17 Aug 2020

 St. Paul’s Parish Newsletter
August 17, 2020
Calendar Reminders
Aug 22 9:30-11:30 AA Meeting
Aug 23 11:00 am St. Paul’s On-Line Worship Service—FaceBook Live https://www.facebook.com/StPaulsJeff /live_videos/
Diocese of N. Indiana (St. James Cathedral) 10:15 AM Sunday https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC CKWYmjR8F8_Eu1dOKZ1jdA
Washington Cathedral on line 11:15 am and 7:30 pm
daily: https://cathedral.org/worship/
Collect for 12th Sunday after Pentecost (August 23rd)
Almighty God, you have given your only Son to be for us a sacrifice for sin, and also an example of godly life: Give us grace to receive thankfully the fruits of his redeeming work, and to follow daily in the blessed steps of his most holy life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The Lessons: Genesis 45:1-15; Psalm 133; Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32; Matthew 15: (10-28).
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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.
In the diocesan cycle of prayer we pray for Clergy and students of diocesan campus ministries. 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.
For the peace of the world, for the welfare of the holy Church of God, and for the unity of all peoples,
For the good earth which God has given us, and for the wisdom and will to conserve it,
For the aged and infirm, for the widowed and orphans, and for the sick and the suffering. We remember all who have asked us to remember them in prayer ... Virginia, Beverly, Juanita, Gwen, Mary Sue, Gus, Delani, Nan, David & Michele, Patricia, Sonny, John, Fred, Kacey, Star, and Bill.
For the poor and the oppressed, for the unemployed and the destitute, for prisoners and captives, and for all who remember and care for them,
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.
In the communion of St Paul and all the saints, let us commend ourselves, and one another, and all our life, to Christ our God.
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.
Mums for Sale!!
Sam and Louie are selling mums as a fundraiser for their Cub Scouts Pack. If anyone would like to order some, please feel free to email
Kate, kschiavi@gmail.com or call/text 502-386-0424. Thank you!
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From the SPTW team:
ONLINE MORNING PRAYER SERVICES: The next service will begin Sunday, August 23rd at 11:00 am. It will be on Facebook Live. https://www.facebook.com/StPaulsJeff/live_videos/
Every week, folks are checking out the broadcast, during and after the service! Please join us, and tell others about the service.
Several people have inquired about joining the church. Bishop Jennifer has informed the diocese she will be conducting a Confirmation Service in the Fall. If you would be interested in being a part of a Confirmation Class, please contact the Office or Deacon Jim.
We would love to have more volunteers to participate in the online Sunday Morning Prayer service, as readers, and/or as officiant. If you are interested, please let me know, or leave word with the parish office.
MANY THANKS for your faithfulness in sending in your pledges and offerings. We have kept up our payments so far, and need to continue doing so.
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!
The Parish Secretary would like to remind everyone that regular office hours for the rest of the summer will be Monday through Wednesday, and Friday, 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.
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.
The Covid-19 Report July 27, 2020
From Kim Hedges
These are the numbers for Clark County, Indiana:
+The recommended positivity rate is 5%. This number reflects the positive cases divided by the number of tests administered. It is important to note that this number needs to be incredibly low because a lot of employers are requiring two negative tests before a person can return to the workplace. It also reflects the fact that this test comes back with false negatives often and that many people get the test early after exposure before the disease has multiplied enough to show a positive result.
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+The recommended infection rate is 0.3. Please note that the infection rate data lags about a week. So the numbers given each week reflect the past week. This number shows how many people a single positive case could transmit the disease to under normal circumstances.
     Date
10Aug 11Aug 12Aug 13Aug 14Aug
Positivity Infection New Total Rate Rate Cases Cases
8.9 Med 11 1244 1.04
9.0 Med 43 1287 1.07
9.1 Med 20 1307 1.06
9.1 Med 26 1333 1.06
9.2 Med 19 1352 1.04
                            15 Aug
  9.2
   Not available yet
    33
   1385
  16 Aug
9.2
  Not available yet
   25
  1410
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From the Senior Warden
Dear folks,
This is an interesting time we are living through. I never dreamed we would have to close for something like the flu. The COVID19, of course, is far more contagious than the flu. And when we had to close never did I imagine we would be closed so long I had hoped by July that the vestry could soon meet in person but given the direction from the bishop it looks to a bit longer.
I want to keep you all abreast of what is and has been going on at St. Paul’s. Marylee is still functioning as parish secretary, keeping the day-to-day business moving. She is publishing the weekly newsletter, tracking and writing checks for the monthy bills. I go in weekly to approve and sign checks and make bank deposits of incoming checks.
