Friday, September 18, 2020

Sunday 20 September 2020


Parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard (1637) by Rembrandt (1606–1669). Oil on panel. The State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia.


Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Year A)
Jonah 3:10—4:11
Psalm 145:1-8
Philippians 1:21-30
Matthew 20:1-16


Robert Schumann (1810 – 1856)—Skizze, D flat, Op. 58, № 3 and Kanon, B, Op. 56, № 6

Paul Callaway (1909 – 1995)—Service of Holy Communion

Robert Schumann—Skizze, F-moll, Op. 58


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.


“The Strange Economy of God”

This Sunday, we’ll hear a parable about a vineyard owner and laborers in the vineyard. At the end of the day, those who had worked only an hour or two at the end of the day receive the same wage as those who worked since the morning hours. Understandably, the laborers who worked longer are bit upset at this “unjust” treatment. The owner points out that they were indeed paid what they were promised, and so if they are angry, it is only the owner’s generosity that they have issue with – and what concern is that to them? for it does not belong to them.

So it is with God’s kingdom – God’s love and grace. They are equally available to all, at any point in their lives, at any stage of discipleship. The thief dying beside Jesus on the cross is promised a place with him in Paradise. And so we see that the person who has known and loved God for a lifetime is equally beloved by God as the person who might appear to others as “late to the game.”

By the world’s standards, and by any typical measure of work and compensation employed in our market economy, this is unfair, unjust, and impractical. But the economy of God does not operate along those lines – and that is very good news for all of us. The love, mercy, and grace of God are eternal and boundless – there is no shortage, but only more and more of it to go around. Plenty for you and me, and plenty for anyone else. We are reminded in this parable that we don’t get to set limits or parameters on how God dispenses what is God’s – we can simply enjoy the plenteousness which he has already bestowed upon us, which is more than enough. Good news, indeed, for our “kingdom economy.”


Welcome Back! – We’re delighted to be able to see you again this coming Sunday! While we continue to gather again, this privilege brings with it some protocols to keep us all safe. A summary of the safety protocols may be found here.

Virtual Offices and Masses – We offer Virtual Offices and Masses for those who wish to continue to participate safely from home. 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.

Traffic Pattern and Parking this Sunday – As a new group of Brown University students arrives on campus this weekend, we have been notified of some temporary changes to traffic patterns. The one that will affect us most is that George Street will be one-way east from Thayer Street to Brook Street on Sunday. However, we have been assured by Brown Public Safety that there will be plenty of street parking for our parishioners on Sunday around S. Stephen’s on both George and Thayer Streets.

Departure of Jacob Ihnen – It saddens me to announce to the parish that Jacob Ihnen, our Communications Director, will be leaving us at the beginning of October. Jacob has been described by many as an “anchor,” particularly during the past 6 months. From setting up for masses, starting our live stream worship, serving as altar server/MC/lector/thurifer, and even taking on office duties that arose, Jacob has been an integral and invaluable member of our S. Stephen’s family. I can truly say I would be lost in my first month here in the parish without him, and I know we are all very grateful for all that he has done over the past few years.

As a way of expressing our gratitude, we will honor him at the 10 am Mass on Sunday, 27 September, and would like to take up a purse to both thank him and help him as he transitions to a new season of life in Iowa. Checks can be mailed or left with the regular offering on Sunday, with a memo indicating it is for “Jacob Ihnen gift,” or you can go online and use the Online Giving portal ( to make a donation, indicating that it is for Jacob. Jacob will truly be missed!

Virtual Coffee Hour – Please join us for Virtual Sunday Coffee Hour next Sunday, 27 September, at 11:30 am. As a reminder, coffee hour will be every other Sunday going forward. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact Fr. Benjamin Straley at Thank you!

8 am and 5:30 pm Sunday Masses to Resume – On Sunday, 4 October, we will resume the 8 am Mass for in-person worship in the Lady Chapel. This mass will not be live streamed. On that Sunday, we will also begin offering the 5:30 pm Mass for the EMBR (Episcopal Ministry at Brown and RISD) community. The same protocols regarding social distancing, masks, and sanitization are still in full effect.

