E-newsletter | October 14, 2021
Risky Business

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 

The Gospel of Jesus is a very subversive and dangerous thing. I think many of us modern faithful have forgotten this explosive truth. For a variety of reasons, we seem to want to shrink Jesus. We want to make Jesus, domesticated and predictable.

But despite our best efforts to make a Christ in our own image, we are confronted again and again by this subversive and dangerous man who stands in our midst and challenges our assumptions about almost everything!

In case we’ve missed it, over the last several weeks Jesus has given us a crash course on discipleship. And so far, I wouldn’t recommend Jesus’ particular recruiting approach as a manifesto on how to gain prestige and power. 

We are told that if we want to follow Jesus we must be willing to cut away anything in us that is malignant. He says in effect that if we want to carry his name into the world we must gouge out or cut off any behaviors that might prevent another from coming close to him.

And after this radical spiritual surgery, he cautions us, by teaching in a new way about divorce; that simply following the letter of the law will not suffice if we use our knowledge of “the rules” to marginalize or oppress another. 

We are made to confront the hard truth that just because some things are “legal” that they are not necessarily moral or ethical. As disciples, we are not allowed to look for legal loopholes to get us out of the tight corners into which we sometimes paint ourselves.

And to top all of that, he gets right up into our pockets and tells us that wealth can be a great stumbling block, he cautions that if we look to money as the way to gain joy and peace, we will find ourselves sadly bankrupt of all that really matters in life.

And oh yes, there is one more little detail, if you follow me, Jesus says, people will hate you and you will most likely have to die to your own ambitions again and again if you really want to live a full and God-filled life.

Wow! Who is ready to sign up?

This Sunday we are asked to take a hard look at ourselves and figure out where we jockey for pride of place and to do an honest inventory of all the ways we too want to know what’s in it for us if we follow Jesus.

It is easy to pick on James and John, but in fact, their little power play is just the first in a long line of similar squabbles in the church. From the Church Universal right down to any parish USA the family of faith is just rife with such goings-on. We know this only too well.

But Jesus is far more forgiving than we are. If his response to his nearest and dearest is any indication, he does not seek to disgrace or scold us. Jesus only tries to remind us that the power and greatness of God are not to be embezzled for our own glory; the power and greatness of God are meant to be a source of liberation and freedom for lost, the needy, and the oppressed.

This is a dangerous and subversive message in a power-seeking and ambitious world---if you do not believe me just go home and Google a few names like Ida B. Wells, Oscar Romero, Dietrich Bonheoffer, and Martin Luther King Jr. 

When they sought to remind the power structures of Church and State that the eradication of poverty, genocide, and oppression was our true call to glory, their lives were marginalized or extinguished. Many followers of Jesus colluded with the powers and principalities that sought to silence them forever, it is a shameful truth that we bear.

But the power of God cannot be subverted by the violent and power-seeking wills of men. In death, the voice of these faithful disciples have grown even stronger; this is the power of our large and undomesticated Christ.

This is so important for us to grasp because the liberating power of God to which we are all heirs is so very easily squandered. The history of those I’ve mentioned has now been writ large across history, but they all started in small little communities of faith just like ours or any of the many such faith communities all over the world. 

We could grow cynical, but thankfully, we do not serve a cynical God, so we must put away our cynicism and look upon one another through the eyes of Jesus. As he gazes at his closest friends he does not lapse into cynicism or even rebuke them. He seems to see them through the eyes of compassion and he recognizes that at the heart of this petty squabble is their fear and anxiety; they want a promise of security in a world that is ever-changing. 

We are no different in our own petty squabbles, dig deep enough behind any anger or self-serving focus and we will inevitably find fear.

We are afraid of many things these days, but Jesus provides us with the antidote for what ails us and he points yet again at the power of God’s hope for humankind.

Following Jesus closely is a risky business. But listen closely to Jesus because he makes us this extraordinary promise: “You will not always be driven by your fears and your need for security. You will be empowered to take up your cross and follow me. You will be my faithful disciples to the end.”

This is our call to mission, this is our call to love, forgive, and serve one another. Today we are reminded of our deepest and truest identity. Not even the brokenness of our own lives or the brokenness of this world can stop us.
We are the people of St. Paul’s, Wilkesboro! And even with all of our imperfections we are God’s people, and we can change the world, maybe not all of it, but we can make a huge impact on the friends and neighbors who are right before us. And that, my friends, is a truly dangerous and subversive truth, in the best Gospel tradition! 

Grace and Peace,
Mother Stephanie+ 

For Those Who Attend Virtual Services....
What are your primary reasons for not returning to in-person worship?
COVID-19 concerns
Schedule conflicts
Not interested in returning to in-person worship
And whatever reason you chose, we would love to hear more. Please contact the church at office@stpaulwilkesboro.org or Mother Stephanie at rector@stpaulwilkesboro.org. We are always eager to hear from you!
Online Giving Platform & MinistryOne App Trainings

With all of the new and exciting things going on around the church, there's a lot to learn. Our Parish Administrator, Morgen, will be holding training webinars over Zoom during this upcoming week, starting tomorrow. The schedule of meetings can be found below:

Friday, October 15th - 12:00pm
Monday, October 18th - 12:00pm
Wednesday, October 20th - 12:00pm

Each training should last no more than 20 minutes.
If you are unable to attend any of the meetings listed above, and are interested in the training, an overview video can be found by clicking the button below or on our website under the About Us tab, then under the Online Giving tab.

Please contact Morgen by email at office@stpaulwilkesboro.org to sign up for the trainings.
Prayer Request List Reset

Both our short-term and long-term prayer lists will "reset" on Sunday, October 31st.

