FEAST OF ST STEPHEN, DEACON AND MARTYR

And so the love that brought Christ from heaven to earth raised Stephen from earth to heaven… Love was Stephen’s weapon by which he gained every battle, and so won the crown signified by his [Christ’s] name… Strengthened by the power of his love, he overcame the raging cruelty of Saul and won his persecutor on earth as his companion in heaven… Now, at last, Paul rejoices with Stephen, with Stephen he delights in the glory of Christ, with Stephen he exults, with Stephen he reigns. Stephen went first, slain by the stones thrown by Paul, but Paul followed after, helped by the prayer of Stephen. This, surely, is the true life, my brothers, a life in which Paul feels no shame because of Stephen’s death, and Stephen delights in Paul’s companionship, for love fills them both with joy. It was Stephen’s love that prevailed over the cruelty of the mob, and it was Paul’s love that covered a multitude of his sins; it was love that won for both of them the kingdom of heaven. (St Fulgentius)

Gracious Father,

who gave the first martyr Stephen

grace to pray for those who took up stones against him:

grant that in all our sufferings for the truth

we may learn to love even our enemies

and to seek forgiveness for those who desire our hurt,

looking up to heaven to him who was crucified for us,

Jesus Christ, our mediator and advocate,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.

(Common Worship, Collect for Stephen, Deacon and First Martyr)

(image from The Stoning of [Saint] Stephen. Artist: Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld)

5 thoughts on “FEAST OF ST STEPHEN, DEACON AND MARTYR

  1. PLUS WE FREQUENTLY HAD AN ECUMENICAL “VESPERS” / “EVENING PRAYER” SERVICE WITH A SERMON / HOMILY ON THE OBSERVATION / COMMEMORATION DAY FOR “ST. STEPHEN, DEACON & MARTYR” ON DECEMBER 25th FIR A MARYLAND & MIDDLE ATLANTIC STATES REGION EXTENDED TO EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN / EPISCOPAL – ANGLICAN / ROMAN CATHOLIC / EASTERN – GREEK ORTHODOX / UNITED METHODIST / UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST etc RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES!!! THAT’S TOMORROW ACCORDING TO LITURGICAL CALENDAR ) CHURCH YEAR. I USED TO HAVE COPIES OF YOUR CofE “BOOKS OF COMMON PRAYER” VARIOUS YEARS EDITIONS / OTHER OCCASIONAL SERVICES & ALTERNATE SERVICES BOOKS & HYMNALS SO I ASSUME YOU CELEBRATE THE SAME DAY (aka “BOXING DAY” IN U.K.???)
    SO “HAPPY SAINT STEPHEN’S DAY” TO YOU ALL!!!!!
    = AN AMERICAN / EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN DEACON. – d D E T

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  2. TO: Church of England Network for Distinctive Diaconate / Deacons
    FROM: Deacon Duane E. Tressler (retired – Order of St. Stephen, Deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran churches –
    U.S.A.) – Baltimore, Maryland
    Friday, December 16th, 2022
    PLEASE CONTACT ME BY E-MAIL / TELEPHONE CALL WHEB CONVENIENT. I WAS FORMERLY A FRIEND & IN CONTACT WITH A PROBABLY NOW DECEASED BRITISH ANGLICAN DEACONESS – SISTER WHO WAS LONGTIME EDITOR OF A NEWSLETTER FOR BRITISH DEACONS / DEACONESSES DURING LATE 1970s – 1980s AND ONCE VISITED ME HERE & MARYLAND EPISCOPAL CHURCH DEACONS BACK THEN. SOMETIME LATER HER NEWSLETTER PUBLICATION ENDED AND I LOST CONTACT INFORMATION AND THE ASSOCIATION OF DEACONS WAS UNFORTUNATELY SUSPENDED / DISBANDED I READ SOMEWHERE ON INTERNET / CofE NEWSPAPER “CHURCH TIMES” I WAS VERY INVOLVED / INSTRUMENTAL IN REVIVING OF THE PERMANENT DIACONATE & THEOLOGICAL / MINISTRY STUDIES HERE AMONG NORTH AMERICAN LUTHERANS & INVOLVED IN ECUMENICAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH ROMAN CATHOLIC / EPISCOPAL (USA) / UNITED METHODIST / REFORMED CHURCHES DEACONS AT THAT TIME. . I HOPE TO HEAR FROM YOU AND I ASSUME A REVIVED ANGLICAN DEACONS ORGANIZATION IN THE U.K.!!
    = D.E.T.
    E-MAIL – duanetressler1953@gmail.com
    lutherandeacon1977@yahoo.com
    PHONE -. 1 (443) 599 – 5602
    POSTAL MAIL ADDRESS –
    Apt. #410, Morrell Park Apartments,
    1820 Spence Street,
    Morrell Park,
    Baltimore, Maryland 21230 – 1350,
    U.S.A.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Duane, good to hear from you! Yes, you’re thinking of Rev Dr Sister Teresa White: she was priested, and she has now died. She did a wonderful job! Yes, DACE died in 2017 and I have been working so hard ever since, with the brilliant national Network of Distinctive Deacons steering group, to revive the diaconal movement. We are making so much progress – very thankful to God! Please also see our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/DistinctivelyDeacon. And a happy Christmas and peaceful new year to you! Gill

