E-newsletter | September 23, 2021
Come to Jesus Meeting
“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire."
In this Sunday’s Gospel, I believe we get to witness the original “Come to Jesus” meeting from Jesus himself.

For weeks Jesus has been traveling with his closest disciples and teaching and demonstrating the radical nature of God’s kingdom, but they are still ignorant to the true meaning of Jesus’ words and deeds.  

Time after time they get caught up in their own agenda. Despite Jesus’ words and actions to the contrary, they are still drawing lines that seek to exclude; they insist on setting boundaries, establishing status, and deciding who is in and who is out. This week they try to stop a man from healing in Jesus’ name “because he was not following us.” We can almost imagine Jesus shaking his head in frustration that they just don’t get it.  

And then in no uncertain terms, using very vivid, hyperbolic, and descriptive language, Jesus gives them the actions that are not acceptable for members of his community.

He warns them that if they give even one new believer a hard time, or come between them and God because of your arrogance, they will create an absolute scandal. He warns that they would be better off “dropped in a deep lake with a cement block tied around your neck than to deal with me if any of you ever do such a thing.”  

Then in what is still very difficult language he uses the metaphor of the Body and says, “If there is some part of you that is rotten inside that gets in the way of showing God’s love to the world, chop it off or cut it out. I promise you; you would be better off feeling raw and vulnerable in God’s kingdom than being the proud owner of a hardened heart or dark eye that misses the love of God.

Please do not persist in actions that do not reflect God’s mercy. If you continue and fail to realize what I am doing you might as well means spend your life living in a spiritual garbage dump with the stench of burning rot your only companion. Is that what you want? Jesus needs them to know that they cannot say they follow him and still make choices that are counter to his very purpose.

But, if Jesus can speak such difficult words to the very ones he has chosen as his community, we must know that it is because time and time again we struggle to realize that once we say we follow Jesus our choices in this life matter, they take on deeper consequences.

It’s not anger or judgment driving Jesus’ harshness, but unspeakable love. 
Jesus is pleading, not condemning. 
He calls us to open ourselves wide even when we don’t understand or are afraid. Jesus knows that false divisions don’t add anything to life, they keep us in a state of spiritual death.

Jesus has come to a world where people don’t really want to see the broken, the oppressed, or those on the margins. We feel safer when we can live in clearly defined borders that allow us to maintain our pride of place.

One reason for this may well be that many of us do not even know that we are suffering from this blindness. The modern term for this is “implicit bias.” Implicit bias (see link below) refers to unconscious behaviors of prejudice that create a whole world of injustice. 
It is when we enact ingrained social and cultural acts of bigotry that degrade people of different ethnicities, religions, sexualities, genders, etc.  

When we suffer from implicit bias we have no idea how destructive our behavior is or even how our fear of a borderless world makes it impossible to heed Jesus’ call to bring down the systemic barriers of race, creed, color, gender. And we’ll never awaken unless we allow ourselves to think or feel differently until we allow God to get past our hard-fought walls of separation.  

In Mark’s gospel, Jesus’ earthly ministry opens with the dramatic tearing open of the heavens. It concludes with a ripping apart of the temple curtain. The barriers that separate us from God are torn away.  

This dramatic imagery and Jesus’ need to speak so abrasively to us in our coming Gospel, is telling of how hard we sometimes work to hoard God’s love for a chosen few. Jesus’ seemingly harsh words of amputation offers not violence, but forgiveness, healing, and release. [1]  Jesus begs us to do radical surgery on ourselves to root out those places where hate lies hidden; where fear drives divisions.

A “Come to Jesus meeting” is never easy but thank God for the love of Christ that cares enough to speak the sometimes-difficult words that demand that we claim a life that can give life to others. Jesus still needs us to make the choices and decisions that will call all of God’s children home, into the very heart of God’s grace, mercy, and love.

Grace and Peace,

*If you would like to explore implicit bias further please see the link to Harvard’s Implicit Bias Project (we can insert the link here). In this study, Harvard has designed a method of revealing our implicit biases to us across a range of different modalities. 
They are not meant to provoke shame or guilt and they are a great way to gently be awakened to those hidden places within us that keep us from loving or understanding our diverse world fully.

  [1] Don Juel, “Jesus the Divine Intruder’ in The Lutheran.


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.

Updated 9-23-21

A Celebration of Life
Jim Andrews
will be

Saturday, September 25th at 2 PM

followed by
a light reception with the family receiving guests in the Parish House

Masks will be required.

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 26 - Robin Shumate (8:30)
Sept 26 - Maggie McCann (10:30)
Altar Guild

Sept 26 - Drew & Pam Mayberry

Sept 23 - Larry Cline
Sept 26 - Mary Anne Caplinger
Sept 27 - Bram Koch
Sept 29 - Becky Mullins
Sept 29 - Mary Sue Pruitt

Sept 27 - Drew & Pam Mayberry
Sept 28 - Jeff & Lisa Beard
Sept 29 - Carl & Frances Yale
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 September 26, 2021
Numbers 11:4-6,10-16,24-29
The rabble among them had a strong craving; and the Israelites also wept again, and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we used to eat in Egypt for nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at.”
Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, all at the entrances of their tents. Then the Lord became very angry, and Moses was displeased. So Moses said to the Lord, “Why have you treated your servant so badly? Why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me? Did I conceive all this people? Did I give birth to them, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, as a nurse carries a sucking child,’ to the land that you promised on oath to their ancestors? Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they come weeping to me and say, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I am not able to carry all this people alone, for they are too heavy for me. If this is the way you are going to treat me, put me to death at once—if I have found favor in your sight—and do not let me see my misery.”
So the Lord said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; bring them to the tent of meeting, and have them take their place there with you.”
So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord; and he gathered seventy elders of the people, and placed them all around the tent. Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do so again.
Two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested on them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” And Joshua son of Nun, the assistant of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, “My lord Moses, stop them!” But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit on them!”

Psalm 19:7-14
Caeli enarrant
7 The law of the Lord is perfect
and revives the soul; *
the testimony of the Lord is sure
and gives wisdom to the innocent.
8 The statutes of the Lord are just
and rejoice the heart; *
the commandment of the Lord is clear
and gives light to the eyes.
9 The fear of the Lord is clean
and endures for ever; *
the judgments of the Lord are true
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
more than much fine gold, *
sweeter far than honey,
than honey in the comb.
11 By them also is your servant enlightened, *
and in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can tell how often he offends? *
cleanse me from my secret faults.
13 Above all, keep your servant from presumptuous sins;
let them not get dominion over me; *
then shall I be whole and sound,
and innocent of a great offense.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my
heart be acceptable in your sight, *
O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.
James 5:13-20
Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being like us, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain and the earth yielded its harvest.
My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner's soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Mark 9:38-50
John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.
“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.
“For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org