E-newsletter | December 2, 2021
Advent, A Season of Holy Waiting

As you read this, I am actually away making my move from Independence to Wilkesboro, but before I left, I reflected on the season of Advent and what is clear is that Advent is an abrupt disruption in our “ordinary time.”
It is not only a new season in the Church year; it is an utterly new year, a new time, a call to new life. 
Everything begins again.  

We mark Advent as a new season in the liturgical sequence and we also dare to believe that God is bringing a genuine newness to the world; that God is breaking in to shine a light in the darkness----the darkness of winter and especially the darkness of human suffering.  

Advent is not just the lobby or waiting room for Christmas. It is not just a time for clergy to torture their congregations by withholding Christmas Carols or decorations!  

Advent is when we remember that God always shines a light to guide us home through the darkness we feel when we fear God has given up on us; Advent is when we join with God in increasing anticipation for a renewal of our lives and world.  
In this holy season of waiting and anticipation, we are invited to awaken from our numbed endurance and our domesticated expectations. This is when we step out of the daily grind of commercial Christmas and listen intently to God’s will, to God’s hope for the world.

 These four weeks are when we assert that though the time of suffering is long---we still believe that God empowers those who love justice, those who extend mercy and have the audacity to unleash compassion. 

Most importantly perhaps Advent asks us to slow down and embrace a holier rhythm, it asks us to get off what I call the go, go, go train and let the world stop spinning long enough to orient ourselves to reality.

We are tempted to move from celebration to celebration — a month of Halloween to three months of Christmas to the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras, Cinco De Mayo… But on and on and on we go on this Merry-go round. When we stop paying attention to our grief or sorrow, we suffer more.
This time that we steal from the secular, commercially driven calendar keeps us from cheaply proclaiming hope before we’ve adequately waited; until we have garnered the courage to mourn and sit with the ache of longing. 
Advent is a gift that we are given a full month before Christmas day to share stillness with a world that careens wildly from moment to moment in an absolute frenzy.
Yet, as Christmas sits out on the horizon, it is still disturbing to hear our scripture in Advent, which have very bleak shadows in them. They are so disturbing that we often simply don’t hear them. 

We hear Jesus’ talking about destruction and apocalypse. It’s important to remember that translated literally, apocalypse simply means a disclosure of something hidden, a lifting of the veil, or a revelation. 

The Advent readings are dark, but they are about preparation for a wondrous time, a time of joy, a time of celebration because God will be among us in a new way. 

Our sacred stories, which we hear week by week, ask us to hold this tension within us, and not to hide from the darkness, because we know that a light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.

I want you to pay close attention to the remaining three weeks because our scriptures are riddled with this tension. This Sunday we will, of course, hear it in John’s preaching in the wilderness, in the disciples of Jesus when John faces Herod’s wrath. It is in Joseph, when Mary becomes pregnant. Real human pain, dismay, and fear are in these stories—they are human events that happen in all of our lives.

We cannot know light unless we first know darkness. Advent asks us to know the darkness, to name it and embrace it with understanding; to courageously proclaim that it is only in the darkness that the light can shine.

It is hard to wrest our attention away from the sparkling lights and green wreaths and crazy running around. But Christmas is about profound change coming into the world, and yet, more than any other time of year we resist the need to prepare for God’s newness.

Jesus prepares us for the unpredictable by talking about the unexpected hour. And as much as we work to tame Christmas and adorn it, to enclose it in secular ritual and keep it confined in familiar carols, its essential wildness will not be reined in.

So that is why in Advent, as the culture buzzes about jingle bells and store-wide sales, we sing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” We sing of our longing like a prayer from our gut. We sing from our weary, shivering souls, for our friends and for the world and for ourselves. 
Advent gives us the permission to rest and wait. We sit bravely in the shadow of doubt as the world goes Christmas crazy around us.
As you read this I will be out of the office for several days as I prepare to greet my own personal Advent—the Advent of a new life with you in Wilkes County. It is a busy and demanding time for me personally, but I know that all of you, along with God, are with me and for that, I am very thankful.

As always, Advent reminds us to throw off our self-imposed fears and limitations, wake up, and claim God’s hope as a present and eternal reality. As Oswald Chambers said, Advent is a time to expect great things from God and attempt great things for God. 

Happy Advent, 

Mother Stephanie

Updated Expanded Poll! We want to know...
We would like to say “Thank you!” for your faithful giving and dedication to St. Paul’s. Without your support, and the support of the parish, St. Paul’s would not be able to have the impact on our community that we do.

We have had an amazing response thus far and this is your invitation to make your pledge if you have not already done so.

we have so much for which to be thankful and your generosity of spirit never ceases to amaze! Thank you for all that you do and for all that is made possible by your generosity. 

Thank you to everyone who has donated towards our clothing and coat drives. Our clothing ministry is now in need of socks for all genders and sizes.
Please consider donating only gently used or new items to this important cause
All donations can be dropped off by the church office.