If you have a name that needs to be added to our prayer list, requests can be submitted through our app under the contact page, or through the form below.

Bible Study Continues!

Genesis 2.0!

The Wednesday at Noon Bible Study is on-going through November 17th.

If you have not participated thus far you are still welcome to join us for Part II.

The Bible Study will meet in the Parish House at noon on Wednesdays to study the Patriarchal Narratives of Genesis, chapters 18-50. Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, and Jacob; Sarah, Hagar, Leah, and Rebekkah. So much of human drama and our Covenanted relationships with God to teach us the ways of faithfulness and wholeness with God even with our deep imperfections.

Study materials available at the church office.

Feel free to bring a lunch!

St. Paul’s has launched with a new giving platform with serval ways to streamline the giving process.

Text “GIVE” to 336-891-4231 to receive a link to go to the online giving form. After your first donation, you will be able to text an amount to the number above (i.e. $50) and send your donation that way without going through the form.

The online giving form is always accessible via our website, www.stpaulwilkesboro.org, under the “Give Now!” tab in the upper right-hand corner.

There is a 3% processing fee that is optional. If you choose to cover the processing fee instead of the church covering the fee, the additional amount will be credited towards your amount given for the year and be tax deductible.

Click the button below to try it now!
Download our church app!

Download the “Church by MinistryOne” app to your phone.
Search for “St. Paul’s Episcopal Church”
Click “Select this church” once you’ve found our church.

From the app, you can contact the church, submit prayer requests, find all our recorded sermons, donate and view your online giving history, find information on church events, and receive notifications and reminders from the church.

A big thank you to everyone who donated clothes towards our clothing drive! As the seasons change and it gets colder outside, the need of our clothing ministry also changes. Our clothing ministry is in need of winter clothes, specifically: coats, sweaters, gloves, mits, and toboggans of all sizes and genders.

Please consider donating only new or very gently used items to this important cause. We appreciate your generosity and please consider the question: "Would I wear this?"

Let's offer the best of who we are to help our neighbors!

If you have clothing you would like to donate, it can be dropped off at the office.
Plans are moving forward to upgrade the parish office space. In the most recent history of our parish (50 or so years) our Administrative office space has been in flux and Mother Stephanie notes that this is something to be curious about: "Why hasn't there been appropriate and dedicated office space for such a clearly important part of our Parish life?" These are always interesting questions to think on as we move into times of discernment and decision.

The discussion so far has centered around renovating the current Parlier House or moving to the ground floor of the sanctuary that houses the library and choir room. We have consulted an architect and we are busy reflecting on his input as we consider next moves. If you would like to share your thoughts or tour the areas under consideration contact Joe Fesperman via landline 336-667-3594, cell text 202-821-5885 or online: joefesperman@yahoo.com. All inquiries are welcomed.

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.

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

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

We are at a point when vaccinations are no longer just a "personal" decision. The numbers of unvaccinated persons filling our hospitals and ICU's means that both Covid and non-Covid patients alike are dying for lack of beds and treatment availability.

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.
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! $2130.00 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 $2130 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

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. July's minutes are now available!

Click button to go directly there
Serving in Oct. 2021

Oct 17 - Laurie Love (8:30)
Oct 17 - Dick Sloop (10:30)
Oct 24 - Lisa Bead (8:30)
Oct 24 - Beverly Cook (10:30)
Oct 31 - Edward Southwell (8:30)
Oct 31 - Denise Sturdivant (10:30)
Altar Guild

Oct 17 - Laurie Love, Ramona Curtis, & Tom Carnes
Oct 31 - Mike & Mary Southwell

Oct 15 - Lisa Cline
Oct 15 - Margaret Boyd
Oct 16 - Betty Morris
Oct 17 - Willie Barber
Oct 17 - Amber Wansley
Oct 18 - Martha Morgan
Oct 18 - Mary Southwell
Oct 18 - Robin Shumate
Oct 20 - Christopher Barger

Oct 19 - Glenn & Kathie Smith
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.

Ken Love, Wes Martin, Nora McCann, Kris & Tara Riley, Jeff Smith, Tracy Taylor, Joyce Wheeling, Susan Whittington, Randall Woodruff

Dot Beamon, Christina Floyd, Kitty Owens, 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 October 17, 2021
Isaiah 53:4-12
Surely he has borne our infirmities
and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the punishment that made us whole,
and by his bruises we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
By a perversion of justice he was taken away.
Who could have imagined his future?
For he was cut off from the land of the living,
stricken for the transgression of my people.
They made his grave with the wicked
and his tomb with the rich,
although he had done no violence,
and there was no deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain.
When you make his life an offering for sin,
he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days;
through him the will of the Lord shall prosper.
Out of his anguish he shall see light;
he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge.
The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong;
because he poured out himself to death,
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

Psalm 91:9-16
Qui habitat
9 Because you have made the Lord your refuge, *
and the Most High your habitation,
10 There shall no evil happen to you, *
neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over you, *
to keep you in all your ways.
12 They shall bear you in their hands, *
lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and adder; *
you shall trample the young lion and the serpent under your feet.
14 Because he is bound to me in love,
therefore will I deliver him; *
I will protect him, because he knows my Name.
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him; *
I am with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and bring him to honor.
16 With long life will I satisfy him, *
and show him my salvation.
Hebrews 5:1-10
Every high priest chosen from among mortals is put in charge of things pertaining to God on their behalf, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is subject to weakness; and because of this he must offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people. And one does not presume to take this honor, but takes it only when called by God, just as Aaron was.
So also Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him,
“You are my Son,
today I have begotten you”;
as he says also in another place,
“You are a priest forever,
according to the order of Melchizedek.”
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Mark 10:35-45
James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to Jesus and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.” Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”
When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org