01 June 2020

St. Paul’s Parish Newsletter
June 1, 2020
 Calendar Reminders
The BUILDING is Still Closed... THE CHURCH
 IS NOT
June 6 10:30am Regathering Committee,
IT issues (see NOTES below, please) June 21 Father’s Day
Washington Cathedral on line 11:15 am and 7:30 pm
daily: https://cathedral.org/worship/
Diocese of N. Indiana (St. James Cathedral) 10:15 AM Sunday https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC CKWYmjR8F8_Eu1dOKZ1jdA
Collect for Trinity Sunday (June 7th)
Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Lessons: Genesis 1:1-2:4a; Psalm 8; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; Matthew 28:16-20
    
Our Parish Prayer List:
We pray for our Bishops, Michael and Jennifer; for the people of our companion diocese of Brasilia and their bishop, the Rt. Rev. Mauricio Andrade; and for the people & Diocese of Haiti, and for St. Andre’s in Mithon.
On June 7th, in the diocesan cycle of prayer we pray for Clergy in hospital chaplaincy: The Rev. Dr. M. Lorraine Coufal . We also pray for our own parish of St. Paul’s, that our work here may be life-giving for others and for us, and that the Holy Spirit will guide us to those for whom our community would be life-giving.
We pray for the leaders and members of our churches as they begin the process of regathering for services and activities. Give them, and us, wisdom and courage to responsibly and safely conduct our worship and collective activities in the thought and manner that serves our Lord, and each other as his beloved children.
We pray for the victims of COVID-19: The sick, those who have died, the families who have suffered loss of loved ones, of jobs and other incomes, and of the companionship of friends. We pray for comfort in anxiety, for healing in physical and emotional pain and illness, and for courage to trust and work for a safer and more compassionate world.
We give thanks for all those who give their time and their lives to care for the sick and dying, and also for those who provide necessary services and goods to us all. We pray for their safety and strength to continue their very necessary and life-giving work.
We pray for our nation, now experiencing the effects of our long history of racism, especially institutional racism and disenfranchisement, as well as violence in the streets of our cities. Bless and protect those who are sincerely trying to protest peacefully, and those who are sincerely making strides towards bringing about reconciliation and peace, giving all people an equal opportunity to live in freedom from want and in safety.
We pray for: Jesse, Virginia, Beverly, Juanita, Gwen, Mary Sue, Gus, Delani, Nan, David & Michele, Patricia, Sonny, John.
We pray for the good earth which God has given us, and for the wisdom and will to conserve it.
For all who fear God and believe in you, Lord Christ, that our divisions may cease, and that all may be one as you and the Father are one, we pray to you, O Lord. Make us one in heart and mind to serve you with joy forever. Amen.

From the SPTW team:
CONGRATULATIONS ! To Katie Kershner, daughter of Cale and Kim Kershner, who has just graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in theatre arts. Well done, Katie!
Thanks to everyone who has expressed concern for the health and well-being of our parish and its members by making phone calls and being willing to help those of us in need! Our parish is blessed by so many caring members. If you have needs during this time of uncertainty please let us know!
THANKS TO ALL those faithful who continue to remember to send in their pledges and offerings. Bills are still being paid on time. We are aware that many are living on depleted funds, and appreciate that you continue your pledges and offerings as you are able.
If you have something you’d like to add to the next SPTW, please email the team at stpaulsjeff@gmail.com by Sunday afternoon. Please put SPTW in the subject line. Many thanks.
Notes from May 30th Regathering Committee Meeting
Those who had expressed interest in this meeting met at 10:30 last Saturday. The meeting began with Sonny leading us in a review and discussion of Kim’s report and the Bishop’s directives. It was soon obvious that our state and county would not be ready in the immediate future for us to meet the first three requirements from the Bishop, and while we were ready to meet some goals for social distancing, masks, and other means of protecting each other, there were many of our membership who were too vulnerable to the virus to be comfortable meeting with us and were not expected to attend in person services yet. We determined that having anything less than a welcoming, open first regathering was not acceptable to us. This left us with the realization that online meetings on various platforms were going to be the best way for us to stay in touch, worship together, and conduct our business. Toward that end, there will be another meeting on SATURDAY, JUNE 6th at 10:30am in the Parish Hall. We are asking those
with the knowledge and skills to help us plan and set up modes of online worship, as well as specific meetings, to please join us..
 