I have also dealt with the insurance company’s request to have the 321 electrical panel replaced and have the church sprinkler system inspected and serviced. I am still amazed that the system had not been inspected since installation in 1982. Who knew? But it is done now and will be done annually hereafter. After discussion with the Endowment Committee it was determined that the expense for these two items could be--and was-- funded from the endowment income. We still have not had to dip into the principal. We also still have some funds remaining in the Schneider fund.
The AA group is back meeting in the parish hall on Saturday mornings, agreeing to comply with the guidelines (masks, social distancing, and sanitation practices). They had lost their meeting place during our shutdown and had nowhere else to go. They are meeting at their own risk. Our Bible study group is also meeting in the basement meeting area, also in compliance with the guidelines. Several folks are still supporting CLM with regular food donations.
Those who agreed to give are still giving. Centerstone’s rent check is still
arriving monthly as is the Diocesan assistance check. Due to our much lower expenses we are managing financially.
I must thank Deacon Jim Stanton for organizing the weekly online service and also to Charlene and her daughter for their technical expertise in streaming it. Thanks also to those who have volunteered to be lectors As for me, I am still having back and shoulder pain from arthritis which is causing difficulty with walking and standing for any length of time. My doctor reminds me I am 81 not 21.
I have nothing else to add to this rather lengthy tome. If any of you have any need or concerns that need addressing please reply back so we can deal with them
So: Keep connected, stay patient, stay the church, and God bless. Sonny
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From Deacon Jim
What To Make Of It All?
The Letter vs. the Spirit! Matthew 15:(10-20);21-28
Since there’s a lot to digest in today’s Gospel reading I’m going to give you the punchline right at the top so we can keep it in mind as we go, and here it is: ‘The Girl Got Healed.’ That’s the bottom line, ‘The Girl Got Healed.’ Now, for the ‘Rest of the Story.’
Today, Matthew presents us with two stories, the Story of Jesus at Gennesaret, and the more disturbing Jesus and the Syro-Phoenician Woman. Both of these stories center on clean vs. unclean; who’s included vs. who’s excluded; and in a larger sense ‘The Letter of the Law vs. the Spirit of the Law,’ a conflict that has challenged would-be disciples throughout the ages. Today both stories find Jesus tired, frustrated and angry, as he is continually harassed by religious authorities who are desperate to expose him as a fraud.
In the first story, Jesus and the gang are tending the needy at Gennesaret, on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. Word of Jesus’ miracles in the area, most notably his Feeding the 5,000 and Walking on Water has reached Jerusalem and some Pharisees are making the journey north to test him. Because Jesus has gained renown as a great teacher and spiritual authority, the Pharisees want to trap Jesus in legalistic arguments over Jesus’ teachings regarding the Law. Any true Messiah, they claim, would champion the Law handed down by none other than Moses and not seek to reframe it. The thing is, in Judaic life there was no real difference between civil and religious law and in fact much of what was accepted as law were in reality cultural practices and traditions that had been around so long they were treated as sacrosanct. Jesus had incurred the wrath of the Pharisees by preaching that instead of honoring their Covenant with God by adhering to the wisdom contained in the Ten Commandments, the people were basing their relationship with God on blind obedience to social etiquette.
In today’s story the Pharisees accuse the disciples of breaking traditions regarding ritual cleanliness, to wit: Not washing their hands and food properly before they ate. ‘Nothing is more important than being clean before God,’ the Pharisees insisted, ‘and ignoring these traditions is disobeying God himself.’ Jesus’ reaction is pure Jesus! He says, in so many words: ‘You Pharisees ignore the big things and say ‘Gotcha’ on the small things.’ ‘You live in a world of corruption and then condemn us for not washing our hands; your petty obsession with the Letter of the Law has made you unable to appreciate the Spirit of the Law, which is where true obedience to God begins. It’s not what goes into the mouth that makes us unclean, it’s what comes out of the heart!’
Now, in that story Jesus suffered from the Pharisees’ focus on the ‘Letter of the Law.’ In our second story, Jesus and the Syro-Phoenician Woman, a disturbing, and in fact shocking, twist to this issue is added. Syro-Phoenicia is an area on the Mediterranean coast. The people there are Greek and they worship Pagan gods--in other words, unclean by Jewish definition. Jesus and the disciples have gone to this unclean land, ironically not to make it clean but to find some peace away from the Pharisees. There they
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unexpectedly meet a woman seeking a cure for her daughter. The encounter is brief and worth hearing again:
‘A woman from the vicinity recognized Jesus and cried out ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.’ The disciples urged Jesus ‘Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.’ Jesus answered her ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.’ The woman knelt before him, ‘Lord, help me’ she said. Jesus replied ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs!’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ she said, ’but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Jesus answered, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Your request is granted.’ And her daughter was healed from that very hour.’
