|The Rev. Dr. John Koenig was an expert on the Letters of Paul and was one of the New Testament professors when I was a student at The General Seminary of the Episcopal Church. Dr. John Koenig helped his students immerse into the new life of Christ in the communities Paul founded. |
As one of his students, I learned about the character of each community through Paul’s letters. In what scholars believe is Paul’s last letter, the Letter to the Romans, Paul instructs an emerging body of Christ. I learned from Dr. Koenig that the twelfth chapter in the Letter to the Romans is the only place in Scripture that gives instruction on how to be “Church.” The heading of this section in my bible reads, “Exhortation to holy living; goodwill within the community and without.” That feels like St. Paul’s, Brunswick, Maine, I think!
I have been reading and reflecting on Romans 12 this past week. In our circumstances so many years later, I’m moved by this chapter of Romans, verse 2 in particular. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.” The words “transformed” and “that you may discern the will of God” resonate with me these days as we approach how to be church in the uncertainty and even dangers of a lurking virus.
I thank God for our church, the namesake of St. Paul. Our St. Paul’s Future Planning Team has taken very seriously the task of discerning the will of God for our future. We do not wish to expose one single soul to the virus or create the possibility of an outbreak due to gathering with too many too early in this pandemic.
Read Romans 12:9, 10 as instruction as well: “Let love be genuine, hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor.” I honor our team, Pat Ryan and Paul Womer, co-chairs, the Rev. Katie Holicky, Myrna Koonce, Cliff Ruprecht, Hugh Savage, Ralph Thivierge, Susan Tyler and Nancy Whitehouse as we meet weekly, study, pray and discern God’s will for our future transformation.
We realize that, like it or not, our body of Christ is and will be changed. I’m frankly a bit daunted by this reality. But I’m also seeing the wonderful ways we are becoming transformed already!
We want you to be involved with the discernment for our future. That’s why our next two steps are to invite you to ZOOM Town Halls this Sunday, May 24, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. ZOOM Family Worship and at 11:30 a.m. ZOOM Coffee Hour Town Hall. Join us for a conversation about your hopes, fears and feelings during this time of physical separation. The second step is to respond to a Constant Contact questionnaire to help the Future Planning Team know what is on your heart and mind. We will send that the end of next week. Your responses will help us prayerfully discern God’s will for us as a faith community.
I wish you deepest joy and blessings during this Memorial Day Holiday weekend as the sun shines and the temperature warms us. This is a National Holiday that reminds us of our fallen and we give thanks for their heroic service.
“O Judge of the nations, we remember before you with grateful hearts the men and women of our country who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy. Grant that we may not rest until all the people of this land share the benefits of true freedom and gladly accept its disciplines. This we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (BCP, p. 839)
With honor and gratitude for you, the community of St. Paul’s,
The Seventh Sunday of Easter, May 24, 2020
10:30 Morning Prayer, on Facebook Live
Click to link to Worship Booklet
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Sunday, at 11:30 am
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Acts 1:6-14 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11
John 17:1-11 Psalm 68:1-10, 33-36
The Lectionary Page
|Parish Announcements |
Zoom Town Hall Conversations this Sunday, May 24, during 9:30 Family Worship and 11:30 Zoom Coffee Hour: Gather to hear about how we will be St. Paul’s this summer, and for a conversation about our hopes, fears and feelings during this time of physical separation. Stay tuned for a Constant Contact brief questionnaire to help us know what is on your heart and mind.
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.
A Special Request for Pentecost Participation
Calling all multilingual speakers! At our Pentecost worship on May 31st we will carry on our tradition of having one of our lessons (Acts 2:1-11) read in a variety of languages. If you would like to participate or have questions please email Rev. Katie Holicky at email@example.com ASAP. We will be creating a video over the next week or so to share as part of our worship on this special feast day!
Next 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
The Episcopal Diocese of Maine is planning a diocese-wide online worship service and would love to include your Pentecost celebration video. If you’d like to participate, please record a video of you and your family wearing the color red, and celebrating or cheering (with the phone held horizontally.) Please send your video to Director of Communications Katie Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday, May 26 at 3 pm.
Thank You for Keeping up with Your Pledge Because 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!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 / Meetings We 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, Middle & High Schoolers and Sunday Morning Family Worship.
An Invitation from the Men’s Group Men 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 Office We 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 DevicesIf 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.
Forward Day by Day booklets
For those who are missing the Forward Day by Day booklets, you may now access the daily readings online at https://prayer.forwardmovement.org/the_daily_readings.php
St. Paul’s Celebrates 175 Years of Our Body of ChristThe History Committee of the 175th Anniversary is including weekly excerpts describing our church’s growth. Here’s the sixth in the series:
From The Story of the First Hundred Years of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, we read about Dr. Ballard, fifth rector: “He was older and had been longer in the ministry than any of his predecessors; scholarly, able, with a personality that endeared him to all who knew him. His gracious and loyal service to the Parish, the Diocese, and the community covered the trying years of the Civil War, and a part of the no less difficult period that followed. Dr. Ballard’s rectorship was remarkable, not only for its being the longest (12 years, 7 months) [1858-70] up to that time, but in the unity and strength of devotion that he inspired in the hearts of his people; the Parish had always been small, but it had never been more united…… no less than 13 students from the college have been worshippers preparatory to their ministry in the Church.”
175th Anniversary Celebration Update The Vestry along with the 175th Anniversary Committee has met and agreed to postpone the celebration activities until 2021. We will still be sharing moments of our history throughout the year.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 Stories Please 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!
|Community Information 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:
|Prayer Requests Pray for the congregations of St. Margaret’s in Belfast and St. Andrew’s in Newcastle and for Memorial Day, as we remember all who have died in the service of our country.Pray for The Vicarage, families and staff.Pray for Anderson, Andrew, Cedric, Jason, Michael, Richard, and all in the military.We pray for:Christy, Mathew, Ryan & family, Ethel, Norma, Riley, Ray, David, Judi, Carolyn B., Nick, Bob, Dave, Eleanor, Peggy, Alan, Sam, Matt, Linda, Kathy, Skip, the Blackburn family, Cathy, Willow, Roxanne, Avery, Sara, Tierra, Ann, and AllenBernie, Reeve, Victor, Travis & family, Ben, Kerry, Sally, Diane, Therese, Caleb, Sarah, Nate, Sue, Elijah, Cadin, Bridget, Steve, Ted, Garrett, Elliot, Marcia, Lakshmi in thanksgiving, Cameron, Hannah, Lynn, and Caroline Carol, Don, Priscilla, Rick, Alison, Rick, Trent, Betsey, Anne, Bruce, Jeannie, the Hawkes family, Sophia, Rhonda, Emily, Steve, Marnie, Dean, baby Thomas, Gair, Laurie, Sharon and family, June and Alan, Annie, Sarah, and CaroleCall 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. |
|St. Paul’s Online This WeekClick to Join|
Zoom 9:30 am Family Worship
Facebook 10:30 am Morning Prayer
Zoom 11:30 am Virtual Coffee Hour
Zoom 1:00 pm Middle & High Schoolers
Memorial Day no MP or Compline
Facebook 7:30 am Morning Prayer
Facebook 7:30 pm Compline
Zoom 9:30 am Holy Stitchers
Zoom 12:30 pm Bible Study
Wednesday 5/27 See meeting format
7:30 am Contact Al Niese 406-2396 Rick Wile 756-0095 Paul Womer 449-7425
Zoom 7:00 pm Choir
Zoom 11:00 am Healing Prayer Service
Zoom Noon Prayer Group