E-newsletter | September 9, 2021

Take Up Your Cross

“He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.” 

I once read that the peace activist, The Rev. Daniel Berrigan, has said “If you are going to follow Jesus, you’d better look good on wood.” 
Historically speaking, we all know that Christians who genuinely conform their lives to that of Jesus Christ don’t fare too well. And on Sunday Jesus will be very clear with his disciples that to follow him means that they put themselves at great risk. But he is also very clear that unless those who would follow him take this risk, they have no place with him or his mission.

But, here is a challenge that those of us who fill the pews on Sundays must confront…the chances are that we will not be called to sacrifice our lives for our desire to follow Jesus. So, if this is true, how is it that we might “take up our cross and follow him?”  

I think one of our greatest challenges is to put away the “wisdom” of current popular culture. Every day we are bombarded with messages that tell us that to feel anything but “good” is to have somehow failed in life. Even during the tragedy of a worldwide pandemic, we aren’t allowed to grieve.

These messages tell us that we can buy and drink, and prestige our way out of any chance that life might bring us pain. This twisted wisdom tells us that feeling sorrow over failed relationships, experiencing pain over losing a loved one, or to risk ourselves for something, which has no personal payoff, is foolish and unnecessary.  

The messages are pervasive, how do we hold on to the truth that this type of wisdom is simply a lie? How are we, sitting in safety and comfort, called to take up our cross?  

First, we must realize what taking up our cross really means. 
Sadly, this powerful pronouncement has become a throw-away phrase for putting up with things that we aren’t really happy about. Jesus is not calling us to bear some small or even great burden without complaint. The cross of Christ is not about the amount of burdens we have in life. The cross of Christ is about great love. This cross is about unflinching obedience to God’s call to be reconcilers in the world.  

So taking up our cross means to love others as Jesus loves us and to show compassion for others as Jesus shows compassion. We all know that he didn’t have to go looking for the cross. Jesus only had to share the love of God with others and the cross found him. What are the implications for us as we pass the 20th anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11? Have we learned to love more as a result of that hateful act or do we love less?

As that event taught us, that life cannot be lived without pain. 
In fact, a life lived fully and with a great love and compassion for others and the plight of our world will be full of pain and suffering, but that hasn’t stopped us from trying!   

This pain visits us in a variety of ways. We feel it when someone we love dies. We feel it when we are betrayed in a relationship. We feel it when we look at images from Afghanistan, starving children, and hurricane-ravaged homes. We feel it almost anytime that something happens for which we have no ready answers.
The capacity to feel great love and compassion means we are vulnerable to deep pain and anguish. 

We are not allowed to react to events like 9/11 by meeting hate and destruction with yet more hate and destruction. Instead, we must sit with our pain and let it teach us to love more, care more, forgive more.

There are implications here of tremendous importance. Pain is an inevitable part of life; no matter how we try to live it or which way we attempt to go. Therefore, it is futile to try to escape pain altogether. There is no desire embedded any deeper in our make-up than the desire not to suffer: yet this becomes a tragic illusion if we elevate it into a life goal. 

The irony is that if we refuse to put this illusion away, we will only bring greater and greater suffering into our lives, for our very attempts to avoid suffering simply puts us on a collision course with new forms of it. And even more horribly, we disseminate our pain to others.

I’ve said it over and over, no matter how we live, we can expect to encounter some pain. Making choices that are for the greater good of all as opposed to just ourselves inevitably leads us into some challenging and painful situations.

The choice becomes: what kind of pain will it be? Will it be the form of suffering that goes with loving and making ourselves vulnerable to others? Or will it be the form of suffering that comes from not loving—that special kind of agony that grows out of isolation and aloneness and being “cut-off,'' constantly embattled and embroiled in division.

If we wall ourselves away from pain, we also wall ourselves away from love…Jesus knows this and so he calls us to risk ourselves for the sake of others. It is only in risking ourselves for the sake of others that our lives actually have any “life” at all.

At the same time, the willingness to risk, daring to lose one's self in the act of giving to others—therein lays the secret of a life worth living. In the end, there is no better way, no better Truth, and no better Life than to take up our cross and follow Jesus.
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!

Prayers Needed

Please keep Jim and Rose Andrews in your prayers as Jim transitions into hospice care.

Jim and Rose have relocated to the Raleigh area so if you would like to send a card or letter 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.

There will be another plant sale, or rather “donations” sale to be made to the Church for plants you wish to have. We did one last year with very good success. 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. 

DETAILS – Craig Freas will be sitting in a parking space in front of the chapel THIS COMING SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 12th with his blue truck filled with these plants of many sizes. There will be directions for care handed to you.
AND IF YOU DON’T MAKE IT SUNDAY AND WANT A PLANT, the plants will be in front of the office beginning Monday the 13th. Just go by and pick one out. 

You can donate to the church in different ways.
1) A written check to St. Paul's with the memo line "plant sale".
2) Through the online giving form - select "plant sale" under the drop down menu.


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
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.
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.

You can now access the flowers sign up form online! Click the button below to sign up today or text "Flowers" to 336-891-4231!

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! $2030.00 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 $2030 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 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 12 - Laurie Love, Ramona Curtis, & Tom Carnes
Sept 19 - Mike & Mary Southwell
Sept 26 - Drew & Pam Mayberry

Sept 11 - Richard Canter
Sept 11 - Aaliyah Kilby
Sept 12 - Bailey Koch
Sept 12 - James Southwell
Sept 15 - Whit Loflin

No anniversaries this week!

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.
Laurence Virgil Hawkins, Ken Love, Kris & Tara Riley, Jeff Smith, Joyce Wheeling, Susan Whittington
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 12, 2021
Isaiah 50:4-9a
The Lord God has given me
the tongue of a teacher,
that I may know how to sustain
the weary with a word.
Morning by morning he wakens--
wakens my ear
to listen as those who are taught.
The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious,
I did not turn backward.
I gave my back to those who struck me,
and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
I did not hide my face
from insult and spitting.
The Lord God helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
he who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who are my adversaries?
Let them confront me.
It is the Lord God who helps me;
who will declare me guilty?

Psalm 116:1-8
Dilexi, quoniam
1 I love the Lord, because he has heard the voice of my supplication, *
because he has inclined his ear to me whenever I called upon him.
2 The cords of death entangled me;
the grip of the grave took hold of me; *
I came to grief and sorrow.
3 Then I called upon the Name of the Lord: *
"O Lord, I pray you, save my life."
4 Gracious is the Lord and righteous; *
our God is full of compassion.
5 The Lord watches over the innocent; *
I was brought very low, and he helped me.
6 Turn again to your rest, O my soul, *
for the Lord has treated you well.
7 For you have rescued my life from death, *
my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling.
8 I will walk in the presence of the Lord *
in the land of the living.
James 3:1-12
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.
How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue-- a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.

Mark 8:27-38
Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.
Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”
He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org