September 17 , 2020
St. Paul's Episcopal Church

This Week's News Highlights

Service time to change

Please Note That Our Sunday Service Time has changed to 8:30 a.m. for the foreseeable future. In addition to live services for a limited number of participants, Facebook Live broadcasts of the service will continue.
Reopening Continues

Gradual reopening continues with one live service each Sunday at 8:30 a.m. See below how to reserve a place if you wish to attend a live service.

Procedures to reserve your space at services

Currently, up to 24 people are allowed 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 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.

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. Please remember that you must wear a mask for the entire service and please arrive 15 minutes before the service begins.

You do not need to wait until next week to reserve a seat for an upcoming 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. 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.

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.

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 9:25 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 work around the campus on numerous projects including cleaning shutters on the parish hall, moving the folding chairs into the closet at Holy Innocents Hall, and hanging art work and general housekeeping in the Rector’s office so when the Search Committee is ready to interview candidates the office will be presentable.

Check Electric replaced the security lights on the outside of the church on the Eaton side. A worker repaired/welded the metal gates and spots on our the fencing. JoJo’s Painting is finishing repair/painting the roof of the parish hall. Sexton Ken Bagge continues to fill the cracks around the church to keep the rain from causing further damage to the structure. 

Tropical Storm Sally brought unwelcome flooding to the choir room, sacristy and the north side of the church—although no major damage was caused (this time), the leakage is of major concern for the rest of our rainy season. A roofing company has been called to address the issues.
Ken Bagge has accepted the position as volunteer sexton and has been a Godsend to the repair and maintenance around St. Paul’s campus. He has spent many hours grinding, sanding and painting the gates and fence, filling the cracks in the foundation of the Church, changing light bulbs, and general grounds upkeep to keep the campus safe and presentable.

We have several major projects to address that we will need additional volunteer help--particularly anyone with carpenter skills. We will need to replace the roof on the shed next to the kitchen in the Parish Hall and the base board around the outside Holy Innocent Hall. Because of budgetary constraints much of this work will be volunteer driven.

Please come join us! (Each Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. at the church.) We do have projects that can be done at other times during the week if volunteers have a conflict on Saturday morning.

(Contact me at I hope to see you on Saturday morning! 

(The photos above are of church leakage/flood due to Tropical Storm Sally)
Senior Warden Notes
Ray Warren
Those of us who live in Key West year round definitely miss our sisters and brothers who summer elsewhere. We know from experience, though, that some will return as early as mid October and that the flow will grow in November (culminating in January after the holidays).

As exciting as it is to greet friends again, the change in congregation size will present logistical challenges. We will have to add services, since we can only socially distance with a maximum of about 48 at a time inside. (Historically our January attendance often approached 150 and the church has always been completely full for multiple Christmas services.)

Fr. Haughton has been an excellent resource and has agreed to work with us. But we may need additional supply clergy and/or we may have some services of Morning Prayer (which does not require a clergy person.)

For the next few weeks we will hold capacity on Sunday at 24 people, plus the priest, cantor and organist. Eventually we will be able to expand to 48, if all goes well - hopefully in tandem with the increase in seasonal members. Then we'll work toward adding a service. Stay tuned.


I am a believer in proper order and working within systems. But in fairness to our members, your vestry and the search committee I must express our frustration with the process for selecting a new rector.

Fr. Larry Hooper left us for a well earned retirement on March 6 of 2019. Fr. Steve Carlsen, after leading us for over a year, completed his term as interim in July of 2020. Since then lay leaders (and our dedicated church staff) stepped up to keep things on track. But the lack of a full time rector has real consequences.

St. Paul's has done all that has been required to move the process forward. Your vestry took drastic and painful action over a year ago to put our financial situation in order. We've gone from three full time employees to one full time and one part time employee. We are a fiscally healthy congregation and a reliable financial partner with the diocese.

Our Search Committee, after being reconstituted in the early spring due to resignations and other issues, quickly produced a timely draft of the parish profile. Fr. Steve conveyed the profile to the diocesan office on June 18th. We cannot proceed without diocesan approval but we still have no word on the draft profile's fate.

We are an Episcopal parish. Our polity and procedures do not provide for unilateral action. But there is growing sentiment on the vestry, a sentiment which I fully understand, to be more assertive in seeking answers. In this, I hope you will support your leaders and pray for them.

There are no bad guys in this situation. Our Bishop and his staff are dealing with tremendous challenges relating to the continuing pandemic. But St. Paul's was founded by Key West citizens, not planted here by a diocese.

We are sui generis and older than both the state of Florida and the diocese of Florida (much less the newer diocese of Southeast Florida.) We are ready to move forward as a beacon and haven to the community. We simply need permission to do so.

Tropical Storm Sally illustrated another reason why St. Paul's must be allowed to move forward. For over a year and a half the vestry has realized that we will soon need to launch a capital campaign to save our beautiful building. Since the major restoration work in the early 1990's the harsh elements in our tropical maritime location have continued to take a toll.

When even a light rain falls water pours down the walls in the sacristy and behind the organ pipes on the Eaton Street side of the church. The stone there and elsewhere (especially in the back near the baptistery) is crumbling from water intrusion.

The physical church structure is fixable but each day of delay exacerbates the damage. St. Paul's is loved by all of Key West and we know the community will rally to our side. But it is very difficult to launch a major capital campaign when staff and lay volunteers are occupied nearly full time maintaining the physical and administrative aspects of the parish. (This afternoon I received 21 church related emails in a two hour period.)

Ideally a major outreach to the community will be led by our clergy person. She or he will be the face of our outreach. The delay in moving forward to rebuild our defenses against the elements is just one example of how the lack of progress in finding our new minister has real (and serious) consequences.

Please pray that the situation will be resolved soon. And, if you have experience and expertise in leading capital campaigns, please get in touch with me so we can be ready when the time is right.

(The photo above shows crumbling masonry under a window next to vulnerable organ pipes on the Eaton Street side of the building.)


Thank you for your continued financial support of St. Paul's.

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 (next week, September 24) 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.

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.

St. Paul's in 1941

Dave Eyer is out of town. His history column will return next week. In the interim, enjoy this photo from 1941. (Note that the black fencing had not been installed at that point.)
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.