E-newsletter | July 29, 2021

I Am and You are Too

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’”

I am…I am a woman. I am a daughter and I am a sister. I am the Rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. I am someone who loves animals. I am someone who has lost her mother. 

I am someone who loves to be with horses, read, and watch The Great British Baking Show!  

We are all “I am” something. We are all complex individuals who have certain particularities that make us who we are. We have our family histories as well as our personal preferences and experiences that all go into the mix to shape us into the people that sit our pews Sunday by Sunday. 

Some of our “I am’s” are points of pride. When we say, "I am successful.", or "I am a proud parent.", or "I am someone who made the honor roll at school.", we share those parts of ourselves that we don’t mind others seeing. 

But, some of our “I am’s” are not so easy to hold out in the bright light of day. We find it harder to say things like, I am depressed or I am lonely or I am in financial trouble or I am insecure. In the end, the truth of the matter is that we are all made up of a mixture of “I am’s.” Some that we are happy with and other “I am’s” that we struggle with. 
We are all many things that we might call both good and bad, and more than anything else in the world, in our deepest hearts, we simply want to be known and loved for just who we are. We want to be able to share ourselves in an open and honest way and be loved in spite of the ways in which we find ourselves unlovable. We want to be enough.
This is a fact of the human condition. We want relationship. We want to share in intimacy and mutual caring with other people. 

We want this in our relationships with our friends, our spouses or partners, our parents, and with the people with whom we sit in these pews. I think we saw this lovely truth on display on Homecoming Sunday.

God also wants this, and God wants it with all of us.

In Sunday’s gospel we will hear Jesus repeat, “I AM.” I am the bread of life. We are reminded of God’s words to Moses on that mountaintop. Moses asks the burning bush, but whom shall I say has sent me? And God says, “tell them I AM has sent you.” I am that I am. God is revealing Godself to Moses as the one who hears the cries of the people and responds with mercy. In Jesus, we witness God’s greatest attempt to be known by the world. In Jesus, God comes to us, in the flesh, as the supreme realization of God’s endless love for humanity. And not just for a narrow portion of humanity, but for all of it. All colors, all nations, and all genders; in short, the whole beautiful kaleidoscope of humanity (as well as the Created order) to say, “You are my beloved!”
And how do we form intimate relationships? There is only one way and that is to be vulnerable in sharing ourselves with one another. We tell each other our stories, we share our dreams, and we express our disappointments. Have you ever tried to grow close to someone and been frustrated by the feeling that they just wouldn’t open up?
In seminary speak we called this process mutual self-disclosure or self-revelation. It is that precious moment in time when with deep vulnerability, we voluntarily reveal to others who we really are. In today’s gospel, God in Christ is saying, “here I am” and I want you to know me. 

I want to show you how much I love you and I want you to love me in return. In the fragility of human flesh, God offers us the gift of true bread—bread for the nurturance of our bodies yes, but also bread that transforms our soul, bread that feeds our deepest and truest hunger, which is the hunger to know God.
The hunger to know God is at the heart of the elemental human appetite. It is the hunger beneath all hungers, and it is captured in the phrase “Humanity does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.  

Jesus tells us that in order to be truly satisfied we open our hearts and minds to God’s Word of love for us all and the world will be transformed forever. For if we truly taste and see God’s love for us just once, we can do no other than feed others out of its unlimited abundance.

This is how the world is truly fed, because as it has been said, there is no famine in the Word of God. The body and blood of Christ is food indeed. This Sunday we will join with Jesus in the feast and then go out and pour it all back into the world. This is how we become our greatest “I am.” This is how we learn to say, “I am many things, but above all, I am a beloved child of God and you are too.” 

Grace and Peace,
Mother Stephanie




It is no doubt that the past year and a half have been turbulent. During a time where we had to physically remain apart from each other, we tried to come together as a community the best we could through virtual services. Thankfully, as more people continue to get vaccinated, the world has slowly started to return to normal. This does not mean that the virus is gone or is no longer a danger to us. We would love to maintain being able to meet in person, but another outbreak of COVID could stop all of that.

Serious illness from COVID is NOW PREVENTABLE.
The DELTA variant was preventable. We ask you, in the nature of loving your neighbor, to get vaccinated.
If the vaccine is not an option for you, masks are REQUIRED to be worn during services.
Our goal is keep everyone safe.
Crisis Assistance Resumes!

