September , 2020
St. Paul's Episcopal Church

This Week's News Highlights

Reopening continues

After a bit of a bump around the weekend, new Covid-19 cases in Monroe County have leveled off. So, for the moment, we are moving forward with live services. For the next two weeks (Sunday, September 6 and September 13) the congregation will be limited to seven members, plus the priest, the cantor and the music director. (Ten total, as required by diocesan requirements.) The reopening committee is selecting a cross section of local residents to represent us all in these services.

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. Stay tuned for procedural information in next week's Epistle.

Service time to change

Beginning on Sunday, September 13 (not this Sunday, the 6th) the time of the Sunday service will change to 8:30 a.m. This will allow Fr. Haughton to serve both our church and St. Peter's on Sunday morning. When a new rector is called (or conditions otherwise permit) we will consider the optional time for the principal Sunday service(s). But 8:30 will be the appointed time for the short term future after this coming week.

Sunday is T.R.U.E. Fund Sunday

(From Bruce Hagemann, administrator of the T.R.U.E. Fund)

"Just a reminder that this Sunday, September 5, 2020 is T.R.U.E. Sunday. Covid-19 has impacted many of our neighbors here in Key West. Due to much of the paperwork that is needed by any of the government agencies, the TRUE fund has served as a gap for those that need help immediately. There is much needed assistance in the housing area. I ask you to prayerfully consider giving to the TRUE fund this Sunday to continue to help those that are in need in our community."

(You can send your check to the church office or utilize the church giving page to make your T.R.U.E. Fund donation. Be sure to write "True Fund" on the check memo line or note the purpose of the donation if made online.)

Search Committee

(From Lilla Whiteside, co-chair, with Bruce, of the Search Committee)

"The parish profile is pending the bishop's review and approval. The search committee is anticipating to hear from him soon and ready to move forward with the next steps to find our new priest."

[Editor's note. We have it on good authority from the diocese that this will be considered this coming week. This does not mean an immediate answer. But things are moving forward.]


(From Susanne Woods)

"Education for Ministry: last chance to be part of a group exploring our theology and our own lay ministries. Contact Susanne Woods no later than Tuesday, September 8: 305-407-7003, or "
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 your 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
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.)
 The gate restoration/painting project headed by Ken Bagge is nearing completion. They look fabulous. Ken has done a wonderful job and has dedicated many long hot hours.

Upcoming projects include Holy Innocents Hall--replacing the rotten boards at the base of the building; pruning the tree in back of the building, removing the leaves/trash from behind the building (and the side of the Old Rectory), pressure washing the building and preparing for painting. Also, Parish Hall--repairing/painting the skirting around the building and removing the trashed light bulbs from under the building and taking them to waste management.
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

The security lights on the Eaton side of the church have been replaced and should now provide more lighting at night to discourage vandalism.

(First two photos show ironwork prior to restoration. Bottom photo shows completed gate.)
Senior Warden Notes
Ray Warren
Progress is always disruptive. While we remained on lockdown, we at least knew what was going to happen every week. Now we face a raft of road forks, decisions and change.

But Christians thrive on community, and God has given us the sacraments to provide tangible evidence of things beyond our intangible understanding. So we rejoice in slowly (and prudently) returning to worship together. We just have to accept that the road back to "normal" will contain a lot of detours into new territory.

Will we add additional services? When will Rite I services be offered? How will we handle a situation where more people want to attend (during the season) than we can accommodate? Will instrumental concerts and other gatherings happen at some point? I don't know the answer to these questions. But we will find the answers.

Right now we are focused on doing what we can do in the parameters in which we find ourselves. So here is what we DO know:

  1. The congregation will be limited to a few people for the next two Sundays. This allows valuable opportunities to test our safety systems and make sure we have workable procedures.
  2. Starting September 20 (unless infection rates require a change) we should be able to seat up to 24 people. Based on our usual September attendance of 40 - 45, this may be sufficient, as some will choose not to return yet.
  3. You will be requested to sign up in advance to attend services. Please watch this space next week and the church Facebook Page for details on how to sign up. We will only have limited capacity to seat those without a "reservation".
  4. AND MOST IMPORTANT, 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 in 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.

Eventually we can seat up to 48 people (thank God for a large facility) with proper distancing. But that will require consultation with the diocese. If we exceed our capacity, (either at the 24 or 48 person limit) we hope to add additional services. Fr. Haughton is agreeable to exploring that possibility, though he will already be serving us and his own congregation at St. Peter's. So, the answer is, "we don't know yet, but we feel sure we'll find a way."

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.

In a related matter, Tim, Dean and I roped off pews this past week to prepare the church for the possibility of private (non group) devotion and tourist visits soon. I know that many of you long to sit in our special space and pray on days other than Sunday. I also know that our church is a historical landmark in Key West that delights and comforts tourists and non member locals as well. More on this soon, I hope.

Finally, just when things are looking up, please don't forget your Key West parish. Our summer drought (in collections) is definitely here. We're OK, but it is (literally) draining. Anything you can send our way (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"

Tim continues his weekly Thursday organ concerts at noon through Facebook live. In September he plays all of the hymns with the words provided and managed by Sarah Kindinger.

You don’t need to bring your hymnal with you on Thursdays, just your voice and a desire to sing. These weekly concerts have been offered since the middle of March. We hope to see you online.

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, 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.

Dave Eyer's History column will return.
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.