E-newsletter | April 22, 2021
If It is the Fourth Sunday of Easter…
It is Good Shepherd Sunday!

“I am the Good Shepherd.” Jesus says. All of us probably carry an abiding image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. I remember a specific painting I knew as a child and of course since my first church was called Good Shepherd, I received several Jesus as the Good shepherd in everything from icons to statuettes.
Typically these images feature Jesus as the kind and gentle shepherd cradling a wayward sheep in his arms or across his shoulders as he returns it to safety. When I was a child I found this to be a very soft and comforting image. As I grew up and began to put away childish things, I began to understand the image of the Good Shepherd in a whole new way. 

Gone was the image in my mind’s eyes of Jesus in his soft pink cloak cradling the fuzzy little lamb. I pictured the sometimes dry and dangerous landscape of adult life and gave thanks that this Jesus, this Good Shepherd of ours, is the one who guides and guards us around life’s jagged rocks, hungry wolves, and steep cliffs. 

The countryside around Jerusalem from which Jesus would have drawn his images was arid and often hazardous. The rocky soil was a haven for hungry wolves and a trap for unsteady sheep grazing near cliffs that dropped off sharply into the Dead Sea below. 

Good shepherds were vigilant, courageous, tender, and tough. Most important of all, the shepherd had to intentionally work at knowing his sheep, and making sure that they knew him. The shepherd’s voice is what shaped, nurtured, and protected the flock. It was the shepherd’s voice that drew the lost, the scared, and the wounded back home. Jesus tells us that he is the shepherd and his sheep will listen to his voice. 

We all grow up with a variety of voices which shape our lives. Like the Good Shepherd, our parents, grandparents, godparents, teachers, and favorite neighbors have “tended” us—they have touched us, taught us, led and comforted us. They have mentored us and shown us that we matter, and they have prepared us for life. 

Amid life’s steep cliffs and rocky soil many of them have even pointed us to Jesus as the Good Shepherd. All of them have given us the particular gifts of memory and presence—the gifts of caring for us in ways that affirmed us and reminded us just who and whose we are.

Those who truly care for us always want what is best for us. They cry with us when our hearts get broken, they are not afraid to tell us difficult truths when we’ve lost our way and they are willing to stand as a guard between us and present danger if they see that we are at risk.

Being loved in this way the effect of “calling us home.”  Love of this kind does not spare us from the fact that our choices in life have consequences. Not just for us, but for our entire community.
As you know, growing up in the south we learn that as we grow we are understood as a reflection of the values and character of those who tended and raised us. I know when my mother was particularly upset with my behavior she would say: “I know I did not raise you to act like that!” What kind of things did you hear?
While it doesn’t always feel like it at the time, the intent of words like these is to remind us that we are important, that people care about us and that our lives have significance.  Those who love us the most will teach us that there is accountability for the choices we make with our lives.

The Good Shepherd’s voice is inviting, compelling, affirming, and convicting. This is the voice that issues straight from the heart of God. Jesus tells us: “I am the Good Shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.” 

We are Jesus’ sheep, and we are invited to reflect Jesus’ goodness in the world so that others may also know this love. We do this by living lives that shine with Jesus’ values such as love of neighbor, forgiveness, mercy and compassion.

The Good Shepherd’s voice is the one that comforts and restores. We can be sure that the Good Shepherd does not drag us, accuse us, threaten us or violate us to bend us to his will when we go astray. And there is nowhere in creation that we can become so lost that God cannot find us and call us home. 

This voice of love comes to us, wherever we are, and calls us by name. Jesus calls us into a life of love and abundance with God, and desires nothing more than that we may hear his voice and enter into that abundant life.  Not a life free of peril, danger, or pain, but a life lived without fear and measured by endless grace.

Happy Easter,
Mother Stephanie

Congratulations Episcopal U Participants!
Congratulations to the wonderful group that just completed 6 weeks of Episcopal U. We studied our Liturgical theologies and practices and enjoyed six weeks of enlivening conversation.

Our next adventure in Adult Formation will be a study of the Book of Genesis, going deep into the true purpose and rich texture of this seminal piece of Hebrew literature. Look for information about when and where in an upcoming issue of the Enews!

Prayer List
Please help us update our prayer list. Email or phone Parish Administrator Morgen Love to remove or edit your prayer request. Prayer list will "reset" on May 1st with all names removed unless the status is updated. If a person on our Prayer List has a chronic condition please let us know and we are creating a separate prayer list so that our prayers can be more focused and specific.