Interested in Serving at Mass? – We are currently in need of a few more people to add to the rota of altar servers at Sunday and weekday masses. If this is something you would be interesting in learning more about, please email Fr. Benjamin at We are also planning to resume reading of the lessons from the lectern once we have our new live streaming system in place, so if you are interested in reading, or have been a lector in the past, please know that opportunity will also be available soon.

Honoring Fr. Locke – On Sunday, 18 October, we will honor Fr. Bill Locke, who served as Interim Rector between Fr. Andy Mead’s departure and the arrival of the new Rector. More details to follow.

Stewardship Sunday – “Stewardship Sunday” this year will be 11 October. Please be on the lookout for letters which will be going out in the mail in the coming days.

Update on Heating System – Our new heating system is nearly done! If you went by the church this past week, you would have noticed the driveway somewhat torn up as they put in the new gas line. We are so thrilled to be nearing completion of this project, and grateful for the work of Tom Bledsoe, George Ryan, and others from the Building & Grounds Committee.

Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (21 September) – a major feast of the church year, will be kept this coming Monday with Evening Prayer at 5:30 pm, followed by Low Mass at 6 pm.

Concerning Pledges and the Sunday Offering – Thank you to all who have been so faithful in maintaining your financial support of S. Stephen’s during this pandemic. As some are able to return to in-person worship while others understandably need to stay home, there are three ways to continue your giving to S. Stephen’s:
  • There is an offering plate in the back of the church where you may leave your offering.
  • Offerings can be sent to the church office through the mail.
  • You can give online by clicking here. Please contact us if you need assistance.
Again, thank you to all who have been so supportive.


Prayers have been requested for: Charles, Sandra, Lola, Ruby, Norman, Diana, Sarah, Harrington, Joan, Jay, Ann, Beverly, Tom, Angela, Bobby, Beverly, and Rhoda.

Birthday this week: Dolores Bliss (Tuesday 9/22).

The faithful departed: Year’s Mind: Hana Widmer (21 September 2010), June M. Gaudet (23 September 2000), Ernest A. Elderkin (24 September 1991), Mary Shaw Rose (24 September 1992), Ann Marie Starks (25 September 2010), and Donald B. Ward (26 September 1996).

Anglican and Diocesan Cycles of Prayer – In the Anglican Cycle of Prayer, we are asked to pray for the Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan: The Most Rev’d Justin Badi Arama, Bishop of Juba and Archbishop of the Province of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan; in the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer, for the people and clergy of Sts. Matthew and Mark, Barrington, and St. Matthew's, Jamestown.



Saturday 26 September
Epiphany Soup Kitchen (Meal Pickup Only)  2:30-4:30 pm



Sunday 20 September
Sung Mass  10 am

Daily Office and Mass Lectionary: Proper 20, Year Two

Monday 21 September
Evening Prayer  5:30 pm
Low Mass  6 pm

Tuesday 22 September
Noonday Prayer  12 noon
Low Mass  12:10 pm

Wednesday 23 September
Linus, Pope, c. 78
Evening Prayer  5:30 pm
Low Mass  6 pm

Thursday 24 September
Our Lady of Walsingham (Blue)
Noonday Prayer  12 noon
Low Mass  12:10 pm

Friday 25 September
Sergei of Radonezh, Russian Monastic Reformer, Teacher, 1392
Noonday Prayer 12 noon
Low Mass 12:10 pm

Saturday 26 September
Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, Spiritual Writer, 1626 (W)
Cosmas & Damian, Martyrs at Aegea, c. 287
Morning Prayer  9:30 am
Low Mass  10 am

Sunday 27 September
Sung Mass  10 am


Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost (Year A)
Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32
Psalm 25:3-9
Philippians 2:1-13
Matthew 21:23-32