Saturday, May 30, 2020

Sunday 31 May 2020

Pentecost (1732) by Jean II Restout (1692-1768).
Oil on canvas. Louvre Museum, Paris, France.


Pentecost (Year A)
Acts 2:1-21
Psalm 104:24-34, 36
1 Corinthians 12:3b-13
John 20:19-23


Leo Sowerby (1895 – 1968)—Praeludium “Veni Creator Spiritus”
Based on a Hymn for Pentecost: “Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire, and lighten with celestial fire. Thou, the anointing Spirit art, who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.” –Latin. tr. John Cosin (1594 – 1672)

Improvisation on hymn tune “Magdalen College”

Leo Sowerby—Toccata (1940)


Welcome to Saint Stephen’s – S. Stephen’s Church is in the midst of Brown University and serves the communities of the East Side of Providence, North Providence, East Providence, and beyond. It is a parish of the Diocese of Rhode Island in the Episcopal Church in the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Anglo-Catholic tradition informs and shapes our life together. We are a diverse community uniting all sorts and conditions in the worship of Our Lord Jesus Christ and aim to offer up the best we have in liturgy, music, preaching, teaching, fellowship, and service.


Dearly Beloved in Christ,

Whitsunday, 31 May, the Feast of Pentecost, is my last day as your Interim Rector. The Interim baton now goes to faithful Fr. Bill Locke, a friend and counselor whom I trust implicitly and who has taken a lion’s share of our weekday masses. Thanks to him, and to Bishop Knisely and Canon Dena, for this smooth transition. And a particular thanks to Fr. Michael Pearson not only for his help with Sunday and other masses but with pastoral care. I don’t know what I would have done without these two superb priests. Special thanks to Maestro Busby and Jacob Ihnen, to Susan Rozzero and Diamond Centofanti, and to our two Wardens Tom Bledsoe and Alison Huff and our treasurer Muriel Jobbers. Forgive me for stopping here, because my complete thank-you list is long, and already I am falling short.

I had hoped, as I told your Wardens a year ago, that I would “get you to Rector.” That would have happened were it not for the unforeseen tyranny of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Coronavirus slowed things down, but this June – God willing – should be the time of final discernment as to whom the Lord is calling to be S. Stephen’s next Rector. Between the Call and getting the new Rector in residence, summertime will be needed to prepare for the Rector to move to Providence. Fr. Locke will have a secure hand on the tiller as S. Stephen’s sails into port. I am impressed by the parish’s Search Committee and its elected and appointed leaders in the most important decision any Wardens and Vestry, with the Bishop’s advice and requisite consent, will ever make, i.e., elect the Rector.

I addressed you as dearly beloved in Christ and I meant it. The past twelve months have bonded you to me in my thoughts and prayers. I have come to love S. Stephen’s flock and its leaders as I have become acquainted with the congregation. As I get out of the Responsibility Chair and return to full time retirement, I hope to visit S. Stephen’s and to stay in touch.

Even though I’m in South County, I’m not on another planet. The drive down I-95, Route 4 and Route 1 to our house takes 50 minutes if you obey the law. Come visit if you will. Canon Nancy Mead and I live at 321 Wandsworth Street, Narragansett. My email is Our landline is 401-789-6786 and my mobile, on which I talk and text, is 917-592-5947. Don’t fear to contact me. Nancy and I want to invite you all down here for homemade Rhode Island Clear Clam Chowder or for a Brickley’s Ice Cream Social, or for both at once. Corona-tide won’t be forever, and we have enough land to afford physical distancing.

After I retired as Rector of Saint Thomas Fifth Avenue in 2014 and Nancy and I moved from Manhattan to Narragansett, I began to write Book Reports three times a year, emailing them to more than 300 of my closest friends (!) – seriously, for family and friends, clergy associates, and former parishioners. They have proved to be a rewarding way to stay in touch with people. I suspended my Book Reports for the past twelve months, because suddenly I had to write sermons each week for S. Stephen’s; but I’m planning to resume writing Book Reports this summer. If you would like to be a recipient of these, please let me know and give me your email address. The Constant Contact company requires that I have your permission to add you to their list of recipients.

Let me bless you as I go, and I do with affection and gratitude for the privilege of serving as your Priest and Interim Rector:

May the holy guardian angels watch over you. May our blessed Lady Mary, Saint Stephen our patron and all the saints pray for you. And may Jesus Christ our Lord and God bless you with his grace, bring you to into the love of our heavenly Father, and strengthen you with the Spirit of truth and power, now and always. Amen.


Fr. Mead’s Sendoff – We invite you to tune into Fr. Mead’s last Mass as Interim Rector tomorrow, 31 May, at 10 am. Further, please join us virtually for a formal sendoff at next Sunday’s Coffee Hour on 7 June. 
For more information on the festivities, please contact Molly Ellis ( or Alison Huff ( Thank you!

Fr. Locke to Serve as Next Interim – We welcome Fr. Bill Locke as our next Interim Rector starting on 1 June. Fr. Locke will be serving full-time. Meanwhile, Fr. Michael Pearson will be continuing as an assisting priest, with Fr. Gary Sturni and possibly others taking on the occasional weekday Mass.

Call for National Day of Mourning – Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has called for a national day of mourning on 1 June for victims of COVID-19. For more information about this initiative and how to join in, please see this article from the Episcopal News Service.

