E-newsletter | August 19, 2021

Abiding in the Bread of Life

“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.”

This coming Sunday Jesus tells us, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.”   

Jesus’ words about eating his flesh and drinking his blood can sound like something out of a modern-day horror film. Sometimes my ears allow me to hear these words as they could sound to others and I understand how those unfamiliar with the context could be shaken by the sound of them.  

But Jesus’ strange words about flesh and blood actually give us the clue to his real meaning. He tells us that when we eat of his flesh and drink of his blood, then we abide in him, and he in us.  

So, what does it mean to abide in him?
In short, it is how we truly join our lives to his in a way that allows us to see the world differently. To abide in him means to see the world through God’s eyes and know we are forever changed in light of this new vision. This is when we choose life over death and connection over division. 

Think of this: have you ever loved anyone so much that when you hugged them in a moment of closeness you just lost track of where they ended and you began; when you just poured yourself out as much as you could to let more of the other in? This is what it feels like to abide in someone. 

 I know I always felt like that the first time I held any of my newborn nieces and nephews. 
The sweetness of their new life, seemingly fresh off the breath of God, just pierced my heart and I wanted to hold them and protect them from anything that might ever harm them. 

This, Jesus tells us, is how we face the challenges of this world. This is how we face our fears and live through our controversies. We abide in him. This is how we turn over to God whatever it is that we fear the most trusting that we are loved.

We pour ourselves out in order that Christ can more readily fill us. We begin to listen to his life-giving words and we come to believe in the power of his mercy and forgiveness. We grow so close to him that we don’t know where Jesus’ life ends and we begin. 

When we step out in belief and surrender to God’s love for all, we find ourselves responding to others out of mercy, compassion, and forgiveness in the place of anger, frustration, and fear. And, we can do this because the best part of us has become intertwined with Christ’s love. 

 This is how we live and grow together in the face of whatever conflict or controversy shakes our world, our church, our community, or our personal lives. When we are faced with the troubles of our own present time we will do well to step away from the fear and panic that is often our first response and look at the bigger picture.

When we take a moment to look back we see that in fact much of what we think is unique to our own time and experience is simply another iteration of the ongoing human experience.  

I suppose it is the nature of every current generation to think the times in which we live are the definitive times that mark some great turning point. But in fact, every generation of humanity’s unfolding story is filled with amazingly wonderful advances and ideas as well as unspeakable cruelties and desecrations. We’ve always taken three steps forward and two steps back.

So much of what we see and worry about as “the worst ever” this or that simply is not new. Even with an event such as COVID, a global pandemic, this is not new. Now does that mean we should just become complacent or cynical or live in denial that the world can be a tumultuous and sometimes frightening place? Absolutely not! As a people who love God and follow Jesus, we have been offered a new vision, a new way to be in the world; we see the world as it really is warts and all and then do all in our power to work for beauty and truth amid the suffering.  

What we are called to do day in and day out, generation after generation, is to remember that the love of God is greater and stronger and more absolute than the multitude of ways we seek to destroy ourselves and to destroy one another over senseless divisions and fears. We are called to act!

In our own time, we are called as the new disciples to share in this healing and reconciling love. We are called to love and transform this world that still rejects the notion that God’s grace and love are given for all of humanity. We can choose violence and divisiveness or we can choose mercy and grace; one leads to death and the other to eternal life. 
An eternal life is not what happens after we die, it is actively choosing a timeless quality of life worth living in the here and now.  
When we abide in Christ, when we eat of his flesh and drink of blood, when we share his risen life this deeply, then we can do none other than love the world in spite of the way it falls so very short of God’s hope for it. We feel compelled to put our fears aside and love one another across whatever issue divides us. We find the courage to face down hate and insist that God’s love always wins. Eat the bread that gives life, abide in the mystery and joy of Christ.

Grace and Peace,
Mother Stephanie
Mother Stephanie Away for Rest

Mother Stephanie will be away through the 28th for some more time of refreshment. You will be in excellent Liturgical and Homiletical hands with the return of The Rev. Kris Kramer on the Sunday.

It will be wonderful to fill the pews and show them that St. Paul's spirit! In addition, Our own Ramona Curtis has some lovely music planned during this time.
For Administrative needs please contact Parish Administrator Morgen Love and for pastoral needs please contact Carl Elledge.
Mother Stephanie will not have access to email during this time.

