E-newsletter | September 2, 2021

Out on the Edge

“Jesus set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.”

What does it feel like to beg for crumbs? What does it mean to feel so desperate that you no longer care what anyone else thinks of you and the only thing you care about is finding relief from a despairing situation? And while being marginalized and discriminated against is particularly horrible, I don’t think you necessarily have to be poor or marginalized in any way to be visited by this kind of despair, but under the cover of affluence, it is easier to hide quiet desperation from others.  

So think then of how it is when the structures of polite society have broken down for you. What is it like when you are no longer in a position to carefully conceal the painful ways that life has failed you? To those not so at risk, people on the edge of life can appear shrill and grasping and even ungrateful for the crumbs that do come their way.  

When we are more affluent our hunger often takes a different shape. 
From the warmth and safety of our comfortable homes, we stare at the phone for hours hoping to hear from someone we love, but from whom we are estranged, and we just can’t seem to take that first step. We either just can’t find the words or we can’t crawl over our pride, so we just sit and stare into space as a whole is being worn in our hearts. Not all relationships can be mended, but we still need to resolve our loss of them or the pain becomes a constant shadow.

Or, maybe we’ve spent our whole life accumulating lovely things, working long hours, living the American dream, and now we realize that the hunger for real happiness burns in our bellies still, and nothing else we can buy, drink or eat seems to satisfy. We stare at our worldly goods and realize we would trade them all for some of the things we sacrificed along the way…things like time with our spouse, our partner, or our children who are now either ex’s or distant strangers even though they share our blood. What does it feel like to beg for crumbs?

This coming Sunday we will meet a nameless woman that I believe has much to teach us about the nature of courage and the foolishness of pride in a world that often has us begging for crumbs. Crumbs seem good enough for her and she seems to know that this man Jesus has what she needs so she does not let her pride stand in her way.

Who knows what finally pushed her over the edge where she was willing to risk rejection, humiliation, and social ridicule. Maybe she had simply stared helplessly at her daughter’s pain as long as she could and she just didn’t care what people thought of her, she had had enough! 
I imagine her decision was kind of sudden. She’s sitting in her house and she jumps up from her empty table and runs out the door into the midday heat to look for this Jew, this Jesus of Nazareth.

And what about Jesus? What about this disturbing tired and grumpy Jesus? It isn’t in the snippet of Gospel I shared at the top, but initially, Jesus is harsh in his rejection of this woman and her daughter. It seems as though he’s just about had enough as well. He seems tired of fighting with the rigid and hypocritical religious leadership of his day. He appears to have had enough of his disciples continued willful misunderstanding and grasping for position so he even leaves them behind as he seeks just to be left alone for a while.  

But out on the edge something powerful and profound is happening. 
Sunday we will see that it is there, here on the borderlines of existence, where we find the potential for great courage and deeper understanding, it is here on the borders of life where poverty, isolation, fatigue, desperation, and anxiety can drive us right to the edge of our abilities to cope. It is here in this place of seeming emptiness where Christ’s love finds us most hungry and most willing to be filled…even if it seems like we’re begging for crumbs.

In last week’s Gospel, we heard Jesus declare “all foods clean” and on Sunday he declares all persons clean. In this phenomenal moment, we see that there is in fact a wideness in God’s mercy that has no limits.  

What does it feel like to beg for crumbs? In the world, it can feel humiliating, desperate, and lonely. In The kingdom of God, it feels like salvation and the crumbs taste like freedom. 
Freedom from exclusion, freedom from loneliness, freedom from pride, and freedom from the need to turn our country into a land of fear and oppression.

 This is the true power of our God and this is the irrefutable mercy and compassion of Jesus Christ. Every Sunday we are all invited to the table to eat and drink our fill.

Grace and Peace,
Mother Stephanie
Joe Fesperman
Jr Warden News:

After a bit of time away I wanted to keep you up to date on the happenings around St. Paul’s from a buildings and grounds standpoint.

1) The chapel sacristy has been refurbished using trust funds from the Strickland Foundation. It is now the home of Rev Barber’s wardrobe. This 150+ yr old cabinet will store the chapel hangings which is a help to our hard working Altar Guild and provide some storage for Christ the Liberator. Many thanks to Mike and Mary Southwell for making the final conversion possible and to Steve Joines a master woodworker who repaired, remodeled and cleaned the wardrobe at no cost. This room also has the possibility of being used as a space for personal prayer, meditation and reflection that can be closed off from the chapel and it’s daily visitors. The Commons and Chapel are open from 8-4 every day with thanks to Morgen, and our sexton Rosie Carlton.

