6 Sept 2020

 St. Paul’s Parish Newsletter
September 8, 2020
CALENDAR CHANGES THIS WEEK:
Sep 10 6:00 pm VESTRY Zoom meeting (on line) with Brendan O’Sullivan-Hale. See details from Sonny’s email.
Sep 10 (Thursday) 6:30 pm ALL INQUIRER’S CLASSES Meeting at 321 (No more Tuesday pm classes)
Calendar Reminders
Sep 12 9:30-11:30am AA Meeting
Sep 13 11:00 am St. Paul’s On-Line Worship Service—FaceBook Live https://www.facebook.com/ StPaulsJeff /live_videos/
Washington Cathedral on line 11:15 am and 7:30 pm
daily: https://cathedral.org/worship/
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Collect for 15th Sunday after Pentecost (September 13th)
O God, because without you we are not able to please you, mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.Amen.
The Lessons: Exodus 14:19-31; Psalm 114; Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35
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. John’s, Speedway--Ms. Becky Douglas, 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, Kacey, Star, and Bill. We also pray for Annette, for her daughter Jackie, and for their family.
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.
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 From the SPTW team:
ONLINE MORNING PRAYER SERVICES: The next service will begin Sunday, Sept. 13th 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.
The two Inquirer’s Classes for new members that began last week have consolidated, and will meet at 6:30 pm at 321 (the rectory) on Thursday the 10th and 17th. Confirmation at Carmel by the Bishop will be on October 10, 2020.
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 Jim know, or leave word with the parish office.
MANY THANKS for your faithfulness in sending in your pledges. We have kept up our payments so far, and are beginning to struggle to continue doing so. If you have not made a pledge this year, perhaps you could help us out with an offering sent by mail or delivered to the parish office.
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!
Beginning the week of September 7th, parish office hours will return to MTWF 10:00-4:30 and Thurs 10:00 to 1:00 pm, as before.
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 September 7, 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.
2 Sep 9.5 Med 0.95
3 Sep 9.5 Med 0.91
4 Sep 9.6 Med 0.91
5 Sep 9.5 Med 0.91
6 Sep 9.6 Med 0.90
16 1785 (18747)
31 1816 (18934)
17 1833 (19099)
14 1847 (19239)
26 1873 (19433)
             Date
  Cumula- tive Positivity Rate
   Infection Rate
    New Cases
             31 9.5 Med Aug 0.97
1 Sep 9.5 Med 0.95
Total Cases (Total Tests)
26 1758 (18485)
11 1769 (18568)
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FROM DEACON JIM: (Sermon from September 6, 2020)
What To Make Of It All?
If Your Brother Sins Against You!
Matthew 18:15-20
For the past couple of weeks we’ve been following along with Jesus and the Disciples as they make their way toward Jerusalem in this, their final journey together, a journey that will culminate in the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross at Golgotha. We’re privileged to be invited to come along on this ultimate 100-mile trek that began in Caesarea Philippi on the extreme northern edge of Israel and is meandering south through the Promised Land before arriving to face the Jewish religious leaders and their Roman occupiers. Road trips are never dull when Jesus is leading the way; over every hill, around every bend there’s something to learn, something to experience, something that will prepare us for our discipleship. So far on this final trip, the Disciples have seen Jesus revealed as the Son of God, they have put their faith to the test and were rudely awakened when they couldn’t drive out an evil spirit, they argued with tax collectors about who should pay taxes, and most recently they had a heated discussion about who will be the greatest in heaven (the answer is the one who has the faith of a child.) You’ve got to hand it to the Disciples, they’re nothing if not constantly clueless, but then in matters of faith, so are we all challenged.
Today’s ‘Key to the Kingdom’ concerns conflict within the Body. What happens when there is brokenness between Believers? The old canard that church should be the one place where everybody gets along and nobody gets angry is as
trite as it is ridiculous. Jesus didn’t believe it and nobody believes it now. But there is something important to learn here. Remember, when the Disciples disagreed on something, as they frequently did, they had Jesus right there to give them his wisdom. Now that Jesus’ days on earth are numbered the Disciples have to learn how to solve internal conflicts on their own. In preparing the Disciples for life without him Jesus gives them what has come to be called the ‘Rule of Christ;’ it’s a rubric for those times beyond mere disagreement, when there is true conflict between people of faith. It’s a prescription that’s been adapted and followed by faith communities throughout the ages and it rings just as true today as it did back then on that dusty road to Jerusalem. Listen again:
‘If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.’
