E-newsletter | May 20, 2021

As Tongues of Fire

“When the day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.” (Acts of the Apostles)

This coming Sunday we celebrate Pentecost; the birth of the Church. We remember that just fifty days after the humiliation and fear the disciples experienced at Jesus’ crucifixion, here they are at the very center of God’s unleashing of the wild power of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost was a wild rush of God’s presence flooding out over the world in a new and mighty way. 

These fragile, fragmented souls are the first of all of us to experience the Holy Spirit. Jesus had promised his followers that he would send an Advocate, the Holy Spirit, but that promise is realized in a way that I am sure far surpassed anything the disciples might have expected. This was not business as usual---this was new life---- new life for the followers of Jesus and new life for a world that hungered for freedom from all that separated them from God.  

New life and new understanding through the Spirit of God, that is what is given to us at Pentecost, an outpouring of God’s energy that has the power to touch every life and no one is excluded.

And any gift freely given can be freely rejected. God’s love does not coerce, it does not demand…it only invites. God has always been at work in the world inviting humankind into greater love, greater mercy and greater justice. 

But now, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are given the power to be God’s agents of this transformation.  We are now both the invited as well as those who extend the invitation. It is the Holy Spirit working within the hearts and spirits of those first followers that sets them free from living out of their fear once and for all.

Initially, we remember that they had gathered out of fear, shame and dismay, and then they began to gather out some vague hope, but now they boldly burst out into the streets and tell the world about Jesus. What an amazing turnaround.

Sometimes when things in our world or lives become chaotic we forget to trust in the power of the Holy Spirit to guide and guard us through difficult times. We are so hard at work trying to hang on to what we fear we are losing or trying to gain control when control isn’t possible that we are in danger of becoming a generation of functional atheist; people who say that we trust in God’s power but very often act out of fear and anxiety.

But our history tells us that the Holy Spirit working in us can do more than we can ever ask or imagine.

On Pentecost, we have an opportunity to remember that we are children of God empowered by the Holy Spirit. We are not a people who need to be frightened by any ill wind that blows. 

We need not fear that “all is lost,” we need only to trust that the Holy Spirit is inviting us into a new thing. Now, I do not know what this new thing is, but I trust that God does. God has been at work transforming the faith in every generation. 

I believe that the Holy Spirit has the power to touch and/or renew the hearts and minds of us all so that we might continue God’s work of healing in our own community as well as in a hurting world.

We need only to put away our fear and hear the rush of the mighty wind and feel the heat of the tongues of fire as they call us into new birth and new beginnings for as Paul reminds us, fear is not our inheritance as children of God. 

This is no Pollyanna hope, it is not magical thinking. This is belief in the Holy Spirit who gives us courage and strength to stand in the middle of the chaos and violence of a world in turmoil and speak of hope and reconciliation.
Come and join us this Sunday as we celebrate Pentecost and renew our Baptismal Covenant. I will also offer the chrism to all who want it to trace a cross on your foreheads to remind you that you are all marked as Christ’s own forever. 

We are the Body of Christ. Pentecost reminds us that we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to make the kingdom come on earth as in heaven every day. Pentecost is a special day in the life and the Church so we will do it right! And don’t forget to wear red, the color of the Holy Spirit!

Grace and Peace,
Mother Stephanie

Congregational Singing
(With Masks) is Back!

Per new CDC guidelines, we are no longer requiring sign ups for our services.

Masks are still required to be worn indoors during services with over 20 people and unless everyone is vaccinated, and there is now a 3ft social distancing guide.

We invite you to come back and join us for in person worship! Services will be held at their regular times of 8:30 and 10:30.
Join us for Worship on YouTube or click on the link on our website!
Offering Hospitality in Time of Need
Hospitality is a primary call of faith community. We all have times in our lives when circumstances overwhelm our basic needs and that is when the the care and feeding of our members becomes a paramount need.