A Note About Easing Restrictions – While the Governor has issued permission for reopening churches to the public, we are intentionally going slowly for safety’s sake, following Bishop Knisely’s counsel. The participants you see at our online Masses may if they wish receive Holy Communion with the Priest/Celebrant. For the time being, we are limiting total in-person participants to five. Then we shall see about enlarging these numbers as we learn the various protocols for avoiding COVID-19 infections.

Recurring Email Scam – It has been brought to our attention that a common scam has returned where an email sent from someone claiming to be our priest asks for a favor. Please do not respond to this email if you receive it. For more information on this scam and how to report it, please see this article from the Federal Trade Commission.

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth (31 May) – a major feast day of the church year, is transferred and will be celebrated this coming Monday 1 June with Virtual Evening Prayer at 5:30 pm and Virtual Low Mass at 6 pm.

Society of Mary – will meet virtually this coming Saturday, 6 June, beginning with Holy Rosary following the 10 am Low Mass and a brief meeting. To join both the recitation of the Rosary and the Meeting, please click here. Please contact Jacob Ihnen at ( for the password to join. All are welcome and invited to participate!

Virtual Offices and Masses – To access and view the LIVE (and archived) services, please visit the parish Facebook page here (you do not need a FB account to tune in). To access accompanying Daily Office and Low Mass readings and resources (as well as archived services), please visit the parish website sermon page here.

Virtual Coffee Hour – Please join us for our Virtual Sunday Coffee Hour tomorrow, 31 May, at 11:30 am. To attend, please click here. If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact Junior Warden Alison Huff via call or text at 401-465-8029 or email (, or Jacob Ihnen via call or text at 712-348-5848 or email ( Thank you!

Concerning Pledges and the Sunday Offering – A key worry in this time of physical distancing is that our inability to gather as a church damages our income. We have heard nothing from the public health authorities about the risks of virus transmission through the mail, so feel free to mail your check to the church. Alternatively, it is quite straightforward to give online by clicking here to visit S. Stephen’s online giving page, where you can use the payment portal week by week or set up a recurring direct deposit program with your bank. We are grateful for your generous response to our appeal for pledges in this transition year. Now the challenge is for us to receive and collect these pledges. We don’t know how long this period of physical distancing will have to last. If you are experiencing financial difficulties which hurt your ability to keep a pledge you made before this crisis of the coronavirus, please do not hesitate to let us know. You may contact Father Locke at 401-499-6921 or email him at Thank you for your love of S. Stephen’s.


Prayers have been requested for: Virginia, Richard, Beverly, Patti, Eli, Maxine, Terry, Ethel, Chipper, Donna, Carl, Kade, Sherri, Norman, Lola, Ruby, John, Diana, Sarah, Shannah, Lynne, Gus, Harrington, Joan, Robyn, Sandy, John, Dylan, Phebe, Jack, Hunter, Bruce, Richard, Ann, Beth, Sandy, Nancy, Antonio, Emma, Olivia, Raphael, Kiersten, Katie, Beverly, Tom, Gail, Deborah, Bryan, Angela, Bobby, Susan, Beverly, Empy, Carlos, Rhoda, William, Crystal, Roger, Louis, and Christopher.

Birthdays this week: Conrad Johnson (Thursday 6/4).

The faithful departed: Year’s Mind: Grace Gerry Harris (31 May 1987), William Justice Cowperthwaite (1 June 2011), Agnes Zendzian Laird (2 June 1991), Rosamond Hine (3 June 1998), Janis Gay (3 June 1984), William Milligan Sloan (4 June 1994), Cameron Duke Stebbins (4 June 1997), Sarah Elizabeth MacIntyre (5 June 1990), and Arthur Giglio (5 June 1990). Recently Departed: Elizabeth “Betty” Anna Schumann.

Anglican and Diocesan Cycles of Prayer – In the Anglican Cycle of Prayer, we are asked to pray for the Anglican Church of Melanesia: The Most Rev’d Leonard Dawea, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia and Bishop of Temotu; in the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer, for the people and clergy of the Church of the Holy Spirit, Charlestown and Grace Church, Providence.



Saturday 6 June
Society of Mary  10:45 am


Saturday 6 June
Epiphany Soup Kitchen (Meal Pickup Only)  2:30-4:30 pm



Sunday 31 May
Virtual Low Mass 10 am

Daily Office and Mass Lectionary: Proper 4, Year Two

Monday 1 June
Virtual Evening Prayer  5:30 pm
Virtual Low Mass  6 pm

Tuesday 2 June
Justin, Martyr at Rome, c. 167 (Transferred) (R)
Blandina and her Companions, the Martyrs of Lyons, 177
Virtual Noonday Prayer  12 noon
Virtual Low Mass  12:10 pm

Wednesday 3 June
The Martyrs of Uganda, 1885-1887 (R)
Virtual Evening Prayer  5:30 pm
Virtual Low Mass  6 pm

Thursday 4 June
Virtual Noonday Prayer  12 noon
Virtual Low Mass  12:10 pm

Friday 5 June
Boniface, Archbishop of Mainz, Missionary, Martyr, 754 (R)
Virtual Noonday Prayer  12 noon
Virtual Low Mass  12:10 pm

Saturday 6 June
Norbert, Archbishop of Magdeburg, 1134
Philip the Evangelist, Deacon, 1st century

Virtual Morning Prayer  9:30 am
Virtual Low Mass  10 am
Virtual Holy Rosary  10:45 am

Sunday 7 June
Virtual Low Mass  10 am


Trinity Sunday (Year A)
Genesis 1:1—2:4a
Psalm 8
2 Corinthians 13:11-13