E-newsletter | March 18, 2021
Divine Compass
Almighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”
I don’t know if any of you ever feel the same way, but sometimes the “unruly wills and affections of sinners” as Sunday’s Collect will say, can indeed leave me feeling utterly disoriented in terms of my hopes and fears for this world that God has so graciously given into our care.

And of course, this Collect assumes that we understand that we are all sinners in some things. The swift and varied changes of the world lead all of us to suffer moments of disconnection from the Divine Will. 

Instead of loving what God commands, we see continued war, hunger, desolation, systemic racism and damaging political divisions---all of which are quite frankly unnecessary evils caused by humankind’s lust for power, wealth, and domination. We can make some arguments against that last statement, but in the end, if we are honest, we know that most of what afflicts the human condition in a negative way, is almost always caused by other human beings.
And then there are those bright and shining moments in which the courage, compassion, brilliance and beauty of the best of humanity shines forth and has the power to take our breath away. We witness hearts fixed where true joys can be found and hope rekindles in our hearts.

Who among us has not been captivated by those moments in our common lives when we see people responding to one another, not with fear or competition, but with love and compassion that transcends tribe, political party, or geopolitical boundaries.

But we are steeped in a culture of greed and self-determinism that can drown out the still small voice of hope or grace. Ads pepper the margins of our computer screens and messages fill the air saying that we can find happiness by buying the latest, largest, and most expensive television. And there are still other advertisements for television programs in which we become champions by throwing chairs or being best at cheating and lying.

Yes, we can turn these images off and read a book, but my point is that they have become so pervasive and normalized at this point that even if we never turn the television or computer on, our lives and socio-cultural discourse are influenced by what is out there.

It is very easy to be utterly and totally disoriented by it all.

If we are people who are seeking to anchor our lives in the joy and grace of God how do we find equilibrium in the midst of so many conflicting events, images, and worldviews; what compass can guide us through life, a compass that doesn’t find us either rejecting the world or hiding from it? 

As I have been thinking on these things I also came across this piece from the letter to Timothy:
For the time is coming when people will not put up with sound doctrine, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own desires, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander away to myths.”

I think we are probably living in just such a time. In our increasingly individualistic culture, private thoughts and feelings seem to have become the highest form of truth for which we care to aspire. If I can say something, no matter how wrong, hateful or harmful, really loudly over a 24 hour news period, or if I can Tweet it, post it on the wall on Facebook, or send it out over YouTube, well then suddenly I have created an “Alternate Truth.” 

But there is an antidote to this madness, and it is as old as time itself. When the world seems as if it is spinning into chaos, we can find a compass, find our orientation by keeping our eyes fixed on God and locating ourselves in that tender intersection located between what the world tells us we should be, think, or feel over against our belief that we are made in the image of a loving, merciful, compassionate Creator.

We can love what God commands and desire what God promises. By locating our understanding of our humanity in God’s purposes for all of us, we are given the power to be free from the strong social forces, prejudices, and behaviors of many who do not yet know such a story, but still love and care for the world in which we live; be hope in and for this world.

We go forward in an often-nonsensical social environment by rejoicing in the sense of hope that comes from the realization that God does not leave us alone, and is always at work in our world pouring beauty and truth into the human equation. 

The Divine Compass resides within all of us so that our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found. This compass always points us toward, joy, beauty, hope, compassion and grace. If you feel lost or are trying to find your way through a world that seems to be going crazy, trust that you too have this Holy Compass. 

Grace and Peace,
Mother Stephanie


We would like to welcome Russell Stinson! Dr. Stinson holds a Bachelor of Music from Stetson University, as well as a Master of Arts and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Stinson to the team as new and exciting things take place for St. Paul's and look for more on Russell soon!
“You created every part of me, knitting me in my mother’s womb. 
For such handiwork, I praise you. Awesome this great wonder!”
 Psalm 139:13-14

The prayer shawl collection at St. Paul’s is very low.
Prayer shawls are made to provide warmth, comfort, healing, and peace to those who may need it.
If anyone is inclined to knit or crochet a shawl and would like to donate it to the churches shawl collection, donations can be dropped off at the church office.

