September 10 , 2020
St. Paul's Episcopal Church

This Week's News Highlights

Service time to change

Please Note That Our Sunday Service Time is changing to 8:30 a.m. for the foreseeable future beginning this coming Sunday, September 13.
Reopening Continues

This week (Sunday, September 13) the congregation will once again be limited to seven members, plus the priest, the cantor and the music director. (About ten total). The reopening committee is selecting a cross section of local residents to represent us all one more week.

Procedures to reserve your space at services beginning September 20th.

Beginning on Sunday, September 20 up to 24 people will be able to attend services. If you would like to attend, you will be asked to sign up in advance. Contact information will be required.

To attend the September 20 service and subsequent Sundays 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.

To allow for a proper count and to allow volunteers to prepare for your attendance please complete your reservation by 2 p.m. on the Thursday before the Sunday you wish to attend. (For Sunday, September 20th, by 2 p.m. on Thursday, September 17th.)

You do not need to wait until next week to reserve a seat for the September 20th service. Feel free to go ahead and email your information as soon as you are confident you wish to attend. The sooner we have a good count the better.
Sunday's Service

Join us Sunday for Holy Eucharist at 8:30 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 your fellow parishioners on Zoom at the completion of the service (approximately 9:15 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
The volunteer group continues to meet on Saturday morning to address minor projects that can be completed within a couple of hours. (More time consuming multiple Saturday projects are deferred until after hurricane season.)

Please come join us! (Each Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. at the church.) I do have projects that can be done at other times during the week if volunteers have a conflict on Saturday morning. (Contact me at
Senior Warden Notes
Ray Warren
Last week's second service with a limited congregation went very well. We're going to have one more week of a very limited congregation and then, unless their is a change in the trajectory of virus cases, we'll move to a larger congregation on September 20.

While 24 present in person doesn't seem like a large number, it should be enough capacity for those parishioners who remain in Key West during the dog days of September and who want to attend services in person. (And, if capacity becomes an issue, I, and other leaders, will give up our own place in the pews to ensure that those wanting and needing God's sacrament will have an opportunity to attend.)

As indicated last week, we will continue to stream the Sunday service via Facebook live, perhaps forever, but at least as far as the eye can see.

If your health is compromised, if you feel at risk, if you live with. or are often in contact with, ones at risk, or if you are unsure about your Covid status, know that we are all connected and that it is best not to attend in person until it is safe to do so for "at risk" individuals.

If you do join the in person congregation (starting on the 20th, not this Sunday, the 13th, which is still limited), please keep these protocols in mind:

  1. You will be seated by an usher in a place designed to ensure social distancing. I know we all have our favorite seats, but for the moment, please sit where directed and do no change or move your seating place.
  2. During the peace, do not physically move toward your neighbors. Instead nod, wave or otherwise offer greetings from a distance.
  3. If you wish to bring your pledge or offering, an offering plate will be at the back of the church and you can drop it off at the end of the church service. The plate will not be passed during the service.
  4. When receiving communion (in the form of bread only during the pandemic) please approach the priest with your mask on. Take the wafer, turn away from the priest in the direction indicated, and reverently consume after no longer directly facing him.
  5. Although the words to the hymns and the anthem are printed in the bulletin, please do not sing out loud if you are attending in person. Singing is, unfortunately, a risky activity in group situations. That is why Dean steps outside to sing the anthem (away from others). Feel free to join in mentally, but don't sing out loud. (Those of you watching on Facebook, however, are encouraged to sing in your own home with gusto.)

While this seems like a lot of "rules" I can tell you, having been in church two weeks ago, that it is still St. Paul's. The organ is still beautiful. The windows still illuminate the space and God's presence is felt very much.


Our summer drought (in collections) was relieved a bit this past week with some timely showers of love. Thank you. It is still the "slow time" so anything you can send (even if you're out of state for the summer) will be joyfully appreciated. God bless you.

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.


Sr. Warden Ray Warren:

Jr. Warden Greta Philips-Ford:

Epistle Editor:

Church office (and administrator Lisa McCarthy):

Church office phone: 305-296-5142

Tim Peterson "From the Organ"
(The end is near!)

"Tim continues his "From the Organ" concerts through this month only. The final Thursday will be the 26th week of his weekly musical offerings (half a year!) and this particular program will end then.

There will be more concerts to come. And, we will let you know, through the Epistle, as well as Facebook, when the concert times will be"

Join Tim this coming Thursday by checking the church Facebook page at noon and clicking on the live icon when the stream appears. Remember, there are only a few weeks remaining.

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, Samantha Hall, Sarah Hall and Bruce Hagemann 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.

The Story Behind the Menorah

(Resident parish historian Dave Eyer provides historical context for one of St. Paul's most treasured possessions.)

St Paul’s Church docents are often asked “why there is a menorah in the display case near the Military Chapel?”

 In the spring of 2002 there was an arson fire in the B’Nai Zion Congregation synagogue at 750 United Street in Key West. Gasoline was poured into the social hall. The resulting fire destroyed all of the furniture there and caused heat damage in the sanctuary. The synagogue required extensive repairs and cleaning. Our Rector, Fr. Paul Rasmus, organized an inter-denominational anti-hate march on Duval Street.

When it was determined the B’Nai Zion Congregation needed a place to meet, Fr Rasmus, offered the use of the St. Paul’s Parish Hall for the duration of the repairs. B’Nai Zion was given exclusive use on Friday evening and Saturday. St Paul’s retained exclusive use on Sunday. Use of the Parish Hall was shared the remainder of each passing week. Months later when the damage was repaired, there was an emotional joint gathering of the two congregations.
In gratitude for our help in their time of need they presented the menorah to us. It is one of our prize possessions.

Note our menorah has seven arms for candles. I asked Fred Covan, then B’Nai Zion Congregation president, about our menorah. He said it is a replica of that used by the Israelites as they wandered in the Sinai after the Exodus. Seven arms simply represent the seven days of the week. The perpetrator of this hate crime has not been found. 
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.