E-newsletter | August 19, 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 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. As I look at our liturgy beginning in September I will be introducing a practice I have long had of inviting the rest of you to pray this prayer with me, people and Celebrant praying together as we begin our weekly worship.
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. Whatever the human condition in which we arrive, this prayer is offered as plea and a pledge that we want to participate fully in the Abundant Life of Christ as we meet it with one another in our Sunday gathering.
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 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 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 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.
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.





Our clothing ministry is in need of clothing, specifically:

Men's shoes, size 8-10
Women's shoes, size 8-9
Men's shirts, size large
Women's tops, size large
Women's pants, size large
Preteen clothing

If you have clothing you would like to donate, it can be dropped off at the office.
There will be another plant sale, or rather “donations” sale to be made to the Church for plants you wish to have. We did one last year with very good success. There will be Jade, Schefflera and Aloe plants of various sizes. Most of these are established plants and can remain outside for another 6 weeks or so, until the weather begins to turn chilly. Stay tuned for more information regarding the plant sale.

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.

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 $1930 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 29 - Lisa Beard (8:30)
Aug 29 - Denise Sturdivant (10:30)
Altar Guild

Aug 29 - Mary & Mike Southwell

Aug 29 - Charles Jackson
Aug 29 - Tina Krause
Aug 30 - Tony Goodnight
Aug 30 - Drew Bowers
Aug 31 - Christine Oliver
Sept 1 - Debbie Absher
Sept 1 - Kevin Morrow
Sept 1 - Cooper Morris

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, 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 29, 2021
Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9
Moses said: So now, Israel, give heed to the statutes and ordinances that I am teaching you to observe, so that you may live to enter and occupy the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. You must neither add anything to what I command you nor take away anything from it, but keep the commandments of the Lord your God with which I am charging you.
You must observe them diligently, for this will show your wisdom and discernment to the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and discerning people!” For what other great nation has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is whenever we call to him? And what other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just as this entire law that I am setting before you today?
But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children.

Psalm 15
Domine, quis habitabit?
1 Lord, who may dwell in your tabernacle? *
who may abide upon your holy hill?
2 Whoever leads a blameless life and does what is right, *
who speaks the truth from his heart.
3 There is no guile upon his tongue;
he does no evil to his friend; *
he does not heap contempt upon his neighbor.
4 In his sight the wicked is rejected, *
but he honors those who fear the Lord.
5 He has sworn to do no wrong *
and does not take back his word.
6 He does not give his money in hope of gain, *
nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.
7 Whoever does these things *
shall never be overthrown.
James 1:17-27
Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.
You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God's righteousness. Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.
But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act-they will be blessed in their doing.
If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
When the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,
‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching human precepts as doctrines.’
You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.”
Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.” For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org