December 17, 2020
St. Paul's Episcopal Church

This Week's News Highlights

Covid -19 Update (Good News!)
Last week we reported a positive coronavirus test affecting a member who had attended the December 6th service. We are happy to report that the member was subsequently retested using a more accurate and sensitive test and the test result was negative. (The first test turned out to be a "false positive".)
While last week's announcement (and email to those who attended on December 6th) turned out to be something of a "fire drill", we are thankful both for the health of a beloved church member and for the chance to test our communication procedures.
St. Paul's will always be transparent about information and each individual must decide how to react as events unfold. Should relevant information come to light in the future we will notify everyone as soon as possible. In the meantime, let us give thanks and pledge to maintain all safety measures.

Our Service This Week

Holy Eucharist on Facebook and for those in person will be at 8:30 AM on Sunday. See below for how to attend by either mode of participation. Please consider the current state of the pandemic in making your decision about attending this service, or any other, in person. Facebook Live continues to be a safe and meaningful way to join in worship each Sunday.
Annual Meeting Set for January 31

The Vestry has designated Sunday, January 31, as the date for the annual meeting. Obviously, this is complicated by the ongoing pandemic. Our by-laws do not contemplate electronic meetings.

At the annual meeting proxy voting is currently forbidden and the meeting must take place “at the principal office address unless otherwise directed in the notice of such meeting.” It is a bit murky whether a Zoom meeting is “a place”, even if designated in the notice of meeting.

To cover all bases the Vestry has decided to call a “hybrid meeting.” We absolutely do not want anyone who is uncomfortable attending a meeting in person (or who, for health reasons should not do so) to feel the need to do so. On the other hand, if we can assemble at least 30 qualified “electors” onsite we will cover all by-law bases beyond doubt.

Therefore, a notice will be issued for a an annual meeting to be held at both the church sanctuary and via Zoom for qualified electors. With luck, we’ll have at least 30 on the premises, while still allowing those who want or need to participate to do so via Zoom.

If you are considering attending in person, please know we will go out of the way to ensure safety. Many of the reports that are usually read will be recorded and available in advance. (We probably won’t read them or play them during the meeting itself to reduce the time together.)

We’ll swing the windows of the church wide open. Though that will increase the noise from the street, it will make the interior space essentially and exterior space. We’ll also have socially distanced seating available on the side porch for those who prefer to listen from outside the structure.

Every annual meeting involves electing three Vestry members, electing Dioecian Convention delegates (if appropriate) and approval of the budget. This year there will also be an agenda item to amend the by-laws to specifically provide for electronic meetings in times of emergency. Details will follow, but please mark your calendars for Sunday, January 31 after the 8:30 service (approximately 9:50) for the annual meeting. 

Please Buy A Brick and Build a Legacy

Please consider buying a personalized brick for the brick paver portion of the Memorial Garden.
This campaign will support maintenance of the memorial garden and needed repair and restoration projects involving the Historic Rectory, main Church and other buildings on our campus.

The cost of a 4 x 8 brick is $100. Each brick will accommodate up to 3 lines and up to 18 characters per line, including spaces. You may order a Donor Brick with an additional donation of $35; this is a duplicate of the brick being placed in the garden. A certificate can also be ordered to send to an honoree describing the brick to be installed.

(Please note that bricks will be installed over time as orders accumulate to reduce shipping costs. Please order now, but allow some time for the actual installation of the brick.)

You can order your brick(s) here. (
Christmas at St. Paul's

This year we will have three live services and three opportunities to participate via Facebook.

Because attendance will be strictly limited at the live services, please carefully consider the information below in making your plans. (Also please consider the Covid-19 situation.)

Live services will be at 5:30 and 8:00 on Christmas Eve. Sign up in advance will be necessary to assure a seat and only 46 people (plus ushers) can be admitted. There will also be a service of Morning Prayer (no Eucharist) on Christmas Day at 10:00AM. Again, advance sign up is necessary to assure admittance.

Please avoid bringing visitors not usually part of your household to the service. It is not forbidden, but it both strains capacity and increases risk to others.

There will be three opportunities to view services via Facebook in real time with other parishioners. The 8:00PM service will be broadcast on Facebook Live. The 5:30 service will be “rebroadcast” as a Facebook Premier at 10:00PM (it will not be broadcast live at 5:30PM.) The Facebook Premier format allows those watching to comment and share thoughts in real time just like a live service. The 10:00AM Christmas Day service will also be streamed via Facebook Live.

One of the three Facebook opportunities is the preferred way for parishioners to worship (and greet one another) this year.

Procedures to reserve your space at services

This information is important

Currently, a limited number of people are allowed to attend services in accordance with diocesan protocols. If you would like to attend, you will be asked to sign up in advance. Contact information will be required.

