E-newsletter | May 27, 2021
Holy, Holy, Holy
Trinity Sunday

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God almighty, God in three persons, blessed Trinity… 

Who is this God we worship? Human beings have been wrestling with this question throughout all time. Who is God? What is God’s relationship to humanity? And this is not a dispassionate, intellectual inquiry. Our longing to define God is also a longing to understand ourselves. Who are we? What is our purpose? What gives our lives meaning? 

This quest for meaning gives rise to more questions about God and the “God question” in turn drives our endless attempts to wrap words around something that, in the end, words can never really capture, yet still, we try. What is the nature of this God who pursues our broken humanity with such infinite, merciful love?  

Often our best attempts fail because even our Biblical history shows us images of God that are widely varied and deeply paradoxical.  
We can trace this paradox running like a common thread throughout both the Old and New Testaments. On the one hand, God is described as transcendent and unknowable; so high and lofty that only poetry and symbol can offer us a glimpse of the knowledge of God.  

I think our innate understanding of God’s “unknowability” speaks to our intuitive sense that it’s not simply “all about us.” 
Having a sense of God’s “holy otherness” gives us a larger context in which our own quest for meaning takes place. 

And yet, still, other holy texts speak of a God who is immanently knowable and actively involved in human affairs. This understanding of God speaks to our desire to be in relationship, to feel and experience God, to partner with God to make a difference in the world. 

Our sense of God as both unknowable and yet deeply entrenched in human affairs creates an intellectual tension that makes our brightest theologians scratch their heads in perplexed wonder.  

There is a timeless struggle of trying to articulate an understanding of God that simply goes beyond words—and so we sing, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty, blessed Trinity…

This quest taps into the deep longing in the human soul to simply experience the wonder, love and mystery of God more fully. 
Maybe this is the simple invitation to which our wrestling calls us; perhaps one way into the question is to simply allow ourselves to dwell in the mystery and completeness of God.  
Imagine quieting your mind enough to allow a beautiful glimpse into the inner life of God; a life so dynamic that it is a vision of an endless swirl of creativity and life that seeks only to catch us up in its outpouring flow of infinite love.  
Perhaps all we need do is simply surrender ourselves over to the mystery and let it unfold in our lives. I think offering ourselves the chance to dive into God’s creative energy or to see ourselves as being invited into God’s life in a dynamic way is exciting. And we will know we inhabit God’s life when we are loving, giving, and feeling creatively generative far beyond our own abilities.
Perhaps this is how we might encounter the One-in-Three that is vibrant and engaging and yet lusciously “other” all at the same time. 

Jesus often taught that it is not what we “think” of God that will offer us transformation from darkness to light or from bondage to freedom, but it’s what we experience of God that makes us a new creation. 

Perhaps we resist the experience and go for the intellectual gymnastics instead because to be caught up in God’s life is to give ourselves away, and let’s face it, to feel the all-embracing love of the Three in One for ourselves and others can be a wild ride.

Thinking on doctrines like the Trinity is good for getting our intellect engaged and that is good exercise; after all, unexamined belief can be very dangerous. But on days like this upcoming Sunday, when we are asked to ponder such things, I hope you will join me in choosing the path of loving surrender; surrender yourself to the sweet poetry of God’s infinite love pouring itself out into infinite wisdom giving birth to infinite inspiration. 

I think that these current days are the perfect time to surrender to the invitation to trust that God is always and everywhere for us. During these days of uncertainty, giving ourselves over to the eternal waves of grace flowing through the three in one is accepting a gift God absolutely aches to give us. This is a gift into which we can pour all of our fears and live free and whole at last.   

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God almighty, God in three persons, blessed Trinity.  

Grace and Peace, 
Mother Stephanie

From the Senior Warden:
To Make a Call, Vestry Moves to Discern Next Rector

This August it will be one year since Mother Stephanie joined us as our Interim Rector. At that time Bishop Jose gave the Vestry the option to call Mother Stephanie as our full-time Rector at a time agreeable to the Vestry, Mother Stephanie, and Bishop Jose.

After prayerful consideration, and in consultation with the Bishop, your Vestry, in agreement with all above parties, has decided to enter the period of discernment about this call.

We want to make sure that you feel informed about the Vestry’s action and decision and so we include the following information to help you understand the process that we are undertaking. We have many members from other denominational backgrounds that do things a little differently, so I also wanted to share the Episcopal polity in making these decisions.

