April 23, 2020
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Rector's Message

What happens when we pray Eucharistically? As a priest I might be presiding, but I am not making the prayer happen. I cannot say the Mass alone. I have to have someone praying with me.

On Sundays, Tim and Dean are praying with me physically at St. Pauls, but so are many of you over Facebook. However, even collectively, we are not making the Eucharistic prayers happen. At all times and in all places, the great Eucharistic song of prayer is being sung profligately, exuberantly, eternally by the hosts of heaven.

Our Sunday worship does not make Christ present. We merely tap into that everlasting prayer being sung always. Some are debating whether our ways of worshiping now are real or not. I know they are not ideal, not what we want, but I also know that the presence of Christ is as real for us as ever.

Because that presence is never in doubt, only our seeing is. We are being challenged to see anew in these times. I know we will encounter God because God is ever present, known or unknown, bidden or unbidden. The theologian James Alison shares such a reflection  here . I recommend it. 
Sunday's Service
Join us Sunday for Holy Eucharist at 9:30 AM on Facebook. To join via Facebook, go to the church Facebook page at the appropriate time and look for the window showing that "St. Paul's Key West is now live." Click on the window.

You can open or download the bulletin for the Sunday service here .

Join Us for Morning and Evening Prayer
Bruce Hagemann, Mary Simmons and The Rev. Steve Carlsen are offering Morning and Evening Prayer on Facebook live each week. Morning Prayer is offered at 7:30 AM. Evening Prayer is at 5:00 PM with meditation.

Both opportunities are now offered Monday through Friday.

To join in the prayers via Facebook, go to the church Facebook page at the appropriate time and look for the window showing that "St. Paul's Key West is now live." Then click on the window.
Senior Warden Notes
Ray Warren
Last week I called out (in a good way) the behind the scenes work of our hard working altar guild. This week I want to shine the light on some other quiet heroes at St. Paul’s.

Most of us know that in “normal times” the church is open all day. Indeed, being open for prayer and reflection in the often chaotic world of Key West is one of our gifts to the community. But did you know that it is volunteers who open and close each day?

Each week, Bruce Hagemann, Jeff Minalga, Dave Eyer, Tim Peterson and Tom and Clare Keller open and close the church. In normal times this is no small task, involving multiple gates, doors, multiple lighting switches and an alarm system. (At the current time this involves opening and closing mostly gates, as well as gathering the mail and feeding our resident mouser “Clover”. But still it is a tremendous "day in and day out" commitment, for which we should all be very grateful.)

When we’re not separated by an emergency, we also benefit from the incredible selfless service of those who provide us with coffee hour food and drink. It is truly a labor of love and sacrifice. Kudos to John and Carolyn Sangston, Irene and Dave Eyer and Ellen Cantrell (who has also single handedly handled the coffee hour in the summer months.) Once a month, the vestry also fills that role, and I would be remiss without especially mentioning Samantha Hall for taking the lead on many Sundays.

When we return to “normal” there will be many opportunities to be a volunteer hero. We are working on creating a portal to facilitate needs and volunteers. Hopefully the ranks of behind the scenes heroes will soon be greatly enlarged.

Quiet work. Not flashy. But very important.
Join Tim Peterson's Music History Program On Facebook Each Thursday At Noon

Each Thursday at noon, St. Paul's music director Tim Peterson presents an informative program on music. After a fascinating series on the history of psalm singing, Tim's recent programs have explored our own beautiful church organ. We're not sure exactly what Tim has on tap for this coming Thursday, but we can be sure it will be engaging. The audience is growing each week, so be part of it!

Access the program live each week from the Church Facebook page. After the live session, the program remains available on the Facebook Page to watch on you own schedule.

Know Your History

(Many thanks to resident historian Dave Eyer for this look into our past. Stay tuned for follow up notes about May Johnson.)

One of the most read features in the modern Key West Citizen newspaper is the diary of May Louise Johnson. May was a nineteen year old school teacher at the beginning of her diary in 1896. The diary provides a wonderful picture of life for young upper class adults in Key West at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century.

May Johnson was a daughter of St Paul’s Church. Her birth or baptism is noted in the church baptism records on June 2, 1876. She was the fifth child of Charles Samuel Johnson (1844-1887) and Mary Amanda Watlington (1846-1936). Many current readers will be surprised at her freedom to be out and about in bustling Key West- then still the largest city in the state of Florida but soon to be surpassed by Jacksonville.

She seemed to be a regular attendee at St Paul’s Church services. She had many friends both male and female. Her travel by foot and car (horse drawn trolley) took her everywhere young people liked to gather. She was invited on board US Navy vessels at anchor in the harbor by young officers. It seems she was excited by all of this and rarely complained of little to do. Her father was deceased for nine years at the beginning of her diary. Her disciplinarian-rule setter was her mother - with likely advice from her older siblings.

We might ask how she could be a school teacher at age nineteen? Double promotions were common for strong students. Some students received two double promotions and could complete high school by their 16th birthday. It was possible to begin teaching with two years or less completed at a state “normal school” or teachers’ college. Thus, some young adults- frequently women, (as early as age eighteen) could begin to teach in the public schools.

Most school boards would not permit a young married woman to teach- apparently to spare their students the shock of seeing a pregnant woman in front of them at the blackboard. It was also the law that students could continue in school to age twenty one and beyond if their parents paid tuition. These were frequently young men. Many young women had already married by that age. This created a disciplinary problem with the male students being older than their female teacher. This age disparity happened frequently. It is not noted if May had this problem. She has said little of her in school experiences thus far in what has been printed from her diary. 
Sunday school is canceled during the virus emergency.
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These communications are currently edited by Senior Warden Ray Warren. Send questions and comments to the editor   here.