Right now, I’m experiencing some enthusiasm as we anticipate gathering next Sunday, January 26. 9:00 am to share in one celebration of the Eucharist parish-wide, to celebrate the accomplishments of this parish from 2013, to make decisions about our leadership and to thank our outgoing Warden and Vestry Members. I hope you’ll come! And bring your savory or sweet snack so we can nourish our bodies! Thank you Bonny and Abbie for coordinating food.

One of the things I appreciate about how we conduct our business and decision-making as a parish is that we do it in good order. We follow “Robert’s Rules of Order” to move through our resolutions and motions. And we are guided by our By-Laws (and, of course, the Holy Spirit) to elect our leaders.

I’ve always loved the scripture passage in Matthew’s and Luke’s gospel when Jesus said, “And even the hairs of your head are all counted.” He was referring to the characteristic of God to be concerned with even the things of least concern to those to take themselves too seriously and to those who are fearful about the future.
But I’ve always had a “tongue-in-cheek” interpretation of this passage. For me, God clearly has a great administrative process whereby God has the infinite capacity to count, maybe even catalog every hair on every human being’s head! Good order, good administration is something people of faith in the Church can aspire to because one of the things God does is create good order, especially out of chaos.

And so, that’s the function for us of our By-Laws and our Diocesan and Episcopal Canons (laws and constitution). They help us order our life together in community. They are not meant to paralyze us. Rather, they are to provide order in how we conduct our decision-making.
Let me share with you what the By-Laws state about voting at our Annual Meeting. These apply to those who wish to hold positions of Warden, Vestryperson and Convention Delegate: “The right of voting at meetings of this Parish shall be confined to such person fifteen years of age or over, as have, during the previous six month, been stated worshipers in St. Paul’s Church and stated contributors to its support.”

My friends….especially our teens, the invitation to come to our Annual Meeting and to participate in the administration of our life together in Christ extends to young and old! TEENS, TAKE NOTE!

Your friend in Christ,
Notes on Sunday’s Music
This week’s music at 10:30 begins with an organ arrangement of Bach’s setting of the “Agnus Dei” (Lamb of God” from the B Minor Mass. This is, frankly, a stunningly beautiful piece that draws us to Jesus as John identified him in our Gospel reading, “Behold, the Lamb of God…” For a foretaste, see http://youtu.be/jTyFp9UfHoI.
Our first hymn, “Jesus calls us o’er the tumult,” is a thoughtful setting of the call of the disciples that includes us as well. The tune, from the nineteenth-century American collection Southern Harmony, is often associated as well with “I will arise and go to Jesus.” We sing the similarly themed “I have decided to follow Jesus” at the gradual. This anonymous hymn first appeared in India about 1950. At communion we sing “What wondrous love is this,” another song from Southern Harmony that extols God and the Lamb. We conclude with “Lift every voice and sing,” a hymn by James Weldon Johnson (1921) that reminds us of our pilgrimage, as well as the faithful pilgrimage of Martin Luther King, whom we especially remember at this time.

At the offertory, the choir sings “Ave, Verum Corpus” (Hail, true body), by Mozart. This short gem of an anthem reminds us of the great sacrifice of our savior that we commemorate each Eucharist. The service concludes with another “Agnus Dei” setting, this time by Nicholas Gigault, French composer from about 1700.
This Sunday’s Announcements
Time & Talent fair, also known as Ministries Fair is today January 19th following each service in the Great Hall. Please visit with representatives of the various commissions and committees and discern what God is calling you to.

