January 3, 2020
St. Paul's Episcopal Church

New Year
xxx New Decade
xxxxxx New Habits
Don’t make New Year’s resolutions! They never work! Every gym is bracing itself and profiting from the onslaught of January gym newbies. By February, most will be long gone, even as they pay their membership. Resolutions don’t work. Habits always win. But can we make new habits? P sychologists tell us a habit is made up of a trigger or prompt, a routine and a reward. Once we have a habit, it is likely ours for life. We can alter a habit from a bad habit to a good one, by changing the routine and reward or changing the prompt, but it takes the right kind of effort. Simple willpower, simple resolutions, never work.

This year we are doing our stewardship campaign for pledges of annual support in January. I have been preaching about stewardship all fall, but now is the time to make our commitments of support. Pledge campaigns occur in the Fall in the Episcopal Church. However, St. Paul’s has its own rhythm. January is when we can reach more of our community. So we have moved our campaign to the new year, in this new decade. This is a new prompt for us in our good habit of giving. 

This promises to be a momentous year for St. Paul’s. The search committee has been trained. They will be commissioned soon. The search for the new rector is underway. Of necessity, much of this work is confidential. However, the congregation can do much to support the search. We can give feedback on the profile, can share with the members of the search committee hopes for new leadership, can forward the profile throughout the Episcopal Church and encourage good clergy to submit their names, and can pray for discernment and wisdom for all involved. 

But there is one action each household in our congregation can take that will make a material difference in attracting and calling a new rector. That is to pledge and increase your financial support of St. Paul’s. Any good candidate will want to see our financial records. A good candidate will not be put off by our recent struggles, as long as she or he also sees a generous, faithful response to the need. 

People have already been generous. We have a strong finish to 2019. Our reserves, which were significantly depleted, have begun to be replenished. However, to make a strong call, St. Paul’s needs to convert people from giving to pledging support, forming a new habit of giving. Pledging is a commitment of support for the year. It allows the vestry to make financial decisions with a firmer foundation of support. This year in particular, it will help a new rector to be called. Your pledge will help a new rector see the passion and commitment our congregation has for its future. Your pledge will also help the vestry make the financial commitments necessary to support a new rector. 

As part of its financial stewardship, the vestry is committed to transparent, regular information sharing with the congregation about our finances. You will read in this month’s  Epistle  about the detailed financial information being made available in advance of the Annual Parish Meeting. 

Your part is the commitment. St. Paul’s, according to our parish study, the CAT, has many who give but do not pledge, and our pledges are below the national average. If St. Paul’s were to pledge and to give even at an average level, we would be on a much firmer footing financially. I think we can do even better than that. St. Paul’s members have always been generous for special needs, let’s match that with generosity for the ongoing life of our congregation.

So let’s start a new or renew an established habit--a new prompt, a new routine, a new outcome. This year instead of just sending a letter out in the Fall and hoping for the best, we are doing our campaign in January and February. We are going to actually be talking about it together. The vestry is committed to it. Co-chairs, David Eyer, Kim Colligan and Tiffany Hendry, will be coordinating this effort. Expect to hear from them soon. 

Start thinking about a new routine of support for St. Paul’s. I have heard many positive signs of care and support for our congregation in this transition. I know the love and concern shared by all. How can you be prompted into a new routine, a new response? 

Some love their envelopes. They are available to you, if physically filling out a check is a routine that helps you with your commitment. You might also consider prayers for St. Paul’s as part of your stewardship response. Do you pray over your pledge card, over your check each week, each month? How might this changed routine, help giving be transformed, from a task to be accomplished into an act of generous stewardship. 

Some give electronically. This is how Jen and I give, automatically out of our account at the beginning of each month. What would it mean for the first expenditure each month to be the support of your church? I like how this is a habit that is automatic. It is not a decision each month. It is an annual commitment that we make. I love that I don’t even think about it thereafter. We can then direct our attention to how our prayers, our service, and our talents can be used. This is a practice called first fruits. In the old days, the first fruits were giving the first harvest to God , not waiting until the last. It is an act of faithfulness to give to God upfront, not after all the receipts are in. Our faith commitment comes first.

However you give, have you considered taking a tally of what percentage of your income you are giving? Have you considered how your giving compares with the biblical standard of the tithe? Compare what you give to the church with what you spend elsewhere. It can be eye opening. Does this reflect your priorities, your commitment, your values? What might it be like to let your giving better reflect those values. It might mean a sacrifice. Sacrifices can be good. A strong reminder of what matters most to you. How might you make a sacrifice to increase your support of St. Paul’s?

Finally, for any habit, there is the outcome, the result, the “payoff.” The obvious outcome for St. Paul’s is a firmer financial footing and a stronger call of the next rector. However, what about the outcome for you personally? Living a life of gratitude is correlated with well being of every type--physical, emotional, and spiritual well being.  When we are grateful and generous, when gratitude and generosity become a habit, there is a new outcome, a new mindset that takes root. In place of scarcity and fear about needs and wants, we can cultivate a sense of abundance and blessing. A sense of abundance does not come by accumulating but by giving. When we give, we say that God has given us enough: we give thanks by generously giving to others.

For stewardship and the pledge campaign this year, we are doing something new. What will your response be? Will you join in forming or reforming your habit of support for St. Paul’s? You are being prompted. How do you want to respond? What might this mean for you spiritually. We will have time to consider this over the next couple of months.  Don’t decide now.  Pray. Discern. Consider. See how God leads you. Let us not make empty resolutions but consider new commitments, new habits in this new season at St. Paul’s. 