Dear Friends,

In addition to our children’s lunch bags, we will be making Christmas parcels for the children that come to Crisis Assistance. With your help we can put a smile on their sweet faces. We hope to have them ready to hand out mid December. I already have gloves, socks, blankets, toothbrush, toothpaste, coloring books, crayons, notebooks, balls, jump ropes, and there is a sponsor for matchbox cars and necklaces. I am asking for donations of individual packets of instant oatmeal, granola bars, Christmas candy, hot chocolate packets, or monetary donations and we will be happy to shop for you. Please bring donations to the church office or call me if you have any questions, 336.984.9690. Thank you.

Ruth Harris
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Plans are moving forward to upgrade the parish office space. We are in discussion with an architect who is planning a revision that is focused the ground floor of the sanctuary that currently houses the library and choir room. These plans will insure accessibility, staff safety, and confidentiality of visitors among other needful improvements.

Masks will be worn for inside worship and other inside activities for the foreseeable future.

In small group gatherings of vaccinated individuals it is appropriate to have a discussion as to whether you want to wear masks or not. But please wear masks if even one member of the group prefers this important safety measure.

Please help us put an end to this Pandemic by getting vaccinated.

Love yourself, love your neighbor, get vaccinated!


Assistance Ministries on Thursdays!

Our Assistance team is back in business! A special thank you to all of those who come out and volunteer their time.
Crisis Assistance and Step Ahead 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.

You can now access the flowers sign up form online! Click the button below to sign up today.
The form can also be accessed via the app.
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! $2230.00 so far...

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 $2230 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!
“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

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 Oct/Nov/Dec issues of Forward Day by Day are in the mailbox by the front door of the office.


New Vestry Minutes have been added. August minutes are now available!

Click button to go directly there
Serving in Dec. 2021
Altar Guild
Dec 05 - Mary Lankford, Sharon Greene, & Bonnie Merritt
Dec 12 - Laurie Love, Ramona Curtis, & Tom Carnes
Dec 19 - Mike & Mary Southwell
Dec 24 - Pam & Drew Mayberry (Early)
Dec 24 - Pam & Drew Mayberry (Late)
Dec 26 - Mary Lankford, Sharon Greene, & Bonnie Merritt

Dec 05 - Lisa Beard (8:30)
Dec 05 - Cindy Smith (10:30)
Dec 12 - Laurie Love (8:30)
Dec 12 - Tana Myers (10:30)
Dec 19 - Edward Southwell (8:30)
Dec 19 - Beverly Cook (10:30)
Dec 24 - Robin Shumate & Denise Sturdivant (Early)
Dec 24 - Lisa Beard & Joe Fesperman (Late)
Dec 26 - Robin Shumate (8:30)
Dec 26 - Jeri Martin (10:30)

Dec 05 - Rebecca & Hannah Hartzog
Dec 12 - Keyonni Staley & Tom Carnes
Dec 19 - Amelia & Julie Koch
Dec 24 - Jenny Nelson & Drew Mayberry (Early)
Dec 24 - Tom Carnes & Drew Mayberry (Late)
Dec 26 - Tom Carnes & Jenny Nelson

Dec 05 - Glenn Smith (8:30)
Dec 05 - David McNeill (10:30)
Dec 12 - Jeff Beard (8:30)
Dec 12 - Ron Myers (10:30)
Dec 19 - Bill Harris (8:30)
Dec 19 - Sandra Elledge (10:30)
Dec 24 - Jeff Beard (Early)
Dec 24 - Joe Richardson (Late)
Dec 26 - Mike Adams (8:30)
Dec 26 - Ryan Minick (10:30)

Dec 03 - Sarah Fesperman
Dec 04 - Cynthia Smith
Dec 08 - Ryan Minick
Prayer Requests

Prayer requests can be made by using the app under "contact us" and then the "prayer request" tab, or by emailing the office at office@stpaulwilkesboro.org, or 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.

Rick Brockner, Jeff Smith

David Temple

Armed Forces
Let us pray for the safety of all our troops, especially Micha Duerk, 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 December 5, 2021
Baruch 5:1-9
Take off the garment of your sorrow and affliction, O Jerusalem,
and put on forever the beauty of the glory from God.
Put on the robe of the righteousness that comes from God;
put on your head the diadem of the glory of the Everlasting;
for God will show your splendor everywhere under heaven.
For God will give you evermore the name,
"Righteous Peace, Godly Glory."
Arise, O Jerusalem, stand upon the height;
look toward the east,
and see your children gathered from west and east
at the word of the Holy One,
rejoicing that God has remembered them.
For they went out from you on foot,
led away by their enemies;
but God will bring them back to you,
carried in glory, as on a royal throne.
For God has ordered that every high mountain and the everlasting hills be made low
and the valleys filled up, to make level ground,
so that Israel may walk safely in the glory of God.
The woods and every fragrant tree
have shaded Israel at God's command.
For God will lead Israel with joy,
in the light of his glory,
with the mercy and righteousness that come from him.

Canticle 16 Page 92, BCP
The Song of Zechariah    Benedictus Dominus Deus
Luke 1: 68-79
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; *
he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior, *
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old,
that he would save us from our enemies, *
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers *
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham, *
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
Free to worship him without fear, *
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, *
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
To give his people knowledge of salvation *
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God *
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, *
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
Philippians 1:3-11
I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God's grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.

Luke 3:1-6
In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah,
"The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
'Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth;
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'"
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org