August 6, 2020
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
This Week At St. Paul's

We hope everyone enjoyed the service of morning prayer last week led by Mary Simmons and Tim Peterson. It was beautiful and joyous. We are also grateful to Dean Warden, who managed to leave us with a beautiful recorded solo (before escaping to the cool confines of Wyoming), and Fr. Tim Carr of All Souls in Miami Beach, for sending us a wonderful message to be read.

This week we are very excited to welcome the Rev. Lenworth Haughton, the priest-in-charge at our sister parish, St. Peter's in Key West. While in person services are suspended, St. Peter's has graciously agreed to share their priest with us. Fr. Haughton will be our celebrant for the immediate future.
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.

We will host a Zoom "coffee hour" so members can say "hi" and chat. Please join you fellow parishioners on Zoom at the completion of the service (approximately 10:15 AM) using this link. (Go to to sign up for a free account)

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

Junior Warden's Report
By Greta Philips-Ford, Jr. Warden

The painting of the metal fence and gates around the property has been completed--Thank you Ken Bagge for all of your hard work! 

Ken will next pressure wash the sidewalks and walls along Duval and Eaton Streets along with the Church entrance areas.

The Saturday morning volunteer group (please join us!) will meet this Saturday at the Rectory at 3435 Riviera Drive from 8:30 until noon to do a little yard work; clean out the sheds and general clean-up. 

The majority of the Hurricane Shutters were secured last week in preparation for the storm. We are ready for Hurricane Season! 

Ed Hinkle continues to work on the pew kneelers and cabinet under the outside altar. We are getting bids for the pressure washing/scrubbing Holy Innocents Hall and touch up painting on the exterior and to replace boards around the base of Holy Innocents Hall. We are also waiting to hear back from a vendor regarding the foundation on the historic Rectory on campus.
Senior Warden Notes
Ray Warren
People of St. Paul's, we are at a crossroads and your help is needed. For once, that is not a plea for financial support. (That is also always a worry in the summer, but your faithfulness is inspiring.) Rather, I need to communicate with you where we stand.

In an electronic meeting this week with clergy and senior wardens, our bishop reiterated that our churches will not be opening any time soon. This confronts us with a point of reckoning.

We are a liturgical and connected church. How and whether we should question authority is a serious matter for prayer and reflection. I don't know the way forward, but I trust that we can find it together.

I would, most heartily appreciate hearing from you, my brothers and sisters, on what you think of allowing access to our building (with rules and precautions). Should our gates remain locked - perhaps for months more? Are we called to withhold the one place on Duval Street that offers spiritual sustenance for ourselves, and our neighbors, from the community?

It breaks my heart to know that the Catholic Church is open for prayer (and services) and that the Methodists manage to have services. But the Episcopal Church, the first church organized on our island, is missing in action now. (Not only our church, but St. Peter's as well.) Our gates our closed.

I am NOT proposing that we gather in disobedience. Actual, in person services, may be far away. But I am suggesting that our building, which has always been open every day of the week, perhaps could again be a place of refuge, prayer and reflection - and a beacon in the wilderness. Weekly I hear from parishioners, and more breathtakingly, from non member islanders, wanting to merely visit the church they maintain and love. Some are nearly desperate with grief - and I don't know what to say.

What do you think? Is this something our vestry should take to our bishop (humbly, but with conviction), or should we wait silently? (Sometimes waiting and not acting on emotion is exactly the right call.)

God has not appointed me as the arbiter of anything. I do not have the wisdom to answer that question alone. St. Paul's is God's house, lovingly maintained by God's people. What do you want your vestry to do?

Personally, I do not see how we can remain withdrawn from the world, locked up and absent, and fulfill our calling to Key West. I wish we had more ongoing programs and outreach efforts. That is something toward which we must work diligently going forward. But, perhaps, for the moment, we can again provide the one thing we have always provided - a holy space on Duval Street.

But again, I am just one person. I could be wrong. I, and your vestry, truly need to hear from all perspectives.

My contact information is listed below. I need your counsel, advice and prayers. As does your vestry. Please pray. And then let us know your thoughts, hopes, fears and views.

