Friday, September 25, 2020


Sunday 27 September 2020


The Parable of the Father and His Two Sons in the Vineyard (1534-35) by Georg Pencz (1500-1550). Engraving from The Story of Christ. Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, NY.


Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost (Year A)

Ezekiel 18:1-4, 25-32
Psalm 25:3-9
Philippians 2:1-13 


J. S. Bach (1685 – 1750)—Fantasia in C-Moll, BWV 537

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

J. S. Bach—Fuga in C-Moll, BWV 537


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.


Dear brothers and sisters,

On Tuesday, 29 September, the Church celebrates and observes one of my favorite major feasts of the liturgical year, the feast of Saint Michael and All Angels. Such was the significance of this date in older times, that in England and at educational institutions with Anglican patrimony, the fall academic term is often called “Michaelmas” term.

The Archangel Michael is patron saint of many orders and causes – but one of my favorite depictions of St. Michael is on the front of Coventry Cathedral, in which we see a victorious Michael having emerged from combat with Satan under his feet, bound in chains. Michael is a figure who permeates both later Jewish tradition and appears even in the Book of Revelation, when St. John sees a vision of war breaking out in heaven.

Frankly, despite the usual depictions of angels as rather plump, cherubic-looking figures, they must be startling or even terrifying in their appearance. The seraphim and cherubim are described as having many eyes and wings, and every time an angel appears to a human being in scripture their first words are “Do not be afraid!” – again, it seems to imply something startling at the very least – if not downright terrifying.

I’ve never experienced angels in the way that they are popularly described (i.e. “guardian angels”) – I suppose I like to ascribe to them a loftier or more majestic strata, swirling about the throne of God. But what I am reminded of every year on this feast is that whenever angels appear in Scripture, it is in when the realm of God and the eternal breaks into the earthly and the temporal. Some of us would call those moments “thin spaces” – and in a way, every Mass is a thin space, where the divine power of God breaks anew into our earthly plane. With that in mind, may we pray we renewed awareness, “Therefore with angels and archangels, and all the company of heaven,” as we prepare to acclaim the holiness of God, confident that all the angels of God are joining with us in the chorus of praise that rings throughout eternity: Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, Deus Sabaoth.


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.

Celebrating Jacob Ihnen – As was announced last week, Jacob Ihnen will be leaving us in early October to return to Iowa for a time. We are very sorry to see him go, but we look forward to honoring him at the 10 am Mass this Sunday, 27 September. We have been taking up a purse to both thank him and help him as he transitions to a new season of life. If you haven’t already made a contribution, it’s not too late to still leave one in the offering plate on Sunday, mail to the church office, or go online at and using the Vanco platform to make a donation. In all cases, please make a memo it is for “Jacob Ihnen gift.”

8 am and 5:30 pm Sunday Masses to Resume – Next 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.

Though we continue to hold in-person worship, and even at this time expand our offerings, we must keep in mind that if there is any sort of up-tick in cases, particularly as some experts warn of a second “surge” this fall/winter, that S. Stephen’s will need to abide with whatever directives the Diocese and the State put in place regarding gatherings of persons and public worship.

Virtual Coffee Hour – Please join us for Virtual Sunday Coffee Hour this Sunday, 27 September, at 11:30 am. Please click here to join. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact Fr. Benjamin Straley at Thank you!

Saint Michael and All Angels (29 September) – a major feast of the church year, will be kept this coming Tuesday with Noonday Prayer at 12 pm, followed by Low Mass at 12:10 pm.

Flowers – The flowers at the high altar this Sunday are given to the glory of God and in thanksgiving by Charles and Sandra Calverley for their upcoming 60th wedding anniversary. They were married 1 October 1960 in S. Stephen’s.

Society of Mary – The Society of Mary: Our Lady of Providence Ward will meet this coming Saturday, 3 October, for Holy Rosary following the 10 am Low Mass. All are welcome and invited to participate!

Stewardship Sunday – “Stewardship Sunday” this year will be 11 October. Letters will be mailed out soon, so be on the lookout for them! S. Stephen’s simply cannot operate or engage in ministry without your time, talent, and financial support. It is so important that we know what your commitment in the coming year can be so that we can plan our budget and programming accordingly. If you have been worshiping in person, please bring your pledge card to leave in the offering plate on Sunday, 11 October. Otherwise, please pledge online ( or return your card via mail by 15 November at the latest. Thank you for all the ways in which you are already supporting S. Stephen’s.

Honoring Fr. Locke – On Sunday, 18 October, we will honor Fr. Bill Locke, who served briefly as Interim Rector over the summer months. Please be present as you are able as we thank him in our 10 am liturgy for shepherding us between Fr. Mead’s departure and the arrival of the new Rector.

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.

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, Phebe, Hunter, Jay, Conrad, Ann, Beverly, Tom, Angela, Bobby, Beverly, Rhoda, and Christopher.

Birthdays this week: William Ripley (Wednesday 9/30) and Mason Butler-Rose (Saturday 10/3).

60th Wedding Anniversary: Charles and Sandra Calverley (Thursday 10/1/60).

The faithful departed: Year’s Mind: Christopher Shane Barnes (27 September 1967), Elizabeth Alexandra Clarke (30 September 2015), and Domenica Nicolella (2 October 1979).

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 Sudan: The Most Rev’d Ezekiel Kumir Kondo, Archbishop of the Province of Sudan & Bishop of Khartoum; in the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer, for the people and clergy of St. Michael's, Bristol.



Saturday 3 October
Society of Mary  10:45 am (Lady Chapel)


Saturday 3 October
Epiphany Soup Kitchen (Meal Pickup Only)  2:30-4 pm



Sunday 27 September
Sung Mass  10 am

Daily Office and Mass Lectionary: Proper 21, Year Two

Monday 28 September
Wenceslaus, Duke of Bohemia, Martyr, 935 
Evening Prayer  5:30 pm
Low Mass  6 pm

Tuesday 29 September
Noonday Prayer  12 noon
Low Mass  12:10 pm

Wednesday 30 September
Jerome, Translator of the Scriptures, Teacher, 420 (W)
Evening Prayer  5:30 pm
Low Mass  6 pm

Thursday 1 October
Thérèse of Lisieux, Carmelite Nun, Spiritual Writer, 1897 (W)
Remigius, Bishop of Rheims, Apostle of the Franks, 533
Noonday Prayer  12 noon
Low Mass  12:10 pm

Friday 2 October
The Holy Guardian Angels
Noonday Prayer  12 noon
Low Mass  12:10 pm

Saturday 3 October
Morning Prayer  9:30 am
Low Mass  10 am
Holy Rosary  10:45 am

Sunday 4 October
Morning Prayer  8 am
Low Mass  8:10 am
Sung Mass  10 am
Evening Prayer w/ EMBR  5:30 pm
Campus Eucharist  6 pm


Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Year A)
Isaiah 5:1-7
Psalm 80:7-15
Philippians 3:4b-14