|What’s Happening at St. Paul’s|
Eight years ago on St. Francis Day, October 4, I said “good-bye” to the people of Grace Church, Plainfield, and came home to start packing for my move to Brunswick, Maine. I was surprised by how easy my decision was to accept the call of the St. Paul’s vestry to serve you. My interview with the vestry was resonant with energy and a desire to serve Christ in each other and the neighbors in our area. You had just embraced with enthusiasm the bishop’s call to go out of our doors and discover what God was up to in the neighborhood.
Soon, I would learn how important the Christmas Fair was to our parish and especially to our neighbors. It was an annual celebration for us all that brought us together, employed our talents, raised funds, and served our non-profit partners by giving away the funds. I’ve been delighted to serve alongside you at the Christmas Fair and buy many things all these years. (Even the year I was recovering from hip surgery, Nancy Whitehouse would call me with the bidding for the Silent Auction so I could put my name on things I wanted to buy!)
Last year, resilient and with a spirit of adaptation we opened our memorial garden, put in place important safety precautions, and set up the “Christmas Fair” as a “Harvest Fair.” Our neighbors loved it and we all spent our money on the wonderful items we always offer for sale. It was a great success.
This year, we contemplated opening up the building because so many people in our area were vaccinated, and we believed that the coronavirus would be on its way out. But the Delta variant took hold. As our St. Paul’s leaders, the chairs of the Harvest Fair, and the chairs of Future Planning Committee studied the trends, and as some fall festivals announced their cancellations last week, we have been discerning our way forward. There is deep pride, joy, and fellowship in all we do to offer the “Harvest/Christmas” fair every year. And there is the sobering fact of a country, a globe still in the grip of a fast-moving, deadly virus. I want us all to feel safe and joyful organizing our fair this year. And many of us are feeling less safe to do so.
The result of our discernment is to postpone the Harvest Fair of October 2, 2021, and hold it at another time. Jan DeBlieu, our junior warden and former Harvest/Christmas Fair chair has written a beautiful article in this Friday email for us all that gives our decision and the possibilities of a way forward. What I love is that the overarching direction of our discussions has been the deep commitment we have to this mission of our parish, raising funds for outreach.
I will be on sabbatical as I begin my 9th year with this fine parish. There has not been one day in which I’ve faltered in my faith in your commitment to love each other and serve Christ in the neighborhood. I have not faltered in my love for you. Our work together for Christ’s sake and the sake of Christ’s good news of God’s love has made me a better Christian and pastor. Thank you.
I will miss you terribly while I’m away. And yet I know that our three months apart with be a time for renewal, for God to speak to us and for strengthening our mission to our neighbors even more. Thank you for sharing the love of Christ with me and with those we serve.
In faith, hope and love,
HARVEST FAIR UPDATE
Dear People of St. Paul’s,
I am writing to let you know, with great sadness, that the Wardens, Clergy, and key parish advisors have decided that at present it is not safe to host an in-person Harvest/Christmas Fair. So we will not be holding any of the events planned for October 2.
We reached this decision with a great deal of reluctance. It was an especially difficult call since proceeds from the fair go directly to our Outreach Fund. But with the spike in Covid-19 cases and the prevalence of the Delta variant, it would be difficult for us to put on the fair with the same joy and verve that we’ve always felt. Cases and hospitalizations in Maine are far above the level of last fall when we held two successful fairs. The traditional lively atmosphere might be swamped by worry that one of us could make a misstep and cause someone to fall ill.
It’s true that most of us are vaccinated, and much safer than the unvaccinated. But by October our immunity might be wearing off. Our children under the age of 12 are still unvaccinated. If the opening of in-person school leads to an increase of cases, it could well be manifesting itself then. There’s an art to living fully in a pandemic, and we are not of the mindset that we all need to huddle in our homes behind closed doors. But we do need to distinguish between safe and unsafe behavior, and we each must decide where the line between the two lies. Holding an in-person fair will push many of our most loyal volunteers out of their comfort zone.
