The Mouse for May 23, 2021
"You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name."
— John 15:16
Here are the latest opportunities to strengthen
your faith and connect with the community:
The Day of Pentecost
(Whitsunday)
Sermon: "God's Church"

As I see it, there are two consistent ways of looking at things. The first is to say that things operate by chance. The other is that they operate by design. The first seems to say that things just happen, the second that they happen for a reason.

Yet every Sunday I preach to you about a world governed by choice. This whole sermon series has been about the God who chooses to create and recreate. The choice to create man and the choice to recreate man. The choice to create heaven and earth and the choice to recreate heaven and earth.

The theological term for God’s choice is His "counsel" or His "decree." Article 17 of the 39 Articles uses both words when explaining predestination and election, calling them doctrines of "unspeakable comfort to godly persons."

I've heard exactly one sermon preached on predestination — and that was on the radio in 1990. Come hear the second (and my first time preaching on it) this Sunday.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Holy Communion, 8 a.m.
Morning Prayer, 9:30 a.m.

Please note: the front door is out of service.
Please enter and exit through the sacristy.

See the public worship guidelines below. You can also live-stream the 9:30 service by clicking here.

Beginning June 6 we will relax the social-distancing and mask requirements for those who are fully-vaccinated.

Congregational singing will resume on July 4.

Upcoming Events

Sunday, May 30, 9:30 a.m.
Annual Memorial Day Service
(1343 Shunpike at U.S. Route 44)
Please note: there will be no 8 a.m. service
and no church school at the 9:30 service this day.

Sunday, June 20, 11-1 p.m.
Father's Day BBQ and Hymn Sing
Church Lawn
N.B. Nancy Vanderlee would welcome recommendations for hymns to be included in the Parish Hymn Sing. Please send titles and tune names to her by May 28 at navanderlee@gmail.com.
Easter Sermon Series

The Vicar is presenting the following sermon series during Easter.

11-Apr   Topic: Adam & Christ   Title: "Two Adams" (1 Cor. 15:22)
18-Apr   Topic: Judgment   Title: "Two Deaths" (Matt. 10:28)
25-Apr   Topic: Regeneration   Title: "Two Births" (John 3:3)
2-May   Topic: Atonement   Title: "Christ's Cross" (1 Pet. 2:24)
9-May   Topic: Eternal life   Title: "Your Resurrection" (John 11:25)
16-May   Topic: Glory   Title: "Your Crown" (1 Pet. 5:4)
23-May   Topic: Divine Election   Title: "God's Church" (John 15:16)
Catechism Corner

The Vicar continues his weekly exposition of the Catechism, found in the Book of Common Prayer, pp. 845-862.

The Old Covenant, pp. 846-847.

Q. Where is this Old Covenant to be found?
A. The covenant with the Hebrew people is to be found in the books which we call the Old Testament.

The problem with calling it the "Old" Covenant and the "Old" Testament is that neither can be described as old — at least not old in the sense of archaic or obsolete.

Calling it the Hebrew Bible doesn’t solve the problem, because Jews wrote the New Testament as well. Calling it the "First" Testament confuses things further, because God is one and therefore His word is one, His testimony is one, His covenant is one.

What can be said is that "In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways" (Heb. 1:1). God dispenses His eternal counsel and decree, His word, continually and anew, every time Bible is opened and read.
 
—JWD.
A special thank you from the Food Pantry

The Rev. AJ Stack, executive director of the Food of Life/Comida de Vida food pantry and priest-in-charge at St. Thomas Church in Amenia recorded this special thank you video:

Flowers at St. Peter's

The floral guild is always grateful for donations. If you are interested in dedicating flowers in memoriam or for a special occasion, such as a birthday or anniversary, please send an email to stpeterschurch@optonline.net with the date and the name(s) to whom you would like to dedicate the arrangements.

You can either send a check to St. Peter’s (PO Box 1502, Millbrook, NY 12545) or put the check in the weekly offering with "flowers" on the memo line. You may also add a dedication in the bulletin or leave it anonymous.

Remember - no clothing donations to St. Peter's at this time!
History Highlight

Mrs. Tompkins concludes her history of St. Peter's noting that the "interior of the quaint little church bears silent witness to the loving care of dedicated parishioners down through the years" and that "St. Peter's Church has always been the spiritual and social center of the community."

She then describes several lovely weddings that took place over the years, including Miss Therese Thorne to Huntington McLane in 1935, Miss Angela Place to Cochran B. Supplee in 1946, and Miss Mary Young to Thomas A. Johnson, Jr. in 1956. She continues:

"A unique and charming wedding was that of Miss Elizabeth Jay Stillman and Stephen Quentin Shafer on July 2, 1966. Miss Stillman arrived at St. Peter's Church from Wethersfield House near Amenia in a George IV phaeton drawn by four bay 15-2 hand hackney horses, postilion ridden."

It has been 50 years since Louise Tompkins wrote her history of St. Peter's, but the Parish she describes is still very much the Parish I have come to know and love in the past year. Vicars come and go, couples are married, babies christened, and loved ones laid to rest. The Word of God is preached and the sacraments duly administered. Such is the history of any church, particularly a country church.

Yet change is in the air. What went into the Pandemic will not be the same as what comes out of it. That includes people and institutions; it includes our own St. Peter's. With that I will let Mrs. Tompkins have the last word. She writes:

"The parishioners continue to march courageously onward, as they have done down through the years, holding high the cross of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

Amen.

—Adapted from Louise Tompkins, A Landmark: The History of St. Peter's Protestant Episcopal Church (Lithgow, NY, 1971), 23-25.
Worship guidelines

  1. Seating is currently ~35% of capacity and socially distanced
  2. Masks are required
  3. Congregational singing is suspended until July 4
  4. Communion is distributed in one kind only

We ask that you please not come to church in person if you have Covid-19, have symptoms consistent with Covid-19, or are subject to the provisions of the New York State Covid-19 Travel Advisory.
Collect for Whitsunday

Almighty God, who on this day didst open the way of eternal life to every race and nation by the promised gift of thy Holy Spirit: Shed abroad this gift throughout the world by the preaching of the Gospel, that it may reach to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever. Amen.
Text or call the Vicar at (845) 745-8160 for prayer or a pastoral visit.

The Vicar's email address is: jwdell2@pm.me.
To remember St. Peter's in your estate plans, please considering joining The Lithgow Society. To find out more, click here.
Questions about the parish? Please email:
stpeterschurch@optonline.net

The Mouse is compiled and edited each week by the Vicar. He asks that submissions to The Mouse be made by the Wednesday prior to Friday's edition. Please send submissions to jwdell2@pm.me. Thank you.