October 23, 2020

"There is no power for change greater than a community
discovering what it cares about"

Margaret J. Wheatley
Community Engagement Discernment Process | Report Release

The goal of our discernment on Community Engagement at St. Paul’s is to bring new life and renewed purpose to our programs and partnerships. The Spark Mill is helping us in this process. They have a unique focus on non-profits and religious organizations combined with an "asset-based" approach to helping organizations develop and redefine their Community Engagement strategies to get the most from their strengths and passions.

Starting in April 2020, The Spark Mill has guided us through a process that involved inside-out as well as outside-in assessment. This involved the intra-congregational surveys and group discussions you've seen and hopefully participated in. Another aspect of this process was to talk with external peer organizations and community members to get an external view of St. Paul's. With a view from many angles we can develop the best vision for moving forward.

We would like to share with you the data finding from all of the interviews, surveys and focus groups that we held. You can find the full report here (click link below):


In the next and final phase, the Community Engagement steering committee will partner with The Spark Mill to draft a three-year plan for the Community Engagement ministry based on all the input gathered up to this point. Once a plan is adopted, The Spark Mill will work with the team to build out actionable next steps and a timeline for implementing the plan.

The Community Engagement steering committee is following some guiding principles to inform our work:
  • Be a living witness to Christ’s justice and love, especially to the most vulnerable among us.
  • Create partnership-based ministries with our local and global neighbors.
  • Create ministries that capture the energy, interests and passions of this congregation.
  • Create ministries that invite broad participation from the congregation and the community.

We invite you to continue to pray for the Community Engagement discernment process with this prayer:

O God, you sent your Son into our world to be a living, breathing example of justice, love, and mercy. As we seek to be more fully your hands, feet, and heart in this community and world, we ask that you walk with us. By the guidance of your Holy Spirit, open our hearts and minds to hear the many voices through which you are speaking; increase our trust and respect for each other; and give us patience and wisdom as you shape us into the church you are calling us to be. We pray these things in the name of the one who came not to be served, but to serve, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
History & Reconciliation Initiative (HRI)| Updates and Next Steps

What's Next?

Many of you have asked about what's next for HRI. When we look at the "Transformations" section in the Spark Mill report linked above, there is a clear call to embed justice throughout our work. The work of HRI to date has been to illuminate the narratives of our past. We believe that the future of HRI is aligned to our discernment and strategy on Community Engagement. This discernment and the reflection on our past is leading us to think deeply about "how" we do things as much as "what" we do.
History & Reconciliation Initiative Art Project

The HRI Memorials Committee was charged with considering ways to help tell our story. One of the projects we are thrilled to announce is a history mural to be designed and created by Atlanta-based artist, Meredith Ochoa.

Michelle Walker saw one of Meredith’s creations when visiting a church outside of Charlotte, NC and brought the idea to the Memorials Committee. The committee was enthusiastic about the idea and sought the approval of the property committee and the vestry. The mural project has been approved and the artist will be working on it for the rest of the fall.
 
But what is it, you’re wondering? The mural is a set of interlocking panels made of canvas that will depict our history from the beginning through, well, now. Christopher Graham and Anne Hayes are selecting the moments in time and the appropriate pictures. The plan is to temporarily store the rector portraits and place the mural along that wall from the doors to the parish hall to the library doors.
 
If all goes as planned, the project should be completed and ready for installation in early December, as part of our 175th Anniversary year. Look out for video and pictures of the mural as it is under construction soon.
Upcoming Events & Partner Highlights
Writing Our Way Out Podcast | Oct. 28th @ 7:00 p.m.

Join Dave Coogan , Chris Graham and other Richmond activists for a panel discussion on The Prison of White Supremacy. Watch/Listen: https://fb.me/e/1OsO3MYcP.
A Season of Prayer: For an Election

Forward Movement and The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations are calling Episcopalians and all others to join in A Season of Prayer: For an Election. We come together, asking God for courage and wisdom, thanking God for love and joy. As we move toward the election of leaders for the United States, may we all join in a season of prayer, committing to offer to God our fears and frustrations, our hopes and dreams.
 
Starting October 27 and continuing through the day after the election, we invite you to pray for the election of leaders in the United States. Materials are available in English and Spanish for use at home or to share with you congregation. These prayers, drawn from The Book of Common Prayer, can be printed out and tucked in a Bible or prayer journal.

A novena is an ancient tradition of nine days of devotional prayers, often with a specific intention. In this case, we pray for discernment in voting and for the well-being of our nation. Join us October 27-November 4. For more details and to sign up for email updates, visit the Forward Movement website here

St. Paul’s will also offer additional worship and formation offerings on Monday, November 2nd and Tuesday, November 3rd. You can find more details HERE
Fall Book Club | Monday, November 16th @ 7:00 p.m.

