E-newsletter | June 10, 2021
In Celebration of Smallness

“With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
What seems obvious to me, more and more, is that God really loves to surprise us. It appears that one of God’s favorite activities is to take what is small and seemingly inconsequential to the world and do big and marvelous things with them.

I find this to be very good news in a world that does not always value smallness. In a world that demands so much bigness, we can sometimes find ourselves feeling very, very small. The world we live in today has some very large problems that can seem overwhelming. Feeling small in such a big universe can be very disheartening.

How can we, in our seeming insignificance, offer anything to a world in need of love and hope?

Well, this is the very same question that confronts Jesus’ early followers. Jesus speaks of the kingdom of God coming near, but if we read those ancient Roman headlines I doubt that they would have been trumpeting the success of God’s justice and mercy. 

People were hungry and oppressed, economic enslavement was the order of the day, and only those of power and wealth seem to have any say in how the world would run.  Does any of that sound familiar?

But here is this Jesus telling us that then and there as well as in the here and now--- God’s reality is truly very different. 

“With what can we compare the kingdom of God? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” 

 This is Jesus’ delightful surprise for us! We are reminded that what is often seen as small and insignificant in the world’s eyes is seen as nothing less than hidden “greatness” by God.  I think that if we begin to look at the world through God’s eyes we see evidence of this all around us. 

When we align ourselves with God, we are never too small or insignificant to change the world. God can transform our tiniest move toward grace and hope into something magnificent. This is God’s way you see and this is Jesus’ great word to us this coming Sunday. In the kingdom of God great things like justice, mercy, and redemption grow from the smallest of seeds.

Something else about this parable that we often miss is how invasive the mustard seed is. I am not a gardener, but a friend who is explained to me that the mustard seed plant can become an invasive plant in a hurry and that it is very difficult to keep in check. I think this would be something Jesus liked and why he used the mustard seed in his parable. God’s love and justice are not always welcome. When it begins to grow and flourish it is hard to knock it back although those in positions of abusive power would wish it were so.

I for one, find myself relieved to know that no matter how big the problems of our big world are, God shows us that the way to hope and freedom can be found in our smallness. 

With God’s help our small acts of faith, small acts of kindness, small moments of hope, and tiny little graces can win the day. 

The world’s bigness can be overwhelming, but all we have to do is remember that our world was made and is being redeemed by a God whose grace exceeds our wildest imaginings. God lavishes God’s gifts of life and growth upon us and constantly does so in the most surprising ways. 

After all, Jesus was perhaps smallest the seed and greatest surprise of all. To the casual observer, he was just an unimportant man with a small life coming from a small town in a small country.

But now we know that the gift of his seemingly insignificant life grew into nothing less than new hope and new life in God—for all. We are just a small parish, in a small town, with great hope. Our smallness is nothing to fear. With God, we can be a large unstoppable force for love in everything we do. In our worship, fellowship, how we care for one another—we are a small but mighty church that through the power of the Holy Spirit can do big things.

Grace and Peace,
Mother Stephanie  

St. Paul's Little Free Pantry

Thank you to those who have recently donated to St. Paul's Little Free Pantry. Due to the surplus in food donations, our pantry box is currently full.

There is now a note posted on the pantry box that states:
"Please do not leave any donations here expect for food put inside the little pantry. Take all other items to your favorite thrift store."

While we appreciate all donations, items left outside the box, especially food, will draw the attention of animals.

If you have donations that will not fit in the box, please do not leave them outside. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.
Welcome to our New Director of Music!
We are very excited to welcome Dr. Russ Stinson to St. Paul's after his retirement from Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas. Russ, a Wilkesboro native, and his wife, Laura, have returned to the area after his years in Academia. He also, coincidentally, performed this same role at another church called St. Paul's!

In years past we have split this important position between a Choir Director and an Organist, but Russ joins us as the newly created Director of Music and he will fulfill both of these roles, as is often traditional in the Episcopal Church.

And, we also extend a very, very special Thank You to Ramona Curtis for all of the hard work and love she has shared with us through the St. Paul's music program during these last many months. Our videos and in-person worship have been deeply enhanced by her gift of music.
Coming Soon!

Look for these exciting Parish activities to be announced soon:

Genesis Bible Study
Date and Time TBA

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.

All Parish Picnic and Potluck
Save the Date!
Scheduled for July 18th
Look for more information coming soon!

From the Senior Warden:
To Make a Call, Vestry Moves to Discern Next Rector

Thanks to all of you for your input as we make this very important decision on behalf the parish. Please continue to hold the vestry and Mother Stephanie in your prayers as we gather on June 19th.

