E-newsletter | October 7, 2021

All Creatures Great and Small

 “Anyone who truly knows creatures may be excused from listening to sermons, for every creature is full of God, and is a book.” ~Meister Eckhart
In the first week of October, we recognize the life of St. Francis of Assisi. In doing this we often direct our eyes and our ears to see, listen, and indeed apprehend God in the gift of our animal companions. Saint Francis, along with Meister Eckhart in the quote above are among those theologians who believe that the special relationships we have with animals are a part of how we experience God. 

This coming Sunday, at 12:15, we will gather in the Labyrinth to bless the animals that grace our lives. In this blessing, we will offer our thanksgiving for the gift of animals and we will celebrate their place in our lives. 

It is meet and right to take time to give God thanks for all the ways that companion animals and even wild animals enrich our lives and give us windows on God’s wider creation. And for many people, like myself, the bond we share with the animals in our lives is very strong and enduring. I know that my life with animals feels like part of my vocation with God; the care and husbandry of animals is part of what makes my life in this world make sense, what gives my life purpose.

We can forget the very special place animals occupy in the Biblical account of God’s creative activity, and that animals are included in God’s hope for a future of peace and harmony. As we learned in our Genesis Bible Study, creatures are part of God’s redemptive plan and purpose.

Methodist founder John Wesley insisted that animals will attain “heaven.” He maintained that in what he called the “general deliverance” from the world’s pervasive wrongs and cruelties, animals would be given “vigor, strength, and swiftness…to the far higher degree than we give them. Hope for the human family achieving God’s hope for the world is inextricably linked to treating animals with fairness and justice.

And, of course, we have Francis. Francis called animals “brothers” and “sisters” and even preached to them! And Albert Schweitzer said, “To the truly ethical man, all life is sacred, including life regarded by some as “less than ours.”
 Scripture issues a meaningful call to move beyond ourselves and into God’s hope for the beauty and purpose of the natural world. 

In the book of Genesis we see that with delight, God proclaims the goodness of creation. Genesis also tells us that we are created in the image of God. When we say we are created “in the image of God” we mean that all that is best and whole and loving and creative in God is the very seed out of which we grow.

It means that we have the ability, should we choose to claim and nurture it, to love and care for the whole creation the same way that God does. Our care of the world around us is meant to reflect the fullness of the ways God loves and cares for us.

We are meant to understand that being given “dominion” over the fish of the sea, and the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth means we will care for creation in the same way that God has dominion and care over humankind. 

What we have long forgotten to mirror is that God’s practice of dominion is characterized by mercy, gentleness, compassion, and caretaking. 

We are meant to care for creation the way that God cares for us.  

Just as God desires our wholeness and joy we were meant to offer the land and the creatures of the land, the sea, and the air this same chance to flourish and be nurtured by a loving hand.  

Sacred story tells us that animals are created and important to God in their own right. Respecting animals is a sign of humility and respect on our part and an admission that humans are not the center of everything.
Moreover, the animals many of us have are our companions. 
They are part of our lives, they share our homes, and the more science and study advances we learn that many even share our joys and sorrows. 
Because they are our companions, our friends, we are reminded that friends are not there to be used or easily forgotten or discarded when they grow old or somehow inconvenient.  
The companionship of animals is yet another of God’s gracious gifts and a sign of God’s care for us. And many depend on their livelihoods from animals.
So even beyond the companionship, we share with our beloved creatures we also give thanks for the many ways that animals both give and sustain life for many. We should never forget the multitude of ways that animals bless our lives in ways great and small.
Join us on Sunday and if your animal companion would be u comfortable in that setting bring photos and I will bless them in absentia!
Loving God, remind us always that we are created in your image, the image of a loving and compassionate God. In this image, we are called to care for your creation. Open our hearts and minds to the lessons we may learn from our companions---to live fully in the present; to love without judgment; to face each day anticipating joy. Help us we pray, to do your will on earth, so that you may look upon our care of your creation and declare it good. Amen.
Grace and Peace, 
Mother Stephanie

Join us this Sunday at 12:15 in the Labyrinth for our St. Francis of Assisi Animal Blessing service. Please bring along your most loved companions to be blessed.
Bible Study Continues!

Genesis 2.0!

The Wednesday at Noon Bible Study will continue beginning this coming Wednesday the 13th!

If you have not participated thus far you are 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 church this Sunday or in the office next Monday and Tuesday.

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.

Communication will begin going out this week through the app.

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, specific: 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 underway 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. 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. June's minutes are now available!

Click button to go directly there
Serving in Oct. 2021

Oct 10 - Robin Shumate (8:30)
Oct 10 - Joe Fesperman (10:30)
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 10 - Mary Lankford, Sharon Greene, & Bonnie Merritt
Oct 17 - Laurie Love, Ramona Curtis, & Tom Carnes
Oct 31 - Mike & Mary Southwell

Oct 9 - Tomas Will
Oct 9 - Amy Will
Oct 11 - Glenn Smith
Oct 12 - Rosa Jolly

Oct 10 - Donald & Pamela Curley

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.

The short term prayer list resets the first Sunday of the month.
The long term prayer list will reset next on the first Sunday of November.
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 3, 2021
Amos 5:6-7,10-15
Seek the Lord and live,
or he will break out against the house of Joseph like fire,
and it will devour Bethel, with no one to quench it.
Ah, you that turn justice to wormwood,
and bring righteousness to the ground!

They hate the one who reproves in the gate,
and they abhor the one who speaks the truth.
Therefore, because you trample on the poor
and take from them levies of grain,
you have built houses of hewn stone,
but you shall not live in them;
you have planted pleasant vineyards,
but you shall not drink their wine.
For I know how many are your transgressions,
and how great are your sins—
you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe,
and push aside the needy in the gate.
Therefore the prudent will keep silent in such a time;
for it is an evil time.

Seek good and not evil,
that you may live;
and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you,
just as you have said.
Hate evil and love good,
and establish justice in the gate;
it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts,
will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

Psalm 90:12-17
Domine, refugium
12 So teach us to number our days *
that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
13 Return, O Lord; how long will you tarry? *
be gracious to your servants.
14 Satisfy us by your loving-kindness in the morning; *
so shall we rejoice and be glad all the days of our life.
15 Make us glad by the measure of the days that you afflicted us *
and the years in which we suffered adversity.
16 Show your servants your works *
and your splendor to their children.
17 May the graciousness of the Lord our God be upon us; *
prosper the work of our hands;
prosper our handiwork.
Hebrews 4:12-16
The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.
Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Mark 10:17-31
As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’” He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”
Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org