Many of us have delighted in meeting our new assistant rector for children and youth, the Rev. Katie Holicky these past two weeks. Thank you for your loving, joyful welcome. Even electronically the people of St. Paul’s are living up to our calling of welcome. Some of us were unable to access Zoom 9:30 worship and Coffee Hour last Sunday to meet Katie. I’m sorry about that. In order to make sure our Zoom links on Sundays are better accessible to you, we’ve put in place a reminder email for Saturday afternoon so the link to Sunday Zoom, 9:30 Family Worship and 11:30 Coffee Hour will almost virtually be at your fingertips.
Katie and I have meet regularly and have begun to plan for our future together with her as our assistant rector. One of the ways we wish to care for our body of Christ is to stagger our Sabbath days of rest to ensure that our pastoral care is covered. I will take my Sabbath days from Sunday after worship to Tuesday morning. During that time if you have a pastoral need, please contact Katie, firstname.lastname@example.org or in an emergency, 804-839-2833.Katie will take her Sabbath days on Friday and Saturday. During that time, I will cover for pastoral needs, email@example.com, 908-887-4418. We will also stagger our vacations and be adaptable to the needs of the parish as well.
As we continue important “distancing” during the pandemic, Katie and I know how important it is for us to stay connected. Please don’t hesitate to call on us as you need to during these times. One of the other important callings we have as a parish is caring for one another. Our lay leaders share with us their deep and abiding care in phone calls, cards and email messages. I thank God for this gift of St. Paul’s love and care we have for one another.
Preparing for our Future
We have been physically apart for two months now. What some of us expected was a “sprint” as we entered into the safety of “distancing,” we now know will be many months of a kind of “marathon.” How will the character and the assembly of worship look after this pandemic? When will we be safe to connect again? How will we need to adapt our practices?
I’m pleased that Pat Ryan and Paul Womer have agreed to head up our parish team that will help us envision and prepare for our future St. Paul’s body of Christ. Their letter to you follows. I give thanks for Pat, Paul and our devoted and wise committee.
FOR PEOPLE FACING GREAT UNCERTAINTY
(adapted from the New Zealand Prayer Book)
God of the present moment,
God who in Jesus stills the storm and soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to our faithful community
as we wait and respond in these uncertain times.
Bring hope that you will make us
ready and up to the task of whatever lies ahead.
Bring us courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
for your will is health and wholeness;
you are God, and we need you.
On Wednesday May 6th, our rector met with eight other parishioners (listed below) to discuss our continued evolution as a community of faith in how to prepare for our future in the present and post-world of COVID-19. As is so reflective of these times, there are no set answers or definitive plans. We agreed that the future is uncertain and that we must continue to be diligent in listening to our governor, medical and epidemiology experts while being cognizant of the needs of those around us. Ensuring the health of all and maintaining a steady effort to defeat this virus must remain foremost in our thinking. Fortunately, we are blessed with helpful leadership from our bishop and the national church as can be read in the bishop’s letter to the diocese.
In short we realize that we can take some small steps toward an eventual rejoining as a community: the purchase of masks for parishioners who might not have them, developing our capability of on-line services via Facebook and/or Zoom to include you, the parishioner, in the services; enhancing our infrastructure to enable a more robust use of computers and smart devices within the church when we do meet again in fellowship, and thinking about access and safe distancing, as well as the modalities of services, holy communion, and plate collection, and more. We know that some would wish an immediate return to the church. Others have expressed deep concern about returning too soon. This will be a slow and deliberative process involving faith, trust and preparation. We cannot rush to this decision. We will continue to meet to discuss our next steps, while remaining in touch with the reality that we face in Maine and nationwide. In blessing and peace.
Pat Ryan and Paul Womer, co-chairs; the Revs. Carolyn Eklund and Katie Holicky, Susan Tyler, Myrna Koonce, Cliff Ruprecht, Hugh Savage, Ralph Thivierge, and Nancy Whitehouse.
