What‘s Happening at St. Paul’s 01-14-2022

As our nation prepares to celebrate the national holiday marking the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday, I’ve been reflecting on the theme of forgiveness. I remember my Old Testament professor saying that the voice of the prophet is no longer with us, particularly in modern times. I’m sure I’m misquoting him because some of the most daring voices of God’s justice and forgiveness have come from the corners of the world where there has been unspeakable oppression. What is surprising about Dr. King’s voice and I will also include Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s voice is that they always called for truth-telling and forgiveness. In a recent opinion article in the UK, “The Globe,” entitled, “Archbishop Desmond Tutu was right: The Truth and Reconciliation Commission proved to be a miracle of the modern age,” Akaash Maharaj wrote of his meeting with Tutu as a student at Oxford. He invited the archbishop to visit him at Oxford, but Tutu countered with a meeting in Westminster Abbey where it seemed this holy man wished to teach him about truth, reconciliation and forgiveness a few years prior to the actual Truth and Reconciliation Commission being launched by Nelson Mandela. The author summarized his learning in this way, “Forgiveness is less about absolving those who have harmed us and more about drawing their poison from our own souls. It is an act of radical defiance of the hatred proffered by injustice. Like mercy, forgiveness is the prerogative of the strong.” I would add, “the strong in faith, hope and love.” With the same kind of strength and force, Dr. King’s prophetic voice declared often for love and forgiveness. In one of his sermons he said, “Forgiveness does not mean ignoring what has been done or putting a false label on an evil act. It means, rather, that the evil act no longer remains as a barrier to the relationship. Forgiveness is a catalyst creating the atmosphere necessary for a fresh start and a new beginning.”  In our own small way, St. Paul’s and the Episcopal Church offers a fresh start, a new beginning for racial justice with the Sacred Ground dialog groups. God is always calling us to a fresh start in our lives.
Today, right now, we are called to stand with these modern prophets of our faith and turn toward their truth of God’s justice and forgiveness.
“Almighty God, by the hand of Moses your servant you led your people out of slavery and made them free at last: Grant that your church, following the example of your prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of your love, and may strive to secure for all your children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.’
Your friend in Christ,

MLK Day Panel to Discuss
‘The State of Civil Rights in Maine’
January 17th, 9:30-10:45 a.m.

Maine’s attorney general and four other individuals with differing personal and professional perspectives will address the topic “The State of Civil Rights in Maine” as part of eastern and central Maine’s 2022 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration.

The free, online event will be livestreamed on YouTube from 9:30-10:45 a.m. on Monday, January 17. The MLK Day celebration is co-sponsored by the Greater Bangor Area Branch NAACP and the University of Maine Alumni Association.
Visit https://www.umainealumni.com/event/mlk2022/for details on accessing the event on YouTube .

St. Paul’s Guidance for Indoor, In-Person Worship and Gatherings
(Guidelines subject to change as pandemic unfolds.)

INDOOR IN-PERSON WORSHIP (Digital worship offered as well!)
Based on the most recent CDC instructions,
please follow our guidelines for safer in-person indoor worship:

We will require that you wear a mask. (sanitizer & masks will be at each entrance)
Double masking is recommended by the Maine CDC and the Diocese of Maine. Feel free to take one of our masks for double masking
We will encourage three feet of physical distancing. (Seating will be clearly marked and ushers will help us keep our distance. Please only pass the peace to those near you to limit movement around the Hall and Nave)
We will say the responses, but no congregational singing. (The choir will sing)
We will not come forward to receive the bread or wine; communion of one kind from pews.
We will limit two people or family units in each restroom, masked.
We will not require a limit on the number of people in attendance, and will use the Vestibule for overflow seating.
We will not offer in person fellowship after worship.

  • Cumberland County has a high vaccination rate and lower cases than other parts of the state.
  • St. Paul’s membership has a high vaccination rate, though we are not requiring proof.
  • The Nave and the Hall are well ventilated. (*Bundle up!)
  • There will be no congregational singing. (The choir will sing)
  • There will be no coming forward to receive bread or wine. (Taken individually while seated in pew)