Genesis Bible Study


September 1st
October 6th

The First book of the Bible contains so many of our best known and most beloved stories, many of them familiar since childhood. But do we really know the power and purpose of these stories as intended by their original Hebrew writers and storytellers?
Join Mother Stephanie on a 7 week adventure through the first nine chapters of this beautiful scripture and learn that the human journey is never far from the presence and love of God.
Contact the office at office@stpaulwilkesboro.org to sign up!

Due to the update in CDC guidelines and the growing threat of the DELTA variant to the unvaccinated we are returning to wearing masks in worship.

We will continue to sing, but masks will be required during singing as well.

This is all preventable and can end when people get vaccinated.
But, until then, we remain committed to protecting the unvaccinated in our midst.


If you are not yet vaccinated please do so. We will offer vaccinations Thursdays from 11:30-1:00 in the Parish House.




Crisis Assistance on Thursdays!

Our Crisis Assistance team is back in business! A special thank you to all of those who come out and volunteer their time.
Crisis Assistance will be holding lunches from 11:30am-1:00pm on Thursdays. For now, the lunches provided will be bagged.

St. Paul's will is offering free COVID-19 vaccines during the Thursday lunches and all who get vaccinated will receive a $100 gift card (while supplies last).
Last Thursday we were able to provide 29 people with vaccinations!

Do you have keys to the church?

Please contact Morgen at office@stpaulwilkesboro.org and let us know which keys you have!

If you have keys that you no longer need, please return them to the office.

Sponsor our Sunday Flowers to Honor Your Special Memories and Occasions!

Signup sheet and envelopes are in the commons.
Cost: $40 for one vase and $80 for two.
Sign up for one or both vases.

Standing order with City Florist, who will bill the church monthly. If you want something special for your two vases, call City Florist with your request. In that case, if you pay them directly, let them know your flowers replace our order.
If you want to “do your own thing” sign up for both vases then let Kathie Smith know at least a week before your chosen Sunday, so that the standing order can be canceled.

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!

Offering Hospitality in Time of Need
Thank you for your generosity! $1930.00 so far...
And thank you to Gwen Temple and Carol Canter for fulfilling this needful ministry!
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.

We have received $1390 worth of donations towards our Care and Feeding Fund. A special thank you to those who contributed.

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
“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 Aug/Sept/Oct issues of Forward Day by Day are in the mailbox by the front door of the office.


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

Click button to go directly there
Serving in August 2021

Aug 22 - Mary Southwell (8:30)
Aug 22 - Cindy Smith (10:30)
Aug 29 - Lisa Beard (8:30)
Aug 29 - Denise Sturdivant (10:30)
Altar Guild

Aug 22 - Pam & Drew Mayberry
Aug 29 - Mary & Mike Southwell

Aug 19 - John Harwell
Aug 19 - Tana Myers
Aug 21 - Evelyn Southwell
Aug 22 - Muluani Cook
Aug 24 - Cassie Stone
Aug 25 - Marietta Carroll
Aug 25 - Donald Curley

Aug 26 - Jim & Rose Andrews

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.
Laurence Virgil Hawkins, Ken Love, Kris & Tara Riley, Jeff Smith, Joyce Wheeling
Robert Baugh, Dot Beamon, Christina Floyd, Nancye Johnson, Kitty Owens, David Temple
Armed Forces
Let us pray for the safety of all our troops, especially Cole Griffith, 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 August 22, 2021
Joshua 24:1-2a,14-18
Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel; and they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel:
“Now therefore revere the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; and the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”

Psalm 34:15-22
Benedicam Dominum
15 The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, *
and his ears are open to their cry.
16 The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, *
to root out the remembrance of them from the earth.
17 The righteous cry, and the Lord hears them *
and delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted *
and will save those whose spirits are crushed.
19 Many are the troubles of the righteous, *
but the Lord will deliver him out of them all.
20 He will keep safe all his bones; *
not one of them shall be broken.
21 Evil shall slay the wicked, *
and those who hate the righteous will be punished.
22 The Lord ransoms the life of his servants, *
and none will be punished who trust in him.
Ephesians 6:10-20
Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.

John 6:56-69
Jesus said, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.
When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But among you there are some who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who were the ones that did not believe, and who was the one that would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted by the Father.”
Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org