St. Paul's Episcopal Church   Poughkeepsie, NY

"Making friends while serving God"

The week of Nov 6-12, 2017         

"Safe Church" is the name given to training in the Episcopal Church to insure church is safe for all, as the name implies. It focuses on various forms of victimization that can materialize in any setting. The training prepares participants to be alert for and respond to signs of child abuse, bullying, elder abuse, sexualharassment and other behaviors.

In the Episcopal Diocese of New York Safe Church training is required for all parish employees, vestry members and wardens, and volunteers in parish ministries. The vestry at St. Paul's has voted to conform to this diocesan requirement and some of the grants which we receive for our Food Pantry mandate that we actively provide employees, leaders, and volunteers with Safe Church training and that the training be repeated every five years.

Whether taking the training for the first time or renewing prior training, all parish employees, vestry members and wardens, and volunteers are expected to receive the training. To make  this possible Father Tyler has taken the course and become prepared to offer the program at St. Paul's. Two trainings will be offered in the coming months: one in December and one in February.

The following dates are possibilities at this stage. Please indicate by email to Father Tyler ( which dates could work for you. Please consider all dates, even those dates where you might need to rearrange your schedule so the greatest number of parishioners and employees can attend. Two of these dates will be selected fo r the training.

December dates and times:                       February dates and times:
Dec. 9 (Sat.) 9 am - 1 pm                           Feb. 10 (Sat) 9am-1 pm
Dec. 10 (Sun) 1 pm - 5 pm                        Feb. 10 (Sat) 1 pm -5 pm
Dec. 16 (Sat) 9 am-1 pm                            Feb 4 (Sun) 1 pm-5 pm
Dec. 16 (Sat) 1 pm-5 pm                            Feb 17 (Sat) 9 am-1 pm
                                                                   Feb 17 (Sun) 1pm-5pm

If you are a candidate for Safe Church training, please review these nine dates and indicate each and every date which could accommodate your schedule (even if you have to adjust your schedule). It is vital that as many as possible of our volunteers receive this training in December or Febru a

You know neither the day nor the hour
A depiction of the bridesmaids for Matthew 25

The importance of preparation

           Solomon 6:17-20;  Psalm 78:1-7;
 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ; Matthew 25:1-13

Our Sunday readings reveal ancient truths about learning. In our Hebrew Bible reading from the Book of Wisdom we are told " The beginning of wisdom is the most sincere desire for instruction, and concern for instruction is love of her, and love of her is the keeping of her laws..." Wisdom in the ancient (Greek) world had a name, Sophia, and it had the characteristics of a spiritual being. In our Psalm we are told, " I will open my mouth in a parable; I will declare the mysteries of ancient times...We will recount to generations to come the praiseworthy deeds and the power of the Lord..."
This commitment to seek and learn and share an understanding of God is both moving  and affirming. Nearly everyone knows the perils of resisting Wisdom. Many have experienced those perils.
Our Epistle addresses the Christian belief in union with Christ eternally. This is as bold a claim as was ever made. Yet we see in it how living in anticipation of a spiritual life in the present insures or at least promises a spiritual life eternally.
These rather cosmic concepts are brought down to earth by Jesus in Sunday's Gospel. In the parable of the bridesmaids and their lamps Jesus strongly implies that to not prepare for the coming of the bridegroom, standing in for Jesus, is to miss the miracle of faith. The bridesmaids who weren't prepared with enough oil for their lamps had to go purchase oil and missed the wedding banquet. The closing line of the parable is, " Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour."
After two thousand years the notion of staying awake for the Coming of Christ is a stretch. But living our lives honestly, intelligently, and faithfully prepares us and satisfies our earthly needs.

P A R I S H   N E W S
A record number of people came to St. Paul's Food Pantry on Thursday, October 26, asking for help with food supplies. Forty-five folks were served by Cynthia Benjamin, Melody Ward, and JJ Bobb. The two days before were also busier than usual, with a total of 106 clients coming to St. Paul's during the three days the pantry was open during the last week in October. Many thanks to the hard-working volunteers who take the orders and fill the grocery bags for those neighbors in need.

