24 Aug 2020

 St. Paul’s Parish Newsletter
August 24, 2020
Calendar Reminders
Aug 25 (Tuesday) 1:00 pm Inquirer’s Class (New Members) Meeting in Parish Hall.
Aug 29 9:30-11:30 AA Meeting
Aug 30 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 13th Sunday after Pentecost (August 30th)
Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.
The Lessons: Exodus 3:1-15; Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c; Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 16:21-28.

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 St. Christopher’s, Carmel--The Rev. Cara Spaccarelli, The Rev. Chana Tetzlaff. 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.
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. The first class for new members will be in the parish hall on Tuesday the 25th (tomorrow)! If you are interested, please join us!!!

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.
New Home Phone # for Parish Secretary: 812-725-8179
Unlike my cell phone, which can still be used for calls and texts, this line has a working answering machine and is easier for me to hear. Feel free to use it to contact me at home— Marylee.
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.
There are four in all: two on Walnut Street, as above, and two on Market Street. Deacon Jim ordered and placed the signs this week. Photos by Mike Nelson.

The Covid-19 Report August 24, 2020
From Kim Hedges
These are the numbers for Clark County, Indiana: +The recommended positivity rate is 5%.
+The recommended infection rate is 0.3.
Positivity Infection New Total
Rate Cases Cases
Med 11 1421 1.01
Med 37 1458 1.03
Med 3 1461 0.98
Med 36 1497 1.00
Med 38 1535 1.00
Not 17 1552 available
Not 15 1567 available
From Kathy Stanton
     17Aug 9.2 18Aug 9.4 19Aug 9.2 20Aug 9.2 21Aug 9.3 22 Aug 9.3 23 Aug 9.3

This scarf and hat, beautifully knitted by Kate Schiavi, will be donated to the Seamen’s Church Institute (which is affiliated with the Episcopal Church) Christmas at Sea program. The items for Christmas at Sea which are created in the Indianapolis Diocese will be given to Chaplain
Kempton Baldridge to be delivered at Christmastime to the men and women who live and work on the waterways in our area. Chaplain Baldridge reminds us that life on the river is difficult and lonely. The men and women who receive these scarves and hats are most grateful for your generosity, especially during the holiday season, which for them can be especially isolating.
If you would like to knit or crochet these hats and scarves using patterns provided by the Seamen’s Church Institute, contact the church office at 812-282-1108. You are also invited to visit the SCI Website at http://cas.seamenschurch.org/.
Other completed scarves and a cap completed for Christmas at Sea by members of our parish
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!
    Maple Leaf Academy is currently enrolling children from 6wks - 5yrs in its 21st
 century STEM/STEAM Program. Implementing science, technology, engineering, art and math to educate our early learners. Also featuring Full Day Preschool for children ages 3-5. Hours of operation are from 6:00a - 6:00p. Located in the old Maple School Building in Jeffersonville, IN - 201 Charlestown Avenue. Visit our website at www.mapleleafjeff.org. Phone - 812-913-2441
  Rev. Dr. Sheiler Stokes, Pastor Bethel AME Church

Nancy and I will offer one or two programs a month based on our 2017 Pilgrimage. We have identified 24 possible programs. Our first program will be offered on Monday September 28th at 7 pm on Zoom. It will be an introduction to our sabbatical and the first major stop of our Pilgrimage "Philadelphia - Birthplace of the Episcopal Church" as we know it. We are looking forward to sharing what, for us, was a life changing experience
A few days before the program I will send out an invitation to the zoom program with a link to access our gathering.
If you are interested, or know of someone who might be interested, have them send me their email address so I can send them an invitation.
SUNDAY’S SERMON from Steve (8/23/20)
Remarks on the Gospel
Matthew 16: 13-20
But who do YOU say that I am?
In this Gospel the focus is not on what Jesus tells us, but on what He asks us. That is the question we will consider so that each of us, in our own hearts and minds, can honestly answer that question which lies at the heart of our spiritual journey. Who do YOU say that I am.
But let me note first that this passage stirs deep memories for those of us raised in the Roman Catholic tradition. It has to do with why we are now here rather than over there
In my childhood the good Dominican Sisters over at St. Augustine used to frequently rub our nose in today’s Gospel passage, but more particularly in the second part, focusing not on Jesus’ question but on Simon Peter’s answer and what Jesus then says to Simon Peter. When Jesus changes the question from “who do people say that the Son of Man is” to the more penetrating question “But who do YOU say that I am,” Simon Peter buzzes in first with the correct answer, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.”
And an obviously pleased and even grateful Jesus blesses Peter and says: “You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

