Weekly Newsletter

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church

FIFTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST – SERVICE OF HOLY EUCHARIST II

September 18, 2022  †  8:30 and 10:30 am

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COLLECT OF THE DAY

Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

LECTIONARY READINGS

Amos 8:4-7

Psalm 113

1 Timothy 2:1-7

Luke 16:1-13

WORSHIP ASSISTANTS (8:30)

Lesson 1 and Psalm: Pam Hicks

Lesson 2: Pam Hicks

WORSHIP ASSISTANTS (10:30)

Lesson 1 and Psalm: Chesley Vohden

Lesson 2: Rev. Matt Rhodes

Eucharistic Minister: Penny Thomas

Ushers: Hal Clark and Jim LeBlanc

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CALENDAR OF SERVICES AND SPECIAL EVENTS (SEPTEMBER – NOVEMBER 2022)

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Click on the image above for a downloadable three-month calendar of services and events here at St. Stephen’s.

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The sermon delivered last Sunday by Matt+ is available in both text (click here) and audio (click here) formats.

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FROM THE PRIEST’S STUDY
Dear St. Stephen’s family,

Earlier this week I was chatting with a member of the diocesan staff and filling her in on some of the new activities here at the church. In response to one of them (our first-ever “Trunk or Treat,” which you’ll read more about below) she said, “You have such a great place for it.” You know something? She’s absolutely right: this is a great place for “Trunk or Treat” – but it’s a great place for so much more.

It’s a great place to gather for worship and fellowship. It’s a great place to get a few moments of peace in the midst of the rush of life. It’s a great place to welcome people from our community, whether for a Sunday or service or the upcoming Blessing of the Animals. It’s a great place to vision and plan for the future. It’s a great place to make a center in the Forest community, a place of welcome and warmth.

I know I’m preaching to the choir about every bit of this, but I think it’s always worth repeating to ourselves and sharing with others. This place is growing; it’s energized; it’s alive. I look forward to the weeks and months ahead and helping to welcome all who come to experience the greatness and holiness of St. Stephen’s!

Grace and blessings,
Matt+

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ADULT FORUM SERIES ON THE PRAYER BOOK CONTINUES

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The current adult forum series Matt+ is leading, “Prayer Book 101,” continues this Sunday morning at 9:30 in the Parish Hall. This week we’ll begin looking at the services that comprise the Daily Office, the cycle of services that is at the heart of Anglican spirituality. In addition to forms for Daily Morning Prayer and Daily Evening Prayer in both contemporary and traditional language, the prayer book section for the Daily Office includes forms for Noonday Prayer, Order of Worship for the Evening, Compline, and Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families. Bring your curiosity and your questions!

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BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS: MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

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Click here to download a copy of the event flyer to share with family, friends, and area businesses.

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CANDIDATES FOR VESTRY
At the end of this year three members of our Vestry will complete their terms of service, which means we’ll have three seats to fill at the annual parish meeting in January. According to the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese of Southwestern Virginia, a confirmed adult communicant of the parish in good standing for at least one year preceding the election is eligible to stand for election to a three-year term on the Vestry. Service on the Vestry is an outstanding way of sharing your gifts and talents for the benefit of the entire parish and enables you to participate in caring for our facilities, managing the finances of the church, working with the priest in planning for the future, and helping grow the kingdom. If you are interested in standing for election or have any questions about what being on the Vestry entails, don’t hesitate to reach out to any member of the Vestry (a complete list of which can be found at the bottom of this newsletter).

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FOYER GROUPS KICKOFF DINNER: OCTOBER 2

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The kickoff dinner for our Foyer groups will be Sunday, October 2 at 5:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall. This will be a gathering of everyone who has signed up so far (and it’s still not too late to join!) as a way of celebrating the relaunch of this wonderful parish tradition. The church will provide the drinks and paper products, and Bea and Tom Mohr will provide the main course. Those who have signed up to be part of the dinner groups are asked to bring a side dish or dessert to share and send an email to the Parish Office to let us know what you’ll bring. Beginning in November, the small groups will gather for monthly dinners in parishioner homes. Bea is reaching out to everyone who has signed up to provide them with the breakdown of dinner groups and help get everything launched. If you have any questions about the kickoff dinner or monthly gatherings or wish to be part of a dinner group (once again, it’s not too late to join!), please send an email to Bea.

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SOCIETY OF SAINT ANDREW GLEANING OPPORTUNITY

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Join the Society of St. Andrew for an apple gleaning event at Johnson’s Orchards (1218 Elmos Road, Bedford) on Saturday, September 24 at 9:00 a.m. Anyone interested will meet at the Johnny Appleseed statue before moving into the orchard. Please dress for the weather, wear closed-toe shoes, and bring personal items such as gloves, hat, drink, and sunscreen. You’re also asked to bring a mask to wear when you’re in close proximity to other gleaners who are not part of your family. To sign up please visit the SoSA website, endhunger.org/Virginia.