The total number of people served in October was 782. Our Small Blessings Thrift Shop was also busy, taking in $480.40.

Another big number is the grant recently received from the State of New York's HPNAP program (Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program). For the next 12 months, our pantry will receive more than $12,000 in credits at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York as well as free food from the U.S. Department of Agriculture .

Next: Christmas Baskets. Congregations at St. Paul's, Christ Church, and First Lutheran will soon be asked to contribute generously to our pantry's annual distribution of holiday foods. Stay tuned for further announcements.

 A reminder that November 19 is Consecration Sunday - the day when we will complete our Estimate of Giving Cards and take them to the altar to be blessed.   Following that memorable event we will be treated to a delicious lunch in the Parish Hall prepared by Chris Tompkins, Chef and owner of Just Gourmet Caterers.   There will be only 1 service that day at 10:00.   We hope ALL church members will be there.   Reservations for the day can be made in church on Sunday, Nov. 12 or by calling the church.
The Stewardship committee met Monday and discussed Consecration Sunday, the reception for the bishop's visit on Nov. 26 and decided to hold a BAKE SALE on Sat., Dec. 2 in conjunction with the Breakfast sponsored by the Men's Club. We will need people to provide food for the Nov. 26 reception and the bake sale on Dec. 2,   Please speak to Norma about the reception and use the sign up sheet in the Narthex to volunteer to bake for the bake sale.

