St. Paul’s Parish Newsletter
Calendar Reminders
Aug 8 9:30-11:30 AA Meeting
August 3, 2020
  Aug 9 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 10th Sunday after Pentecost (August 9th)
Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Lessons:
      Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28; Psalm 105, 1-6, 16-22, 45b; Romans 10:5-15;
 Matthew 14:22-33
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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 . St. Mary’s, Martinsville, Ms. Peggy Miller, Senior Warden. 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 and Kacey.
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 2nd 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.
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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.
+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.
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     Date
27 July 28 July 29 July 30 July 31 July 1 Aug 2 Aug
Positivity Infection Rate Rate
8.7 High 1.18
8.8 High 1.19
New Total Cases Cases
12 924
26 950
               8.8 High 17 967 1.19
8.9 High 27 994 1.20
8.8 High 29 1023 1.21
8.9 High 39 1062 1.21
8.8 High 13 1075 1.21
                         From Deacon Jim
What To Make Of It All?
If There Was Only One Story! Matthew 14:13-21
If you’re ever stopped on the street by someone who says ‘tell me everything I need to know about the Christian faith, and do it now,’ all you have to do is tell him the story of the Feeding of the 5,000! Of all our faith stories, this is by far the most famous and the most telling. Every line, every phrase, every image is central to our understanding of God’s Kingdom; it’s the only story included in all four Gospels. If you could take only one story with you to a desert island, this would be the one.
Let’s take a look at the cast of characters: first, there’s the crowd, and in Jesus’ stories the crowd has its own starring role. The crowd represents the world, especially the marginalized, the oppressed, those who are in some way hungry, and no matter what Jesus happens to be doing, his response to the crowd is always compassion. Look at the central role the crowd plays in today’s story. Then, there are the disciples. Now, we think that if we were there we would be in the crowd witnessing the unfolding events but that’s not what Jesus would want. As believers, as people who consider ourselves followers of Jesus we’re meant to see things through the eyes of the disciples, and in this part of
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Matthew Jesus is in his teaching mode, so whenever Jesus is talking to his disciples look for ‘teachable moments;’ they apply to us, too.
Finally, there’s Jesus himself. Sometimes it’s hard to relate to Jesus, isn’t it? He’s a great guy, but we sort of see him skating through story after story performing miracles and saying wise things, and even though we acknowledge that Jesus is human and therefore subject to everything humans go through, he’s also God with all the powers God has, and, in these chapters, as he looks down the road to his own death on the cross we can’t help but ask ourselves, perhaps a bit cynically, how much danger can he really be in? He’s God, after all! How much pain will he really feel?
Now, Matthew goes out of his way to portray Jesus as someone with whom we can empathize. Today’s passage begins with ‘Now when Jesus heard this...’ Well, what he heard was news of the gruesome death of John the Baptist, and this was no doubt a crushing loss because John was his cousin and a trusted friend AND because John was in actuality Jesus’ very first believer, the one who paved the way for Jesus by proclaiming ‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord!’ And we know Jesus was personally shaken because he withdraws to what Matthew calls a ‘deserted place’ to grieve and regain his focus. The thing is, the crowd follows him, and so we have Jesus and the disciples and the crowd all in this deserted place, which in itself is significant because ‘deserts’ or ‘deserted places’ are many times venues for change or transition or trial, and it’s in this location ripe with possibilities that, after Jesus has healed some of the sick, the disciples say ‘it’s getting late; let’s send the crowd home where they can buy food.’ And then Jesus turns this miracle story upside down by saying ‘INSTEAD OF DOING THAT, YOU FEED THEM...’
Stop! Freeze! Let’s replay those lines. The disciples say send the crowd home where they can buy food, and Jesus says ‘Nah, you feed ‘em.’ Now, remember that any time Jesus is talking to his disciples is a ‘teachable moment’ so let’s consider as modern day disciples how we would react to Jesus saying ‘Listen, I know that I’m the miracle worker, but this time it’s on you?’ Would our mouths fall open, would our minds be reeling in disbelief, as if 1,000 volts just blew through our brains? Would our first thoughts be ‘Who’s got some money?’ ‘Does Papa John’s deliver this far out?’ Wait! There’re no bars on my cell phone! How can we order carry-out?’ Crazy thoughts, but human. The disciples certainly wanted to please Jesus, to be worthy of the call to serve, and their first reaction was out of their own experience. How could it be otherwise! ‘Food? Well, this is what I do when I’m hungry.’
