E-newsletter | May 6, 2021
From Whom No Secrets Are Hid
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
We pray these words together almost every Sunday as we prepare to go deeper into our communal worship. Commonly known as the Collect for Purity, The Book of Common Prayer actually designates this as an optional prayer that the Priest might pray in preparation for what is to come, or that the people might pray silently as the priest prays aloud.
The petition is that we may set aside our own egos, needs, pains, wounds, and distractions and stay transparent to the love of God; open and receiving vessels, empty and waiting to be filled, wounded and ready to be healed, divided and ready to be reconciled, tired and ready to be renewed, hopeless and ready for hope to be restored. Maybe like no time in our modern history do we need to know that God desires to fill our hearts and minds with love, hope, patience and grace.
In all my years I have never let this prayer become rote, I pray it with all of my heart for myself and for all of you. How much I want to perfectly love God and how much do I want all of us to worthily magnify God’s name. It is a tremendous prayer of preparation and I hope as you encounter again this Sunday from wherever you are, you might hear and experience it again in a new and fresh way.
One of my favorite Biblical scholars, Walter Brueggemann, has a book called, Prayers for a Privileged People. In this book he composes modern day Psalms meant to call the comfortable into both comfort and affliction. He challenges our privilege even as he expresses our pain and fear. I want to share a Psalm from that book that I have shared before called—no surprise—From Whom No Secrets are Hid:
The priest says, “Almighty God…from whom no secrets are hid.”
 We rush to the next phrase but now linger there.
We are rich conundrums of secrets,
 we weave a pattern of lies in order to be
           well thought of,
 we engage in subterfuge about our truth.
We carry old secrets too painful to utter,
           too shameful to acknowledge,
           too burdensome to bear,
 of failures we cannot undo,
 of alienations we regret but cannot fix,
 of grandiose exhibits we cannot curb.                                                        
And you know them.
 You know them all.
 And so we take a deep sigh in your presence,
   no longer needing to pretend and
           cover up and deny.
We mostly do not have big sins to confess,
 only modest shames that do not
   fit our hoped-for selves.
And then we find that your knowing is more
 powerful than our secrets.
You know and do not turn away,
 and our secrets that seemed too powerful
   are emptied of strength,
 secrets that seemed too burdensome
           are now less severe.
We marvel that when you find us out
   you stay with us,
 taking us seriously,
 taking our secrets soberly,
   but not ultimately,
 overpowering our little failure
 with your massive love
           and abiding patience.
We long to be fully, honestly
   exposed to your gaze of gentleness.
 In the moment of your knowing
           we are eased and lightened,
 and we feel the surge of joy move in our bodies,
   because we are not ours in cringing
           but yours in communion.
We are yours and find the truth before you
 makes us free for
           wonder, love, and praise – and new life.[1]
Brueggemann’s words are sufficient and elegant in bursting that one phrase wide open. I pray that wherever you find yourself right now that you know that you are known and loved by God just as you are. Free yourself from the burden of secrets and shame and God’s love will make you whole.
Grace and Peace,
Mother Stephanie

[1] Walter Brueggemann, Prayers for a Privileged People, Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN, page 7.


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.

Note to servants:
Please make sure that you sign up through the office, even if you are scheduled to serve that day.
Prayer List Reset
Our prayer list reset this past Friday. If there is a name you would like to add to the list, please contact Morgen at the office at office@stpaulwilkesboro.org, or by phone at 336-667-4231.

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!
The cemetery rules and regulations have been updated. Please click the link below to view the updates.
Parish Gardeners have been busy the past few weeks at St. Paul’s planting donations that parishioners have given to us to add color to the parish grounds! 
We have added over 100 plants, including the day lilies that Joe Fesperman, Gerry Peabody, Mary Southwell and Mike Southwell planted along the Rock Wall Garden and on the south border of the Labyrinth Garden. The lilies came from their gardens plus some from Laurie Love and Jeri and West Martin. 
Previously our group added Easter lilies and hydrangeas from the church altar and cemetery, and many hostas, columbines, hardy salvia, forget-me-nots, cornflowers, creeping phlox, and astilbe. 
Although not many are in bloom yet, you can spot them in the Labyrinth Garden, the Azalea Walk, near the Lych Gate, and in front of the Parish House. 
We are looking forward to seeing the crepe myrtles that have been sponsored by 5 of our parishioners too. 
Coming up, you’ll see some summer-blooming perennials added to the St. Francis Garden and to some pots near the front steps of the Parish Office. 
Thanks for all your donations of plants — contact Diane Yale-Peabody at yale.peabody@me.com if you have perennials you’d like to offer.
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.


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

Click button to go directly there
Serving in April 2021

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 9 - Mary & Mike Southwell
May 16 - Pam & Drew Mayberry
May 23 - Mary Ann Caplinger & Tom Carnes
May 30 - Laurie Love & Ramona Curtis
May 6 - LaMar Creasman
May 8 - Lauren Morrow
May 8 - Drew Mayberry
May 10 - Edward Southwell
May 10 - Mary Canter
May 11 - Lynn Durchman

May 12 - Raymond & Cassandra Stone
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.
Short-term Illness
Hilda Absher, Doug Johnson, Becky Mullins, Kris Riley, Tara Riley, Jeff Smith, Susan Whittington, Len Hagaman Family

Long-term Illness
Ken Asel, Thomas Dellinger, Mary Hawkins

Armed Forces
Let us pray for the safety of all our troops, especially Zach Necessary, Walker Pardue, 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 9, 2021
Acts 10:44-48
While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, "Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days.

Psalm 98
Cantate Domino
1 Sing to the Lord a new song, *
for he has done marvelous things.
2 With his right hand and his holy arm *
has he won for himself the victory.
3 The Lord has made known his victory; *
his righteousness has he openly shown in the sight of the nations.
4 He remembers his mercy and faithfulness to the house of Israel, *
and all the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.
5 Shout with joy to the Lord, all you lands; *
lift up your voice, rejoice, and sing.
6 Sing to the Lord with the harp, *
with the harp and the voice of song.
7 With trumpets and the sound of the horn *
shout with joy before the King, the Lord.
8 Let the sea make a noise and all that is in it, *
the lands and those who dwell therein.
9 Let the rivers clap their hands, *
and let the hills ring out with joy before the Lord,
when he comes to judge the earth.
10 In righteousness shall he judge the world *
and the peoples with equity.
1 John 5:1-6
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth.

John 15:9-17
Jesus said to his disciples, “As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.”
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org