December 6, 2019

Creation Comes with Value
Fr. Steve
One theme of my preaching over the past several weeks has been stewardship. Episcopalians are used to pledge drives in the Fall, with accompanying sermons and testimonials about stewardship. This year, we are postponing our annual pledge campaign to January. We hope to have as much of our community together as possible as we discuss our fundraising goal that will allow a strong transition and the calling of a new rector for St. Paul's. This delay has allowed me to preach on stewardship as a spiritual practice, rather than focusing on stewardship as financial support of the church, for stewardship is far more than fundraising.

One of my favorite stewardship jokes: 
A man lugged a heavy suitcase up to St. Peter and the pearly gates. St. Peter greeted him by name and said, "We've been expecting you! Welcome!" Then he noticed the suitcase the man was struggling to carry, and added, "We have everything you need here. You didn't need to pack anything." 
The man replied, "I got special permission from the bishop. I made large gifts to build his cathedral so that I could receive a dispensation from one rule." 
"What rule is that?" St. Peter asked. 
"The rule that says, 'You can't take it with you."" he answered. "I received a special exemption to bring one carry on suitcase with me."
"I'll have to talk with the head office about that bishop, but I'll allow you to bring one carry on with you. Did he specify a weight limit?" St. Peter asked. 
"No!" the man replied with a broad smile." The man walked through the pearly gates dragging his suitcase behind him with great effort.  
"I hope you don't mind if I ask you what you would choose to bring with you to paradise?"
"Not at all!" the man bent down to unzip his case. It was filled with shiny bars of gold.
St. Peter looked inside and said, "You brought pavement?!"
Stewardship is the recognition that as Christians we bring a different frame of value to creation. What we have is not ours. It does not belong to us. We cannot keep it, cannot take it with us. We are not owners we are stewards. We have not been given title to creation; we have been entrusted with it as a gift. One way of looking at being a steward is as a trustee. God has entrusted us with everything we have. It is all gift. We are not entitled to any of it. We only have it for this day. The steward, the trustee, asks, "How will I use it today?"   Read more
Christmas Eve, December 24
5:30 PM - Family Christmas Nativity Mass
11 PM - Midnight Mass  
Choral Prelude Concert begins at 10:30 pm

Christmas Day, December 25
10 AM - Christmas Day Mass
Upcoming Concerts
St. Paul's is a beloved center for musical performances and considers the music program part of its mission. Taking advantage of its downtown location, the church offers audiences fine music during the Nov - May season in both the sanctuary and parish hall. See a complete list of all performances this season, here .

Events in Dec & Jan
Dec 8, 4 PM: 􏰬􏰑􏰔􏰄Eaton Street Christmas Stroll􏰖􏰚􏰚􏰔, 􏰝􏰙sanctuary Tickets

Dec 17, 7 PM: Keys Choral Arts, A Choral Christmas Feast, sanctuary, Tickets

Dec 19, 7 PM: Christmas at St. Paul's, Southernmost Chamber Music Society (SCMS), parish hall, Tickets

Jan 2, 7 PM: Guitar recital with Mateo, parish hall, Tickets at the door

Jan 12, 4 PM: Blake Pouliat, violin, Impromptu, sanctuary, Tickets

Jan 16, 7 PM: SCMS, Vocal Music Through the Ages, parish hall, Tickets

Jan 18, 7 PM: Early Music Key West, parish hall, read more on the Facebook page here , Tickets at the door

Jan 26, 4 PM: Trio Gaspard, Impromptu, sanctuary, Tickets
Search Committee
On Wednesday, Dec 11th, the rector search committee will hold its first meeting, a general orientation. It will cover the rector search process, committee responsibilities and the proposed timeframe. Rev. Canon John Tidy of The Diocese of Southeast Florida, and Susan Czolgosz , a consultant with Holy Cow, the firm guiding the search process, will lead the meeting. The search committee, as empaneled by the vestry, includes Lilla Whiteside and Bruce Hagemann, co-chairs, Donald Curry, David Eyer, Michelle Garcia, Jan Malpass, Jim McCloud, John Sangston, and Shirley Sweeting. Following the orientation, the committee will be ready to begin their work formulating a parish profile, which will form the basis of St. Paul's search and the job posting. 
Know Your History
History Q & A
This month's history question refers to the little known "Iantern tower ", an important feature of the architect's original 1911-12 plan for the current church. What and where was the mysterious lantern tower? Answer
Announcements
To find out what's going on at St. Paul's over the next couple of weeks, click here for a complete list of church activities.
Reminders
Sunday school, 9:30 AM, Holy Innocents Hall, Upstairs
Sunday Bulletin here
Back issues of  The Epistle  available  here
Send questions and comments to the editor   here