Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Sunday 9 December 2018

John the Baptist Preaching in the Wilderness (13th century). Ceiling Mosaic (detail), Baptistery of Saint John, Florence, Italy


The Gospel readings on the Sundays of Advent follow a prescribed pattern in all three years of the lectionary cycle. On the First Sunday of Advent, we hear from our Lord’s own prophecies of the Coming of the Son of Man in judgment on the Last Day. On the Second and Third Sundays, we hear the preaching of John the Baptist. On the Fourth Sunday, we hear one of the accounts of the events involving the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph leading up to the Birth of Jesus in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

This sequence tells us that to be prepared to welcome Christ at Christmas, and when he comes again at the end of the age, we need first to encounter John the Baptist, the Forerunner sent to “prepare the way of the Lord.” Ancient Church tradition considers both John the Baptist and the Blessed Virgin Mary “liminal” figures, standing at the threshold of the Old and New Testaments: John, the last of the Old Testament prophets; Mary, the personification of faithful Israel receiving the Messiah.

As the secular world around us celebrates the commercial “Christmas Season,” we uphold our Catholic tradition by doing our best to keep a good Advent. Join us these Sundays as we contemplate John the Baptist and the Blessed Virgin Mary: those sent to prepare for Christ’s arrival among his People Israel and in the world at large.

–Fr. John D. Alexander


Filipe de Magalhães (1571-1652)—Missa Veni Domine

Juan Esquivel (1560-1625)Veni Domine


Second Sunday of Advent, Year C
Malachi 3:1-4 
Philippians 1:3-11 
Luke 3:1-6


Welcome to S. Stephen’s – especially to our visitors and guests! We’re glad to have you with us. Please join us for Coffee Hour following the 10 a.m. Mass in the Great Hall upstairs. If you have any questions or special needs, please speak to one of the ushers, who will be glad to assist you.

Stewardship Program – We are pleased to report that as of Wednesday, December 5th, we have received 32 pledges for 2019 totaling $69,094 (including six new individuals / households whose pledges total $12,670). Thank you to all who have pledged so far! This is excellent progress, but we still have a way to go. To help the Vestry approve a budget for the coming year, we need the rest as soon as possible. If you have not submitted a pledge in hard copy or online (at, please do so! We are grateful for all pledges received, no matter how large or small. Please consider prayerfully what you can offer; your parish is counting on your support and generosity.

Vestry Meeting – is this Tuesday, 11 December, at 7 pm in the Library.

Monthly Commemoration – of the departed of this parish whose year’s mind falls during December will be offered during Mass this Saturday, 15 December, at 10 am (preceded by Morning Prayer at 9:30 am). If you have any names to add to those to be remembered, please let Fr. Alexander know. See GAS announcement below.

Guild of All Souls: St. Stephen, Proto-Martyr Branch – S. Stephen’s celebrates a parish Requiem Mass on the Third Saturday of most months at the 10 am Mass. Departed members of the parish whose anniversaries fall during the month are remembered in prayer, and anyone may submit additional names of the departed.

College Ministry – After today, the Episcopal Ministry at Brown and RISD (EMBR) will be not be meeting again until the start of the Spring Semester. We hope you all do well on your finals and have a very Merry Christmas!

Christmas Flower Offering – If you would like to make a Christmas offering of flowers to the church in thanksgiving or in memoriam, please fill out the envelope included with today’s Kalendar, and put it in the offering plate or bring it to the parish office no later than Sunday December 16th.

Christmas Decorating – This year we hope to engage a group of volunteers to decorate the church after the 10 am Mass for Advent IV (Sunday 23 December), in order to have the church decorated for the Blue Heron Concert later that day. If you are interested in joining in this festive tradition, including a pizza lunch, please contact the parish office via email, or phone at 421-6702, ext. 1.

Blue Heron Concert: Christmas in 15th-Century France & Burgundy – This December, treat yourself to an early evening of the luxurious sounds of the 15th century. Blue Heron, the 2018 Winners of the Gramophone Classical Music Award for Early Music, bring a captivating mix of mysticism and merriment, from the penitential season of Advent through Christmas rejoicing and the festive celebration of New Year’s Day, with music by the greatest French and Flemish musicians of the fifteenth century—Guillaume Du Fay, Johannes Regis, Josquin Desprez, Jacob Obrecht, Antoine Brumel, and others. Doors open at 3:30 pm. For ticket pricing and more information, please visit

Schedule of Christmas Services – Christmas Eve: (Monday, 24 December) Christmas Eve Family Mass - 5:30 pm; Solemn Mass of the Nativity -10:30 pm. Christmas Day: (Tuesday, 25 December) Morning Prayer 9:30 am, Low Mass 10 am. (Please note that on Christmas Eve (Monday) Evening Prayer and Low Mass will not be offered at the usual times.)

