E-newsletter | April 29, 2021
336.667.4231
office@stpaulwilkesboro.org
Abiding in God
Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.” 

If we count the number of times in this Sunday’s reading from John we hear the word “abide or abides” we will hear it 8 times! And that doesn’t count the times we hear it in 1 John, which is also highly repetitive of LOVE. When a word is used so insistently we can be sure that something important is being said; something Jesus really wants us to understand.

It all begins with the vine. For Jesus, the vine is the metaphor for community and how community thrives when it is connected to and through God’s love.

And we also hear about pruning the vine.

This is easy to understand if not so easy to always do.

So what does it mean to abide? To abide in God’s love as Jesus does means to be in a living relationship.

Abiding is not a practice of duty or obligation; it is not even service done out of duty or obligation.

The faith that abides is a living, breathing thing that we do. It reminds me somewhat of the old saying, “Do the right thing even when no one is looking.” But in the case of abiding in God, we “do the right thing” because our hearts and minds can do no other. Loving service to one another and to our neighbor flows from us like breath or perspiration. We forgive, we offer generosity, we bury our pride and our need to control because the best part of ourselves is the God we’ve allowed to grow inside of us. Our lives become vibrant with the act of living and doing love.

Abiding isn’t an imitation of letting God flow from our lives any more than a fish imitates water or a bird imitates the air. As a branch we do not imitate the vine, God becomes the very atmosphere in which we live and move and have our being, giving us the strength and courage to be fruit of the vine; we become inseparable from that which gives us life and growth.

 “Abide in me,” Jesus says, “as I abide in you.” This is a promise, that no matter what happens, Jesus will be with us. That no matter what happens, Jesus is holding onto us because we hold on to one another. It’s the promise that no matter what happens, even our largest failures or sorrows, if we are abiding in the vine God can shine healing light right through us and we can help each other be made whole. This is precisely what we witness Jesus doing time and time and time again. Not magic or even miracle, just God’s life burning in him so brightly that all darkness was cast away.
 
And God does not prune us as a punishment, God allows our lives to teach what in us is good and straight from the vine versus those habits and horrors onto which we cling, but suck the very life and love right out of us.

As we ponder these things in advance of Sunday, I offer this prayer by Steve Garnaas-Holmes from Unfolding Light:

Loving God, Vinegrower of Life,
I bring to mind with gratitude those ways you bear fruit in me,
where your grace blossoms into blessing.
Receive my thanks.
Wise vinedresser, show me what in me does not bear fruit,
what impedes the flow of your grace in me:
fears and resentments, desires, habits, and attachments
that do not bear the fruit of your love,
dead branches that no longer serve you.
Help me see.
God of mercy, prune me with your grace.
Help me release all that does not bear fruit,
and let go of what diminishes your love in me.
Help me repent.
God of peace, help me trust your spirit flowing in me,
blossoming forth with your glory,
bearing the fruit of your presence.
Help me love. Amen.

Abiding in Love,
Mother Stephanie

SIGN UP FOR OUR SERVICES

Due to COVID restrictions, we have a limited amount of seats available in our services. Please contact the office by email at office@stpaulwilkesboro.org, or by phone at 336-667-4231, no later than 3pm on Friday to sign up for services that Sunday.

8:30 Limited to 8 Families/20 Maximum
10:30 Limited to 60 Maximum

If you do not sign up for a service you plan on attending, we may have to turn people away because of space restrictions.
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Prayer List Reset
DEADLINE THIS
FRIDAY @ 3:00
Please help us update our prayer list. Email or phone our 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.
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!

SHAWL MINISTRY
“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.




UPDATE

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

Click button to go directly there
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Serving in April 2021
Readers

May 2 - Laurie Love (8:30)
May 2 - Cindy Smith (10:30)
May 9 - Mary Southwell (8:30)
May 9 - Nancy Scroggs (10:30)
May 16 - Joe Fesperman (8:30)
May 16 - Tana Myers (10:30)
May 23 - Edward Southwell (8:30)
May 23 - Jeri Martin (10:30)
May 30 - Dick Sloop (8:30)
May 30 - Maggie McCann (10:30)
Altar Guild

May 2 - Mary Lankford, Sharon Greene, & Bonnie Merritt
May 9 - Mary & Mike Southwell
May 16 - Pam & Drew Mayberry
May 23 - Mary Ann Caplinger & Tom Carnes
May 30 - Laurie Love & Ramona Curtis
Birthdays:

Apr 29 - Johnathan Norman
Apr 30 - Teresa Canter
Apr 30 - Stella Brockner
May 1 - Claude Faw
May 2 - Beverly Cook
May 3 - Noel Pratt
May 4 - Dorthy Beamon
May 4 - Carol M. Canter
May 5 - Madeline Beard
May 5 - Katherine Beard
Anniversaries:

May 3 - Bill & Ruth Harris
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.
Illness
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 May 2, 2021
Acts 8:26-40
An angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:
“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter,
and like a lamb silent before its shearer,
so he does not open his mouth.
In his humiliation justice was denied him.
Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.”
The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

Psalm 22:24-30
Deus, Deus meus
24 My praise is of him in the great assembly; *
I will perform my vows in the presence of those who worship him.
25 The poor shall eat and be satisfied,
and those who seek the Lord shall praise him: *
"May your heart live for ever!"
26 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, *
and all the families of the nations shall bow before him.
27 For kingship belongs to the Lord; *
he rules over the nations.
28 To him alone all who sleep in the earth bow down in worship; *
all who go down to the dust fall before him.
29 My soul shall live for him;
my descendants shall serve him; *
they shall be known as the Lord'S for ever.
30 They shall come and make known to a people yet unborn *
the saving deeds that he has done.
1 John 4:7-21
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God's love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.
God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, "I love God," and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

John 15:1-8
Jesus said to his disciples, ”I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org