E-newsletter | September 9, 2021
Moving an Entire Farm and the Promise of Resurrection 

“The future is always all around us, waiting, in moments of transitions, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain” ~J. Michael Straczynski

This week I am taking a brief departure from my usual essay on the upcoming Gospel for Sunday. This is a bit more personal than I am used to sharing, but I desire all of you as partners during this time of transition as I sell my farm and look for another farm that is much closer, so I have decided to share. I do not want this to be confined to my experience alone so I hope that all of you might too find something of hope and truth in my words.

Way back in 2015 I decided that the Holy Spirit was nudging me to wrap up the seven years of ministry in my parish in Seattle and return closer to home, to be near to my family, especially my father who lives in the Atlanta area. This decision was also driven by my undying dream to have my own farm, at long last.

I accepted the call to Christ Church in the Diocese of Western North Carolina and bought my farm thinking that Sparta would be where I completed my vocation as a full-time Rector. But, as the quote above indicates, change often comes to us when we are least expecting it. 

Though sometimes born in pain, transitions are also rich with the opportunity for discovery and growth and indeed, I have found this to be true. 

In August of 2020, just at the time parish finances meant my time with the good people of Christ Church was ending, the door opened for me to come and join with you at St Paul’s as your Interim and on June 19, 2021, to my great joy, I became your full-time Rector.

As part of the discernment process, it was the strong desire of the Vestry and other members that I move closer so that I could become more closely involved in the community and when they asked me this was my reply:

"An unequivocal yes! First, I would really, really like to end this commute. I lose approximately 24 waking hours a month to driving and that is a lot. I would hope to be no more than ½ hour from the parish. Closer if possible. 

I have also found that no matter where I live, I see and get to know the community in which I serve through the lives of my members. I know the community through their jobs, their volunteering, through the stories of their lives in the community. I already know far more about what is happening in Wilkesboro than I do in Sparta or Independence! But yes, like Ruth and Naomi, I would like for my home and your home to be the same."

As we speak my home (farm) is on the market and we will see how and when it sells. I crave your thoughts and good wishes that this process goes quickly. As I must sell my current home before I can purchase another the timing is terrifying! When my farm sells, I will be temporarily homeless—me and my entire farm of creatures. All of them are of course making this journey with me—no one will be left behind!

And yes, there is grief (the pain of transition from the quote above) in saying goodbye to this spectacularly beautiful piece of land and my lovely home, but I also have so much hope that I will find another that fills me with the same joy and delight.

And another important element in our mutual discernment for becoming your Rector was as to how long I saw myself in this cure. And my answer was that I would plan to stay until it was time for me to think about retirement—a minimum of seven years. All going well, I would now like for St. Paul’s to be my final full-time Cure. I would not put myself through this terror of selling my farm if I weren’t deeply committed to our relationship and future together.

As my experience at Christ Church illustrates, the future is never certain, and life takes unexpected twists and turns. This is true for all of us. It is not God who throws us these curveballs, it is the chaos still existing in the world that tumbles our certainties. But it IS God who teaches us that hope, resilience, and new life are always possible. Resurrection isn’t something that happens just when we have died, but resurrection is a fact of life with God throughout our lives.

So, with resilience surging through us and resurrection as our eternal promise, our stories merge and the potential for a long and fruitful relationship spreads out before us. We have much work to do together as well as so much joy and hope to share.

The days, weeks, possibly months ahead for me will be very demanding as I, as a single person, execute the sale of one property and seek, find, and move to another. In addition to your prayers, I also crave your support and understanding as I confront the demands of all of it and I look forward to a big giant celebration on the other side of this epic journey!

Thank you. Thank you all for your trust, your faith, and your hard work as we make our time together as priest and people a deep, abiding, and long-time reality…

Grace and Peace,
Mother Stephanie


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.

The app is still a work in progress so keep checking back for updates!
Parish Updates:

Technical Difficulties: Please accept our apologies for the technical difficulty that resulted in us not being able to stream or record Sunday's worship. Our tech guru Bill Hurd is on the job and all will be well for getting back to business for this coming Sunday. We all give Bill our sincere thanks for his amazing work on bringing these services to us.