“I will give you the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.” On these words the Roman Catholic Church bases its claim for all the authority that over the centuries has been centralized in the Bishop of Rome and in the clerical subordinates who assist him in the Roman Curia. It is for these words that Saint Thomas More gave up his head rather than submit to the claim of Henry VIII to be “Head of the Church in England.”
Yet, we note that Jesus never says the Pope must always be a man who has forsaken the physical love of women and never experienced the civilizing influence of marriage. We know for example that Peter and other apostles were married men and that women played leadership roles in the early church. We note that Jesus never says how the successors of Peter should be selected or that they should have their own little country and their own big bureaucracy and their own little army of fellows dressed up for a Renaissance Fair. Nor does the Bible say the successors of Peter would be infallible, incapable of being wrong on issues of faith or morals. The church didn’t adopt that doctrine until 1870.
Those of us who have given up the pleasures of companionship with old friends at the Knights of Columbus, the camaraderie of the Lenten fish fries and summer festivals, the authentic joy and fellowship of the Catholic community whether experienced in High Liturgy or Providence football tailgate parties, did not lightly leave so congenial a church, and its beloved mix of Irish, Italian and German immigrant family traditions.
We left because we Catholic immigrants to the Episcopal Church shared with life-long Episcopalians and newcomers of every denomination a tendency to question, to come to our mature faith only after navigating a sea of doubt, casting off ancient errors incompatible with the proposition that God is Love, and seeking harmony between science and the true fundamentals of Christianity.
I submit it is harder for us to answer the question, “But who do YOU say that I am?” precisely because of the tendencies that drew us here: the tendency to examine carefully, to seek evidence, to apply the test of reasonableness, and to affirm a proposition, not just because somebody tells us its true, but because we in heart and mind have come to sincerely accept it.
I submit it was easy as pie for Peter to immediately proclaim, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” He had the advantage of living with Jesus and directly experiencing the force and beauty of his character. He heard the teachings of Jesus directly from the master’s mouth. He saw Jesus cure leprosy and blindness and paralysis. He saw the hope, love and joy on the faces of the multitudes Jesus inspired. He saw Jesus raise people from the dead.
It is hardly a thing of wonder that Peter got the question right. Given the evidence presented to him it would have been a miracle if he had got it wrong.
Not so with us. It’s been 2000 years since anyone saw Jesus in the flesh. For healing we rely on medicine not miracles, for truths about the universe not revelation but science, for inspiration not only Bibles stories but also two thousand years of human history in which men and women like ourselves have sometimes sunk to the depths of depravity but sometimes risen to the heights of glory irrespective of the variety of creed they professed.
Many of us are more like the character of the skeptical reporter Jim Lefferts in the 1960 movie Elmer Gantry, based on the 1927 Sinclair Lewis novel. Gantry, played by Burt Lancaster, is a charming but hypocritical travelling evangelist raking in money from running revivals. Lefferts exposes some of his shady dealings. In response Gantry confronts the reporter in front of his publisher. Gantry crosses examines the reporter:

