the Church Service

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost,
September 20th Sunday Service

Good afternoon St. Stephen's Family and Friends!  Below is the Service for the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost.  For those watching online, Father Shawn has recorded the Message and you can click on the songs below to listen to Kate singing the Hymns.  If you would like to watch the Service Live, you can do so on our St. Stephen's Facebook Page at 9:00 am.  For those attending the Outdoor Worship Service on Sunday, September 20, 2020 please follow these instructions for everyone's safety: 

  • We ask that attendees walk around the west side of the building (the nursery school side) to enter our outdoor worship area. This will allow for easy entry and exit along with plenty of parking.
  • There will be a table near the garden that you will need to stop at. There will be hand sanitizer for all attendees to use and an usher will collect your contact information. A box will be available on this table for the offertory collection (we will not be passing a basket during the service).
  •  Please bring your own chair or blanket. Church chairs will not be available.
  • Families must social distance on the lawn by 6 feet and areas will be marked by spray paint on the lawn.
  • Masks are required and we will have some masks for those that may have forgotten to bring one.
  • We will not pass the peace and ask that attendees refrain from physical contact (hugging, handshakes, touching).
  • There will be no singing, the church service music will be instrumental or pre-recorded.
  • The playground will be closed
  • There will be no coffee hour. The Zoom Coffee Hour will take place on the Sundays when there is no outside worship service.
  • Bathroom use is discouraged. The bathroom by the sacristy will be available for emergencies only. The remainder of the church building will be closed.
  • No prayer books or hymnals will be available.
  • The Bulletin will be available electronically and we encourage you to download it for use during the service. Some paper copies will be available, but you will have to take the bulletin home to dispose of it.

In the event of poor weather, the service will be cancelled. We will notify you via email and also put the cancellation on our Facebook Page and Facebook Group. You may also contact Claire Wachter 717-448-0506 to find out if the service is cancelled.  

The theme in this week's Gospel (Matthew 20:1-16) is about God's generosity and grace.  Jesus is telling the disciples the parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard.  Jesus is trying to explain that we are all part of God's work and God's plan.  It doesn't matter where we found God or when.  What matters is that we do God's work and do the work together and that we ALL will received God's love and grace.  We can't earn it, God freely gives it to us when we accept Him into our hearts and follow His ways.  

Father God, thank you for loving us unconditionally and for accepting us as your children.  Your love is so great and so deep for us, more than we can ever imagine. Thank you for never giving up on us, for cheering us on,  and for the grace you show us each day.    Help us to remember that we are part of your kingdom and that we are called to do your work in our community and in the world. It is in your precious name we say, Amen.    


Opening Hymn: "Glorious things of thee are spoken"

Collect for Purity (BCP 355)
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no
secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.   

The Word of God
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.

The First Reading                                                            Exodus 16:2-15
The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.” So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?” And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord.” Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’“ And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. The Lord spoke to Moses and said, “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”
In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.

The Word of the Lord, Thanks be to God. 

The Response                                                                            Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45
1 Give thanks to the Lord and call upon his Name; * make known his deeds among the peoples.
2 Sing to him, sing praises to him, * and speak of all his marvelous works.
3 Glory in his holy Name; * let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
4 Search for the Lord and his strength; * continually seek his face.
5 Remember the marvels he has done, * his wonders and the judgments of his mouth,
6 O offspring of Abraham his servant, * O children of Jacob his chosen.
37 He led out his people with silver and gold; * in all their tribes there was not one that stumbled.
38 Egypt was glad of their going, * because they were afraid of them.
39 He spread out a cloud for a covering * and a fire to give light in the night season.
40 They asked, and quails appeared, * and he satisfied them with bread from heaven.
41 He opened the rock, and water flowed, * so the river ran in the dry places.
42. For God remembered his holy word * and Abraham his servant.
43 So he led forth his people with gladness, * his chosen with shouts of joy.
44 He gave his people the lands of the nations, * and they took the fruit of others' toil,
45 That they might keep his statutes * and observe his laws. Hallelujah!

The Epistle                                                         Philippians 1:21-30
To me, living is Christ and dying is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which I prefer. I am hard pressed between the two: my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better; but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in faith, so that I may share abundantly in your boasting in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.
Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel, and are in no way intimidated by your opponents. For them this is evidence of their destruction, but of your salvation. And this is God's doing. For he has graciously granted you the privilege not only of believing in Christ, but of suffering for him as well-- since you are having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear that I still have.

The Word of the Lord, Thanks be to God.