Robert Baugh Memorial: Please continue to keep Pam and Ryan Baugh in your thoughts and prayers. Pam is relocating to be closer to Ryan so a memorial service will not be held at this time. We wish them both Godspeed and traveling mercies as they make their way North in the coming days.

Jim Andrews
Updated 9-15-21

Please continue to keep Jim and Rose Andrews in your prayers as Jim continues with hospice care and his life draws to a close.

As a hospice chaplain has said, this is life measured in minutes, hours, and days.

The family is gathered and is spending as much time as possible with Jim given the limitations of visitors because of Covid protocol.

Jim and Rose have relocated to the Raleigh area so if you would like to send a card or letter to Rose their address is available on the table in the Commons.

Let us pray:

Loving God, your heart overflows with compassion for your whole creation. Pour out your Spirit on Jim as he steps over the threshold into the sundown of his life; deliver him from fear and pain and may his family feel the fullness of your love and care. Grant them all the blessed assurance that whether we wake or sleep, we remain with you. One God, forever and ever. Amen.

The plant sale was successful! Thank you to all of those who made donations towards the church and a big special thank you to Craig & Elizabeth Freas for making this possible.

Did you miss the plant sale? Don't worry!
There are still some plants available outside of the church office under the tree. Come by and pick one up

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!




Our clothing ministry is in need of clothing, specifically:

Men's shoes, size 8-10
Women's shoes, size 8-9
Men's shirts, size large
Women's tops, size large
Women's pants, size large
Preteen clothing

Please consider providing appropriate, "modern/casual" clothing to our neighbors in need as a vitally important and necessary act of love for our neighbors.

Often, the clothing items and shoes received are not of the quality or type that would best show our desire to support those who come to us.

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.
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!

Carol Canter
Gwen Temple
“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 Sept. 2021

Sept 19 - Edward Southwell (8:30)
Sept 19 - Jeri Martin (10:3:0)
Sept 26 - Robin Shumate (8:30)
Sept 26 - Maggie McCann (10:30)
Altar Guild

Sept 19 - Mike & Mary Southwell
Sept 26 - Drew & Pam Mayberry

Sept 16 - James Lyall
Sept 18 - James Sturdivant
Sept 20 - Tamara Burkenbine
Sept 20 - Tina Duncan
Sept 20 - Mary Alice Owens
Sept 21 - Ronald Myers
Sept 21 - Amelia Minick
Sept 22 - Alaina Grit
Sept 22 - Angela Nardini

Sept 19 - William & Marietta Carroll
Sept 21 - Joseph & Jennifer Richardson
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.
Dennis Broome, Laurence Virgil Hawkins, Ken Love, Kris & Tara Riley, Jeff Smith, 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 September 12, 2021
Jeremiah 11:18-20
It was the Lord who made it known to me, and I knew;
then you showed me their evil deeds.
But I was like a gentle lamb
led to the slaughter.
And I did not know it was against me
that they devised schemes, saying,
"Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,
let us cut him off from the land of the living,
so that his name will no longer be remembered!"
But you, O Lord of hosts, who judge righteously,
who try the heart and the mind,
let me see your retribution upon them,
for to you I have committed my cause.

Psalm 54
Deus, in nomine
1 Save me, O God, by your Name; *
in your might, defend my cause.
2 Hear my prayer, O God; *
give ear to the words of my mouth.
3 For the arrogant have risen up against me,
and the ruthless have sought my life, *
those who have no regard for God.
4 Behold, God is my helper; *
it is the Lord who sustains my life.
5 Render evil to those who spy on me; *
in your faithfulness, destroy them.
6 I will offer you a freewill sacrifice *
and praise your Name, O Lord, for it is good.
7 For you have rescued me from every trouble, *
and my eye has seen the ruin of my foes.
James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a
Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.
Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

Mark 9:30-37
Jesus and his disciples passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.
Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org