Annual Meeting St. Paul’s Annual Meeting is Sunday, January 26th. We begin with our church service at 9:00 in the Great Hall followed by light snacks and then the Annual Meeting. This year we are asking everyone to bring a savory snack or sweet to share. To help with having a mix of savory and sweets, we suggest that if your last name begins with A through M, bring a savory snack. If your last name begins with N through Z, please bring a sweet. All food donations should be finger foods – no forks needed. Suggestions of savory snacks are cheese and crackers, easy to pick up appetizers, mixed nuts, hummus and pita chips, popcorn, fruit, vegetables, etc. If you cannot bring a snack and would like to contribute, you may make a cash donation to off-set the expenses. We will provide beverages. We look forward to seeing all of you at St. Paul’s Annual Meeting – Sunday, January 26th at 9:00. Bonny Labonte and Abbie Van Doren. The Annual Report is available online at www.stpaulsmaine.org. Paper copies are available this morning for those who would like them.

Healing Prayer is offered today at the 8:00 and 10:30 services. If you wish to receive a prayer on your own behalf of another, proceed to the vestibule following communion.

Nametags 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.

Parenting as a Spiritual Journey, Part 2 Please join Linda Ashe-Ford for another 6-week conversation about the spiritual journey you take every day with your young children. This adult group meets from 10:15 to 11:00 in the Library on the following Sundays: January 12, February 2, 9, 16, and 23. Coffee, tea, and simple snacks will be available for this time of sharing. Whether you were part of this group in the fall or not, all are invited to share thoughts on the challenging job of marking sacred time with those children in their care. Please be part of the conversation.

Thank you to all who generously contributed to the recent food drive to benefit the Mid-Coast Hunger Prevention Program. Maine is one of the most “food insecure” states in the country. Your contributions helped to feed many families who would not have had a decent meal during the holiday season. Again, thank you for your generosity.

Small Group Starting Tuesday, February 4. Anne Brautigam will facilitate a four-week small group on Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori’s Gospel in the Global Village: Seeking God’s Dream of Shalom. Participants will need a copy of the book, so please sign up early (today!) to give yourself time to look through the book. Anne has ordered some copies for you to buy, or you may purchase it on your own. This book takes Bishop Steve Lane’s frontline paradigm to a global level. The challenge to the reader is to be a prophetic voice in proclaiming and working for justice, inclusion, equality, and wholeness for all of God’s creation. In partnering with God in this way, Jefferts Schori believes that this is the only way God’s shalom will reign on earth. Please contact Anne (207-408-5966 or ahbraut1@gmail.com) to sign up and to ask questions, or you may call the church office to register. Meeting times are all four Tuesdays in February (2/4, 2/11, 2/18, 2/25) from 4-5:30 p.m. Don’t miss what will be an exciting discussion.

A Frontline Volunteer Opportunity! Midcoast CA$H provides training to be an asset coach/greeter for low income people to assist them in preparing tax returns. Training is on Saturday, January 25, 1:30-3:30 at Bowdoin. The training includes briefings on community resources for heating assistance, etc. The volunteer time will be in tax season this spring at a site staffed by Midcoast CA$H. For more information, please contact Andree Appel or Terry Leitzell.

Offering Envelopes Those who requested offering envelopes can find them in the Great Hall.

The Welcoming Ministry at St. Paul’s was created about 2 years ago to welcome and orient newcomers and guests to our congregation. We have implemented procedures for greeting newcomers and passing along questions and needs to the appropriate place. We have been complimented- by guests and newcomers- on the good feelings resulting from the intentional welcome we offer. Our congregation is growing and this important ministry needs volunteers. We are now reaching out to all members who like to meet new people! Your personal welcome and warmth will truly make our guests feel welcomed. If you would like more information, please contact Caroline Russell at

Rejoice with us! Rejoicing Spirits, a non-denominational ministry which reaches out to the developmentally disabled and others, needs your help. Volunteers are needed to plan and organize the worship service, assist with music and refreshments, serve as greeters, ushers and more once a month. Your time and talent can make it possible for those with special needs to worship and enjoy the fellowship of others regularly. If you would like to participate in this rewarding ministry or know someone who might be interested, please speak with Bunny Fazekas, 729-3243 or email me at rabbitrose46@yahoo.com.