Of course, this story goes against the overarching Scriptural theme that Jesus died for the sins of the entire world and rose from the dead in a victory for all people, and there are interpretations that try to soften Jesus’ harshness toward this woman, this woman of faith. But the fact is Jesus treated her badly, in fact cruelly. Comparing her to a dog borders on bigotry and it would’ve had the same meaning back then as it does today. Yes, in the end the daughter was healed but only because the woman proved to be persistent and sharp- witted. Had she gone away her daughter would not have been healed. Just as Jesus suffered under the unwillingness of the Pharisees to see beyond the Letter of the Law of Moses, this woman is suffering from Jesus’ unwillingness to act outside the Letter of His Own Law, where he states ‘I’ve come only for the lost sheep of Israel.’
Rather than trying to explain it away, I submit that a key to proceeding with this hurtful story is to take Jesus at his word. If we agree that Jesus meant what he said, can we, then, empathize with the woman? Can we put ourselves in her place? Here she is, a believer, and the one she calls ‘Lord’ said ‘I did not come for you.’ Can we take a moment and let that sink in? Is there a sting in those harsh words? Do we feel a stab of pain, a sense of ‘I can’t believe he said that!’ Well, if there is then let’s say it out loud... it’s unfair! There, we said it... in this situation Jesus is being unfair, he’s being discriminatory, he’s being purposefully hurtful... unfair! And rather than say ‘nice Christians don’t say those things,’ let’s hold on to that feeling for a minute...
Just as Jesus suffered and just as Jesus caused suffering from the conflict between Letter and Spirit, so we are living in a time when our cherished institutions, our identity as a free country, our sense of history, and especially our system of laws, perhaps the bedrock from whence we draw our value as a civilized society, all these are today under scrutiny. Our social foundations and sense of propriety are shaken; how do we react? We’re tempted to say ‘Well, we both live under the same laws, don’t we!’ We’re tempted to say ‘Well, history is what happened, isn’t it? Facts are facts!’ We’re tempted to say ‘Slavery came and went hundreds of years ago, right. What’s that got to do with me?’ That’s ‘Letter of the Law’ thinking; in a technical sense it’s correct and it’s a natural place to go when we feel threatened. BUT... let’s recall that stab of pain the Syro-Phoenician woman suffered at Jesus’ hurtful words? ‘The one I called Lord said he didn’t come for
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me.’ Can we take that feeling of unfairness and empathize with someone who says ‘I know how high you hold our Justice System, but it hasn’t worked that well for me.’ Can we take the unfairness of ‘The one I called Lord said he didn’t come for me’ and empathize with someone who says ‘the history that is such a point of pride for you really hasn’t told my story.’ Can we take the humiliation we felt at ‘The one I called Lord said he didn’t come for me,’ and try to understand someone who says ‘for you slavery is history, for me it’s my heritage?’
Most of us pride ourselves as being law-abiding citizens. We pay our taxes, we don’t rob banks and we don’t talk on cell phones when we drive. But like the Pharisees we find it easier to express our patriotism by obeying the Letter of the Law, even with all its statutes and ordinances, rather than the Spirit of the Law by which we would be compelled to think about equality and about how everyone is faring under the system, especially those different from us. I’m certainly not here with solutions to our pressing cultural issues; I’m here armed only with the empathy we feel for the Syro-Phoenician woman, the empathy we feel for her injustice, and the hope that is ours because... Jesus changed his mind. The girl got healed.
Yes, as in most of Jesus’ stories faith was the agent of change, but change did happen, this time with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who tempered even his own purpose on earth to respond to a faithful plea. Talk about the power of faith! Can that happen today? Is there any hope that society’s most intractable problems can be meaningfully addressed? We’ll know that the answer is ‘yes’ when we see people of goodwill sitting down together and amid prayer, empathy and grace embracing the Spirit of our Laws whereby justice is tempered by mercy and the Spirit of God, whereby all are God’s children. It’s happened before; a Greek woman from Syro-Phoenicia was blessed by a Jewish man who set aside his own agenda to validate her faith. In that instance, one child was healed. But it’s a start.
Let us pray for our Courts of Justice:
Almighty God, who sittest in the throne judging right: we humbly beseech thee to bless the courts of justice and the magistrates in all this land; and give unto them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, that they may discern the truth, and impartially administer the law in the fear of thee alone; through him who shall come to be our Judge, thy Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. (BCP P.821)
REJOICE ALWAYS! PRAY WITHOUT CEASING! GIVE THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES! FOR THAT IS THE WILL OF GOD FOR US!
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