St. Paul's Episcopal Church   Poughkeepsie, NY

"Making friends while serving God"

The week of Nov 27-December 3, 2017         

Christ is coming!
Isaiah 64:1-9;  Psalm 80:1-7;
1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 13:24-37

This week's lessons
The season of Advent, the first season in the church year,  begins Sunday. The word derives from a Latin word for "coming," as in the coming of Christ.

We will enter the second year --year B--in the three year cycle of readings. We also change the format of the weekly liturgy to reflect the change from the season after Pentecost to the season of Advent which precedes the season of Christmas. There are many cartoons and Facebook memes floating about these days depicting indignant Christians insisting that Christmas should be celebrated only after Advent; that is, beginning Dec. 23. Technically that is correct.
However, the anticipation that builds during Advent does not wait for the calendar to roll around to Dec. 24. We are getting ready for the big deal, the major excitement, the central attraction of Christianity. While it might be technically correct, it is also impossible to contain the yearly enthusiasm of the approach of Christmas.
In church our Advent format changes are both visible and audible. The color for the frontal, the hangings and the liturgical garb shifts from green to purple. Following the Collect for Purity we drop the Gloria and instead use the Kyrie. We say the psalm. We use Eucharistic Prayer B, not Eucharistic Prayer A.
Our Gospel reading Sunday sets our watchful tone for the season of Advent. Jesus warns, "Beware, keep alert," and, "Keep awake." This doesn't apply only in Advent, of course. It applies all the year long. But in this season of preparation we want to be especially attentive for that which we know is coming, which comes every year. But for now we wait in readiness.


Bishop Andy Dietsche preaching on our new beginning


Our 4 pm Sunday service drew over 150 people to celebrate the new beginning of St. Paul's following its attainment of self-supporting status this year. Bishop Andy Dietsche presided and preached at the service which included extra hymns, scripture responses from parishioners and the formal installation of Father Tyler as Rector.

The loose collection was committed to the food pantry at St. Paul's. A total of $1,051 was raised to help with the hams and grocery gift cards which will make up our annual Christmas baskets for food pantry clientele.

Bishop Dietsche had to leave before the end of the service to make a flight to North Carolina for a funeral. He said he wasn't sure traffic on the Sunday evening would allow it, but he was going to try. After he left we prayed for the bishop's travel safety and successful timing.  During the reception following the service we learned he did, indeed, make his flight with time to spare.
Molly and Father Tyler with Bishop Dietsche following the installation. Wardens Bobbie Gordon and Mark Debald are also visible, as is Mother Gloria and crucifer Shawn Prater-Lee as well as various area clergy from other parishes and offices.



On Nov. 22 Darwin Meachem was the first bicycle rider to use our new bike rack outside the office doors. He pronounced the rack awesome and expressed pleasure at being the first user. Clients and staff at the Community Transition Center also approved of the installation. The rack--and an identical rack installed at Christ Church--was funded by a grant from the Mid Hudson Board of Managers of the Episcopal Diocese of New York.



The Sunday Sermon
             The changing seasons at St. Paul's
This is a joyful place, full of love and energy; it is abounding with gratitude for God's goodness. I felt it when I was looking for a diocese and a church in 2004; I read St. Paul's profile. There was a priest search that year; happily, it was incomplete. But I saw the profile and I got a sense of the people; I also got a sense of the building.
The picture of its 5-layer asphalt roof; looking like a lava flow, roof upon roof.
After two years in Germany I was looking for a US parish with outreach; the government does outreach in Germany. St. Paul's stood out; its diversity, its food pantry and thrift shop and their volunteers, its alternative to incarceration for young offenders. Molly lit on it like iron shavings on a magnet; like a bee on a flower. We knew a little about the diocese and about Poughkeepsie; we wanted an exurban city with a little grit.
Before my interview here I had two in Maine; both went nowhere, happily.
Before the interview here Alice Leigh met me at the train station; her welcome warm. Then I knew what it felt like to be called; to feel needed and, later, wanted.
When I saw her grinning her amazing grin; that was when I knew what a call feels like. In the interview there was a squabble about acolyte decorum; about boys and girls being boys and girls. If they act like this in front of me, I thought; there probably won't be so much going on behind my back. When the selection committee heard me preach they laughed at my joke; I liked that.
Philip Carr Harris, the interim, as he left, told me he knew no more loving group of people; I concur.  Canon Pastor Andy Dietsche called me in Germany; he affirmed what I'd heard from the interim. He encouraged me about Poughkeepsie; he updated me on parish goings on. He told me about the fire in 2002 and the roof grant; the leadership rising to the challenge of restoring the church. Settling in I learned about the seasons that preceded me; the ups and downs, the victories, the struggles. The land given by a man with the name Paraclete in 1835; a man whose name means Holy Spirit in Greek? The first church, its architecture uber protestant; looking like a Greek temple.
The decline, the revival; the growth in the late 19th Century.
The construction of this building with windows we're told are Tiffanys, but unsigned; keeping us humble Our 576 seat nave; in eleven and a half years only half filled three times for funerals. Our income deficit and deferred maintenance surplus; blessings which averted more architectural misfortunes. The lava flow roof replaced with slate; help from a $350,000 matching grant and a capital campaign. Our diocese eager to respond to St. Paul's plans; generous with counsel, encouragement, funds granted and loaned. Prisoner painters painted the nave; another matching grant helped re-carpet.

With energetic volunteers we grew our food pantry; we serve the neighborhood three days a week. We increased our pantry clientele eleven fold; in 2016 we provided 76,041 meals. Insurance after a flood provided seed money; we renovated the parish hall both for us and for rentals. A recent act of vandalism damaged the Martha and Mary stained glass window; we asked the restorer to restore the faces of the sisters as well. The effect on St. Paul's was delight; from victimhood to celebration. Then the time came for diocesan aid to cease; we could then imagine being self supporting. This is the year it happened; it was happening all along.
A response to the first reading (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) at the Celebration of a New Beginning Nov. 26, 2017 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Poughkeepsie NY by The Rev. Tyler Jones, Rector.

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St. Paul's Episcopal Church-Poughkeepsie

1982              640     Watchman, tell us of the night
1982              616     Hail to the Lord's anointed
1982              57       Lo! He comes, with clouds descending
1982              68       Rejoice! rejoice, believers

November 27- December 3, 2017

MON 27          7:30am AA Meeting;                          
                        6pm Evening Prayer; Vestry;                           
TUE 28           10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Small Blessings Thrift Shop;
                        6pm Evening Prayer, Bible Study;
WED 29            7:30am AA Meeting;  
           10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Small Blessings Thrift Shop;
           12:15pm Healing Service & Eucharist;  
THUR 30         10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Small Blessings Thrift Shop;   
FRI 1                7:30am AA meeting;
SAT 2              8am Pancake Breakfast
                        10am Morning Prayer; Buildings & Grounds Mtg;
                        11am Block Clean-Up;                 
SUN 3              8am Rite I;
                        8:45am Lessons Discussions;
    9:30am Choir practice;  
           10am Rite II-Anointing/Laying of Hands;
           10am Sunday School;
           11:12am Coffee Hour;


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