Mark Williams, Senior Warden

Doug Merritt - dougmerritt62@gmail.com
Richard Barber - rbarber3185@yahoo.com
Carol Canter - ccanter123@gmail.com
Ramona Curtis - curtiser@charter.net
Beverly Cook - jambev@aol.com
Joe Fesperman - joefesperman@yahoo.com
Doug Morris - dam72961@gmail.com
Gwen Temple - gt1116@gmail.com
Mark Williams - markawlms@aol.com
See Diocesan Video Featuring our Own Bill Hurd!

Click the link to below to see a Diocesan Video Presentation about how Parishes in the Diocese are adapting to the need for more technology in bringing worship to our members. Bill Hurd discusses the technology setup at St. Paul's, and how it has kept our Parish connected during the pandemic.
Jim and Rose Andrews have recently moved and took the next steps for them on their journey. If you would like to send a letter or post card to them, it can be addressed to:

450 SE Cary Pkwy, Apt 109, Cary, NC 27511.
UPDATED 6-10-21
We must still wear masks, especially for congregational singing, and we must still refrain from the Common Cup during Eucharist, but all other restrictions are lifted.

WE MISS YOU! We invite you to come back and join us for in person worship! Services will be held at their regular times of
8:30 and 10:30.
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! $1050.00 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.

Over the past week, we have received $1050 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. April's minutes are now available!

Click button to go directly there
Serving in June 2021

June 13 - Mary Southwell (8:30)
June 13 - Cindy Smith (10:30)
June 20 - Jeff Beard (8:30)
June 20 - Joe Fesperman (10:30)
June 27 - Laurie Love (8:30)
June 27 - Dick Sloop (10:30)
Altar Guild

June 13 - Mike & Mary Southwell
June 20 - Drew & Pam Mayberry
June 27 - Mary Ann Caplinger & Tom Carnes

June 10 - Wes Martin
June 11 - Catherine Reid
June 12 - Michael Graf
June 13 - Pam Mayberry
June 14 - Jack Claycomb
June 14 - Jean Adams
June 16 - Denise Morris
June 16 - Joshua Richardson

June 11 - Steve & Jan Jackson
June 11 - Ken & Carol M. Canter
June 12 - Mike & Mary Southwell
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.
Doug Johnson, Lorraine Little, Jen & Cliff McElroy, Becky Mullins, Kris Riley, Tara Riley, Jeff Smith, Susan Whittington
Jim Andrews, Ken Asel, Pam & Robert Baugh, Thomas Dellinger, Tina Duncan, Mary Hawkins, Cynthia Hill, Bob & Donna Webber
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 June 13, 2021
Ezekiel 17:22-24
Thus says the Lord God:
I myself will take a sprig
from the lofty top of a cedar;
I will set it out.
I will break off a tender one
from the topmost of its young twigs;
I myself will plant it
on a high and lofty mountain.
On the mountain height of Israel
I will plant it,
in order that it may produce boughs and bear fruit,
and become a noble cedar.
Under it every kind of bird will live;
in the shade of its branches will nest
winged creatures of every kind.
All the trees of the field shall know
that I am the Lord.
I bring low the high tree,
I make high the low tree;
I dry up the green tree
and make the dry tree flourish.
I the Lord have spoken;
I will accomplish it.

Psalm 92:1-4,11-14
Bonum est confiteri
1 It is a good thing to give thanks to the Lord, *
and to sing praises to your Name, O Most High;
2 To tell of your loving-kindness early in the morning *
and of your faithfulness in the night season;
3 On the psaltery, and on the lyre, *
and to the melody of the harp.
4 For you have made me glad by your acts, O Lord; *
and I shout for joy because of the works of your hands.
11 The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, *
and shall spread abroad like a cedar of Lebanon.
12 Those who are planted in the house of the Lord *
shall flourish in the courts of our God;
13 They shall still bear fruit in old age; *
they shall be green and succulent;
14 That they may show how upright the Lord is, *
my Rock, in whom there is no fault.
2 Corinthians 5:6-10,[11-13],14-17
We are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord-- for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what has been done in the body, whether good or evil.
[Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we try to persuade others; but we ourselves are well known to God, and I hope that we are also well known to your consciences. We are not commending ourselves to you again, but giving you an opportunity to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast in outward appearance and not in the heart. For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.] For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them. From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

Mark 4:26-34
Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.”
He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”
With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org