May God’s blessings be full and abundant in our lives in 2020. May God, our own God, give us his blessing, and may all the ends of the earth stand in awe of him . xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Happy New Year! 
Annual Parish Meeting
The Annual Parish Meeting will be held January 19 after the 9:30 AM service in the Parish Hall. The agenda includes:

        Election of Vestry 
       Election of Delegate to Diocesan Convention
       Budget Presentation
       Annual Reports
       Interim Rector’s Address 

All are encouraged to attend. Annual meetings during an interim period are especially important. Decisions are being made about finances, leadership and priorities that will shape St. Paul’s for the next decade. Come and hear about the work that is being done. Come and provide feedback and insight for the work yet to be done. 
Vestry Nominations
At its December meeting, the vestry approved the nominations made by the nominating committee of the vestry, which according to our by-laws is made up of the three vestry members who are finishing their terms, Wendy Niven, Bruce Hagemann and Brian Wagstaff. Nominated for the 3 open positions for three year terms are: 

       Greta Ford
       Bruce Hagemann 
       Pamela McCloud

Bruce is eligible for re-election, as he was filling an unexpired term. Many thanks to Bruce for standing for a full term and to Greta and Pamela for their willingness to serve. 

The nominee for Diocesan Convention Delegate for a two year term is Susanne Wood. 

Be looking for the profiles of these nominees in the next week.
Budget Presentation
On Sunday, January 12, after the 9:30 AM service, the Treasurer, David Eyer, and the Interim Rector will offer a detailed review of the 2020 operating budget. This is prior to the vestry meeting on the 15th when this budget will be approved. The vestry has already reviewed this budget in draft and preliminary form. This budget will then be presented at the Annual Meeting. 

Given the budgetary changes announced last September and a new chart of accounts, every opportunity is being made to share the state of the parish’s finances this year on an open and regular basis. The budget presentation on January 12 will be significantly more detailed than is possible at the Annual Meeting, allowing those who want more information to have it. In addition, the goal in this coming year is to regularly post financial reports to the congregation after they have been approved by the vestry as part of the minutes of the previous meeting. 
Search Committee Update
On Dec 11, Canon John Tidy held an orientation to set the committee on a path to search for a new rector. We will be meeting regularly, weekly if needed.  Our initial sessions will focus on the first step, developing our parish profile, which when complete will be published to call a new rector. Please keep us in your prayers.

Lilla Whiteside and Bruce Hagemann 
Search Committee Co-chairs
Music Notes xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Tim Peterson
Regarding the organ, we hope to start the installation of the new chests by mid-January with new pipework to follow shortly thereafter. With the completion of this pipe work, we will have 40 ranks (sets) of pipes. The original organ, built in 1932, consisted of just 13 ranks. Much of the new pipework is older than the organ itself, and most of the pipe work has been re-voiced, repaired, or rebuilt for St Paul's.

Since last summer, we have installed a new wind blower, replaced all of the chimes and reconfigured their visual appeal (above the organ console, where I play), and worked on some minor electronic issues in the console itself. The organ has developed nicely and has a lovely tone, quite fitting for the space.

There are a few more additions and changes planned for this coming summer: more hidden pipework, mechanical improvements, and replacements of old electronic switching mechanisms. When the outside wall of the organ chamber is repaired from some spalling issues, there will be some very large wooden pipes that will need to be repaired. They have cracked because of a water leak issue and are not playable at this time. We hope that the leak can be fixed soon. 
Upcoming Music Performances
Jan 12, 4 pm: Blake Pouliat, Violin, Impromptu, Sanctuary  Tickets

Jan 16, 7 pm: Vocal Music Through the Ages, Southernmost Chamber Music Society, Parish Hall,

Jan 18, 7 pm:  Dances and Divisions, Early Music Key West, Parish Hall, Tickets  

Jan 26, 4 pm: Trio Gaspard, Impromptu, Sanctuary, Tickets

Feb 6, 7 pm: Guitar recital, with Mateo, Parish Hall
Centennial Celebration
Save the Date

On Sunday, February 2 at the 9:30 am service, the Rt. Rev. Peter Eaton, will celebrate and rededicate our church, the 4th building on the same site. 
Memorial Bricks
New Deadline 1/31/20
To memorialize your loved ones, you are invited to purchase personalized bricks as a legacy for a family member, friend, pet, or even to honor a business. Sales to date have been encouraging. Proceeds will be used to fund a centennial celebration.
The 4" X 8" bricks are similar to the current bricks in the Memorial Garden. Each may contain up to 3 lines and up to 18 characters per line. The cost for each is $100. In addition, you have the option of ordering Donor Tiles, 1" ½ x 3" replicas of your donation, for $25 each, as well as Donor Certificates for your home or office for $12.
Place your order here and complete the information form. You will then have the option of paying by credit card or check. Any unused proceeds will go to the Memorial Fund.
For questions, contact Sarah Kindinger  sakindinger@gmail.com
Know Your History
What local flowers were most commonly used at St Paul’s Church from the 1830s to about the 1920s?
Sunday school, 9:30 AM, Holy Innocents Hall, Upstairs
This Sunday's bulletin here
Back issues of  The Epistle  available  here
Send questions and comments to the editor   here