Anything you want passed to the entire vestry will be forwarded. If you want to communicate with me alone, that is fine too. No opinion is wrong. We are in uncharted waters and the way forward must, by necessity, be together - in one boat. But if I am to continue to look at those locked gates, at least I need to know that is what you feel we need to do. Please help us decide.

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The buzz about the lay leadership training program known as EFM (Education for Ministry) to be offered this fall is growing. If you are interested, Please email or call Susanne Woods, 305-407-7003.

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I have no news to report on our parish profile. Hopefully we will hear from Miami soon. Our thanks go out again to the Search Committee for their work and their continued patience.
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Sr. Warden Ray Warren:

Jr. Warden Greta Philips-Ford:

Epistle Editor:

Church office (and administrator Lisa McCarthy):

Church office phone: 305-296-5142

Church mailing address: 401 Duval Street, Key West FL 33040

Tim Peterson "From the Organ"

Attention! fans of great music. Next Thursday will be the 20th installment of Tim's highly regarded "From the Organ" series. And, after Thursday, he plans to take a short summer break (for a couple of weeks) from the programming. So, if you want to hear and see the "season finale" tune in on Thursday at noon.

This has become one of St. Paul's most popular offerings. Check it out this coming Thursday by checking the church Facebook page at noon and clicking on the live icon when the stream appears.

You can find prior weeks recordings of Tim’s concerts on St Paul’s Facebook page, or on YouTube.

Please Join in Morning and Evening Prayer

Daily Morning and Evening Prayer is being offered on Facebook Live at 730 AM and 5 PM on weekdays.

Thanks to Lisa Laskow, Mary Simmons and Bruce Hagemann for volunteering to officiate.

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.

"Like" us and turn on live notifications to get a reminder whenever we are offering prayers.
Know Your History

(Resident parish historian Dave Eyer is taking a week off for research. The following article is compiled from publicly available resoureces.)

The 1909 Hurricane in Key West

The third St. Paul’s church was completed in 1887. It replaced its predecessor, which had been destroyed in the Great Fire of 1886. The wooden structure faced Eaton Street and, as the late 1800’s were a time of high prosperity in Key West, hosted many prominent weddings and other significant community events. That all ended on October 11, 1909 (ironically, exactly 63 years to the day after the hurricane of 1846 destroyed the first St. Paul's. Say a little prayer every October 11th.)

The town and the church were unprepared when, on October 10, 1909, a ferocious hurricane made landfall in Pinar del Río Province in western Cuba. After traversing the western extremity of Cuba, the storm entered the Straits of Florida and turned northeastward. The hurricane made landfall near Marathon, Florida, late on October 11 with winds of 115 mph (185 km/h). [History citation credit to Wikipedia.]
According to Jefferson Browne, a Florida state senator, in his book “Key West, the Old and the New” (1912):

“For several days the weather had been threatening, but not until Sunday night did the barometer begin to fall sufficiently to indicate the proximity of a hurricane. This accounts for a great deal of the loss to shipping, as our people had gone to their beds with no warning, and boats were lying at their usual moorings and not secured for a hurricane.

At six a.m., the 11th, the barometer stood at 29.42 and fell rapidly until eleven-thirty a.m. when it reached the minimum, 28.42. During Sunday night the wind was moderate, at about sixteen miles, but at six a.m., Monday, it suddenly increased to a gale and by nine a.m. had reached hurricane force.

The wind blew steadily at about seventy-five miles per hour, but in the gusts, which are characteristic of West Indian cyclones, it reached a velocity of over one hundred miles… When the storm first broke over Key West it was traveling north, but before the center reached here it veered to the northeast, which accounts for the three directions of the wind. The rainfall was unprecedented, 8.12 inches in five hours."
Afterwards, the third St. Paul’s church lay in ruins.

It was after this third calamity (two by hurricane and one by fire) that the leaders of the church decided that the next structure would be built of fire and wind resistant concrete. Our current building was, therefore, completed in 1919. So far it has stood for 100 years and we hope for many centuries to come.
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.