E-newsletter |January 28, 2021
Rector’s Report Annual Meeting

“If you're going through hell, keep going.”
~Winston Churchill

It is actually with a smile on my face, that I begin my Annual Report with this particular quote from Winston Churchill. In a year unlike any other it is important to remember the resiliency of the human spirit. Both our parish and world have faced difficult crises before and I am certain that we will come out this time of COVID-19 changed, but strong. And that very strength will be a great resource as we undertake, in earnest, the necessary journey of reconciliation and reckoning that is our sacred task during this interim time.

What I love about Churchill’s quote is its no-nonsense, practical approach to persevering. We may not know the answer to what “Church” will look like post Covid, but whatever it is we will face it and we will face it together. It is also my hope that the wounds that were opened here just before the Covid crisis hit and took away our ability to gather in person, have in some ways, begun to heal. Others will need deeper tending and will receive that in time. Until then, I invite all of us to lean heavily upon the grace of God and ask that the healing power of the Holy Spirit be received by all whose hearts were broken.

I know I have only been here a short while yet, but I am already certain of the faith and strength of the people of this parish. I am so thankful for the welcoming and generous spirit that the people of St. Paul’s continue to extend to me on a daily basis.

I would especially like to extend my deep thanksgivings to Mark Williams and the Vestry for their willingness to think in new ways and for their fearlessness in beginning the work of reconciliation and healing even as the parish was without clergy leadership and Covid changed everything.

In every decision brought before them they exercised sound and thoughtful management of our resources with a deep understanding that we are first and foremost a people called to exercise our common life within God’s economy. It has been my deep pleasure and privilege to share in ministry with them. I am very sorry to say goodbye to Ruth Harris, Dave Barton, and Tana Myers, but I know they will still exercise their leadership gifts among us even as they leave Vestry service.

Entering a parish in the midst of Covid, as you can imagine, has some steep challenges. To the best of my ability my goal in these days has been to build relationships with the people of this parish. As Covid allows I try to spend meaningful time getting to know you both as individuals and to discover who you are as a community of faith. I want to continue to learn your traditions, your passions, your strengths, and weaknesses. I will not get to know you fully until we can truly gather in person again, but in a limited capacity I feel that I am gaining a deeper understanding of all of you and how we might travel together into the future. 

As I laid out in an e-news shortly after my arrival, there are some specified goals for this interim period that we are doing together. Some of this work we have already begun, but there are some aspects that will require that we are able to be in person. Doing the meaningful, intentional work of coming to terms with relationships with past clergy and dealing with the conflicts and helping to heal the division within the congregation will require deep courage and vulnerability from all of us. That cannot be risked by conducting this work on Zoom!

What I am doing in this time to prepare us for that work is helping us to build the vocabulary of forgiveness. My hope is that through sermons, e-news messages, and Adult Formation classes, you are leaning further into understanding what it takes and what is at stake. We cannot just move on and expect anything to change.

There are some wonderful, beautiful Holy Spirit-filled aspects to St. Paul’s common life, and it is those very qualities that will help us build commitment to all that is crying out to be healed, especially the way we deal with conflict. The passion and commitment that creates our conflict is a wonderful thing, but we have to learn new ways to travel through conflict so that it teaches us and allows us to grow better and stronger. I know we can do this, and I believe we are on our way to being an ever-increasing vital and transformative community of faith.

And I have so many thanksgivings for all of you who have helped makes things “go” in the face of very steep challenges. Mark, our unstoppable Senior Warden, has listed most of them in his report so I will defer to his remarks.

I will finish by saying that our journey has just barely begun. In the year ahead we will continue to define and claim our ongoing mission as God’s people. I believe our most vibrant future lies in reconciling within so that we can be true reconcilers in the world; a world that needs God’s Love and Peace now more than ever.

It is my exuberant hope that through beautiful worship, strong fellowship, inspired teaching, and continued compassionate care for our neighbors through Crisis and Outreach we will strengthen our bonds of affection. This will ensure that when new people come to us, they will discover a true place of belonging, spiritual growth and transformation and most importantly perhaps, a place where people are certain to meet the love of God in the flesh!

Grace and Peace,

Join us for Worship on YouTube or click on the link on our website!
Join Zoom Meeting by clicking on the link below:

Meeting ID: 851 9114 3705
Passcode: Coffee20 

Ramona Curtis and Ruth Harris are in the process of updating the church directory from 2018. If you’ve had any changes since 2018 to your phone numbers, mailing address, email address, or if you want to be added or deleted, or if you know someone that you would like to add, please email your changes/requests to:

Thank you for helping us with these updates.
Our former Parish Administrator, Vanessa Greer, has agreed to help maintain the work of the office as we continue our search for a new administrator. The office will still be closed to the public but accessible through appointments.

The office will have coverage:
Monday through Wednesday from 7:30am until 3:30pm

Thank you for your patience during this transition.