To attend a Sunday please send an email to indicating the following information:

  • Your name and the names of any family or household members who will attend with you.
  • Your email address.
  • Your cell phone number.

Email is greatly preferred, but reservations can also be made by calling the church office at 305-296-5142. If nobody answers please leave a message with the information.

(The procedure outlined above will also be used to reserve space at in person Christmas services.)

To allow for a proper count, and to allow volunteers to prepare for your attendance, please complete your reservation by 2 PM on the Thursday before the Sunday you wish to attend. Please remember that you must wear a mask for the entire service and please arrive 10 minutes before the service begins.

The check in form now allows for attendees to indicate on the Sunday they attend if they will attend the next Sunday. Unless there is a change in circumstances, you do NOT have to notify the office if this option is utilized.

Please remember if you are at risk or have been exposed to the virus to NOT attend right now. We are all together, whether via Facebook or in person, and we worship together both ways.
Sunday's Service

Join us Sunday for Holy Eucharist at 8:30 AM. Sign up in advance to attend in person (see above) or join us 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 may need to refresh the page a few times if the "live" window does not appear promptly at the appointed time.)

Did you know you DO NOT need to have a Facebook account to view the service or visit our Facebook page? Simply use the Facebook page link to go directly to our Facebook page (even if you don't have your own Facebook account). Follow the directions above.

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

Junior Warden's Report
By Greta Philips-Ford
On December 21, 2020, a rare event will occur in the night sky…. And it has not been seen in over eight centuries. On that date, Jupiter and Saturn, the two largest planets in our solar system, will conjunct to form what’s sometimes referred to as the “Christmas Star” or the “Star of Bethlehem”.

So on the day of the start of the winter solstice, the two planets will appear to form a double planet in an extremely rare event that was last seen 800 years ago.
As CBN News has reported, while there have been many theories about the identity of the biblical star of Bethlehem that appeared at Christ's birth, a combination of historical research, astronomical insight, and biblical understanding has come together to present a plausible explanation that is both miraculous and understandable.

This theory finds the planet Jupiter to be part of that star. (In the ancient world all heavenly bodies were considered "stars".)

The Magi or the three wise men were, most likely, court advisers to Babylon who used the stars to give guidance to the ruler. Why would God guide astrologers, of all people, to the King of Kings? According to some writers, this was Christ's first human ministry to unbelievers.

Merry Christmas and enjoy the rare miracle in this year's sky.

(Graphic from the St. George (Utah) News.)
Senior Warden's Report
By Ray Warren

Yes, we will have in person services this year. But I strongly urge you to consider making one of our three online offerings this year your Christmas church experience. (Particularly the 10:00 PM Facebook Live "Premier" when we will broadcast the 5:30 PM service for the first time with the ability to watch together in real time. This is our closest analog in these difficult days to our traditional Midnight mass.)

The pandemic has informed the Christian community as never before about how God is present in every aspect of our world. To unite with each other on Facebook is not normally the preferred way to worship. But we are at war with a deadly enemy. And in times of war the world is generally turned upside down.

In the novel "All Quiet On The Western Front" we read of a young German soldier in World War I who had the unfortunate fate to be a casualty in the last days of the war.

"Paul is finally killed in October of 1918, on an extraordinarily quiet, peaceful day. The army report that day contains only one phrase: “All quiet on the Western Front.” 

Does even one of us believe that God was not with Paul even if a Catholic priest or a Lutheran pastor (the most likely spiritual authorities in early 20th century Germany) could not be? Did God forsake John McCain as he suffered without formal sacraments in his prison cell?

God did not call St. Paul or Martin Luther at Sunday services. God has given us the sacraments and the liturgy to sustain us. But God is with us always. Please consider staying safe this one year so that we can all be together soon for many years to come. Unite spiritually in the safety of your home.

See above for the three chances to join together via Facebook Live.

We will begin 'streaming' 15 minutes prior to the 8:00:PM Christmas Eve service to bring you special music of the season. The 10PM Facebook "premier" will stream promptly at 10 pm. Streaming will begin 15 minutes prior to the 10AM Christmas Day Morning Prayer.

I will be tuned in on Facebook at the 10:00PM "premier" service. I hope to say hello to many of you there. (Yes, you can interact during Facebook Live services.)
Several years ago a parishioner authored a beautiful book describing the stained glass windows in the church. The book was sold as a fundraiser and given as a gift to special friends of the parish.

Fast forward to today. The church actually has very few of the books, but we do need more as a resource guide for docents and others explaining the church and our windows to visitors. Since the book is out of print, we are putting out a call to those who may have purchased (or been gifted one) and can now part with it.

