At a dinner party five years ago, before I left Seattle, Jan gave me a CD she had compiled to remind me of friends and colleagues in the fishing industry. I didn’t know her well, but her husband and I worked together frequently. Flying to Maine the next morning, I stuffed the CD in the back of my briefcase and didn’t have a chance to listen until weeks later.
When I played the CD, I heard several Christian standards–God of Our Fathers, Amazing Grace, and others. Then I heard, “…let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight”. I looked at the playlist–The Neville Brothers (wrong era for me), followed by Cat Stevens’ “Morning Has Broken” (hymn 8) and “Listen to the Wind”, and other singers I considered secular. In “Listen…”, the lyrics include, “I let my music take me where my heart wants to go”. Perhaps the space between secular and spiritual is truly thin.
St. Paul’s choirs are rehearsing again and the Adult Choir sings its first anthem of the program year on Sunday. Singing in the choir or in the pews is worship and simply increases the joy of praising the Lord. I hope you sing joyfully at St. Paul’s and perhaps will consider joining the Adult Choir or Junior Choir–there is even greater joy in raising your voice with others in our Christian Community.
To Jan: Thanks. You reminded me that God is in all things and in all people. I know you better now, and am grateful for that.
A Note on Music at 10:30
Sunday’s hymns at 10:30 begin with “O worship the king,” written in 1833 by Robert Grant. It is a great song of praise for creation that helps draw us in to our time of worship; the author was inspired by the opening verses of Psalm 104. Its popular and well known tune dates from about 1800. At the gradual we sing “I sought the Lord” (1880, author unknown). Its theme is drawn from 1 John 4:19: “We love because he first loved us,” a reminder of the Gospel message that Jesus seeks us out like a lost sheep. At communion we sing “Now the silence,” written by Jaroslav Vajda in 1968. It is a lovely and creative meditation on the immediate presence of God at eucharist and throughout our lives. We conclude with “There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,” written by Frederick Faber in 1862, a reminder of God’s promise of mercy and the depth of his love.
The adult choir sings “How lovely are thy dwellings fair,” a setting of Psalm 84 written by Robert Powell in 1988. It has a pastoral and peaceful feeling, giving a deep sense of rest as we gather in worship.
The organ prelude is “I Am Dark, but Lovely,” by Marcel Dupré. It too exudes a sense of peace and rest in meditating on the Song of Songs verse (1:5). The postlude is Buxtehude’s Toccata in F, a spirited paean that embodies the joy of worship.
This Sunday’s Announcements
We welcome the Rev. John Widdows as celebrant for the 10:30 Service this morning.
We welcome the Rev. Ellen Shaver as celebrant for the 8:00 and Family Services this morning.
Healing Prayer is offered today at the 8:00 and 10:30 services. If you wish to receive a prayer on your own behalf or for another, proceed to the vestibule following communion.
Come one and all to our Youth Programs Open House today, we will welcome our youth and teachers to the 2013-2014 school year, and we are celebrating as a whole congregation! All classrooms are open to visitors, and following the 10:30 service (and church school), we are hosting a potluck picnic in the Great Hall with fun, games, and wonderful fellowship. Please come and celebrate with us the beginning of another beautiful year as a Christian community!
For those who would like a reminder about our school year schedule: the Family Service begins at 9:30 upstairs, and our middle and high school youth groups meet at the same time in their upstairs classrooms. At 10:15 we enjoy a snack together, and at 10:30 the youth proceed to the “big church” service while children in preschool through fifth grade attend church school. The nursery is open from 9:00 to 11:45 and is available on a drop-in basis.
Small group ministry is very strong here in St. Paul’s. The Vestry would like to celebrate these vital ministries. At the time of the Birthday Prayer, members of one of the small groups will be asked to come forward. This Sunday we celebrate the Ministry of the Sharing & Caring Support Group. All who are a part of this Ministry, please come forward along with those celebrating birthdays and anniversaries.