The Sunday Sermon
                       Our saints
SERMON: All Saints A 11 5 17
I read this week that getting dressed up in Halloween costumes is actually a very old and a quite religious endeavor. In the past costumes were intended to represent the eternal battle between good and evil. These days the Halloween costumes--and much of our common life-- seem weighted toward the latter.
But since Halloween precedes All Saints Day and since this is All Saints Sunday I thought I'd bring five Halloween riddles to the pulpit.
Q: What do ghosts eat for supper?
A: Spooketi
Q: What do you do when 50 zombies surround your house?
A: Hope it's Halloween!!
Q: What is the most important subject a witch learns in school?
A: Spelling.
Q: Why didn't the skeleton want to go to school?
A: His heart wasn't in it.
Q: Why are ghosts so bad at lying?
A: Because you can see right through them!
Molly and I visited Salem Massachusetts this summer and visited the historic home of one of her relatives from the 1700s. We were astonished to find in refined and historic Salem, Massachusetts that the entire town seemed to be devoted to the local industry: witchcraft. There were shops and books stores and restaurants and bars and all manner of establishment you'd find anywhere except in Salem they were all oriented toward witchcraft.
Knowing a little about the Salem witch trials and the sad chapter in our history when fear of supernatural forces led folks to lose their minds in their persecution of those who were different, having seen the play the Crucible on Broadway this year, we were horrified. It was like Midsummer Halloween.
When I thought about it, though, I think the costumes and antics of Halloween, whether for one night most places or 365 days a year in Salem, serve a real purpose. All the jokes and frights and weird costumes and gore aside, Halloween reminds us that evil exists, that we need to confront and resist it, and this draws us right back to the origins of this strange day and the eternal battle between good and evil. It reminds us that good exists, too.
Good and evil have been at odds since the beginning of time. Personally I prefer to look a little closer in than all the way back, though. I found a really intriguing opportunity this week in The New York Times. A full page article with a photo spread was in Monday's paper. It dealt with a political science class at Middle Tennessee State University at Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The class was given access to the papers of U.S. Senator Albert Gore, Sr., father of our recent vice president Al Gore. The class was exploring the operation of a congressional field office, something in which I have interest and experience since I worked for a US senator in field offices in Alaska in the 1970s.
The students found evidence that the big issues then are still the big issues today. They included civil rights, immigration, gun control and health care. But the big surprise was that the language that people used to express their concerns and their grievances was the same as the language used today. People worried about justice and race bias and socialism and foreigners in much the same way they do today. I found that fascinating.
If you would like to look at the language people used in their letters to Senator Gore, I have posted the article on the parish bulletin board outside the parlor.
But the point I would make on this All Saints Sunday is that there are views expressed there that I would consider the views of the saints and other views that I consider, frankly, the words of the devil. And I am wrong. Because it is entirely possible, probable, I suspect, that the people I agree with were not saints and the people I disagree with were not evil. They could well have been saints, at least to someone.
Today as we celebrate All Saints Sunday let us remember that we are not trying to identify the official saints recognized by church hierarchy and miracle inquiries. We are instead naming people who drew us closer to God, people who helped us feel loved by Jesus, people who showed us how to live a faithful life. If any among you can cite someone who taught you how to be perfect (other than Jesus), let me know. This is someone we'd all like to meet. Otherwise, let's be generous with our appreciation and leave it at that.
Because God and especially Jesus and definitely the church know that we aren't going to rise to perfection any time soon. We are in spiritual kindergarten, as a friend used to tell me, and we are growing, but we have a lot father to go than we've come. No matter how good we get, and I admit some of you are pretty far along, we'll never attain perfection. That's not only okay. That's a blessing. We're human.
When we look at the readings appointed for today we realize that the white-robed multitude described in the reading from Revelation sounds a tad over the top for us. When we explore the psalm we recognize our own dependence and reliance on the Almighty and we start to breathe a little more freely. We are satisfied with the epistle's assurance that we are children of God.
Any struggle we might be putting up resisting our own saintliness is ended when we read what the lectionary editors picked for our Gospel. Jesus' recitation of the Beatitudes indicating they constitute the characteristics of saints help us to appreciate we are candidates ourselves. None of us attains perfection in any of the areas listed in this most remarkable of talks given by Jesus. Yet we know we sometimes manage to get one or two right and find ourselves planning to do more.
Looking at Jesus in his holiness is a piece of cake compared to trying to see ourselves in anything resembling a holy light. We are so awed by Jesus and so appalled by our own miscues and misadventures that we miss the point that matters most of all: we are trying; we are giving it a shot; we manage to get it together now and again.
It is as easy to imagine others achieving some saintliness as it is hard to imagine ourselves doing so. Isn't that odd? Aren't we humble?
No, actually, but we are hard headed. And a little reluctant.
Today at the Prayers of the People you are going to be invited to name and give a few--a very few--words to explain why you picked the saints you chose to name. Think of the beatitudes. Think about how you felt when you received spiritual guidance and comfort from your saints. And think that someday you might be on the list of someone else's saints. Fancy that. Amen
An All Saints Sunday sermon preached at St. Paul's Episcopal Church Poughkeepsie NY Nov. 5, 2017 by The Rev. Tyler Jones, Rector

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St. Paul's Episcopal Church-Poughkeepsie
Hymn List
1982           61      "Sleepers, wake!" A voice astounds us

1982           68       Rejoice! rejoice, believers

Caribbean              Art thou weary, art thou languid

1982           436      Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates

November 6-12, 2017

MON 6          7:30am AA Meeting;   
                     5pm Stewardship;
                     6pm Evening Prayer;                
TUE 7           10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Small Blessings Thrift Shop;
                      6pm Evening Prayer, Men's Club
WED 8           7 :30am AA Meeting;
        10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Small Blessings Thrift Shop;
        12:15pm Healing Service & Eucharist;  
        1pm Parish Aid;     
THUR 9         10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Small Blessings Thrift Shop; 
                      6pm Evening Prayer, Pastoral Care, Relatives as Parents;
FRI 10            7:30am AA meeting;
SAT 11          9am Diocean Convention-NYC;                     
SUN 12           8am Rite I;
        8:45am Lessons Discussion;
        9:30am Choir practice;  
       10:00am Rite II;
              10:00am   Sunday school;
              11:15am Coffee Hour;
              11:30am Youth;
              12pm Confirmation Class;


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