Outreach Supports Student Choice Food Pantry

Thanks to a commitment from ancillary Outreach funds provided by the Strickland Foundation, a Student Choice Food Pantry has been initiated at North Wilkesboro Elementary School. Each week, students receive a grocery bag and are allowed to self select meal items and snacks from tables. Food is categorized (proteins/dinner items, fruit and vegetables, snacks, and breakfast items) and students choose the amount indicated on the table. Joy radiates through the room as students choose their food for the weekend. Allowing students to have choice has given them dignity and pride in their weekend food bags. The students smile and laugh as they pick out food.

Some comments overheard:  
“My mom loves this oatmeal.” 
“I’m getting applesauce for my little brother.” 
“Thank you for letting me shop!” 
"Rice and beans are my favorite! Thank you."
“I liked picking out my food- it was kind of the best.”
If you would like to provide ongoing financial support to this food pantry, donations can be made to St. Paul's with Food Pantry in the memo line.
Thank you for your support, 
Rachel Minick
Worship Notes

For the next few weeks we will be doing something a little different with the Nicene Creed. We will be using a sung setting from The Supplement to the Hymnal, Wonder Love and Praise.

As we do so, I invite you to see how you experience this very familiar component of our liturgy differently. Will you hear something new? Will it possibly awaken your senses? Will you not like it? Will you love it? I would love to hear how it goes for you!

The Feb/Mar/Apr issues of Forward Day by Day
are running late due to slow postal delivery. We will update you when they arrive.
2021 Annual Meeting Report can be found on the website.

Copies of the 2021 Annual Meeting can be picked up from the office or we can mail one to you. If you would like a copy, please email the office to request a copy mailed to you or to schedule a time to stop by.

The 2020 Vestry Meeting minutes are now available on St. Paul's website under Vestry.

Click button to go directly there
Serving in February 2021
(Recorded Service)

Feb. 7 - Laurie Love
Feb. 14 - Tana Myers
Feb. 21 - Mary Southwell
Feb. 28 - Cindy Smith
Altar Guild

Feb. 7 - Laurie Love & Ramona Curtis
Feb. 14- Mary Lankford & Sharon Greene
Feb. 21 - Mary & Mike Southwell
Feb. 28 - Pam & Drew Mayberry

Jan. 31 - Ben Staley
Feb. 1 - Kim Faw
Feb. 2 - Kellan Barton
Feb. 3 - Ricki Barger
Feb. 3 - Cynthia Palazzolo
Feb. 4 - Paula Jameson
Feb. 5 - Ramona Curtis
Feb. 5 - Van Morris
Feb. 6 - Becky Craft

Feb. 6 - Larry & Lisa Cline
Prayer Requests

Prayer requests can be made by emailing the office at office@stpaulwilkesboro.org
or by calling the office during regular office hours.

Bulletins are printed on Thursday mornings and requests submitted after that time will not be in the printed bulletin for that week, but may still be spoken. Prayer requests received by noon on Wednesday will be included in the weekly e-newsletter.
Prayer List

Please remember in your prayers: All who are ill or unemployed and those who are on our prayer list.

Jim Andrews, Pam Baugh, Robert Baugh, Bella, Nancy Blair, John Brame, Rosie Carlton, Thomas Dellinger, Tina Duncan, John Farris, Laura Gentry, Karen Hennig, Barbara Kepley, Ken Love, Tyler Olender, Jordan Samuel, Delores Weaver, Bob Webber, Donna Webber

Armed Forces
Let us pray for the safety of all our troops, especially: Dr. Matthew Cage, Edward Colville Griffith, Zach Necessary Walker Pardue, Philip Southwell,
Mark Stone, Lt. Col. Patrick Szvetitz, Jason Westmeyer

and all others who serve in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world.

Please send to the church office the addresses of troops with connections to
office@stpaulwilkesboro.org, especially those abroad
The Lessons for January 31, 2021
Deuteronomy 18:15-20

Moses said: The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you shall heed such a prophet. This is what you requested of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said: “If I hear the voice of the Lord my God any more, or ever again see this great fire, I will die.” Then the Lord replied to me: “They are right in what they have said. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command. Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable. But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak—that prophet shall die.”

Psalm 111

1 Hallelujah!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, *
in the assembly of the upright, in the congregation.
2 Great are the deeds of the Lord! *
they are studied by all who delight in them.
3 His work is full of majesty and splendor, *
and his righteousness endures for ever.
4 He makes his marvelous works to be remembered; *
the Lord is gracious and full of compassion.
5 He gives food to those who fear him; *
he is ever mindful of his covenant.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works *
in giving them the lands of the nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithfulness and justice; *
all his commandments are sure.
8 They stand fast for ever and ever, *
because they are done in truth and equity.
9 He sent redemption to his people;
he commanded his covenant for ever; *
holy and awesome is his Name.
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; *
those who act accordingly have a good understanding;
his praise endures for ever.
1 Corinthians 8:1-13

Now concerning food sacrificed to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by him.
Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “no idol in the world really exists,” and that “there is no God but one.” Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as in fact there are many gods and many lords— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. “Food will not bring us close to God.” We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? So by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall.

Mark 1:21-28

Jesus and his disciples went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org