Words from Deacon Jim:
What to Make of All This? Signs of the Times! Acts 2:1-11
When the story of Covid- 19 is finally written it will likely be framed by such signs of the times as masks, plexiglass shields, social distancing, flattening the curve, temperature checks, ‘essential’ services and, most glaring of all, empty toilet paper shelves! Today’s Church (meaning the worldwide Church) is living through its own signs of the times, cancelled services, virtual worship, physical separation, no singing(!) and adapted communion. There’s nothing ‘normal’ about the ‘new normalcy!’
Ironic, isn’t it, that Pentecost, considered the Birthday of the Church, should fall during this time! If it’s been a while since you’ve read the account in Acts (2:1-11) of the coming of the Holy Spirit then by all means take a couple of minutes and do so. It’s exciting reading and the basis for our understanding of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our world.
A little perspective:
1. Pentecost is the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit to God’s people. Remember Jesus said that even though his time on earth was ending God would send the Spirit (‘Advocate’ according to John) to abide with the faithful. Pentecost happens 50 days after the Resurrection and coincides with the Jewish Festival of Weeks which is celebrated in Jewish tradition as the day the Law of Moses was given to the Israelites. Thus... God covenants with Israel through the Law of Moses while God establishes his relationship with Christian believers through the Holy Spirit.
2. The account in Acts relates that the Spirit came to the disciples as wind and fire. Both of these ‘signs’ have long histories that would’ve resonated with Christians and their Jewish forbears. At Creation, God’s life-giving presence is ‘a wind sweeping over the face of the waters...’ (Gen. 1:2) while during Israel’s desert trek God’s power is ‘a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.’ (Exod. 13:21)
3. Although the Holy Spirit descends only on the disciples they can’t keep it to themselves! Acts records a huge, multi-cultural, multi-lingual crowd (gathered in Jerusalem for the Festival of Weeks) reacting in amazement and wonder to God’s revelation. There’s a saying among theologians: if there is a crowd look for a disturbance! The wind and fire roiled the crowd with life-changing energy! No one was immune. It was a time when the power of God was unmistakable!
4. It’s important to note that the Holy Spirit is not revealed as an act of overwhelming might; the power it ushers forth is the power to communicate! Now believers can perform their mission to spread the Good News of Christ without language or cultural barriers. Scholars will note that Man had been separated by language ever since the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1-9). This rift has now been repaired.

So, what does all this mean for us?
Although it’s fun to think of Pentecost as the Church’s ‘Birthday Party,’ this year it is so much more than just wearing red. Yes, the Church’s outreach programs have carried on their important work amid the pandemic, but we as a Worshipping Body seem to have fallen into the ‘non-essential’ category. Is this where the Children born of Wind and Fire belong? Of course, we are called to be ‘in the world,’ and as faithful shepherds to the larger community we value the safety of those around us, but has the confounding nature of this crisis blurred our mission as Christ’s Body? Have the laws of economics and science become more persuasive than the teachings of Christ? Has the destructive power of a virus become larger than the healing power of the Holy Spirit? Rarely in modern history has it become more vital to reclaim our baptisms and:
REJOICE ALWAYS! PRAY WITHOUT CEASING! GIVE THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES! FOR THAT IS THE WILL OF GOD FOR US!
We are the Believers, given life by God’s breath, empowered by God’s flame, and baptized in God’s Spirit! It is our calling to do God’s work in the world. An overwhelming compassion for humanity that rises high above cultural divisions must be the Church’s new calling card. An unshakable and non-judgmental love for all of Creation must be its ‘sign of the times.’ A renewed energy likened in strength to wind and flame must be the Church’s modus operandi. By God’s grace the Church will rise to its mission to be a calming, reassuring, healing presence in a world marked by fear and partisanship, taking an ‘essential’ role in inspired leadership and advocacy, urging every policy decision to be framed in ‘Love God, Love Your Neighbor.’ If we can move the conversation from ‘life vs. livelihood’ to ‘that which is life-giving’ then this will be the Church at its most ‘essential,’ providing a wisdom and a healing and a comfort and a hope that nothing else can. Anything less erodes its viability as a force for social and spiritual fulfillment, consigning its relevance to that of gyms and spas.
Let us pray for the Church:
Everliving God, whose will it is that all should come to you through your Son Jesus Christ: Inspire our witness to him, that all may know the power of god, now and for ever. Amen. (BCP P.816)
 

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