2) Diane Peabody and the Parish Gardeners continue to work weekly to keep things green and colorful. Help is always needed this time of year with watering and weed pulling. Don’t worry, if you can’t tell weeds from potential blooming beauty, Diane will send you pictures. If interested send her a note at: yale.peabody@me.com

3) From a building standpoint our biggest undertaking over the next year will be to review our parish office needs. The office is the first impression some people get of our church. It needs to offer warmth, privacy and accessibility for visitors while being a pleasant work environment for our Rector and Parish Administrator. 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. Originally the plan was to remodel the current space. A small group (of mostly Vestry members) met and suggested moving the office to the space beneath the sanctuary currently housing the library and choir room. (The choir would move to “teen room” down the hall and teens/youth would move back into the large room on the ground floor of the Parish House.) I need your input and creative suggestions on how to make this happen. Let's create the space we need at long last!! If you would like to walk through our spaces I will meet you there at a mutually convenient time. Contact me with a message on my landline 336-667-3594, cell phone text or message 202-821-5885 or via email @ joefesperman@yahoo.com

As always, if you have concerns or comments, please let me know them. Despite the craziness of COVID, it is exciting to be able to consider new and wonderful uses for our sacred spaces.

Joe Fesperman
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

Mother Stephanie has asked that we consider providing appropriate clothing to our neighbors in need as a vitally important and necessary task for our community.

She notes that 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.

She asks that we please consider donating only new or very gently used items to this important cause. We appreciate your generosity and she asks us to 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.
There will be another plant sale, or rather “donations” sale to be made to the Church for plants you wish to have. 

Last year's "sale" was a very good success!

The plants are provided for free and if you see a plant you want please take it and consider a donation to the church for your selection!

There will be Jade, Schefflera and Aloe plants of various sizes. Most of these are established plants and can remain outside for another 6 weeks or so, until the weather begins to turn chilly.

 Stay tuned for more information regarding the plant sale.
Crisis Assistance on Thursdays!

Our Crisis Assistance team is back in business! A special thank you to all of those who come out and volunteer their time.
Crisis Assistance 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.

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! $1930.00 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 $1930 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 5 - Lisa Beard (8:30)
Sept 5 - Beverly Cook (10:30)
Sept 12 - Laurie Love (8:30)
Sept 12 - Tana Myers (10:30)
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 5 - Mary Lankford, Sharon Greene, & Bonnie Merritt
Sept 12 - Laurie Love, Ramona Curtis, & Tom Carnes
Sept 19 - Mike & Mary Southwell
Sept 26 - Drew & Pam Mayberry

Sept 3 - George Shaw
Sept 4 - Susan Dudek
Sept 6 - Debbie Ferguson
Sept 7 - Benjamin Searcy
Sept 8 - Jim Andrews

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.
Laurence Virgil Hawkins, Ken Love, Kris & Tara Riley, Jeff Smith, Joyce Wheeling
Robert Baugh, 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 5, 2021
Isaiah 35:4-7a
Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
‘Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
He will come and save you.’

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then the lame shall leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
and the thirsty ground springs of water;

Psalm 146
Lauda, anima mea
1 Hallelujah!
Praise the Lord, O my soul! *
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
2 Put not your trust in rulers, nor in any child of earth, *
for there is no help in them.
3 When they breathe their last, they return to earth, *
and in that day their thoughts perish.
4 Happy are they who have the God of Jacob for their help! *
whose hope is in the Lord their God;
5 Who made heaven and earth, the seas, and all that is in them; *
who keeps his promise for ever;
6 Who gives justice to those who are oppressed, *
and food to those who hunger.
7 The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind; *
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
8 The Lord loves the righteous;
the Lord cares for the stranger; *
he sustains the orphan and widow,
but frustrates the way of the wicked.
9 The Lord shall reign for ever, *
your God, O Zion, throughout all generations.
James 2:1-10, [11-13], 14-17
My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? For if a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Have a seat here, please,” while to the one who is poor you say, “Stand there,” or, “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? Is it not they who blaspheme the excellent name that was invoked over you?
You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.[ For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.]
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

Mark 7:24-37
Jesus set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org