We will be looking toward a future time when a fair can be safely held, as well as working to finding alternatives for raising funds for our Outreach ministry. We are committed to contributing as much to the well-being of our neighbors in need as we have in years past. One way to accomplish that is through cash donations. If you would like to make a contribution to this cause, please send it to the church online or through the mail and mark it clearly for Outreach.
It’s been a difficult year-and-a-half. But life challenges us in many ways, and with God’s help, we can find ways to safely support each other and those most in need.
With a prayer for your peace and safety,
St. Paul’s Guidance for Outdoor and Indoor Gatherings*
1. Masks are highly recommended for fully vaccinated people and required for unvaccinated people.
2. Contact tracing is required.
3. Masks are recommended for congregational and choir singing.
4. Physical distancing is not required.
5. There is no limit to number of people gathered.
6. Please gently ask if a hand shake or hug is permissible.
7. Community groups such as the 12-step groups may meet outdoors.
8. If possible, it is recommended to bring a chair to use.
9. If food and drink are served, servers must be masked. Food is not laid out buffet style, but served on individual plates.
Parish Office is open. (see hours in announcements)
No in-person indoor Sunday worship until surge reverses to May 2021 levels for at least a month’s consecutive days.
1. No more than 25 people in building at a time.
2. Masks are required for all entering building.
3. Contact tracing is required for all entering the building.
4. No more than two masked people or two family units in each restroom at a time.
5. Building is closed to community groups, but open to members.
1. Summer Sunday outdoor “picnic Eucharist” will continue through the end of October in-person in the me-morial garden at 10:30 a.m. Facebook live streaming will be offered.
2. Starting September 12, Family Worship and Family Group begin at 9:00 a.m. outdoors.
3. When heavy rain or thunderstorms are forecast, Spiritual Eucharist from the Nave at 10:30 a.m. will be offered on Facebook Live from the closed nave instead of outdoor in-person Eucharist. The Saturday email and a Facebook announcement will be sent.
4. Memorial services may be in-person in memorial garden (see above for outdoor guidelines) or in-person indoors in the nave for no more than 25 masked family and friends or postponed to a date that fits the in-person indoor gathering criteria.
Sunday, September 12th
The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost
10:30 a.m. Outdoor Picnic Eucharist in the Memorial Garden & on Facebook
Click on the link below to view from home:
To watch on Facebook
for the Worship Booklet
for the St. Paul’s Announcements
Family Ministries Sunday Schedule
Starting Sunday 9/12
9am Family Worship
Family Worship Bulletin Here
Family Group following worship, ending by 10:15
12-1pm, 2nd & 4th Sundays Middle & High School Youth Group
Memorial services scheduled at St. Paul’s in September: Due to the surge of the COVID Delta variant in Maine, currently planned and future memorial services will be offered either in the memorial garden under the canopy (weather permitting), indoors in the nave with a limit of 25 family and friends, or postponed until criteria are met for safe indoor in-person gatherings.
Saturday, September 25 at 2:00 p.m. service for Jo Belknap
On September 12 we’ll say a farewell to Rev. Carolyn Eklund before she leaves for sabbatical, returning December 12.
Thank you to office volunteers Karen Rienert, Carol Martin (and Fannie!), and Moriah Freeman for helping us pack up the parish office and unpacking for the new flooring installation and for assisting in the office weekly. We so appreciate you!
From Ellen Hall and Caroline Russell to the women of St. Paul’s,
We are hoping to co-facilitate a new women’s faith community for an initial period of 6 months. We are introducing some “touchstones” to guide how participants treat each other.
*We speak from personal experience, knowing that others will respect our feelings.
*We provide a safe space for open conversation, respecting confidentiality.
*Identify assumptions; suspend judgement.
*Each of us is here to discover her own truths, not to fix or correct what we perceive as broken or incorrect.