With hope, joy and love,
The Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 10, 2020
10:30 Morning Prayer, on Facebook live feed
Click to link to Worship Booklet
Sunday, at 11:30 am
Daily Morning Prayer and Compline – Join us every morning and evening on St. Paul’s Facebook Live for Morning Prayer and Compline, 7:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Make sure you have your Prayer Book with you. If you need a prayer book come by St. Paul’s Wednesday morning to pick one up.
Graduates to be Celebrated!Please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org) with the name of a loved one who is graduating from high school, college or graduate school. It will be important for our parish to recognize them, particularly this year when all is closed down.
Thank You for Keeping up with Your PledgeBecause we will be continuing to pay our bills, we are even more grateful for electronic giving. To make your electronic offering to St. Paul’s go to stpaulsmaine.breezechms.com/give/online or text your gift amount to (207) 407-5069. And we will be receiving mail in our PO Box 195, so feel free to mail your check. Thank you!
The History Committee of the 175th Anniversary
is including weekly excerpts describing our church’s growth. Here’s the fourth in the series:From The Story of the First Hundred Years of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, we read: “In the winter of 1854-55, a new furnace was installed, and in 1858 the present vaulted ceiling was put in, to do away with a most annoying echo.” Thus, from its early history St Paul’s Church was intent on improving acoustics and providing ?ne music as an integral part of worship.
Connecting by Phone
A team led by Hugh Savage and Cliff Ruprecht are standing by to join our Lay Pastoral Visitors to deliver meals to any parishioner in need. They also will connect by phone with parishioners who might feel more isolated by our closing. If you or someone you know would benefit from a call please let us know. Volunteers are also welcome. Please email the Parish Office or call and leave a message on the phone 207-725-5342. Also the Vestry and volunteers will be making phone calls over the next few weeks to parishioners for conversation and pastoral care.
The Work of the Church / MeetingsWe are working to find alternate ways to connect digitally in small groups and for meetings. Regularly meeting small groups are starting to meet virtually using the internet and phones if video is not available. Watch your email for more information from your group leaders. Any group leader interested in having your group meet virtually please be in contact with the parish office by email at email@example.com. We have instructions and can walk you through the process. Zoom (video calls) already happening include: Holy Stitchers, Men’s Group, Women’s Group, Prayer Group, Healing Prayer Team, Thursday Healing Prayer Service, Women’s Bible Study, Finance Committee, Vestry, Rectors and Warden’s meetings, Staff meetings, Choir, Church School, and Sunday Morning Family Worship.
An Invitation from the Men’s GroupMen interested in learning more about and/or becoming active in the St. Paul’s Wednesday morning Zoom Men’s Group (8:15-9:15), are encouraged to open and read the one-page version of norms we have agreed to follow. Please call one of the following members if you would like to be come to a meeting so we can better welcome you when you come. We can also tell you on the phone a little about what we do. Please feel free to call: Rick Wile at 756-0095, Al Niese at 406-2396 or Paul Womer at 449-7425. Thanks! We look forward to having you come!
The Parish OfficeWe have invested in the capability to work digitally as an administrative staff from our homes. The Parish Office will be utilized only by the limited few (entering one at a time) who need to keep us updated financially and check the mail. Those who have emergency financial needs or other immediate needs may come to St. Paul’s on Wednesday between 10:00 am-Noon to meet with the Rector. When you arrive at the entrance off the parking lot, please use the intercom-the small black box to the right of the door-to let us know you’re there.
Request for Retired Electronic Devices
If you have an electronic device that you or someone you know has recently ‘retired’ from use, please email our Senior Warden, Cliff Ruprecht or the Rector with what you have. We will follow up with you. We hope to be able to equip members who wish to be connected electronically, but need a compatible device.
Do you have at home records of any St. Paul’s organization? If so, the archivist and the history sub-committee would love to see them. We are trying to build as complete a picture of church life as we can, including details of parish activities. It would be great if you felt you could donate any records; please give them to Charlie Priest (firstname.lastname@example.org) and if you want the records back for some reason, please talk let him know. Thank you!