If you have a copy of The Golden Cockerel and are willing to donate it back to the church, please notify the church office ( or call 305-296-5142) so we can arrange for the transfer. If you would like to be paid for the book we may have some limited funds to purchase it back, though a donation back would be most appreciated.

- - -
Finally, I urge all of you who are able to buy a "ticket" and stream the Keys Choral Arts concert described by Tim below, to do so. Keys Choral Arts is not part of St. Paul's, but we are all part of the Key West community. Many of our members sing in that chorus. Our music director, Tim, is a leading light in what they do.

Please take time to support the arts in Key West. You'll get more than your money's worth and you'll perform an important "mitzvah" (good deed) as well.

Sr. Warden Ray

Jr. Warden Greta


Church office (and administrator Lisa McCarthy):

Church office phone: 305-296-5142

Church mailing address: 401 Duval Street, Key West FL 33040. Pledges and offerings can be mailed here or made electronically at the church giving page.

A Message from Tim Peterson

Our local community chorus, The Keys Choral Arts, has been presenting a virtual Christmas Concert this year.

Premiering” last Sunday, this very special Christmas concert can still be viewed online. A virtual ticket can be purchased at Christmas Carols and Cocktails will be available for online viewing through December 27, 2020. Don't miss it. They hope to see you all on line!

Remember, you can find prior recordings of past concerts and musical offerings on St Paul’s Facebook page, or on YouTube.

We Pray Each Day

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

Thanks to Bruce Hagemann, Lisa Laskow, Mary Simmons, Samantha Hall, Sarah Hall and Tim Peterson for volunteering to officiate at these sacred moments.

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.

Please pray this week for healing for

Brittany (Sherri Hodies’ daughter), Beth and Jon Peterson (sister-in-law and brother of Tim), Peter Nanos, Al (Kitty Robert’s partner), Craig Cates, Crystal Cates and Kathryn Heldt (mother of Lisa McCarthy).

We pray for the departed and their loved ones:

Cheryl Cates and Kevin Scott (friend of Ray Warren).

"Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servants"

(Send your prayer requests to for future publication and to be included in the Sunday service. By default requests will be listed for four (4) weeks. But if the need continues, please let us know.)

We celebrate these December birthdays

Victoria Albury 12/02
Linda Sparks 12/03
Chase Langdale 12/04
Brooke Myers 12/05
Philip Schneider 12/08
Jackie Gahan 12/10
Sarah Kindinger 12/12
Keith Hernandez 12/14
James ("Kip") Colligan 12/15
John Payne 12/15
Byron Colley 12/18
David McLaughlin 2/18
Zoe Pischke 12/19
Samantha Hall 12/20
Greta Schneider 12/22
Edward Toppino 12/23
Caimyn Eage 12/25
William Porter 12/25
Harvey Lynch 12/27
Laurence Marius, Sr. 12/29

(If your name is missing from this month's birthday list please send a note to so we can add it.)

We Celebrate December Anniversaries

Kevin & Barbara Mitchell 12/06
Nancy & Barry Hitch Campbell 12/17
David & Karen Horan 12/20
Nat & Lyle Harris 12/23
Robert & Jane Burchett 12/26
Roger & Shirley Sweeting 12/27
Janette & Warren Chalmers 12/28
Kim Grizzle-Malgrat & Mickey Malgrat 12/28
Year End Giving

Thanks to the generosity of many people, St. Paul’s Church continues to provide support and spiritual sustenance to the people who live, work, and visit the Lower Keys. 

As you plan your year-end charitable contributions we hope that you will consider a special gift to St. Paul’s. Here are some options:

  • Contribute online from the “giving page” page of our website by December 28, 2020. 

  • Put your gift in the offering plate at any worship service by December 27, 2020. 

  • Mail checks to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 401 Duval Street, Key West, FL, 33040, postmarked by Dec. 31, 2020.

If giving stock or funds managed by a broker, ask them to contact St. Paul’s email at by December 28, 2020.

Special Note for Those with an IRA

If you have an IRA and want to give a gift, tax free to you, check with your tax adviser. These rules apply (for IRA gifts only):

  • You must be 70½ or older.

  • You may transfer up to $100,000 from your IRA directly to St. Paul's.

  • If you have not yet taken your required minimum distribution for 2019, your gift can satisfy all or part of that requirement.

  • You pay no income tax on the gift. The transfer generates neither taxable income or a tax deduction, so you benefit even if you do not itemize your tax deductions.

  • Transfers will need to be made by Dec. 28, 2020, if you want your gift to qualify this year.

Thank all of you for considering St. Paul's in your year end giving. It is a direct reflection of your stewardship of that with which God has blessed us. 

May God, through us, continue to bless others.
Sunday school is canceled during the virus emergency.
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