For further information please visit www.shawlministry.com


Keep your eyes peeled to this spot for upcoming news and information about Holy Week 2021.

COVID restrictions are still in order, but we hope to mark the transition back into outside worship beginning with an Easter Sunday service in Coventry Chapel.

Your Vestry meets on the 21st and after that we will have further information about numbers, sign up and other guidelines coming soon.

Holy Week Worship videos will include Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday in addition to the live gathering outside on Easter morning (time to be announced)

In the meantime, please be getting those vaccinations scheduled and maintain social distancing and face masks so that we can come back together soon!
Join us for Worship on YouTube or click on the link on our website!
Lamentation and Grief are part of the rhythm of Holy Week on Good Friday. Sheree Sloop and Rebecca Maynard will be holding space in Coventry Chapel for a self-directed walk through the Stations of the Cross on the Labyrinth. All are invited to walk between 4PM – 6PM Friday, April 2, 2021. Please wear a mask and observe social distancing to protect yourself and others during this time of pandemic. Labyrinth walk will be held weather permitting.

This past Saturday, thanks to Dave Barton and his sons, St. Paul's began cleaning up the grounds and preparing for Spring.
A note from Ruth Harris:

I am appreciative for the opportunity to lead the Outreach Committee as Joe Fesperman assumes his new role as Junior Warden. Many thanks are extended to Joe for his dedicated service and leadership of the Outreach Committee. Having worked preparing and serving meals at Crisis Assistance and packing bag lunches I know that there is a great need and I ‘m committed to continuing the work of taking care of our community and neighbors. Last year the Outreach Committee donated to CareNet Counseling, Catherine Barber Memorial Homeless Shelter, Hope Ministries and Food Pantry, Wilkes Prison Ministry, Wilkes Recovery Revolution, Circles of Care, and Student Choice Food Pantry. 
I look forward to your continuing support and any suggestions you may have. Peace.
Ruth Harris 336.984.9690 rharris122@aol.com
Joe Fesperman

To quote Howard Thurman, "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." 

Work around the church is progressing thanks to Diane Peabody, and Jeri and Wes Martin. They will be leading the Parish Gardener and Giving Garden teams respectively to help things look even nicer on the grounds of the church. Please see their notices in this newsletter. Contact them directly if you are interested in taking part in this ministry. All are welcome.
Many thanks also to those of you who have reached out with any number of skills and lots of willingness to help with minor repairs. You are on the call list as needs arise. Again it is never too late to let me know of your talents and interest.
An update on what to expect over the next several weeks: 
1) By the middle of next week (weather permitting) pressure washing of the buildings, walks, signs, deck and labyrinth will have occurred, thanks to Daniel Jarvis. Marietta Carroll's wonderful pots will return. New topsoil will be present in the raised beds behind the office.
2) As March ends, new mulch will be in place thanks to Adam Bowers and Cedar Ridge Landscaping.
What does this mean? How about a visit to the church over Holy Week and Easter just to enjoy the sacred space we call our church home? Again, all are welcome.

You can contact me via email: joefesperman@yahoo.com, cell (call or text) 202-821-5885 or leave a message on my landline
Great news! Over the last few weeks we have raised $500 for the Student Choice Food Pantry at North Wilkesboro Elementary School. Rachel Minick started and helps administer this offering. This project provides weekend food for approximately 100 children and is an alternative to the backpack program. The Pantry allows students to "shop" for their own food preferences and provides a special sense of satisfaction and pleasure. 
Your ongoing support throughout Lent is appreciated.  

To donate: Make checks out to St. Paul's and add "Food Pantry" in the memo line.


Episcopal U:
We Pray What We Believe

Join Mother Stephanie on Wednesdays at 12:30 for a few more weeks as we journey through the rich tradition of our Eucharistic liturgies.

In the Episcopal tradition we state that we do not have doctrine or dogma, but we make the claim that we pray what we believe, meaning that our Book of Common Prayer and its supplemental resources contain the corpus of our belief system. But DO we believe the claims that are made about God and about humanity, creation, and Jesus in the prayers we hear week by week?