Celebrating with GratitudeIn this, our 175th year of existence, we may not be able to meet for celebratory events (which we’ll hold after this virus calms down), but the anniversary committee has come up with a common project we can all take part in, separately together. We’d like to sponsor a project to make/collect 175 items of warm clothing to be donated to The Gathering Place, or Tedford Housing, or wherever they might be needed next winter. Hats, mittens, and socks are especially in demand, so items can be small. If you can make them, so much the better; if you can’t, perhaps you could purchase them from local craftspeople, to help both the makers and the recipients. We’re announcing the project now so that people who knit or crochet can busy themselves now, while we are staying at home! Besides the practical value of the items, the process of making or procuring them might help us to be mindful of how blessed we are and of the pressing needs of many of our neighbors. Distribution of the items will be handled by the Outreach Committee.
Anyone interested in simple, basic patterns for making hats, socks, or mittens may access them shortly on a link we’ll provide shortly (we’re still collecting them). And anyone who would like a supply of sock or hat yarn should contact Carol Martin (email@example.com) or Charla Spann (firstname.lastname@example.org); we have several stashes we can draw upon, and we can arrange for home drop-offs. The sock patterns are for tube socks, so you don’t need to make heels! Even beginning knitters among us would be able to complete them with ease; they’re simpler to make than the mittens we made in our workshop this winter.
Documenting the StoriesPlease be thinking now of what details you might include in an account of your experience of this difficult time. The 175th anniversary committee will shortly be asking you to write or draw a short account, in order to gain the fullest account we can of how our community has weathered this remarkable period. Are you a high school or elementary or middle school student? A grandparent? A healthcare worker? A mask-maker? A small child? A college student? Someone working from home? Someone home schooling, maybe for the first time? We’d like to hear all of your stories. We’re still considering just how we’ll use your responses: Perhaps in a scrap book for the archives (which we’ll all be able to access once we get back together), perhaps in a vestibule display, perhaps in a booklet we could all have, similar to our Lenten meditations. For now, please start thinking and jotting notes or sketches!
Mid Coast Hunger Prevention ProgramMany more people are turning to food banks for assistance as businesses close and government assistance falls short of covering expenses. Good Shepherd Food Bank has estimated that there is an increase of 39% in people needing assistance. With grocery store shelves short of product, MCHPP receives fewer food donations from stores and they must buy items directly to supply to their clients. The best way that the people of St. Paul’s can continue to support MCHPP is to write a check and send it to them. NO AMOUNT IS TOO SMALL. Their address is MCHPP, 12 Tenney Way, Brunswick, ME 04011. Thank you for your continued support!
How to Help and Where to Find Help in Maine at Maine Helps
Local Brunswick Support Resources:
Important Feasts of the Church in May
Thursday, May 21, Ascension Day11:00 a.m. Join us for a Celebration of Healing and Prayer on Zoom
Sunday, May 31, Pentecost
9:30 a.m. Family Worship Zoom Celebration: Lots of red for the Holy Spirit!
10:30 a.m. Morning Prayer Pentecost Facebook Live Stream Celebration
11:30 a.m. Wear your red clothes for Zoom Coffee Hour
St. Paul’s Online This Week
Click to Join
|Sunday 5/10||Zoom||9:30 am||Family Worship|
|10:30 am||Morning Prayer|
|Zoom||11:30 am||Virtual Coffee Hour|
|Monday-Saturday||7:30 am||Morning Prayer|
|Tuesday 5/12||Zoom||9:30 am||Holy Stitchers|
|Zoom||12:30 pm||Bible Study|
|Wednesday 5/13||See meeting format||7:30 am||Contact Al Niese 406-2396Rick Wile 756-0095 Paul Womer 449-7425|
|Thursday 5/14||Zoom||11:00 am||Healing Prayer Service|