E-newsletter | April 8, 2021

50 Days of Easter, A Lifetime of Resurrection
“Why do we look for the living among the dead?” This is our perennial Easter question.
As an Easter people, meaning a people defined by the promise of resurrection, we live the paradox of grief accompanied by joy. When life hands us a death, either literal or metaphorical, we believe that new life always follows death.  

We see it all over God’s creation. A seed is buried in the darkness and out of that darkness new life springs forth. And in the life of Jesus’ follower’s we see a fragmented group who betrayed and deserted him move from regret and shame to the excitement and courage of Pentecost.
 This is God’s will and God’s way. God brings life out of death to show us that there is nothing we can do that puts us outside of God’s grace and hope for us. God’s world demonstrates resurrection on a daily basis. What are the seasons, but the pattern of life, death, and resurrection written in the very creation around us?
Easter teaches us once and for all that death does not have the last word. God has the last word and that Word is Love, that word is renewal, it is resurrection.  
Now, the pain that life sometimes holds will tempt us to search for life among the dead. If we lose someone we love to death or even to betrayal, we will often find ourselves wandering the graveyards of our lost hopes and dreams even as we wonder why we can’t move on---why do we look for the living among the dead.
 If we lose a job or we fail in our pursuit of a long-held dream, we can become ghosts who do nothing more than haunt the ruins of our former life, never moving on to what is surely next for us---why do we look for the living among the dead?   
But the truth is that sometimes believing and trusting in God’s gift of resurrection in our lives can be phenomenally difficult.
The Quaker writer Parker Palmer says that he had always been taught that death is the great threat and resurrection is the great hope. But then he came across the poetry of a Guatemalan poet named Julia Esquivel titled Threatened with Resurrection. 

He found her writing at a time he was in the midst of a deep depression---which he refers to as a state of death-in-life. 

Most of us have probably experienced a death-in-life time when although we were not physically dead there was no life light left in us.

Palmer said her title jarred him into the hard realization that figurative forms of death can sometimes actually feel comforting---while resurrection, or the hope of new life, feels threatening.
Why is that? 

I agree with him when he says he believes that conditions that constitute death-in-life can bring us a perverse sense of relief. He says that in his case, when he was depressed, nobody expected anything of him nor did he expect anything of himself. 

He was exempt from life’s demands and risks. But if he were to find new life---if he were to find resurrection----who knows what daunting tasks he might be required to take on.

I’m paraphrasing, but what Palmer said was, “I think we might find it easier to choose a death-in-life existence over resurrection because we cannot fully trust that new life can come out of a death---any kind of death.

 So instead we often choose death- in-life pursuits like compulsive over-activity, unhealthy relationships, non-stop judgment aimed at self or others--- over the risk of resurrection.

Or perhaps we do work that compromises our integrity, or we turn to substance abuse, or we look at the world with persistent and pervasive cynicism, etc…, you name it—there are many ways to choose death-in-life. 

It’s possible that we live this way because we are afraid of the challenges that might come if we embraced resurrection-in-life.

Now, every religious tradition is rooted in mysteries we may never fully understand, including claims about what happens to us after we die. So I cannot say with integrity what that might be.

But this I know for sure: as long as we are alive, choosing resurrection is always worth the risk. Our Easter call is to summon the courage, the hope, the people and the experiences that will help us embrace new life out of death. The call is to do whatever we need to do to help us embrace the “threat of resurrection.”

The Easter hope is that through the love of God we will all have the ability to say “Yes!” to life; because even when life challenges us, Easter morning teaches us it is a gift beyond measure.[1]

Resurrection does hold the promise that God will have the last word on our suffering and grief in this world and that no matter how long it takes---if we allow it--- God brings new life and hope. 
And because of this, we no longer have to look for living among the dead. We can point to the empty tombs of our death-in-life experiences and say with joy and certainty that He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!   
We celebrate Easter for fifty days, but we are promised a lifetime of resurrection!
Grace and Peace,
Mother Stephanie 

[1] Parker J. Palmer’s Daily Blog, Holy Week 2013.

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.
More from
Dr. Russell Stinson!

The son of Dr. Walter T. Stinson and the late Gwyn Walker Stinson, Russ grew up in Wilkesboro, attended Wilkes Central High School, and was the organist at Wilkesboro Baptist Church.
Following his graduation from Wilkes Central, he attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Stetson University, and the University of Chicago. As a college professor for almost thirty-five years, Russ has taught at the University of Michigan, Stony Brook University, the University of Louisville, and, for most of his career, Lyon College (in Batesville, Arkansas).
He has served as organist and/or choir director at various churches throughout the country, including St. John’s Episcopal in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, and St. Paul’s Episcopal in Batesville, Arkansas. He will be retiring from full-time college teaching at the end of May and is thrilled to begin his duties at St. Paul’s, Wilkesboro, starting in June. Russ and his wife Laura will be living in Winston-Salem, very close to where he was a student there about forty years ago. He is delighted to continue as a church musician within the Episcopal Church in his hometown of Wilkesboro.
“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
Join us for Worship on YouTube or click on the link on our website!
Mariettta Carroll has been busy adding some spring color to the containers around the parish grounds.
Some of the earliest bloomers in the garden can be found in our Coventry Chapel and the Labyrinth. We have Hellebores in all shades of pin, cream and wine along with the bead-liked Pieris.
The Japanese Cherry trees are in full bloom near the chapel. Make sure to enjoy them Easter morning!

Over the past month we have raised over $740 for the Student Choice Food Pantry at North Wilkesboro Elementary School. Total increase will be reported next week! Rachel Minick started and helps administer this offering. This project provides weekend food for approximately 100 children and is an alternative to the backpack program. The Pantry allows students to "shop" for their own food preferences and provides a special sense of satisfaction and pleasure. 
Thanks to everyone who participated in the Lenten virtual fundraiser for the Student Choice Food Pantry at North Wilkesboro Elementary. Your generosity has raised $740 for this worthy project that sends food home on weekends to families who are food insecure.  Should you feel so lead, contributions can continue to be made out to St. Paul's.

To donate: Make checks out to St. Paul's and add "Food Pantry" in the memo line.

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. 11 - Jeri Martin (9:30)
Apr. 18 - Jeff Beard (8:30)
Apr. 18 - Beverly Cook (10:30)
Apr. 25 - Edward Southwell (8:30)
Apr. 25 - Denise Sturdivant (10:30)
Altar Guild

Apr. 11 - Mary & Mike Southwell
Apr. 18 - Pam & Drew Mayberry
Apr. 25 - Mary Ann Caplinger & Tom Carnes


No birthdays this week!
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.
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.
Hilda Absher, Jim Andrews, Pam Baugh, Robert Baugh, Bella, Nancy Blair, John Brame, Thomas Dellinger, Mike Duncan, Tina Duncan, John Farris, 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, Jordan Samuel, Rebecca Shaw, Karen Shupe, Linda Sloop, Jeffery Smith, 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 11, 2021
Acts 4:32-35
Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

Psalm 133
Ecce, quam bonum!
1 Oh, how good and pleasant it is, *
when brethren live together in unity!
2 It is like fine oil upon the head *
that runs down upon the beard,
3 Upon the beard of Aaron, *
and runs down upon the collar of his robe.
4 It is like the dew of Hermon *
that falls upon the hills of Zion.
5 For there the Lord has ordained the blessing: *
life for evermore.
1 John 1:1-2:2
We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life-- this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us-- we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

John 20:19-31
When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you." When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord." But he said to them, "Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe."
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you." Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe."
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org