April 2, 2020
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Rector's Message -
Holy Week at St. Paul’s
 As I have talked with our parishioners over the past two weeks, I have been hearing how much people appreciate the Facebook live worship. I am grateful to hear this. Even though I get to be in the church building, physically present for the Eucharist, I must say that it feels so strange without you there. Through interactions online, I know we are gathering digitally, but I miss the face-to-face encounter. This will be especially true this coming week, Holy Week.
 
Nevertheless, I know this to be true, and I am relying on this: What unites us is not our physical presence nor our digital presence. In fact what unites us is nothing we do. What unites us is God’s presence. There is a collect in our prayer book that I have been thinking about. It is the prayer “for the absent,” on page 830. And right now, that is all us. We are absent from each other.
God, whose fatherly care reacheth to the uttermost parts of the earth: We humbly beseech thee graciously to behold and bless those whom we love, now absent from us. Defend them from all dangers of soul and body; and grant that both they and we, drawing nearer to thee, may be bound together by thy love in the communion of thy Holy Spirit, and in the fellowship of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.
As this prayer reminds us, as we draw nearer to God, we draw nearer to one another. During this time of distance, of fears, of boredom, of worry, of isolation, let us take as a matter of faith, that we are not alone. What unites us is the presence of God in Christ. As we abide in Christ, that presence is our abode, our true home.

This coming week as we mark the death and resurrection of Christ, we also take as a matter of faith, that though much has been lost over the past weeks, nothing--not sickness, not fear, not worry, not hardship, not even death itself--nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ, and that it is this love that binds us all together. As I look at the tiny camera lens on my phone, as you look at your screen, during our Facebook services, let us trust that the digital divide we are experiencing is easily spanned by God’s spirit among us.

We will celebrate Holy Week and Easter, divided digitally but united spiritually, and in anticipation of the day, we can all greet one another, face-to-face.
Holy Week Services At St. Paul's via Facebook

This Sunday, Palm Sunday, April 5 at  9:30 AM
You can view the bulletin for the service here .

(Parishioners may pick up blessed Palms
On the Altar in the Memorial Garden after the service.)
 
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in Holy Week

Morning Prayer xxx 7:30 AM
Evening Prayer xxxx 5:00 PM
 
Maundy Thursday xx 7:00 PM
Good Friday xxxxxxx Noon

Easter Day
xx Sunrise Vigil xxxxx 7:00 AM
xx Sunday Service xx 9:30 AM
Praying Through the Night on Maunday Thursday
St. Paul's has a tradition of praying all night (usually in the Mary chapel) on Maundy Thursday night. Since we cannot gather this year, we are asking parishioners to pray virtually from home. Check out the church Facebook Page for details on how you can sign up to pray in the garden with Jesus on this important night.

Unless there are additional directives from the civil authorities, the Memorial Garden will also be open for prayer on Thursday until Midnight. But no more than two should enter at one time and nobody should congregate in groups. Remember, six feet apart for all.

Senior Warden Notes Ray Warren
The Epistle will be published weekly, at least until the crisis has passed, so that parishioners and friends can stay informed about live stream services and other important information.

Father Steve and the wardens are looking into aid programs available to churches. It isn't clear for which resources St. Paul's may be qualified, but the research is ongoing. Your continued support via mail and the church webpage is keeping us afloat, but the loss of in person services and visitor contributions via the donation boxes is taking a toll. Thank you for your love and support of our historic mission in Key West.

The Vestry will now be meeting online via Zoom. (We take pains to see that no more than one person is in any church building at a time.) The next meeting is in two weeks and we'll certainly be looking into ways that these meetings can be made available for members to "attend" if they choose. Stay tuned.

Father Steve is available for pastoral concerns as needed. Please feel free to email him or call his cell phone (317) 414-4194 with any pastoral needs.
Join Tim Peterson's Music History Program On Facebook Each Thursday At Noon
Tim is introducing us to the history of the singing of the psalms in the reformed churches, and our own history, founded in the Church of England. A lover of hymn singing, Tim's future programs will include a little music history, and center more around the use of organ in the church, chorale preludes, and music from the hymns arranged for organ.

Access the program live each week from the Church Facebook page. After the live session, the program remains available on the Facebook Page to watch on you own schedule.
Know Your History

From a parish history document in our archives:

From its inception, St Paul’s had always been considered to be what is known as “low church”. For some reason or another, on Christmas Eve of 1922, the Reverend Crittenton decided to celebrate a “high service” - daring to wear fancy vestments and even including incense. During the service a bird flew into the church. The women with their large hats kept bobbing around in order to stay away from the flying bird.

Just as Father Crittenden raised the chalice during the consecration, the bird flew to the altar and alighted on the edge of the chalice; he remained perched there for several seconds, then flew out the door and was never seen or heard from again. Whether or not this was some sort of sign depended upon which witness she spoke to, but in any event, it marked the first subtle change in St Paul’s elevation to “high church”.
Reminders
Sunday school, 9:30 AM, Holy Innocents Hall, Upstairs (Canceled until further notice)
This Sunday's bulletin here
Back issues of  The Epistle  available  here
Send questions and comments to the editor   here