There are many in our church family that could use and appreciate a meal. Since COVID, our Feed My Sheep Teams have been inactive.

Until such a time when we can get those teams up and running we are starting a Care & Feeding Fund.

If you would like to donate to this fund by writing Care and Feeding Fund in the memo line of your check, we will purchase food and deliver to our parishioners in need.

Donations can be mailed or dropped off by the church office. And again, please make all checks out to St Paul’s with the memo of Care & Feeding Fund.
Thank you!

Carol Canter
Gwen Temple

Parish Gardeners have been busy the last couple of weeks adding color to our church grounds. Some decorative pots with geraniums, vinca and Mexican Heather will greet visitors to our parish offices. A new bird house has been put up by sponsor Dave Barton in front of the parish house. And the St. Francis Garden has been planted with over 20 varieties of summer perennials by Gerry and Diane Peabody, Joe Fesperman, and Mike and Mary Southwell. This garden will make a great splash of color for anyone driving by and for all those holding events at the parish house or coming to church at St. Paul’s. Season by season, this garden will fill in with perennials making a solid bed of flowers - some day we may even be able to divide the plants and spread their color to other areas of the church grounds.

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.

A special thank you to those who have made and donated shawls in support of our ministry.

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.


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

Click button to go directly there
Serving in May 2021

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 23 - Mary Ann Caplinger & Tom Carnes
May 30 - Laurie Love & Ramona Curtis

May 21 - Susan Shaw
May 21 - Jennifer Richardson
May 24 - Luke Sturdivant
May 24 - Carl Yale
May 25 - Karen Shupe
May 25 - Mary Earley-Arthur
May 25 - Brookelyn Hall
May 25 - Joseph Barber

May 21 - Stanley & Susan Dudek
May 21 - Ryan & Rachel Minick
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.
Please remember in your prayers: All who are ill or unemployed and those who are on our prayer list.
Hilda Absher, Doug Johnson, Jen & Cliff McElroy, Becky Mullins, Kris Riley, Tara Riley, Jeff Smith, Susan Whittington
Jim Andrews, Ken Asel, Pam & Robert Baugh, Thomas Dellinger, Tina Duncan, Mary Hawkins, Cynthia Hill, Bob & Donna Webber
Armed Forces
Let us pray for the safety of all our troops, especially Zach Necessary, Walker Pardue, Philip Southwell, Jason Westmeyer, 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 23, 2021
Acts 2:1-21
When the day of Pentecost had come, the disciples were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. Amazed and astonished, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs-- in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power." All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "What does this mean?" But others sneered and said, "They are filled with new wine."
But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning. No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
`In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.
And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord's great and glorious day.
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.' "

Psalm 104:25-35, 37
Benedic, anima mea
25 O Lord, how manifold are your works! *
in wisdom you have made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
26 Yonder is the great and wide sea
with its living things too many to number, *
creatures both small and great.
27 There move the ships,
and there is that Leviathan, *
which you have made for the sport of it.
28 All of them look to you *
to give them their food in due season.
29 You give it to them; they gather it; *
you open your hand, and they are filled with good things.
30 You hide your face, and they are terrified; *
you take away their breath,
and they die and return to their dust.
31 You send forth your Spirit, and they are created; *
and so you renew the face of the earth.
32 May the glory of the Lord endure for ever; *
may the Lord rejoice in all his works.
33 He looks at the earth and it trembles; *
he touches the mountains and they smoke.
34 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; *
I will praise my God while I have my being.
35 May these words of mine please him; *
I will rejoice in the Lord.
37 Bless the Lord, O my soul. *

Romans 8:22-27
We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15
Jesus said to his disciples, ”When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who comes from the Father, he will testify on my behalf. You also are to testify because you have been with me from the beginning.
“I did not say these things to you from the beginning, because I was with you. But now I am going to him who sent me; yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your hearts. Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because they do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see me no longer; about judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org