May 21, 2020
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Rector's Message

The Bishop has released guidelines for how to think about reopening our churches, entitled "On Being Faithful." There is no date for this yet, but it will be a phased reopening. As we approach this moment, I am struck by how hard this is going to be. If we thought staying at home was hard, I think re-opening will be even harder. The reason is that we are balancing two opposing values - openness and safety. Both of these are core values for us, but in this moment they are opposing values.

Furthermore, the science about this virus is still being done. We will know everything there is to know about it four years from now. In the meantime, we will have to make the best, wisest judgments we can, base on limited information, following health and diocesan guidelines. Normal is a long way away, and even that normal will be a new normal. We are committed to being as open as we can as we safeguard our congregation, many of whom fall into high risk categories.

Yet we are not comfortless. This coming Sunday is the one between the Ascension and Pentecost, when the Apostles were awaiting the Holy Spirit after Jesus had ascended on high. They were hidden in the Cenacle, or upper room, waiting on God. We are too. Pentecost is the celebration of the "power from on high" given to the disciples and to us. There are going to be powerful opportunities for ministry. Let us wait on God and see what God has for us but which we know always exceeds what we can imagine or even desire. 
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
Daily Morning and Evening Prayer is being offered on Facebook Live at 730 AM and 5 PM on weekdays. Fr. Steve is offering a short meditation during Evening Prayer, Monday - Thursday.

Thanks to Mary Simmons and Bruce Hagemann for volunteering to officiate some of the days!

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.
Senior Warden Notes
Ray Warren
We know that our audience reaches far beyond Key West this time of year. There is a large diaspora of folks with a history here who have moved to other parts of the country. There are many more who are with us for periods ranging from a few times a year to most of the year. Many have returned to other homes for the summer.

Those of us who remain are settling into the quiet time. And I have to tell you, it is with some trepidation.

The city and county are reopening Key West to tourists on June 1. So far Key West has been largely spared the depredations of the novel coronavirus (although our own congregation has suffered several grievous losses.)

Nobody knows what will happen when the gates to the hotspots on the mainland are opened. Yet we are dependent on commerce and visitors. So we wait and we pray.

As Father Steve noted above, there is a great tension between the need to protect our members and visitors (many of whom are in high risk groups) and the need to be open and to be a community. Please bear with us. None of these decisions are easy. And, because we are Episcopalians, such decisions are never made in a vacuum. We must work within the parameters of our diocese and the wider church.

My personal goal is to have the church nave opened to the public for private, socially distanced prayer (not gatherings) as soon as practical. It breaks my heart for our sacred space, a haven for so many, to be off limits for so long. In addition, the cumulative effect of losing revenue from the donation boxes and votive candles will erode our finances over time, further impacting our ability to minister to our community.

But finances aside, the peace of our space is itself a gift to visitors and locals. For better or worse, St. Paul's is bigger than any of us. We are the custodians of an icon, a refuge and symbol of Key West.

There is a lot to consider and we cannot open without the bishop's permission. But please know we are doing all we can to examine every angle -- including the overriding need to protect everyone we love and embrace.

Because some have asked: when you can give, know that all contributions are recorded for those who have pledged or have accounts" - just as if the money was received on Sunday . Money for special funds, such as the Music Fund or Organ Fund is directed to those accounts when the intent is listed.

The address is 401 Duval Street, Key West, 33040 or via our Church giving webpage . God bless you!
Join The Book Club!

The St. Paul's Book Group will be finishing its discussion of The Book of Joy: His Holiness the Dalia Lama and Archibishop Desmond Tutu , this Tuesday, May 26 at 11 a.m. via Zoom.

The next book will be announced next week . New members of the group are very welcome to join. If you are interested, email Susanne Woods at , and we will put you on the list. Connecting to ZOOM is very easy, instructions provided!

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.

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

(From our resident church historian, Dave Eyer.)

We continue to look for more information about May Johnson . We know a letter from her husband to be, Mr Steve Douglass, to May has come to light. If you have access to the letter, please let St Paul’s Senior Warden Ray Warren or Treasurer and Historian Dave Eyer know.

May and her husband are found in Newport, Rhode Island in the 1920 census. Mr Douglass is listed as a Pharmacist with the US Navy. No occupation is listed for May. In the 1930 Census , May and Mr Douglass are found in Washington , DC. No occupation is listed for either. He has apparently retired.

The State of Florida had an interim census in 1935. May and Mr Douglass are in Key West at 830 Division St ( now Truman Avenue, not far from the present location of the Bayview Park Tennis Courts) in the home of May’s 88 year old mother Mary P Johnson.

In the 1940 census,  May and Mr Douglass are listed as the sole occupants of their home on Division St in Key West. He died in 1943 and May on Nov 4, 1951. They are buried side by side in the Key West City Cemetery a few hundred feet from the Maine Memorial on the same Magnolia St.

The family members who made May’s diary available for all of us to enjoy have done a valuable service. It is providing a wonderful glimpse into the private life of a young woman at an exciting time in American history. May is Key West’s favorite sister.
Sunday school is canceled during the virus emergency.
Back issues of  The Epistle  available  here.
These communications are currently edited by Senior Warden Ray Warren. Send questions and comments to the editor   here.