Fifty percent of children in Maine qualify for free lunch; the largest demographic group in Maine is people over 55, with the second being youth under 16, and the smallest being people 35-55, so-called “career builders”. In the years 2007-2011, Episcopal church income across the diocese decreased 8% per year with income to the diocese dropping by $500,000. 2012 showed an increase of church income of 3%, with two churches having new buildings, two involved in capital campaigns, but two considering closing. The health of Episcopal churches in Maine correlates closely with jobs and unemployment in each community.
Pat Ryan and I attended a meeting last night with the Bishop and about twenty-five other wardens. Bishop Steve Lane said that spirit is good in the diocese, forty churches are working on his “Front Line” challenge, and several churches in small towns are being creative about their future. The Episcopal church in Bethel is coordinating with a nearby Lutheran church to call a single priest/pastor to serve both churches. A joint search committee will review candidates forwarded by our Bishop and his Lutheran counterpart. The Bishop has reduced diocesan staff to eight people from the seventeen in place when he arrived in 2008. The diocesan annual assessment is being reduced (a reduction of about $7,000 for St. Paul’s) and the Bishop is encouraging parishes to work together.
During his sabbatical (mid-December to April), the Bishop will be in Minnesota working with Dwight Zscheile, author of “People of the Way-Renewing Episcopal Identity” as he contemplates the future of the church. The Rev. Chick Carroll is leading a small group at St. Paul’s reading and discussing this book. The Bishop will also spend time with the Bishop of Minnesota, who heads a diocese geographically larger than the Diocese of Maine, trading ideas about the future.
Bishop Lane is a thoughtful, active leader focused on our future. His approaches are creative and he is transparent in communicating his goals to all of us. We pray for him every Sunday. I ask only that you be intentional in that prayer, as we are fortunate to have him in Maine.
The Outreach Commission is seeking parishioners’ opinions on how outreach funds are distributed. They have developed a short electronic survey. You may reach it by clicking on the following link or copy and paste it into your browser. Paper copies are also available at the church. The Commission looks forward to hearing from you. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KY7V5R9
Notes on the 10:30 Music
Our first hymn on Sunday is “Praise, my soul, the king of heaven,” a paraphrase of Ps. 103 written by Henry F. Lyte about 1860. As noted by an anonymous writer at www.hymnary.org, “Lyte’s text speaks to the love of God and our dependence on Him in a clear and imaginative way. Think of what might happen if we woke up every day with these words on our lips: ‘Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, evermore His praises sing.’ How would our lives change if we walked through our days singing ‘Alleluia!’ or through our times of sorrow declaring that we rest in the gentle hand of God? This is a text with beautiful imagery and thoughtful prose that, like Psalm 103, gives us words to praise our God with heart, mind, and soul.”
The gradual hymn is “From miles around the sick ones came,” written by Jane M. Marshall in 1994. Echoing the Gospel reading (Jesus cures ten lepers, only one of whom returned to thank him), It is a call to remember Jesus’s healing power, and a prayer asking God to help us remember our mission to reach those in pain, whether physical or spiritual. At communion we sing “I am the bread of life,” written by Suzanne Toolan in 1966. This glorious hymn points us to the true source of life as well as our expectation for eternity, echoing Paul’s hymn of praise in our epistle reading (2 Tim 8:15: “If we have died with him, we will also live with him”). Finally we sing “O for a thousand tongues to sing my great redeemer’s praise,” an enthusiastic song of worship written by Charles Wesley in 1739. He wrote it on the first anniversary of his conversion, and its joyful proclamation and celebration are partly autobiographical.
The choir anthem today is “They’ll Know We Are Christians” (Scholtes, arr. Bock), written in the 1970s. Its focus is on unity and love.
The organ music Sunday includes a setting of “O Lamb Gottes unschuldig (Spotless Lamb of God)” by Johann Gottfried Walther (eighteenth century) and a Fantasy on the well-known hymn tune “Praise to the Lord” (Hymnal 390) written in the late nineteenth century by Engelbrecht
This Week In Church School
This week, our middle and high school youth groups will participate in creating a welcome banner for Rev. Carolyn, as her arrival at St. Paul’s draws near. Our younger children will focus on Luke 17:11-19 and will explore the theme of “expressing gratitude”. Students will be encouraged to consider those people in their lives to whom they owe thanks, as well as the things in their lives they give thanks for, and ultimately children will be encouraged to think about ways they can thank God for the blessings they enjoy.