Gantry: Tell me something Jim, is the Bible fact? Well come on Jim Boy, Did God create the universe in six days? Did he make the sun stand still to help Joshua lick the Amalekites?
Jim answers laughingly, no, and Gantry smiles and seems to share Jim’s amusement.
Gantry: Then you don’t believe Moses parted the Red Sea or that God wrote the Ten
Commandments with a finger of lightning? Jim says “Nope.” Still Gantry smiles.
Gantry: Or that the dead were raised and the blind cured and 5,000 people were fed with five little fishes and little bitty loaves of bread?
Jim chuckles and says “No.”
Turning a little more serious but still friendly Gantry asks: You don’t believe in any of the miracles
in the Holy Bible do you?
Jim still at ease and not realizing the trap he is falling into laughs and answers: “ No more than I believe that black cats or spilt salt or broken mirrors are bad luck. Or that God can be jealous or bloodthirsty or vengeful. Or that Jehovah sanctions bigamy and stupidity and slavery.”
Closing the trap and suddenly turning dead serious, Gantry asks: In other words you don’t believe in the Bible?
Jim realizes at last that he is placing his publisher in a dangerous business situation and undermining his own support. He pauses a long while and then answers: “I believe the Bible is a book of beautiful poetry and wisdom.”
And Gantry pursues asking, But it’s not fact? To which Jim’s only answer is silence.
Closing in for the kill, Gantry asks, Do you believe Jesus Christ can give us life everlasting? More
silence from Jim, so Gantry repeats, Do you believe Jesus Christ can give us life everlasting?
Finally Jim answers, “I’d love to believe it.”
Gantry fixes his gaze on Jim’s publisher and says, But you don’t. He then puts his final question to a shaken and defeated Jim, Then you don’t accept Jesus Christ as divine, do you? Again Jim is silent until Gantry demands, Well do you?
Finally Jim answers, “Jesus was a great and virtuous teacher. His faith and courage changed the Western World.”
Gantry relentlessly presses, Do you accept Jesus Christ as divine? To which Jim slowly, reluctantly, truthfully answers. “Let me say, I have doubts.”
Then Gantry’s supporter, a self-righteous hypocritical business man who Gantry has blackmailed into funding the revival, shouts, “That’s blasphemy!”
To which Jim, summoning his dignity replies, “No Mr. Babbitt to doubt is not blasphemy. When you say blasphemy you mean, don’t dare disagree, don’t think, don’t doubt. But Tolstoy, Darwin, Jefferson, Lincoln, they had the same doubts.”

And Babbitt, the supposedly good Christian, secret partner in houses of ill-repute and speakeasies and gambling dens, proclaims without a shadow of a doubt, “Then they’ll burn in hell too!”
The scene ends with the newspaper publisher, under pressure of being labeled anti-Christian, agreeing to give Gantry an hour a day for two weeks on his radio station to rebut the damage that “Sinner Jim” has done to religion.
I believe we are more like Jim Lefferts the skeptical but sincere reporter and not at all like George Babbitt the absolutely certain about everything hypocrite. How then can people like us answer the question that Jesus put to his disciples in the Gospel today? How can we assure him that we get what he was striving to tell us, that his life on earth was not a waste, and his death on the cross not in vain?
I submit our best answer may come in the form of actions instead of words, that in every character-testing challenge we face we act as we believe Jesus would want us to act, despite the cost, despite our doubts, based upon the fervent hope at the core of our being, that impossible as it seems, He was God, He did rise, and He opened to us the way to eternal life.
Many, including me. cannot affirm that this is certainly true in the same sense that we hold as true that which we can empirically verify. Yet we can and do say we believe it because when we say we believe, we mean we hope with every fiber of our being. St. Paul said, “faith is the substance of things hoped for.” Through all the various forms of prayer, the sacraments, the scriptures and the good example of the communion of saints we grow ever more confident that such hope will be fulfilled. Or as the lawyer played by Paul Newman in The Verdict recounts an old Irish Catholic saying: “ Act as if ye had faith. Faith will be given you.”
There are details of traditional Christian doctrine of which I remain skeptical. The heroes of my faith are those who did justice and loved mercy and walked humbly with God; not those who tried to impose upon the questioning mind of man various forms of mental strait-jackets, having no bearing on how to live a life pleasing to God.
Yet it is my goal to live my life and eventually cross over into the undiscovered country sustained by the great hope that who Jesus was is what God is: Infinite, Unconquerable, Eternal Love. Via, veritas, vita--the Way the Truth and the Life. Living according to that hope is the best answer I can make to the question posed by today’s Gospel.
Now, what do you say?

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