The answer might surprise you!

Please sign up with Mother Stephanie to receive the Zoom link to this adventure in exploration and learning.

Bring your questions, your curiosity, your doubts, and your theological baggage as we embark on this 6 week romp through Liturgical Theology.


We would like to welcome Morgen Love! Previously the Nursery Worker at St. Paul's, Morgen returns to our team as the new Parish Administrator.

"Hello everyone! I am very excited to be back here at St. Paul's. I can't wait to get to know all of you!
A little bit about me: I began working with St. Paul's in 2018, and unfortunately was not able to continue in that position due to COVID. I have previous experience in accounting and office work type positions, so I believe that this will be a good fit for me. I am privileged to get to call St. Paul's my home once again."

I know that all of you join with me in welcoming Morgen into this new position and in looking ahead to all of the wonderful times to come!

The office remains closed to the public due to COVID restrictions, but "regular" office hours of 8-4 are in back in effect.
The Diocese of Western North Carolina is offering a young adult (college aged to late 20's) retreat on May 14 (zoom) and May 15 (in person at Lake Logan). The theme is El Camino: The Road to Emmaus. They will be helping young adults discern answers to questions, such as "What am I called to do?" Where is God in my Life?" and Where does society fit in?". The retreat is free, and lunch will be provided on Saturday. 
The Diocese of Western North Carolina is offering the Dismantling Racism curriculum for six Thursday evenings, via zoom, for high school youth from April 16 - May 27 (skipping May 20th). They are asking the youth to attend all the sessions if they participate.

Join Zoom Meeting by clicking on the link below:

Meeting ID: 851 9114 3705
Passcode: Coffee20 

The Feb/Mar/Apr issues of Forward Day by Day are now in the mailbox by the front door of the office.


New Vestry Minutes have been added. December , January, and Annual Meeting minutes are now available!

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

Mar. 21 - Maggie McCann
Mar. 28 - Joe Fesperman
Altar Guild

Mar. 21 - Mary Lankford, Sharon Greene & Bonnie Merritt
Mar. 28 - Mary & Mike Southwell


Apr 18 - Tony Lyall
Apr 20 - Stan Dudek
Apr 21 - Luke Richardson
Apr 22 - Lonny Bumgarner
Apr 23 - Nicholas Beard
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, Ken Canter, Thomas Dellinger, Mike Duncan, Tina Duncan, John Farris, Karen Hennig, Paula Jameson, Doug Johnson, Margo Hurd, Ken Love, Misty Millsaps, Tyler Olender, Denver Owens, Iris Parker, Kris Riley, Tara Riley, Jordan Samuel, Rebecca Shaw, Karen Shupe, Linda Sloop, Jeffery Smith, Delores Weaver, Bob Webber, Donna Webber, Joyce Wheeling

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 Szvtitz, 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 March 21, 2021
Jeremiah 31:31-34

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

Psalm 51:1-13

Miserere mei, Deus
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving-kindness; *
in your great compassion blot out my offenses.
2 Wash me through and through from my wickedness *
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions, *
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you only have I sinned *
and done what is evil in your sight.
5 And so you are justified when you speak *
and upright in your judgment.
6 Indeed, I have been wicked from my birth, *
a sinner from my mother's womb.
7 For behold, you look for truth deep within me, *
and will make me understand wisdom secretly.
8 Purge me from my sin, and I shall be pure; *
wash me, and I shall be clean indeed.
9 Make me hear of joy and gladness, *
that the body you have broken may rejoice.
10 Hide your face from my sins *
and blot out all my iniquities.
11 Create in me a clean heart, O God, *
and renew a right spirit within me.
12 Cast me not away from your presence *
and take not your holy Spirit from me.
13 Give me the joy of your saving help again *
and sustain me with your bountiful Spirit.

Hebrews 5:5-10

Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest, but was appointed by the one who said to him,
“You are my Son,
today I have begotten you”;
as he says also in another place,
“You are a priest forever,
according to the order of Melchizedek.”
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

John 12:20-33

Now among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.
“Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say—‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd standing there heard it and said that it was thunder. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to indicate the kind of death he was to die.

St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org