This Sunday’s Announcements
We welcome the Rev. Mary Ann Hoy as celebrant this morning.
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 Women’s Group. All who are a part of this Ministry, please come forward along with those celebrating birthdays and anniversaries.
Parenting as a Spiritual Journey This group meets from 10:30-11:15 in the Library. Linda Ashe-Ford leads the group, which follows the book of the same title, written by Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer. (Don’t worry- no reading between classes is required!) The group considers the spiritual aspects of seemingly mundane activities and seeks to re-envision family life within the lens of spirituality. Please consider dropping the kids off in their Church School classes and joining this welcoming and casual group.
Apple Pies All are invited to a pie baking workshop today at Noon. To order a pie, please see the signup sheet in the Great Hall. Cabot Cheddar Cheese is also available for pre-Thanksgiving delivery.
Sign ‘Em Up! A reminder to parents and guardians with children in the Church School or youth group programs: please remember to fill out Church School Registration Forms and return them to Emily or your child’s classroom teacher. It is important for us to have the information contained in these forms. Thank you!
Exploring God’s Word will not be held on Sunday, October 20 and 27 so that we can enjoy the forum with the Rev. Bob Paterson in the Great Hall. We will meet this Sunday, October 13 as usual and resume on Sunday, November 3 (when you will have to set your clocks back).
Junior Choir 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 Lois Kwantz, at email@example.com or call 882-7825. The current choir members would love to have more voices join the group; we have a great time.
Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program News. St. Paul’s partners with First Parish to run the 3rd Saturday of the month Soup Kitchen. The next one is October 19. We need at least 7 volunteers for each 3rd Saturday. Please contact James Ford at firstname.lastname@example.org or(207) 841-9377, or you may sign up on the bulletin board at church.
Sunday Forums with the Rev. Bob Patterson. Please join the Rev. Bob Patterson on Sunday, October 20 (next Sunday) and 27 (the one following) for a forum on Faith and Being Disciples. He will explore what faith is and whether there is a connection between it and deliberate discipleship. Please join him as we search for an authentic response to the call to discipleship in ways that honor tradition and learn from it, but are not bound by it. How can we develop a living faith that can help us deal with life’s inevitable tough challenges with integrity and authenticity? The forum will be held in the Great Hall from 9:30-10:15. If you plan to come, please preview The Baptismal Covenant in The Book of Common Prayer, pages 304-306.
“Debut Tasting” Last year’s “Debut Tasting” by the Gourmet Freezer committee was so popular and fun, we are bringing it back! Don’t miss your chance to taste delicious, brand new dishes on Sunday, October 27 following the 10:30 service. Your $7.00 donation (to The Gathering Place) will get you a plate, spoon, ballot and pencil, then turn you loose to sample over a dozen new items. The prize winners will re-create the new favorites for you to purchase at the Christmas Fair. After the winners are announced, you will be able to pre-order the new winners, along with other long standing favorites. Watch for the poster and order forms, the beginning of November.
Office Volunteers Do you have a few hours a week to help out in the parish office? Shifts available are Wed. 9 a.m. to Noon and Tues., Wed., Thurs. Noon to 3 p.m.. Volunteers welcome office visitors in person and on the telephone. From time to time volunteers may be asked to help with mailings and other projects. Volunteers are encouraged to bring a book, knitting, or something to fill your time.
Do you have an old shirt or pillowcase to spare? Our church school is looking for donations of old oxford or t-shirts to be used as smocks when we do painting projects. We are also looking for some old plain (no prints) pillow cases for an upcoming project. If you have either you’d like to donate, please drop them off in the office for Emily. Thank you!
The Outreach Commission has developed a short survey that was distributed to parishioners electronically in this past Friday’s email, and is available by hard copy. Outreach is seeking parishioners’ opinions on how outreach funds are distributed. The Commission looks forward to hearing from you.
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.
Do you love flowers? The Flower Committee is ready to welcome you. Members, working in pairs, arrange flowers for the altar and are generally scheduled for one Sunday a month. Unsure about the task? Abigail Manny, chairperson, would be happy to help you explore this wonderful ministry that enriches our worship. She may be reached at 725-9062.