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      1. TO Deacon Gil – CofE Network Distinctive Diaconate
        FROM: Deacon Duane E. Tressler, (O.S.S D. – retired)
        Baltimore, Maryland U. S.A.
        SO VERY GLAD TO GET A REPLY AND HEAR FROM YOU WAY OVER THERE ACROSS THE “GREAT POND”!! AS I FEARED THAT THE FORMER DEACONESS / SISTER HAD PASSED ON NOW NEAR FOUR DECADES AFTER WE FIRST WONDERFULLY MER HERE IN MY HOMETOWN OF “THE MONUMENTAL CITY” OF BALTIMORE WHERE SHE WAS VISITING EPISCOPAL CHURCH “PERPETUAL DEACONS” IN THE DIOCESE OF MARYLAND – ONE IN PARTICULAR NAMED MAGGIE DUNLAP (WHICH I’M ALSO TRYING TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED TO HER WITH DIOCESAN STAFF AT EPISCOPAL CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF THE INCARNATION. I NEVER FORGOT OUR CONVERSATIONS & SEVERAL HOURS OVER A FEW DAYS SPENT TOGETHER IN EARLY 1980s!!! IS IT POSSIBLE TO FIND OUT ANY OBITUARY / NEWS ARTICLES OR PHOTO OF HER GRAVE / RESTING PLACE??? YOU NOW HAVE MY CONTACT INFORMATION – PHONE / E-MAIL BOXES & POSTAL MAIL ADDRESS. O.S S.D. HAS AN INTERNET WEBSITE PLUS SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES ON “FACEBOOK” & “INSTAGRAM”. ALSO THERE IS SOME DIACONATE MATERIAL ON THE WEBSITE FOR OUR EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN AMERICA WHICH FINALLY OFFICIALLY ACCEPTED PERMANENT MINISTRY IF DEACONS ABOUT 2916 IN GENERAL CONVENTION AFTER LONG TOTUROUS HISTORY GOING BACK A HUNDRED YEARS BUT STARTING IN ERNEST IN 1970s AFTER ROMAN CATHOLIC’s VATICAN COUNCIL 2 I S.S.D. BEGAN HERE IN BALTIMORE IN 1971 INSPIRED BY FIRST PERMANENT DIACONATE PROGRAM IN NORTH AMERICA AT THEIR ARCHDIOCESE OF BALTIMORE HERE. THERE WERE A FEW EPISCOPAL CHURCH MALE “PERPETUAL DEACONS” (TERM USED FROM 1950s ERA WHEN THEY FIRST BEGAN) AT THAT TIME HERE IN MARYLAND DIOCESE AND MY OLD SECONDARY SCHOOL ENGLISH TEACHER (WHO HAD BEEN ORDAINED LONG AFTER I GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL IN 1972 FROM “THE BALTIMORE CITY COLLEGE” – THIRD OLDEST PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL IN AMERICA – FOUNDED 1839 – A “MAGNET” / SELECTIVE ACCELERATED / ACADEMIC PROGRAM & CURRICULUM SPECIALIZING IN HUMANITIES / LIBERAL ARTS & THE CLASSICS ) WAS PLEASED TO ECUMENICAL PARTICIPATE IN MY ORDINATION (“SETTING APART”) IN MAY 1977 ALONG WITH A FEW CATHOLICS. I HOPE YOU NOW HAVE ME ON YOUR MAILING LIST FOR FREQUENTLY FUTURE CONTACT & CONSULTATION??!! WHY NOT SIMPLY RESUSITATE / RESURRECT THE FORMER “CHURCH OF ENGLAND DIACONAL ASSOCIATION” & STRUCTURE AND OVERCOME THE UNFORTUNATE STUPID SHORT-SIGHTED DISBANDMENT?!!! I RECALL BEING SURPRISED / SHOCKED & SADDENED WHEN I READ ABOUT IT SEVERAL YEARS AGO??!! HOW MANY DEACONS ARE THERE NOW IN THE UNITED KINGDOM??!! – ENGLAND??? MAYBE I SHOULD WRITE A PERSONAL LETTER MYSELF TO THE ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY AND YOUR BEAURACRATIC ANGLICAN CONSULTATIVE COUNCIL???!!! KEEP ME POSTED AND LET’S TALK VERBALLY SOON!!!
        = d. D.E.T.
        (Baltimore /// 3:10 am EST – “Nativity of Our Lord” / “Christmas Day” – Sunday morning – December 25th, 2022)

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