*Be aware of the difference between intention and impact; assume no member intends harm or discomfort.
Please examine our offerings and share your reactions and input at one of the following:
Wednesday, September 15, 2:00pm (please note this date correction) at Caroline Russell’s at 8 Whitney Way Topsham 729-1845 OR
Saturday September 18, 2:00pm at Ellen Hall’s at 29 Tarrantine Drive Brunswick 603-721-1733 or 373-1113.
If you cannot attend either, please feel free to call or email either of us. Hoping for fruitful discussions.
Reserving the Memorial Garden: Please contact the church office if you’d like to schedule a meeting in the Memorial Garden to ensure you’re on our calendar and we avoid double-booking. Thank you!
Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit last year, MCHPP had to close their dining room. Despite this, they have been able to continue to provide meals to those in need. They partnered with a few local organizations to provide remote sites for those who find it hard to get to their main site. From January to July, they have provided 80% more meals this year over last year. Your donations this month will be doubled due to a matching grant that they have received. Please consider sending them a check, in any amount to MCHPP, 12 Tenney Way, Brunswick, ME 04011
St. Paul’s Schedule
9:00 a.m. Family Picnic Eucharist in the Garden
9:30 a.m. Family Group in the Garden
10:30 a.m. Outdoor Picnic Eucharist in the Garden & on Facebook Live. Facebook https://www.facebook.com/StPaulsBrunswick/live
12:00 p.m. Middle & High School Youth in the Garden (2nd & 4th Sundays)
Morning Worship and Family Group!: Family Worship moves to 9 am followed by Family Group! Family programming will end by 10:15.
St. Paul’s Zoom Exploring the Sermon will resume after 10:30 a.m. “picnic
Eucharist’ approximately 11:50 a.m. on Sunday, September 19. Please join us!
Daily Morning Prayer and Compline
Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday, 7:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Facebook Live.
Tuesday 12:30 pm Women’s Bible Study in the Garden (if raining, on ZOOM, ID: 814 5988 6763 Passcode: 032484)
Wednesday afternoon Bible Study, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. will not meet over the summer. It will resume in September. Those interested in joining in the fall please contact Pam Nugent.
St. John Baptist, Thomaston, All Saints’ by the Sea, Bailey Island
For all Christian Education and Sunday School programs
Pray for the Maine Episcopal Public Policy Network.
Pray for Anderson, Andrew, Cedric, Jason, Michael, Richard, and all in the military.
Pray for those who have died remembering especially Mark Miguez, relative of Bill Boutte, who died recently.
We pray for:
Christy, Ryan & family, Ray, John, David, Judi, Nick, Bob, Kathy, Skip, the Blackburn family, Willow, Ann, Jim, Lollie, James, Dave, Caroline, Jeffrey, Carol, Harlan, Shirley, Rick+, Elizabeth, Courtenay, Larry, Courtenay, Patsy, Ward, Mary Ann, Steve, Nancy, Joe, and Robert G., and Larry
Jennifer, John, Victor, Travis & family, Ben, Diane, Nate, Priscilla, Garrett, Elliot, Marcia, Lynn, Bill, Bob, Paul, Sue, Clare, Cameron, Barbara, Christy, Michael, Ryan, and Jacob, Jen and all essential workers, Sandy, Jennifer, Caroline, Carol, Judy, Alice, baby Isla, Cyndie and Bob, Peter
Matthew, Herb, Jason, Annie, Terry, Mark, Donelda, Sudie, Pat, Marie, Michael, Debbie, Carol, Ron, Hope, Therese, Lois, Bob, Virginia, Sally, Steve, Luke, Catarina, Darah, Barbara, Ronald, Ray, Philip, Patricia, Steven F, Bill, Dave, Diane, Therese, Sallie, Julie
Call or email the parish office if you would like a name to be placed on the prayer list. The names will be removed after three months unless otherwise notified.
Click here for this week’s calendar