St Stephen's - Our Place

As lock down approached I prepared to leave St Stephen’s.

I thought about how important St Stephen’s is for us as the place we belong.

I took some photos to share with you over these weeks, to ground us in our place while we can’t get there.

I first came to St Stephen’s in 1987. Stuart, my husband, brought me to Aotearoa / New Zealand in my twenties, a new mother, and newly ordained from England. We  came to St Andrew’s Cambridge when St Stephen’s was part of that parish. I was sent to St Stephen's. After three decades of ministry, and teaching other people to be ministers, I returned as your vicar. It is a joy and privilege to be here.

What's your story? When did you arrive here?

What do you love or connect with in this place?

What do you miss?

Prayer is at the heart of our lives as Christians.

The last thing I did last Wednesday was to pray for you by name.

Imagining you where you sit in the church, remembering those who have passed away. 

I prayed in the grounds and Hall, giving thanks for all the activities that enrich us and our wider communities.

I gave thanks for the gifts God has given each of you and how you express God’s love as God’s people in God’s world.

I prayed with hope for the time we will gather there again.

Although we cannot be together physically we are held together by Christ’s love and presence. At this time we are conscious of people who have no place. We  connect them in our prayers. We give thanks for news of initiatives for the homeless and vulnerable. 

Let’s secure ourselves and others through listening and praying. 

Liz leads us in three verses of this beautiful song. Please listen or join with her.

1.     Christ before me

Christ behind me

Christ above me and below

Christ beside me

Christ within me

Christ around us where'er I go

2.     Christ before you.....

3.     Christ before us.....

Pray this prayer from the Northumbria Community Prayerbook:

Circle (name a person, or groups), Lord

Keep comfort near

and discouragement afar.

Keep peace within

and turmoil out.

Circle (name), Lord.

Keep protection near

and danger afar.

Circle (name), Lord.

Keep hope within,

keep despair without.

Circle (name), Lord.

Keep light near

and darkness afar.

Circle (name), Lord.

Keep peace within

and anxiety without.

The eternal Father, Son and Holy Spirit

shield (name) on every side.

Amen.

May the peace of God that passes all our understanding, be in our hearts, homes, communities and world now and at the end of the covid 19 situation. And the blessing of God, creator, redeemer and friend be with us. Amen.

In Christ’s love - Sue

A message regarding COVID-19


St Stephen’s Church and Hall are closed

God is beyond buildings
we are God’s community
we are praying for an end to the pandemic
for protection and energy for essential workers,
for those on their own, the vulnerable, children and families
that those who are unwell will know God’s comforting presence.

May we all act for the good of each other.
May we all know God’s peace in our hearts, our homes and our world. Amen

St Stephen's - a Christian family extending God's love to our community and the world

There are people praying across the country and the world at all times.
Each day at 8.30 am Sue, the priest prays.
Wherever you are you could join with St Stephen’s community in prayer at a time that suits you.

Pray with St Stephen’s

Monday Morning

Holy and everliving God,
by your power we are created
and by your love we are redeemed;
guide and strengthen us by your Spirit,
that we may give ourselves to your service
and live this day in love to one another and to you;
through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Amen.

May the God of hope
fill us with all joy and peace in believing,
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit
we may abound in hope.

Tuesday Morning

Morning Collect
O God,
the well spring of life,
pour into our hearst the living water of your grace
that refreshed by you,
we may live this day in steadfast reliance
on the strength you give;
through our Saviour Jesus Christ

St Paul wrote to people whose lives were often threatened in many ways.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 

For Wednesday

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.Psalm 46:1

In darkness and in light, in trouble and in joy, help us, heavenly Father, to trust your love, to serve your purpose, and to praise your name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

For Thursday

Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

For the night time

The angels of God guard us through the night, and quieten the powers of darkness.
Lord, it is night.
The night is for stillness. Let us be still in the presence of God.
It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done; let it be.
The night is dark. Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you.
The night is quiet. Let the quietness of your peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace.
The night heralds the dawn. Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities.
In your name we pray. Amen.

Friday Prayers 

Into your hands, O God, I
commend my spirit,
for you have redeemed me, O God of truth and
love.

Christ be within us to keep us,
beside us to guard,
before us to lead,
behind us to protect,
beneath us to support,
above us to bless.

Saturday prayers

Preserve us, O God, while waking,
and guard us while sleeping,
that awake we may watch with Christ,
and asleep may rest in your peace.

God bless us and keep us,
God’s face shine on us and be gracious to us,
and give us light and peace.

Sunday Prayers

A prayer
for the morning

God of all mercy,
your Son brought good news to the despairing,
freedom to the oppressed
and joy to the sad;
fill us with your spirit
that the people of our day may see in us his likeness
and glorify your name.
This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

A Night
Prayer

I will lie down in peace and take my rest,
for it is in God alone that I dwell unafraid.
Let us bless the Earth-maker, the Pain-bearer, the Life-giver,

let us praise and exalt
God above all for ever.

May God’s name be praised beyond the furthest star,
glorified and exalted above all for ever.



Lent and Easter services

There will  be no services at the church following the government's directive during Alert level 4.


We are working on online options for services. 

LENT

Lent is 6 weeks a year in which we think about what it means to follow Christ. It

is a chance to de-clutter our faith, to consider new things and let go of things past their usefulness.

LENT JOURNEY NZ. https://lent.nz/

Sarah Park created a profound digital journey for our church. With short readings, prayers, images, humour, YouTube we are led on a journey to deepen our faith and prepare for Easter. 

I recommend this as an accessible and fun way to walk our Lenten journey.



 

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