In the Episcopal Church it is the Vestry alone that calls a new Rector. In our Constitution and Canons (the governing “laws” of the Episcopal Church) in Title III, Canon 9.3 it states that at a duly called meeting of the Vestry held for this purpose, with the candidate for Rector having been approved by the Ecclesiastical authority (The Bishop) as a qualified candidate, the Vestry shall elect a Rector.

At the time of election, “Written notice of the election of a Rector, signed by the Wardens, shall be forwarded to the Ecclesiastical Authority. If the Ecclesiastical Authority is satisfied that the person so elected is a duly qualified Priest and that such Priest has accepted the office to which elected, the notice shall be sent to the Secretary of the Convention, who shall record it. Race, color, ethnic origin, sex, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, disabilities, or age, except as otherwise specified by these Canons, shall not be a factor in the determination of the Ecclesiastical Authority as to whether such person is a duly qualified Priest. The recorded notice shall be sufficient evidence of the relationship between the Priest and the Parish.”

As Senior Warden I have called this meeting of Vestry on June 19th at 4PM. This is considered an Executive session of the Vestry so it will be Vestry members only. We are, of course, always interested to hear from all of you and if you have any questions for us before our meeting, please contact me at markawlms@aol.com, or any other member of your Vestry (listed below) and we will be happy to hear from you.

In spending the last year with Mother Stephanie, I feel very confident about her abilities and her commitment to our congregation. For your interest I am including a link to her resume and among the items of interest in her rich and varied time as a Priest, serving congregations in a variety of contexts, is her completion of four years in the Doctor of Ministry program at Virginia Seminary concentrating on Congregational Development, the Lilly Foundation Grant that was a three year program of post-graduate Advanced Leadership Training with modules from Harvard Business School, Hay 360 Management Systems and other Fortune 500 company systems, as well as her overall history as a lifelong learner.

But most importantly, it is her passion to care, to preach, teach, and to be a tireless advocate for building God’s beloved Community that moves the Vestry to discern this next step.

Again, we look forward to hearing from you should you have any questions,

Mark Williams, Senior Warden

Doug Merritt - dougmerritt62@gmail.com
Richard Barber - rbarber3185@yahoo.com
Carol Canter - ccanter123@gmail.com
Ramona Curtis - curtiser@charter.net
Beverly Cook - jambev@aol.com
Joe Fesperman - joefesperman@gmail.com
Doug Morris - dam72961@gmail.com
Gwen Temple - gt1116@gmail.com
Mark Williams - markawlms@aol.com
UPDATED 5-26-21
We must still wear masks, especially for congregational singing, but our choir will be allowed to sing without their masks covering their joyful offerings!

Guidelines are being updated continuously so you will note some changes even week by week. We can now go back to kneeling at the altar rail and I will be administering communion.

WE MISS YOU! 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
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 30 - Dick Sloop (8:30)
May 30 - Maggie McCann (10:30)
Altar Guild

May 30 - Laurie Love & Ramona Curtis

May 28 - Denise Sturdivant
May 28 - Jane Will
May 29 - Ridge Barton
May 30 - Justin Norman
May 30 - Cooper Love
June 2 - Patricia Bumgarner

May 28 - Stephen & Jennifer Nardini
June 1 - Claude & Kim Faw

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, Lorraine Little, 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, Mark Stone, 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 30, 2021
Isaiah 6:1-8
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Seraphs were in attendance above him; each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, and with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
The pivots on the thresholds shook at the voices of those who called, and the house filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding a live coal that had been taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. The seraph touched my mouth with it and said: “Now that this has touched your lips, your guilt has departed and your sin is blotted out.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”

Psalm 29
Afferte Domino
1 Ascribe to the Lord, you gods, *
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his Name; *
worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
3 The voice of the Lord is upon the waters;
the God of glory thunders; *
the Lord is upon the mighty waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is a powerful voice; *
the voice of the Lord is a voice of splendor.
5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees; *
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon;
6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, *
and Mount Hermon like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord splits the flames of fire;
the voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; *
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
8 The voice of the Lord makes the oak trees writhe *
and strips the forests bare.
9 And in the temple of the Lord *
all are crying, "Glory!"
10 The Lord sits enthroned above the flood; *
the Lord sits enthroned as King for evermore.
11 The Lord shall give strength to his people; *
the Lord shall give his people the blessing of peace.

Romans 8:12-17
So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh-- for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, "Abba! Father!" it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ-- if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

John 3:1-17
There was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.” Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be astonished that I said to you, ‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org