AND THEN, THE MIRACLE! The story doesn’t say how Jesus produces enough food to feed all those people; a few possible scenarios have been conjectured, but it really doesn’t matter as long as the conclusion is ‘it really was a miracle.’ And at the risk of being repetitive let’s revisit the key to this ‘teachable moment:’ the disciples reacting to an impossible request by looking to their own experience, and then being a part of a miracle totally out of their experience.
Several years back I was taking a class on the New Testament and my friend Bill related an experience he had. Bill was part of an organization that sponsored refugees
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from South Sudan to come to the United States and settle in the Louisville area. Of course, these folks were the poorest of the poor, caught in a bloody civil war, and their sudden relocation from Sudan to the U.S. was no doubt a culture shock. Bill told me about soon after their arrival driving the family to Kroger’s to get some groceries. Upon entering the store, the father suddenly ran ahead of the rest of the family. By the time they caught up to him with a grocery cart he had four gallons of milk in his arms and he’d just started down the dairy aisle.
Bill was laughing but the rest of us sat there with tears forming in our eyes as we contemplated this impoverished man trying to feed his family from barren soil and a relentless drought; a man who dared not hope beyond the next meal or dream beyond the next rainfall; a man for whom food was most often a cruel mirage in the unforgiving heat; the image of that man being taken to... a supermarket. I wonder what were his thoughts, how he would relate this experience to someone back home? Did he possess the words to articulate his feelings? If the word ‘miracle’ existed in his language, would he have used it on this occasion?
Now, with your permission, may we place two images side by side: the reaction of the disciples to Jesus saying ‘you feed them,’ and the reaction of that poor dirt farmer seeing a supermarket for the first time? In both instances there’s a moment of astonishment, an astonishment bordering on disbelief, a moment where we are spun so far outside our experience that it seems nothing is for sure and all things are possible. Remember, Jesus is preparing his disciples for life without him and trying to inspire them with images of God’s coming Kingdom. He has told them the Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed, a tiny seed that yields an extraordinary plant. He has compared it to a baker’s yeast that multiplies quietly and spreads through all it touches. Now, here’s a miracle of sheer abundance. You can almost hear Jesus saying ‘Guys, are you getting all this, is it sinking in? You’re thinking out of your own experience, you’re thinking too small. You’re thinking God’s new Kingdom is going to replace the Romans with something similar. You need to get out of that! You need to think bigger. In fact, you need to hope bigger, you need to dream bigger, you need to anticipate bigger, you need to love bigger. It’s the difference between five loaves and two fish and enough to feed a multitude.
One last thing to consider: the title of this miracle is not ‘Jesus Feeds the 5,000.’ Jesus did no such thing! Jesus provided the food, the disciples did the feeding, and it was important for the disciples to take ownership of the opportunity that came their way, to turn their moment of ‘astonished disbelief’ into action. It’s our challenge to do the same. At this writing, Covid’s persistence will keep our red doors closed for the foreseeable future. If our prayer is ‘Please don’t let our church die,’ then perhaps an accompanying prayer should be ‘Lord, give us our ‘Feeding’ moment, our moment of ‘astonished disbelief’ where nothing is for sure and all things seem possible, where we hope and dream beyond Covid to a world of opportunities that will re-form and re-make us a faith community where we will reach far beyond those red doors and where 5,000 is a modest start.
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Let us pray for the poor and neglected:
Almighty and most merciful God, we remember before you all poor and neglected persons whom it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them. Help us to heal those who are broken in body or spirit, and to turn their sorrow into joy. Grant this, Father, for the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen . (BCP P. 826)
REJOICE ALWAYS! PRAY WITHOUT CEASING! GIVE THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES! FOR THAT IS THE WILL OF GOD FOR US!
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