E-newsletter | November 5, 2020
A More Excellent Love

Love never fails. The Apostle Paul wrote this in his First Letter to the Corinthians. Paul crafted some of the most beautiful language found anywhere on love, saying: 

“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

The only problem with these beautiful words is that through our life experiences of love that often fails, they don’t ring true. As our country waits to hear the results of our Presidential election the nature of God’s Love and how we love our neighbor takes central stage for people of faith. How do we love in this deeply divided time?

A quick look at the Greek text of this passage shows that Paul writes using the word “Agape.” Agape is a “self-giving love” routinely shown to be the love God has for us. It is this agape which bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all thing. It is this self-giving agape love of God that never fails. 

Paul calls agape love a “still more excellent way.” To set love in an extreme example, Paul writes that if he understands all mysteries and has faith so as to move mountains, but has not love, he is nothing. If he were to give away everything he owns and hands over even his very life, but has not agape love then he is nothing. 

So what is the difference between this Godly love that never fails and the kind of human love that fails every day? The difference is that love that starts with you or me and goes out to another person is usually conditional. We love others as we think they are, or we love someone for how they make us feel, or we might even try to change them into someone we think we could love more—with just a little tweak! Or we speak the love of God with our lips, but fail to show forth this love in our communal life.

All of these are examples of love that start with us. Yet, if someone we love changes or disappoints us, or actions do not follow words, this feeling of love will likely go away. Paul tells us of a still more excellent way. We can infuse our lives with agape, the love that is God’s love for us.

Agape love starts with God, and God’s love for us. With this love of God and God’s love for us, we can then begin to see other people as God sees them. From this experience, we reach out in love to others with the love that begins in the very life and nature of God. 

The love that is within the Trinity is not merely a feeling or emotion. And so, God’s love for all of us is not dependent on our likes and dislikes, our job, our mood, political party, or anything else so changeable.

The love of God that was in the Trinity before creation overflowed into this world of ours and that love continues even though we are broken and not always aware of it. This love that was in the very life of God before creation is the love that never fails. This is the love Jesus had that as he died on the cross he could look out at those who killed him, as they mocked him and say, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” 

Forgiving those who killed him was the most precarious thing that God could do. And in these words of forgiveness from the cross, we see that God’s love is more concerned about on-going life and hope than death. 

John wrote of this in the letter we call First John saying, “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen” (I John 4:21). This is a tense pronouncement is our current time.

With acts of racial and social violence on the rise in a deeply divided country our call to agape love is more needful than ever. We must reach for reconciliation as a divided people and nation, but resist such acts of hatred that seek to degrade the dignity of other human beings. And amid all of this we must work to reach common ground with those with whom we so mightily disagree. A still more excellent love calls us to be wary of easy answers or quick divisions.
Agape love is an act of will, a decision, a choice. God invites us to choose this kind of love and then act on it. Our hope, on either side of this political divide, is to find the courage to not simply talk of love, but to put love into action.

As we wait, we can love, as we are patient, we can learn to love better, deeper, stronger. The is no more excellent love, than this.  

Grace and Peace,
Mother Stephanie

November 8th Service - Sign Up Today and Join Us!

There is still space available to attend the 11:00am service in the Outdoor Chapel (Labyrinth) this coming
Sunday, November 8th.

Please note new service times!
Beginning November 1st we will share ONE service at 11AM

If you would like to worship in person with mask on and social distancing in place, please reserve your spot by emailing the office at office@stpaulwilkesboro.org.

Service will be held WEATHER PERMITTING
Can't be with us in person? Join us for Worship on YouTube or click on the link on our website!
Meals for children and adults amid Covid-19

Today I’m sharing with you how our bag lunches are being made, distributed and funded. Richard Barber, Bill Harris and I are providing meals for those in need. As you know, Crisis Assistance Ministry and Step Ahead came to an abrupt halt in mid- March. We made several attempts to prepare bag lunches with a drive by pick up but this did not work so well. Our challenge was to safely distribute bag lunches amid the height of Covid. 

Carol Canter spoke with Hope Ministries and they agreed to distribute these meals for us. We wanted to provide non-perishable, reasonably healthy, and tasty meals to Hope Ministries. Richard Barber stepped up to the plate and the next thing I knew; we had cans of beanie weenies, packs of tuna, cheese crackers, chips, granola bars, drinks, and cookies! Kids meals were something I worried over, I wanted a child to open their bag and be genuinely happy to eat their delicious, nutritious and non-perishable meal. Their lunch bag has a juice box, fruit cup or applesauce pack, granola bar, cheese crackers, fun fruits, and a sweet treat. 

Trips to Costco have taken on a whole new meaning! We have been providing these lunches every Monday since April to Hope Ministries. . Every Sunday night I deliver 50-70 meals to Carol Canter and she takes them to Hope Ministries on behalf of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. We have not tapped into Crisis resources to provide these meals as we feel strongly that when Crisis resumes, we will be hit hard with financial assistance requests.

With Christmas soon approaching, I am asking that if anyone would like to make a Christmas treat donation to these meals, or any of the above mentioned foods, we will gladly welcome them. For the kids Christmas treat bags I have coloring books, crayons, matchbox cars, and gloves for the kids. I’m still searching for the girl’s gift. If anyone has any thoughts please send them my way. If you’d like to help, please call me at 336.984.9690.

Ruth Harris
Consider using your talents and gifts to help support the
Wilkes Prison Ministry

Dear St Paul’s

 As an Adult Basic Education Instructor for the College over at Wilkes Correctional Facility, I have had a great opportunity to get to know a lot of the Inmates and what their needs are. Along with my previous experience as a Juvenal Offender Teacher-Counselor and Community Service Supervisor, I am acutely sensitive to the behaviors of offenders of all ages. Even though they exhibit an “above the law” type of attitude sometimes, the one thing that I have noticed, is their sincere sense of appreciation when someone does something for them or just shows an interest.