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SPAM EMAIL AND TEXT REMINDER

Earlier this week Matt+ was contacted by several members of the congregation who had received suspicious text messages allegedly from him. The text read, “Hello, [name], are you available? I need a favor, text me back when you get my text. – Rev. Matt Rhodes.” For anyone else who may receive this text, please know it is not from him. The only number he’ll ever text from (on the occasions when he does text) is the one listed below in his email signature block, in the weekly service bulletin, and on the website. Similarly, the only email address he’ll use for church business is the one posted in those same locations. Additionally, he’ll never text or email anyone with any vague requests or – as has happened with many spam clergy emails and messages – ask for money or gift cards for his personal use. If you do receive such a message and have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out – and certainly when you confirm it’s not from Matt+ block the number or email address.

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TRUNK OR TREAT: MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

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We’re excited to give advance notice that St. Stephen’s will host its first “Trunk or Treat” event on Sunday afternoon, October 30 from 4:30-6:00. For those who’ve never heard of this, “Trunk or Treat” is a fun way of drawing the community to a time of trick-or-treating in a safe space. Volunteers simply park their cars in the church parking lot, open their trunks, and create Halloween displays with decorations in those trunks. Just like you would at your front door at home, bowls of candy are also available to share with kids who pass through with their families. And if for some reason you’d like to decorate yourselves with a costume, by all means do it! This will be an outstanding way of making ourselves even more visible in the community while hosting a fun, safe event to bring visitors to our church. Sharon Reynolds has graciously agreed to help with planning this event and coordinating volunteers; if you’re interested in helping and – especially – in providing one of the decorated trunks, please give her a call at (434) 237-4451.

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YOUTH SUNDAY SCHOOL EACH WEEK
All youth are invited to meet in the youth room on the second floor of the Parish House every Sunday at 9:30 for their own special class. This year’s curriculum is based on the lectionary readings heard in church and enables them to consider them and their importance in the context of their own lives. We hope to see all of our young people there, and they’re invited to bring a friend!

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PARISH PRAYER LIST
We pray for healing and comfort for Vanessa Angus, Jennie Aveson, Melvin and Virginia Bowling, GiGi Carver and the Carver family, Barbara East, Linda Finney, Jill Flores, Robert Franklin, Jimmy Gratto, Sue Griggs, Julie Harrison, Jim Hite, Frank Horvath, Anne Huston, Caleb Jacobs, Theresa Lawson, Susan Major, Melvin Mitchell, Tucker Monk, Westray Nowlin, Keith Pratt, Joe Robinson, Joshua Shaver, Betty Spruill, Martha Stokes, Don and Brenda Utley, Helen Vulevich, Pattie Wells, Gary Williams, Sharon, Bob, Richard, Tom, Renae, Joy, Grace, Michelle, Julia, Petra, Rory, Kirsten, Kyle, J. Michael, Stephanie, Michael, Joshua, Allison, Joyce, Sonny, Jonathan, Sarah, Violet, Casey, Kayia, Monica, Susan, Christine, Audrey, Amber, Dillon, Susan, Pat, and Laurie.

We pray for those serving in the armed forces, especially Thomas, William, Nate, Nick, Carter, Hunter, Zach, and Jared.

We pray for our families, friends, and neighbors; for those we know and those we don’t know; that they may live in joy, peace, and health and be freed from ailments, anxiety and addictions.

We pray for peace and an end to conflict, and especially for all who are being impacted by the war in Ukraine.

If there is anyone you wish to add to the prayer list, please send an email to the Parish Office at parish@ststephensforest.org. More immediate pastoral care needs or emergencies can of course be sent to Matt+ by email at ststephenspriest@gmail.com or by phone either in the office at (434) 525-5511 or on his cell at (703) 581-9500.

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SUPPORT FOR ST. STEPHEN’S

We are grateful for your continuing support of St. Stephen’s through your gifts of time, talent and treasure and deeply appreciative of your prayerful gifts to the mission and ministry of the parish. If you wish to make a one time or recurring gift or make your pledge online, please visit https://tithe.ly/give_new/www/#/tithely/give-one-time/1565122.

For more information about life here at St. Stephen’s please visit our website, www.ststephensforest.org, Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ststephensforest, and Instagram page, www.instagram.com/ststephens_forestva.

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VESTRY CONTACT INFORMATION

Justin McCarthy, Senior Warden: (815) 307-6285; justinmccarthy@bellsouth.net

Larry Flores, Junior Warden: (434) 942-2412; firstflores@gmail.com

Jennifer Moore, Treasurer: (434) 660-2543; jenfrmoore@aol.com (ex officio)

Hal Clark, Secretary: (434) 616-1496; halclark@shentel.net

Bea Mohr: (434) 525-2367; bebemohr@gmail.com

Sharon Reynolds: (434) 237-4451; little-woods@nymrod-mesa.com

Ray Vohden: (434) 401-7540; vohden1@shentel.net

Bill Wright: (315) 246-6787; bwright3584@gmail.com

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