings and love and grace.

In Isaiah the people are advised to look to their spiritual ancestors as the rock from which they were hewn.  Jesus declares that the church will be built on the rock of Peter’s bold confession of faith.  God’s word of reconciliation and God’s mercy are keys to the church’s mission.  Paul urges us to not be conformed to this world but to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, using our individual gifts to build up the body of Christ.  From the table we go forth to offer our spiritual worship through word and deed.

Let’s continue to join our spirits in worship here anytime on Sunday. It is so important to offer ourselves to God in this way these days. I know you will find it a comfort and blessing.  Previous weeks are recorded as well.  Please find attached, the bulletin cover artwork, scripture readings & prayers in the Celebrate.

I hope you are able to experience God’s Spirit of Fellowship, Love, Grace and Peace through our Zoom bible studies led by Pastor Jim. Bible studies are Thursdays at 11am and 7pm.  Same Zoom link.  

Please let us know if there are other ways you see that our church can be supportive.

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.

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 has been cancelled again this month.  Lunch will be needed for 10 volunteers.  Tuesday, September 25 at 10:30 am.   sandwiches,  fruit, chips, cookies.  Reply to this email or call office if you might provide one of these items.  

Leslie Lapp