 For that reason and the fact that the Inmates love to play cards, board games and various other activities, I would like to ask everyone at St. Paul’s to consider donating such things as used challenging adult board games or books that cover the classics or stories of life’s trials and tribulations and the struggle of protagonists to overcome what life hits them with. These are quite popular. Before the Covid furloughs, I had donated several chess sets and was amazed as to how many of them played. Joe Fesperman and I have discussed at great length, the donation of Cornhole games for outdoor use. If anyone in the congregation has carpentry skills and would be able to donate their time to build one or two sets, it would be much appreciated. We will see about getting the lumber to build them. They already have one or two sets and a Horseshoe toss, but they could use a couple more of the Cornhole sets.

  It looks like I have asked for a lot, but these are just a few of the things that they need. I have purchased books from our library book sale in North Wilkesboro to build a classics library in my own classroom. I know that the Inmates appreciate books and games because when they are checked out, they are returned in one piece and in a timely fashion. I personally appreciate what a ministry like this can do, because I’ve seen what it can do. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Outreach Committee and the congregation at St. Paul’s for contributing to the Christmas Project because it is extremely important to the Inmates to be able to give their families gifts and to share a meal with them.

Sincerely, Bob Arthur
Deodorant Drive for Hospitality House

Hospitality House of Northwest N.C. board members are collecting Christmas bag items for clients specifically containers of deodorant for men and women . Sixty small deodorants for men and 60 for women are needed.

A container will be placed outside the church office Monday - Friday to collect donations until Dec 1, 2020

The Nov/Dec/Jan
Forward Day by Day
are here and in the brass mailbox by the front door of the office.
-St. Augustine (353-430)

The Virtual Labyrinth Walks continue! You are invited to join this growing community every Tuesday at 7:30pm in Zoom. I am happy to announce that Rebecca Husband Maynard has joined in with me to share this time and lead us in a couple of Labyrinth Finger Walks each month. Rebecca shares my love of the labyrinth and has been trained and certified as a facilitator through Veriditas also. We invite you to join us for this time of prayer and meditation in community with others. No labyrinth experience is needed. You can reach out to either Rebecca or me with your email address for the Zoom link. 

Sheree Sloop: sloopcat60@gmail.com 
Rebecca Husband Maynard: rev.rebecca19@gmail.com
3 Thursday Worship Slots!

Beginning Thursday, October 15th the Sunday Virtual Service will be recorded on Thursdays at 1:00 pm in the historic chapel. There is room for 3 people to attend worship during this time. If you would like to sign up to worship on a Thursday at 1:00 pm click below.

September Minutes Now Available

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

Click button to go directly there
Beginning November 1st we will share ONE outdoor service on Sundays at 11AM.

Readers for November, 2020
11:00 AM

Nov. 1 - Tom Carnes
Nov. 8 - Mary Anne Caplinger
Nov. 15 - Tana Myers
Nov. 22 - Maggie McCann
Nov. 29 - Cindy Smith
Readers for Virtual Service

Nov. 5 - Nancy Scroggs
Nov. 12- Jeri Martin
Nov. 19 - Joe Fesperman
Nov. 25 - Mary Anne Caplinger

Nov. 8- Sandi Street
Nov. 12 - Cole Huskey
Nov. 13 - Bill Hurd
Nov. 14 - Keyonii Staley
Prayer List for Bulletin
Dear Friends, our prayers are one of the most visible and sacred ways we have of supporting and upholding both those among us and our loved ones as we list them for our Prayers of the People and publish them in the bulletin. It is so important that we keep these prayers current and that we are able to recognize healing or death as those on our prayer list move through their situation. And, of course, there are those whose need is long-term and they need our continued prayers over a sustained period of time.

To better enable us to keep our Prayer list current and recognize passages, on November 1st we will begin fresh on the first Sunday of every month. To keep someone on the prayer list please refresh your request on the last Wednesday of the previous month to make our printing deadline. Beginning on November 1st the only names on the prayer list will be those requested by Wednesday, October 28th

I know you join with us in wanting to ensure that this important part of our worship life is tended closely and always current. We thank you in advance for your participation and support. 

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, David Blair, Nancy Blair, John Brame, Thomas Dellinger, John Farris, Laura Gentry, Karen Hennig, Margo Hurd, Brenda Merritt King, Ken Love, Misty Millsaps, Tyler Olender, Diane Shaw, Linda Sloop, Delores Weaver

Armed Forces
Let us pray for the safety of all our troops, especially Edward Colville Griffith, Mark Stone, 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 November 8, 2020
Amos 5:18-24

Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the Lord:
Alas for you who desire the day of the Lord!
Why do you want the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, not light;
as if someone fled from a lion, and was met by a bear;
or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall,
and was bitten by a snake.
Is not the day of the Lord darkness, not light,
and gloom with no brightness in it?
I hate, I despise your festivals,
and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them;
and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals
I will not look upon.
Take away from me the noise of your songs;
I will not listen to the melody of your harps.
But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an everflowing stream.

Psalm 70

1 Be pleased, O God, to deliver me; *
O Lord, make haste to help me.
2 Let those who seek my life be ashamed
and altogether dismayed; *
let those who take pleasure in my misfortune
draw back and be disgraced.
3 Let those who say to me "Aha!" and gloat over me turn back, *
because they are ashamed.
4 Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; *
let those who love your salvation say for ever,
"Great is the Lord!"
5 But as for me, I am poor and needy; *
come to me speedily, O God.
6 You are my helper and my deliverer; *
O Lord, do not tarry.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel's call and with the sound of God's trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Matthew 25:1-13

Jesus said, “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org