Iona offerings on September 22. On Sunday, September 22, the teens and leaders who went on pilgrimage to Iona will be offering a number of ways for parishioners to share their experience. The 8:00 and Family services, while remaining largely the same, will be given an Iona “flavor,” and the young people will speak about their impressions at the time of the homily. At 10:30, the teens and J2A adults will lead the congregation through the Sunday Communion service from the Iona worship book. It will be very different from our usual Sunday morning service, from prayers to music to communion! Again, the youth will talk about their experiences during the time appointed for the sermon. During the coffee hours following the services, there will be a slide show of pictures, as well as an informal Q and A about the trip and its meaning for all. The J2A teens and leaders warmly invite you to join us on this journey!
Christian Formation Booklet. Please help yourself to a copy of the new fall edition available in various places around the church. Read about all the exciting programs that are planned, and mark your calendar so you don’t miss the ones that interest you. We have forums, a variety of smaller groups, and even a movie. Any questions? Ask Pam Nugent or the facilitator listed.
Bible Study Groups are meeting after a summer break. There are three to choose from. They all have a different focus and meet at different times. Try out one, or more than one to find the one that best suits your needs. We are blessed to have three! Sundays, Exploring the Word: 9:30-10:15 in the Library; Tuesday Afternoon Bible Study: 12:30-1:30 in the Library; Wednesday Evening Bible Study: 5:30-6:30 in the Library.
Exploring the Word will resume today, September 15, 9:30-10:15, in the Library. Pam Nugent facilitates the discussion for this drop-in group on one of the readings for the day. Enjoy coffee hour and stay a little later if you go to the 8 o’clock service, or come a little earlier if you attend the 10:30 service. No prior experience is necessary for either group. Everyone is welcome.
Wednesday Night Bible Study, 5:30-6:30 p.m., uses a study guide by John Stott, and facilitation of the discussion is shared by group members. We are beginning a study of 1 and 2 Thessalonians, so this is a great time to try this group out–you’ll be getting in on the ground floor.
Praise the Lord! Adult Choir rehearses on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. Come add your voice and join the joyful noise. FMI: Bob Judd, 619-4642.
Junior Choir rehearsal practices on Wednesdays for an hour from 5-6 p.m. All youngsters are welcome to come if they are in grades 1-8, no previous experience necessary – just a love of singing. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, Lois Kwantz, at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 882-7825. The current choir members and I would love to have more voices join our group; we have a great time.
Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program News. St. Paul’s will partner with First Parish to run the 3rd Saturday of the month Soup Kitchen. The next one is September 21. We need at least 7 volunteers for each 3rd Saturday. Please contact James Ford at email@example.com or (207) 841-9377, or you may sign up on the bulletin board at church.
The Reception Committee provides receptions following funerals or memorial services. If you enjoy baking, being creative with food or enjoy providing nourishment to others, we would like your help. A call for food donation is usually requested 2 to 5 days before the service is scheduled so the committee understands when someone is called and is not able to donate due to other commitments. Just because you receive a call from a representative from the committee does not obligate you in any way. We ask for donations of sandwiches, appetizers, desserts, cheese and crackers, fruit, vegetable trays, and help with cleaning up in the kitchen. On a personal note and due to my work schedule, I am not always available to organize a reception. I would like to hear from a person or group of people who may have an interest in organizing receptions in my absence. I would provide all the necessary training. Please know that without additional help, memorial receptions as we know them may end. Bonny Labonte.
Nametags As we greet Emily and prepare for Carolyn’s arrival, please wear your nametag. If you need one, a signup sheet is posted in the Great Hall near the kitchen window. Magnetic closures are for those who prefer them but these are not to be used by someone with a pacemaker or other implanted electrical device.
The 10:30 coffee hour is looking for volunteers! Please sign up on the sheet in the parish hall to provide coffee, juice and goodies for those among us who value coffee hour as a time for fellowship and fun. The church provides the coffee, crackers and cheese. You do the rest. Call Nancy Keating at 729-7187 for details.