Nominations Committee – candidates for the following positions need to be elected at the Annual Parish Meeting on January 27, 2019: one Vestry Member for a four-year term (expires January 2023), one Vestry Member for a two-year term (expires January 2021), Junior Warden (three year term; expires January 2022); Clerk of the Vestry (one-year term); Treasurer (one-year term); two Diocesan Convention Delegates (one-year term), two Diocesan Convention Alternates (one-year term). The Nominations Committee consists of: Tom Bledsoe (Chair), Phoebe Pettingell, Bobby Rose, Robyn Noble, and Karl Benziger. Please speak to any of them if you have suggestions for nominations, or indeed if you would be interested in offering yourself for one of these offices. (Their deadline to announce a slate of candidates is Sunday 30 December.)

New Year’s Day Dinner – Once again we will offer our annual New Year’s Day Dinner for the Hungry, on Tuesday 1 January 2019. If you can help, please contact coordinator Bobby Rose via email, or contact the parish office at 421-6702 ext. 1 or via email. We welcome new scarves, mittens, hats and socks, as well as personal hygiene products such as soaps and toothbrushes. For I was hungry, and you gave me food: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you welcomed me… Matthew 25:35


Prayers have been requested for: Elizabeth, Hannah, Kaitlyn, Mary, Richard, Norman, John, Shannah, Terri, Sister Carolyn, Lynne, William, Gus, Leonard, Harrington, Joan, Sandy, John, Phebe, Gregory, Jack, Richard, Ann, Colin, Sandy, Kiersten, Beverly, Deborah, Bryan, Angela, Bobby, Beverly, Allora, Carlos, Rhoda, William, Roger, and James.

Birthdays this week: Beverly Myers (Sunday 12/9), Christarie Sylvia (Sunday 12/9), Lynne deBenedette (Monday 12/10), and Beverly Ryan (Thursday 12/13).

The faithful departed: Year’s Mind: Lillian Lynch (9 December 1990), George W. Lockwood (10 December 2001), Elinor Elizabeth Ripley (10 December 1984), Gerald Franklin Barrow (14 December 2007), and Mary B. Trask (15 December 1984). Recently Departed: President George Herbert Walker Bush, the Rev. Dr. Judith Mitchell, and John Mulvey.

Anglican and Diocesan Cycles of Prayer – In the Anglican Cycle of Prayer, we are asked to pray for Falkland Islands (Extra-Provincial to Canterbury) and the Falkland Islands (Parish of) - (Canterbury, Falkland Islands): The Rt. Rev’d Timothy Thornton; in the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer, for the people and clergy of Emmanuel, Cumberland and of Emmanuel, Newport.


Acolytes – MC R Noble, SD J Ihnen, Thurifer L Verdelotti, Crucifer J Ihnen, Torches F Pisaturo and C Sylvia
Lector – RG Noble
Ushers – Simon Newby and Patricia Barnes
Coffee Hour – Society of Mary



Sunday 9 December
Evening Prayer w/ EMBR and Study Session  5:30 pm (Lady Chapel)

Tuesday 11 December
Vestry Meeting  7 pm (Library)

Saturday 15 December
Guild of All Souls  10 am (Lady Chapel)


Saturday 15 December 
Epiphany Soup Kitchen  2:30 pm (Great Hall)


9 December
Morning Prayer  8 am
Low Mass  8:10 am
Solemn Mass  10 am
Evening Prayer w/ EMBR  5:30 pm

Daily Mass and Office Lectionaries: Week of Advent II, Year One

Monday 10 December
Monday in Advent II (V)
Evening Prayer  5:30 pm
Low Mass  6 pm

Tuesday 11 December
Tuesday in Advent II (V)
Noonday Prayer  12 noon
Low Mass  12:10 pm

Wednesday 12 December
Our Lady of Guadalupe (Blue)
Finnian, Abbot of Clonard, 549 
Evening Prayer  5:30 pm
Low Mass  6 pm

Thursday 13 December
Lucy, Martyr at Syracuse, 304 (R)
Noonday Prayer  12 noon
Low Mass  12:10 pm

Friday 14 December
John of the Cross, Mystic, Poet, Teacher, 1591 (W)
Alexander Heriot Mackonochie, Priest, 1887
Noonday Prayer  12 noon
Low Mass  12:10 pm

Saturday 15 December
Saturday in Advent II (V)
Morning Prayer  9:30 am
Low Mass  10 am

16 December
Morning Prayer  8 am
Low Mass  8:10 am
Solemn Mass  10 am


Third Sunday of Advent: Gaudete Sunday, Year C
Canticle 9
Zephaniah 3:14-20
Philippians 4:4-7
Luke 3:7-18