Weekly Newsletter Update Week of May 8, 2020
Kick-off Meeting: Tweens and Teens On Sunday, May 17 at 1:00 pm, we will be holding a kick-off meeting to plan activities moving forward for the older kids and teens of the parish. We invite kids and teenagers from rising fifth-graders through rising high school seniors to join us for a discussion about what they are interested in doing. Please contact Linda Kaufman, who will be moderating the session with Rondesia Jarrett-Schell.For the zoom link please contact Linda at <firstname.lastname@example.org>. We respectfully request that interested parties who are outside of this age range sit this one out so that there is space for the kids and teens to talk.
Important Note to the Parents about live streaming church events
We love our children and elders. And because we love and care we want to be sure we have a safe space for everyone we must be aware of the challenges of online gatherings. Some churches in the diocese have been experiencing ‘Zoom Bombing’ where interlopers have posted offensive content in church gatherings. Saint Stephen’s is working to assure all gatherings are safe and we encourage parents to be with their children at all online gatherings. If you have any questions about the online Children’s program, please contact Ms. Jane Bishop, our Christian Education coordinator.
Update on Sunday School Greetings and Blessings from the virtual but very alive and well Children’s Christian Formation Coordinator. And I hope you are also alive, well, and navigating our virtual world with good health and good cheer.
Parents, please let all children know that they are in my prayers every day and I miss them greatly. If they wish to check in and chat, I am open to email: <email@example.com> and text any time, as well as telephone calls, 202-297-8627 any day after 6pm.
Has anybody made an Easter kite that perhaps we can fly on Pentecost (May 31)?
I wonder did you watch Saint Stephen’s worship service on YouTube last Sunday? The sermon was the Road to Emmaus, through Godly Play. The link can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atRHJ2O3sTQ
The Good Shepherd - Godly Play story Father Sam, some parents and others, and I have been doing a lot of thinking and planning behind the scenes. So here are our next steps:
A Godly Play lesson for children and their families each week: I will record a Gospel-friendly lesson each week, ready for broadcast on the Sunday morning children and family Zoom meeting. Sarah Padre initiated these lively sessions for several Sundays and we even included a family on overseas assignment. (Also check out and participate in the Talent Show Sarah is organizing!) A teacher and parent, Lisa Luceno, will be hosting these Godly Play lessons so the I Wonder questions can be interactive! She is sending a link to the Sunday School Google group, for Sunday at 10am. We are excited by this as our MIsa children can join in too. Then there will be plenty of time to get together and share fun ideas and how we are doing.
A Godly Play lesson for adult discussion each week: Each lesson will be available through a link on the Sunday Service site as well as independently on YouTube. We will blast out the link. The idea is that the lesson and the I Wonder questions may be a way for you and your friends and family to engage in the lesson in a new way. Think of it as a virtual Forum discussion. Please try it any time during the week and let me know how it works! Moving from Godly Play to serve our older children: Christian Formation for children (and their families) has been growing organically – as our kids grow too! For this reason, a Zoom meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 7, 7-8pm, details to be available through the Google Group. Father Sam and I have been discussing this for months, and I presented the need to the Vestry budget meeting last Fall as a way to grow our parish and keep families. If you have children between the ages of 9 and above (like 12 and 13). Father Sam, Rev Linda Kaufman, and Brede, Senior Warden hope to be joining us, evidence to the deep parish commitment to this ministry.
May there be peace in your hearts through the knowledge and love of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessings y Paz,
Resources for Our Spiritual Health during a time of Covid-19 Perhaps like myself, you can be overwhelmed by emails, podcasts, news reports that heighten the worry and intensity of our uncertainty during this time of the corona virus. So much information can create the feeling of not knowing what to do. When that happens to me, I realize that I need to take a step back and make time for silence and prayer. Action is important, but I need to ground myself in God’s presence and guidance so I am not overcome with fatigue of action/inaction worries. Just to take a few minutes to rest in God’s presence can shift the focus for my day. Perhaps you are part of an online worship group like the Compline prayer group, or perhaps you make time each week to attend Morning Prayer or Sunday worship. That is so important to spiritual health and wellbeing. I want to share four resources for individuals that can support those communal prayer times.
If you have time to investigate any of these websites, perhaps you will be drawn to something that can assist your spiritual life. Perhaps one of these links can be a connection that will heighten your awareness of God’s presence in your day. Please contact me at <firstname.lastname@example.org> for any comments, or if you have a resource you’d like to share.