Please remember in your prayers: All who are ill or unemployed and those who are on our prayer list.
Re-Enlistment Time!
We are returning to live services and it is time to “resurrect” the teams and committees that participate in worship. If you have served in the past or if you would like to join in, please let Morgen at the Church Office know. We have room for any and all who would like to participate as St. Paul's begins the process of gradually moving back towards what we once considered normal. Listed below are the opportunities:

•       Ushers
•       Readers
•       Altar Guild
•       Acolytes
•       Flower Guild
•       Nursery

Again, whether you have served in the past or want to get involved for the future, let us know. All are welcome.
Join us for Worship on YouTube or click on the link on our website!
Ongoing Ministry Opportunities Below!
Listed below are on-going opportunities to give, participate, and serve at St. Paul's. We don't want these ministry activities to become "wallpaper" as they do change slightly from time to time so check in each week and see what invitation to serve might be calling your name!

“You created every part of me, knitting me in my mother’s womb. 
For such handiwork, I praise you. Awesome this great wonder!”
 Psalm 139:13-14

The prayer shawl collection at St. Paul’s is very low.
Prayer shawls are made to provide warmth, comfort, healing, and peace to those who may need it.

If anyone is inclined to knit or crochet a shawl and would like to donate it to the churches shawl collection, donations can be dropped off at the church office.

For further information please visit www.shawlministry.com

The May/June/July issues of Forward Day by Day are now in the mailbox by the front door of the office.
Feb/Mar/Apr issues are still available.


New Vestry Minutes have been added. February's minutes are now available!

Click button to go directly there
Serving in April 2021

Apr. 25 - Edward Southwell (8:30)
Apr. 25 - Denise Sturdivant (10:30)
Altar Guild

Apr. 25 - Mary Ann Caplinger & Tom Carnes


Apr 22 - Lonny Bumgarner
Apr 23 - Nicholas Beard
Apr 26 - Susan Whittington
Apr 26 - Dariel Rathmell
Apr 27 - Scott Jessee
Apr 27 - Diane Yale-Peabody
Apr 27 - Bobba Norman
Prayer Requests

Prayer requests can be made by emailing the office at office@stpaulwilkesboro.org
or by calling the office during regular office hours.

Bulletins are printed on Thursday mornings and requests submitted after that time will not be in the printed bulletin for that week, but may still be spoken. Prayer requests received by noon on Wednesday will be included in the weekly e-newsletter.
Hilda Absher, Jim Andrews, Pam Baugh, Robert Baugh, Bella, Nancy Blair, John Brame, Thomas Dellinger, Mike Duncan, Tina Duncan, John Farris, Craig Freas, Karen Hennig, Paula Jameson, Doug Johnson, Margo Hurd, Ken Love, Misty Millsaps, Becky Lowe Mullins, Tyler Olender, Denver Owens, Iris Parker, Kris Riley, Tara Riley, Rebecca Shaw, Karen Shupe, Jeffery Smith, Mary Warren, Delores Weaver, Bob Webber, Donna Webber, Joyce Wheeling

Armed Forces
Let us pray for the safety of all our troops, especially Dr. Matthew Cage, Edward Colville Griffith, Zach Necessary, Walker Pardue, Philip Southwell, Mark Stone, Lt. Col. Patrick Szvtitz, Jason Westmeyer, SR Zing, Darroch, and all others who serve in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world.

Please send to the church office the addresses of troops with connections to
office@stpaulwilkesboro.org, especially those abroad

The Lessons for April 25, 2021
Acts 4:5-12
The rulers, elders, and scribes assembled in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. When they had made the prisoners stand in their midst, they inquired, "By what power or by what name did you do this?" Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders, if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. This Jesus is
`the stone that was rejected by you, the builders;
it has become the cornerstone.'
There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved."

Psalm 23
Dominus regit me
1 The Lord is my shepherd; *
I shall not be in want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures *
and leads me beside still waters.
3 He revives my soul *
and guides me along right pathways for his Name's sake.
4 Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I shall fear no evil; *
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You spread a table before me in the presence of those who trouble me; *
you have anointed my head with oil,
and my cup is running over.
6 Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, *
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
1 John 3:16-24
We know love by this, that he laid down his life for us-- and we ought to lay down our lives for one another. How does God's love abide in anyone who has the world's goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?
Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.
And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.

John 10:11-18
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that do not belong to this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org