Our Crisis Assistance team will resume providing lunches on Thursday, August 5th from 11:30am-1:00pm. For now, the lunches provided will be bagged.

Starting August 12th, St. Paul's will begin offering free COVID-19 vaccines during the Thursday lunches.

As you know, Jim and Rose Andrews, long-time members of St. Paul’s, relocated to Cary, NC, just as we began returning from COVID restrictions. As such, we did not get an opportunity to say goodbye and give them our best wishes.
This is your invitation to send Jim and Rose a card or letter to offer your best wishes or just to say, “We miss you!”.

Please contact the office for their address, or pick up a campaign handout in the commons.
The Homecoming Celebration was a massive success!

If you have any pictures from the event that you would like to share, please send them to office@stpaulwilkesboro.org.

A special thank you to everyone who came out to join us in fellowship.
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.


Vaccinated persons are no longer required to wear face masks during worship, even during singing.


And, if you are most comfortable wearing your mask in worship please do so.
Our hope is to see more and more of you here each Sunday and our desire is to help everyone feel safe and welcome.

We also encourage everyone to get vaccinated to prevent the spread of variants like the Delta strain. Having enough people vaccinated to reach "herd immunity" is the only way to prevent more virulent and dangerous versions of Covid from proliferating.

We are working on scheduling a vaccine clinic at St. Paul's so please stay tuned to the E-news for that schedule. It will happen during the course of our Thursday Assistance gatherings.

Love you neighbor--get vaccinated!

Updated 7/28/21


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.

Attention ECW Members:

If your contact information has changed since ECW last met, please contact Morgen at the office.
ECW will be hopefully returning by the time the summer is out. Stay tuned!
Mark Your Calendars
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!
Join us for Worship on YouTube or click on the link on our website!
Offering Hospitality in Time of Need
Thank you for your generosity! $1390.00 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
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 Aug/Sept/Oct issues of Forward Day by Day are now in the mailbox by the front door of the office, as well as the May/June/July issues.


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

Click button to go directly there
Serving in August 2021

Aug 1 - Lisa Beard (8:30)
Aug 1 - Gwen Temple (10:30)
Aug 8 - Laurie Love (8:30)
Aug 8 - Dick Sloop (10:30)
Aug 15 - Robin Shumate (8:30)
Aug 15 - Joe Fesperman (10:30)
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 1 - Mary Anne Caplinger & Tom Carnes
Aug 8 - Laurie Love & Ramona Curtis
Aug 15 - Mary Lankford, Sharon Greene, & Bonnie Merritt
Aug 22 - Pam & Drew Mayberry
Aug 29 - Mary & Mike Southwell

July 29 - Douglas Morris
Aug 1 - Marianne Strafer
Aug 1 - Mark Stone
Aug 2 - Kevin Murphy
Aug 4 - John Strafer
Aug 4 - William Canter


No anniversaries this week!

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.
Sloan Barnhill, Laurence Virgil Hawkins, Kris & Tara Riley, Jeff Smith
Robert Baugh, 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 1, 2021
Exodus 16:2-4,9-15
The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not.”
Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’“ And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. The Lord spoke to Moses and said, “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’“
In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.”

Psalm 78:23-29
Attendite, popule
23 So he commanded the clouds above *
and opened the doors of heaven.
24 He rained down manna upon them to eat *
and gave them grain from heaven.
25 So mortals ate the bread of angels; *
he provided for them food enough.
26 He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens *
and led out the south wind by his might.
27 He rained down flesh upon them like dust *
and winged birds like the sand of the sea.
28 He let it fall in the midst of their camp *
and round about their dwellings.
29 So they ate and were well filled, *
for he gave them what they craved.
Ephesians 4:1-16
I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore it is said,
"When he ascended on high he made captivity itself a captive;
he gave gifts to his people."
(When it says, "He ascended," what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is the same one who ascended far above all the heavens, so that he might fill all things.) The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people's trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body's growth in building itself up in love.

John 6:24-35
The next day, when the people who remained after the feeding of the five thousand saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “What sign are you going to give us then, so that we may see it and believe you? What work are you performing? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Then Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org