Simple enough to understand, but when dealing with people nothing is ever simple. Remember Barney Fife from the Andy Griffith Show? His famous saying when problems arose was ‘Nip it in the Bud!’ But many long-time church members can’t help but take deep, regretful sighs as they recall instances where instead of ‘nipping it in the bud’ problems within the congregation escalated to the point where the community was irreparably split. It happens all the time, but it seems especially needless within a Body of
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Believers. Why is true reconciliation so difficult? Here are a couple of points:
1. Jesus, and Paul after him, envisioned the church as an interdependent body; Paul actually used the metaphor of a body, where one part, say an arm, could not say to the leg ‘I don’t need you.’ In the early times when Christianity was undergoing persecution, within these struggling groups everybody needed everybody; everybody had a gift to add and everybody needed the gifts of others. Each person found his or her identity within the Body and to leave the Body was a loss of self. They did not think in terms of ‘In Christ we are free FROM each other.’ To them, they were free IN each other! Given that interdependence that was so important to them, it was natural that solving conflicts within the Body was a matter FOR the Body, even airing grievances in front of the whole church, and as embarrassing as that sounds today, nothing was more important than preserving the Body, keeping it vital and spiritually sound. Today’s church is different. We still use the term ‘Body’ but we’re more of a ‘Community of Faith,’ people seeking a personal relationship with Christ who gather for worship and fellowship and then pretty much go their separate ways during the week. Yes, we want to serve God and the community but we see ourselves as individuals for whom serving God through the medium of ‘church’ is a choice. Although the Rule of Christ, which begins as one person seeking out another in private to air grievances, is applicable at all times and in all places, today that process would most likely be a part of a Pastoral Counseling situation. Many of us would find it difficult to submit to the will of the congregation to resolve a conflict with another member. It’s part of our culture to retain our sense of independence.
2. The Rule of Christ, as told to the Disciples by Jesus, says that when resolution of a conflict is impossible, the member is to be treated as a Gentile or a tax collector. Many times this has been interpreted as excommunication: if he can’t get along with the Body, cut him from the team. But there’s a very strong caveat here that demands careful consideration before we start thinking about who to exclude from our Body. Remember, Jesus went out of his way to meet with Gentiles and tax collectors; he was criticized repeatedly for eating with them, for reaching out to the unclean, the dispossessed, the despised. In any congregation, the loss of any person for any reason is still a loss, and Jesus tells us we must always keep the line open, be prepared to welcome back, we must always be willing to seek resolution. Our faith is based on the premise chiseled in granite that there’s nothing we can do to separate us from the grace of God. As the Body of Christ, we must reflect that in our relationships with our neighbors and fellow Believers.
3. The most important part of the Rule of Christ is that it’s used only for those egregious offenses where one person steals from another, or slanders his good name or seeks to sully his reputation. Those offenses demand purposeful reconciliation. But most of the time in our church life, problems arise because we just disagree with one another, or our personalities seem to clash, or one person’s Democrat while another’s Republican. Rather than trying to pull someone to a certain way of thinking, church life presents us with wonderful opportunities to practice the Christian arts of humility and forbearance, whereby we can disagree even with those who rub us the wrong way and still seek to preserve their dignity. One of the bright lights in the
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Church today is that it may be one of the very, very few places where civil conversation is possible. What a wonderful gift to the World.
So often in our journey with Jesus we see him looking to the future, envisioning a new Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, but today he is being practical. Yes, conflict will happen. Why, because even Believers are human. No, we shouldn’t waste time and energy beating ourselves up because we don’t see eye to eye on every little thing, or every big thing; disagreement and conflict are parts of a life lived in faith. We’ve seen Jesus as kind and forgiving, but we’ve also seen him frustrated and angry, yet his goal is always, always, always reconciliation within God’s all- encompassing and all-forgiving love.
If church can be a place where a person’s dignity comes first and his political views come in a distant second, then that’s a group I’d want to join; that’s a group I’d want to brag about; that’s a group I could love. In the midst of this brutal world, somewhere on earth God’s love is pouring forth, somewhere on earth God’s mercy is breaking through the clouds, somewhere on earth God’s forgiveness is renewing even the most desperate soul, somewhere on earth Jesus’ compassion is reaching all those in need, somewhere on earth Jesus’ healing power is overcoming oppression, somewhere on earth Jesus’ call is reaching faithful hearts, somewhere on earth all people, different as they might be, are feeling accepted and loved. I pray that that ‘somewhere on earth’ is indeed Christ’s Church.
Let us pray a prayer in times of conflict:
O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP P. 824)
REJOICE ALWAYS, PRAY WITHOUT CEASING, GIVE THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES, FOR THAT IS THE WILL OF GOD FOR YOU!
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