Ignatian Examen for Life During Covid-19/Examen Durante Covid-19. The Examen is a traditional method of prayerful awareness that is foundational to Ignatian spirituality. It is a short, easy way to reflect on your day and become more mindful about where you are experiencing grace or goodness and where there is room in your actions and life for growth. This link will take you to the prayer, both as an audio podcast and a link to download the printed version in Spanish and English: https://ignatiansolidarity.net/blog/2020/03/14/examen-covid-19/
Pray As You Go Based on Ignatian Spirituality, offers a framework for your own prayer. It is designed to go with you wherever you go, to help you pray whenever you find time, particularly when walking or travelling. Lasting between ten and thirteen minutes, it combines music, scripture, and questions for reflection. The website aims to help you become more aware of God's presence in your life, to listen to and reflect on God's word, and to grow in your relationship with God. https://pray-as-you-go.org/
The World Community for Christian Meditation www.wccm.org is a website with many resources, audio, video, and printed, devoted to the practice of meditation. A good place to begin exploration of the practice they teach is their 9-minute video, What is Meditation? by Fr. Lawrence Freeman, Benedictine monk and director of the community. https://www.wccm.org/content/what-meditation
Meditation for Young Children WCCM is also committed to teaching children to practice meditation. Here is a link to the first of a series of videos for children 4-9 years old: https://bit.ly/2YU4gHF
Prayer Requests We pray for those who have been commended to our prayers at this time: Mona Argentini, Paul, Maggie and Lisa Buonarosa, Ridgely Bennett, Tessie, Melissa Chavez, Paula Collie, Larry Couthern, Brian Dawson, Stephenie DeKouadio, Brenda Evans, Gabriel Fabre, Renee Fairfax, Hank Fischer, Enedina Garza, Dolly Guertin, Betsy Hague, Murray Hankins, Santa Helena, Steve Hodges, Bertha Hunter, Bill MacKaye, Vittorina Muzzatti, Mary and John Milroy, Ester Saverson, Antonio Smith, Ianne Smith, Doris Jones, Lyndsay Jones, Trisha White, Darunee Wilson, María, Jo-Ann Ledford, Kim Klein, Wil Walkoe, John, Tommy, Keith, Kathy, Jesse, Nanci, Ernie Jackson, Melissa Rice, Kathy, Ron, Alex, Gloria, Beth, the Ortiz family, José, Miguel, Norma, Justin, Erin, Eric, Catalina and her siblings, Melvagene and her community, Raquel and her newborn twin daughters, for Susan Kyle's friend Marc, whose family grieves the death of his grandmother, Lucille Anderson Majors, from Covid-19.
Pastoral Care Thank you to all who have made offers to volunteer with pastoral care needs during this time. We continue to invite anyone who can run errands, make telephone calls to update members without emails, or to be a listener and companion to anyone. Please email Susan Walker at <email@example.com> to be added to the list of helpers. If you become sick, even if you have no immediate needs, please know we care about you and want to know your situation. Please give Susan an email so we can support and pray for you. As we daily navigate the protocols and directives from medical experts, it is clear that this pandemic has required us to change behaviors: how we practice hygiene, how we work, how we socialize, and how we pray and act in response to those in need. This is also an opportunity to discover the importance of small gestures - a note or call, a wave “hello” to another person across the street, a package of needed items delivered to a door step. We can all demonstrate caring in little, tender ways.
Virtual Connection Saint Stephen has various social media outlets for our parishioners to engage
Facebook English: https://www.facebook.com/SaintStephensDC/
Misa Alegria Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/misaalegria/
Youtube Channel bilingual: https://bit.ly/YTSSAIDC
Devotional Resources Page: https://www.saintstephensdc.org/devotional-resources
The Morning Prayer team is back leading prayers and bible readings, live streaming on Facebook at 8 am. You can attend the live streaming on our Facebook page, or participate from Zoom contact <firstname.lastname@example.org> for Zoom link. Our parish is offering recorded Sunday morning worship through our Youtube and Facebook pages. Washington National Cathedral also is live streaming Sunday worship through their YouTube page. We are still learning how to stay connected with one another, and more devotions will be uploaded to our website in this learning process. Above all, we are still church even without a building to gather, or a place to say our public worship. You are the temple were God’s manifestation is revealed in this world. We will overcome this hard season caring for one another and living in the love that God has called us to abide in. For any pastoral need, please don’t hesitate to contact Rev. Susan Walker or Father Sam Dessórdi. Currently, different prayer groups in our parish are offering Compline (in English and Spanish). To avoid hackers, you can request the zoom link through a church member or through the following email:<email@example.com>. Prayer groups are: Compline (English) Daily at 8pm. Compline (Spanish) Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8pm. If can't access Zoom technology, you are also invited to enter communal prayer in your home every evening at 8 pm. The evening liturgy, Compline, can be found on page 127 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Habits of Grace: An invitation for you, from Presiding Bishop Curry As we learn how to adjust our lives given the reality of the coronavirus and the request to do our part to slow its spread by practicing social distancing, I invite you to join me each week to take a moment to cultivate a ‘habit of grace.’ A new meditation will be posted on Mondays through May. These meditations can be watched at any time.