Join us! We will be reading: Love is the Way by Bishop Michael Curry and Sara Grace.

ABOUT LOVE IS THE WAY: Walk the path of love with one of the warmest, most beloved spiritual leaders of our time, and learn how to put faith into action. As the descendant of slaves and the son of a civil rights activist, Bishop Michael Curry’s life illustrates massive changes in our times. The way of love is essential for addressing the seemingly insurmountable challenges facing the world today: poverty, racism, selfishness, deep ideological divisions, competing claims to speak for God. This book will lead readers to discover the gifts they need in order to live the way of love: deep reservoirs of hope and resilience, simple wisdom, the discipline of nonviolence, and unshakable regard for human dignity.

There will be some guided questions as well as space for you to share what you liked or didn’t like about the book. We will meet for approximately an hour and a half. All are welcome.

RSVP HERE. For more info and Login: stpaulsrva.org/events/fallbookclub
HEARD - A Documentary on Public Housing
November 12th @ 9:00 p.m.

VPM, Virginia’s home for public media, will air the new Belltower Pictures documentary HEARD on Thursday, November 12 at 9pm.

News reports of America’s urban housing projects focus on violence, gangs and drugs. To most Americans, public housing and urban poverty are “issues” that remain out of sight and out of mind. HEARD captures the inspiring stories of four people who grew up in public housing, surviving and thriving in spite of...and often because of the challenges they’ve had to overcome. Now they’re giving back to their home communities... trying to make a better life for those who come behind. 

To view a preview: belltowerpictures.com/heard
Church Engaged! Ways to Get Involved
Write a Kind Note for our Emmaus Guests

Looking for a way to support our Emmaus Ministry? Every Thursday St. Paul's provides bag lunches for persons experiencing food insecurity. We would love to include a kind or encouraging note in the lunch bags we give out. During this time we can’t have the conversations and build relationships like we normally do, but we would still like to offer encouragement and love. Feel free to write one or twenty notes to our guests. Just a short encouragement is perfect! Mail to your note to: Lynn Williams at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 815 E. Grace Street, Richmond, VA 23219 to be included in the lunch bags. 
Food Collection for FeedMore

During the month of September & October, we are collecting for FeedMore. The pandemic has greatly affected many in Richmond. More and more of our neighbors are food insecure and we can help!

FeedMore is looking for the following items: CLICK HERE for ITEMS

Drop off your donations by ringing the Parish House bell on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10am - 2pm. If you can’t make those drop off times, please contact Lynn Williams at lwilliams@stpaulsrva.org, and she will arrange a drop off time with you.
Daily Planet – Collecting for Homeless

Many of our Emmaus guests also obtain services at Daily Planet. Daily Planet Health Services will hold a supply drive for folks experiencing homelessness throughout the month of October. You can find the full list of needs on their website HERE, requests include: quart and gallon size freezer bags, men’s and women’s underwear, new or gently used T-shirts and socks, prepackaged snacks, and prepaid phone cards.

You can drop off supplies at Daily Planet's 517 W. Grace Street location and even call ahead (804.783.2505) to have a team member come out and grab stuff from you in a socially-distant way. If that’s still too Coronarisky for you, you can donate cash and tag it “supply drive.”
Looking for Cooks | Liberation Veteran Services

Help us feed our Veterans...Our previous teammates bought an Airstream and headed West! Our team delivers dinner on the 4th Sunday of November, February, May, and August. We divide up duties (buy or prepare at home) but could use an extra hand now that we will be feeding 38. We meet in front of St. Paul’s at 5:30 on Sunday evening and then caravan over. Due to COVID, we just deliver to the door. The recipients are always grateful. Thank you! The Parker and Wofford Team

Please contact Barbara Parker at bhparker315@gmail.com if you are interested. 
Community Engagement Wants to Hear From YOU!

From COVID-19 to social unrest and uprisings, the past months have brought to light within our wider cultures, the ongoing injustices and inequities that continue to impact our communities. While many of you have long been aware of these issues and others of you are coming into new awareness, everyone is listening and learning from this moment, and we would like to learn from you.

We have created an email address for you to share any ideas and thoughts you might have that further the cause of justice and equity.

Please send your thoughts and ideas to justice@stpaulsrva.org.
Reminder of Online Opportunities

Check our website under the ChurchAway page for more information.


For a complete schedule of offerings, visit This Week @ St. Paul's. 


We are glad that you are here.
We are glad that you are here.