Sequence Hymn: "Fairest Lord Jesus"   
The Gospel                                                              Matthew 20:1-16

The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew
Glory to you, Lord Christ

Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, ‘Why are you standing here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard.’ When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

The Gospel of the Lord.   Praise to you, Lord Christ.

Kids Gospel Video
The Message                                                                                      Father Shawn Clerkin  

Nicene Creed
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.  We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father.  Through him all things were made. For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.  We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets.  We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.  We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.  

Prayers of the People
As the sounds, sights, and smells of summer delight our ears, eyes, and noses, let us praise our God saying, “Make your word a lantern to my feet and a light upon my path.” God of faith, you called us to share the good news of salvation; grant us the gift of faith to fulfill our mission.  We pray for Justin, Michael, Sean, Cathy, and Shawn.  Make your word a lantern to my feet, and a light upon my path.

God of mercy, you called us to live in peace with one another; grant the nation and our leaders the gift of knowing what things they ought to do and the grace and power to faithfully accomplish them. We pray for Donald, Thomas, Joseph, and Kathy. Make your word a lantern to my feet, and a light upon my path.

God of hope, you called us to care for your creation; grant us the gift of wisdom to tend the plants yielding seed and the trees bearing fruit, the cattle and kine, the creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.  Make your word a lantern to my feet, and a light upon my path. 

God of goodness, you called us to welcome all as you welcome us; grant us the gift of seeing Christ in all people and act accordingly for the common good.  Make your word a lantern to my feet, and a light upon my path. 

God of grace, you called each of us to be members of the body of Christ; grant the gift of healing to physicians and nurses, to priests and counselors, to social workers and deacons, to teachers and their aides, to police and first responders, and to all who pray and care for the suffering.  We pray for _____ (share your own intentions).  Make your word a lantern to my feet, and a light upon my path. 

God of glory, neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God. Christ Jesus, give rest to _____ (share names of those who have passed).  Make your word a lantern to my feet, and a light upon my path. 

Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!  We thank you for _____ (offer your own thanksgivings).  Make your word a lantern to my feet, and a light upon my path. 

God of hope, we give this week into your hands.  Make us ever mindful of your loving presence in good times as well as bad.  Make your word a lantern to my feet, and a light upon my path.        

Communion: "God will take care of you"



                                                                                          A Form for Spiritual Communion

The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, now and forever. Amen.

Agnus Dei
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:
have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world:
grant us peace.

The Communion Prayer
In union, O Lord, with the faithful at every altar of your Church where the Holy Eucharist is now being celebrated, we desire to offer you praise and thanksgiving. We present to you our souls and bodies with the earnest wish that we may always be united to you, and, since we cannot now receive you sacramentally, we beseech you to come spiritually into our hearts. We unite ourselves with you, and embrace you with all the love of our souls. Let nothing ever separate you from us. May we live in you, and may you live in us, both in this life and in the life to come. Amen.

A General Thanksgiving
Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we, your unworthy servants, give you humble thanks for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all whom you have made. We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your immeasurable love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with a truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up ourselves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

Jesus, we want to receive you in our hearts and we cannot do it in the sacramental way. Therefore, we ask you to come to us and fill us with your presence, your peace and your love. Grant us, Lord, the graces we need most. Amen.

Irish Blessing
May the blessing of light be on you, light without and light within. May the blessed sunshine shine on you and warm your heart till it glows like a great peat fire, so that the stranger may come and warm himself at it, and also a friend. And the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be upon you and remain with you always. Amen
Go in peace to love and serve Lord. 
Thanks be to God.

Closing Hymn: "God be with you 'til we meet again"    



Each week we remember members of our congregation or others in need of prayer. If you wish to add a prayer request to the list, please contact Heather Michel, our Director of Communication at Only first names will be added to the list due to privacy. 
Carlota, Judy, Michelle, Patty, Maddy, Gerry, Mike, Anna May, John, Marlene, Alicia, Dotte, Harper, David, John, Bishop Persico, Deborah, Lisa, Max, Tricia, Kathy, Anna, Mahal, Kate, Evie, Kimberly, Nancy, Julie, Kelsey, Mary Francis, James, Karen, Donald, Kevin, Don, Rich, Karen, Amy, Brian, Kenneth, Mary Jane, Cynthia, Anthony, Ben, Stevie, Mitch, Marj, Don, Joyce and her children; Linda and Brian, Jean and her family, Sue and her family, Paul and his caregivers Mary Frances and Sallie, Craig and his caregivers; Daniel and Mary; Chad and his family. 

"I have hope"
-Ephesians 1:12

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