E-newsletter | September 24, 2020
Closing the Gap 

“A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” 

One thing I can say for sure as I have grown older is that often there is a great distance between where we are in this life and where we want to be. And more, we now have the yawning distances created by this pandemic. We have the literal distances we must keep from one another to promote safety and health and we have the painfully widening distances between who we are as people, as a nation. 

From the political divide coupled with the division of masking or refusing to mask, there seems no end to the distances we are hell bent on creating. I think many, already weighed down in the fear and suffering of these times yearn for an end, or more precisely they ache for a new beginning. We all want to get beyond these hard realities and reach toward hope.
This is a time in which I am so very thankful to believe and trust that even in the deep, dark heart of such a time that there is hope. That our anger and frustrations for how tumultuous the world feels might have a place of grounding, a place where we can be transformed into people of resilience and tenacity. 

I believe with all of my heart, mind, soul and body that trusting in God and then acting out of this trust is the way forward and through these times. And I hope you will dare to believe this with me. 

But as Jesus teaches us today, this kind of faith doesn’t happen by accident, just wishing it were so or that “somebody” would do something will leave us perpetually heartbroken and frustrated. Jesus reminds us here at a very dangerous juncture of his own and life’s journey, that God has called all of us to act; God has called all of us to be courageous and bold and to risk ourselves in the belief that we can help make the world a more merciful and compassionate place. But to do so our yes, must mean yes and even our no—eventually mean yes! 

Life with God means living in the fullness of God’s compassion and mercy and being partners in sharing God’s blessings with all. Life with God means seeing the distance between hope and reality and doing all we can to close that gap. 

On Sunday Jesus speaks to us about that great distance that can unfold between the things we say and what we actually do. This distance that unfolds between our words and our actions can be the most challenging distance of all. 

Jesus is standing in the Temple in yet another confrontation with the religious authorities. In the last few days since he first entered Jerusalem he has overturned the tables and thrown out the money changers.

Like the Pharisees before us, we are called to realize a much deeper understanding of how we live into and out of our faith. He is not content to allow us to fool ourselves into thinking that a life of faith is undemanding. Jesus rails against the institution of religion and begs the religious community to wake up because they have ceased to reflect God’s love and hope and worry more about pleasing Rome and Herod. 

Jesus gives us the opportunity, the invitation, to take hold of the amazing power that is ours when we not only speak faith in God, but live our lives, truly and deeply, out of this great faith. Not perfectly, but persistently. 

So, how do we do this? I think we must always start with our own individual fears and anxieties. This is a time to look closely at those things we’re afraid of in our lives and remember that what Jesus said more than anything else was “do not be afraid.” 

When we are fearful as individuals we tend to build fearful communities. Jesus already knows that most of our hesitations and failures in life begin with living out of fear and anxiety. We most often fall short of the hope and hopefulness God desires for us because we are afraid. We are afraid of getting hurt, afraid of what people will think, afraid of the past and fearful of the future. We can be a mess! Fear and doubt can cripple us and most sadly, it places a tremendous distance between what we say about God and how we actually live our lives. 

But by closing that distance between what we say about God and courageously following Jesus into words and actions that show God’s love will make all of the difference. This is how no matter where we fall on the spectrum in this current crisis we can all, as a community of faith, be a part of the solution. 

When we find the courage to forgive. When we raise our voices and speak for those who have no voice. When we refuse to shame poverty and stretch ourselves out in compassion toward those with whom we disagree--- the gap between our frustrations and our hope can come crashing together and the light of love will shine in even the darkest places. This is our fervent “YES” to a world in pain. This is how we close the gap and make God’s hope a reality. 

By saying yes to courage, saying yes to God, even in the midst of this crisis we can reach out as never before, we can give as never before, we can witness to God’s love as never before, and we can get to know and love one another as never before. 

Grace and Peace, 
Mother Stephanie

September 27th Service - Sign Up Today and Join Us!

There is still space available to attend the 8:30am and the 10:00am service in the Outdoor Chapel (Labyrinth) this coming
Sunday, September 27th.
See announcement about October worship times!

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
3 Wednesday Worship Slots!

As you may know, at this time the Sunday Virtual Service is recorded on Wednesdays 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 Wednesday at 1:00 pm click below.

Can't be with us in person? Join us for Worship on YouTube or click on the link on our website!
We have had great feedback on our first round of Meet & Greets. People enjoyed meeting Mother Stephanie in person as well as visiting with a small group of their church family.

The group is small, the space is large and masks are worn.
Mother Stephanie looks forward to meeting you soon!
Meet Mother Stephanie

In these Covid-19 times, we’ve tried to come up with a creative way we can meet and welcome Mother Stephanie to St. Paul’s. Following Covid-19 guidelines, we will start out with small groups with social distancing and masks required.

St. Paul’s will host a floating Meet & Greet for Mother Stephanie on

Sunday, September 27th - 11:30, 12:30, 1:30

in the Parish House. 

This will be a wonderful opportunity for us to get to know Mother Stephanie and even better, an opportunity for her to get to know us. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, there will be a signup sheet limited to ten people per hour. There will be three Meet & Greets with the first one beginning at 11:30a.m., 12:30p.m., and 1:30p.m. Lite Bites and lemonade will be individually served. 

If you would like to attend one of these venues:

Please call or email Ruth Harris
336.984.9690 or rharris122aol.com

with your preferred time to reserve your place. We may schedule more dates in the future. If you would like to attend, but you are physically unable to, please call Ruth Harris to discuss other options. 

Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 restrictions, you will not be able to attend without signing up.  
Worship Notes:
Updated 9-24-20!
New Lectern and Tables for Coventry Chapel!

We thank the thoughtful parishioners who have upgraded our liturgical furniture in Coventry Chapel. Not only does it resonate with the Labyrinth Altar, it saves the Altar Guild the herculean task of setting up and breaking down every Sunday. We are very grateful for this kind and wonderful gift!

And...more 'new' news for Coventry Chapel:

Worship Times are on the move!

With the chilly fall mornings rolling in and with our desire to do everything possible to gather as a community for in-person worship, the Vestry has elected to shift our Sunday morning worship times to allow for more warmth to find us as we gather!

Beginning Sunday, October 4th
the first service will now begin at 9:30 am and the
second service at 11:00 am.

Thanks to all of you who are helping to make this service happen for our faith community and thank you to all who gather.

We have begun the Worship Services on Wednesdays at 1:00 PM that will be posted on YouTube for those who are not yet able to join us in person on Sunday. Because of Covid-19 restrictions, this service is primarily limited to clergy, readers and worship support ministries like Altar Guild. But, we are excited to invite up to three more people to join us for this worship!

If you would like to attend please contact Vanessa at office@stpaulwilkesboro.org

If you want to follow along with the worship you can find the bulletin on St. Paul's webpage that is the service booklet for the on-line service.

Continual adjustments to accommodate the ever changing realities of Covid-19 means that some of our ministries are temporarily very different than what we are used to. Please say a prayer for your Altar Guild members as they are on the forefront of dealing with worship services that are in constant revision. We thank you all!

And, as always, you are invited to contact me with any questions, comments or feedback.

Mother Stephanie
“It is solved by walking”
-St. Augustine (353-430)
In this difficult and uncertain time, while many of us are staying at home as much as possible and missing contact with our family, church family, and friends, I’ve felt the pull of the labyrinth and thought about how much it means to walk the labyrinth in community. I will be hosting an online Finger Labyrinth Walk and Meditation every Tuesday in September! We will meet in Zoom each Tuesday evening at 7:30 PM EDT.  I invite you to join me!! Please email me so I can send you a labyrinth to use for our “walk” and the Zoom link to attend.
Sheree Sloop—sloopcat60@gmail.com.

“The labyrinth literally reintroduces the experience of walking a clearly defined path. This reminds us that there is a path, a process that brings us to unity, to the center of our beings. In the simple act of walking, the soul finds solace and peace.”
 –Lauren Artress

Let's Create Something Beautiful Together
You are invited to join me in Zoom on October 24, 2020 beginning at 10:00am for a virtual Collage workshop. We will create a 12 X 12 inch, 7 circuit Classical Finger Labyrinth. Please let me know by October 1st if you plan to attend. Space is limited. I will send a supply list when you register.
Sheree Sloop – sloopcat60@gmail.com
August Minutes Now Available

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

Click button to go directly there
Readers for Virtual Service

Oct. 7 - Cindy Smith
Oct. 14 - Nancy Scroggs
Oct. 21 -Tana Myers
Oct. 28 - Laurie Love
Readers for October, 2020
9:30 AM

4 - Lisa Beard
11 - Dick Sloop
18 - Mary Southwell
25 - Denise Sturdivant
11:00 AM

4 - Maggie McCann
11 - Cindy Smith
18 - Tana Morrow
25 - Joe Fesperman

Sept. 27 - Bram Koch
Sept. 28 - Mike Adams
Sept. 29 - Becky Mullins
Sept. 29 - Mary Sue Pruitt
Sept. 30 - Lorraine Hubbard-Little
Oct. 2 - Amelia Koch
Oct. 3 - Karen McElwee


Corrected dates for these 2 Anniversaries
Sept. 24 - Tony & Sharon Lyall
Sept. 25 - Dick & Sheree Sloop

Sept. 27 - Drew & Pam Mayberry
Sept. 28 - Jeff & Lisa Beard
Sept. 29 - Carl & Franz Yale
Oct. 1 - Robert & Pam Baugh
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.
Mike Adams, Jim Andrews, Ken Asel, Pam Baugh, Robert Baugh, Dot Beamon, David Blair, Nancy Blair, Betty Blevins, John Brame, Fern Brinkley, Jacob Brown, Paul Clark, Billy Coles, Rancene Cook, LaMar Creasman, Ann Davis, Jackie Davis, Thomas Dellinger, Mike Duncan, John Farris, Craig Freas, Estelle Gille, Mike Graf, Edward C. Griffith III, Bert Hall, Kaye Hall, Janet Hartzog, Larry Hendley, Jackson Hering, Steve Jackson, Lisa Lenderman, Lorraine Little, Ken Love, Blake Lovette, Pete Mann, Maggie McCann, Ann McNeill, Gus Newton, Bertie Pardue, Ryan Rigby, Stanley Sanders, Ann Self Sigmon, Beth Sims, Bob Skees, Linda Sloop, Carolyn Stephens, Shirley Sturdivant, Fanny Triplett, Mari-Claire Ucello, Marie Waddell, Robin Walsh, Delores Weaver, Bob Webber, Donna Webber, Kim Wyatt, Cole Younger

Armed Forces
Let us pray for the safety of all our troops, especially Rob Beauchaine, Matthew Cage, Alex Cline, Philip Cooney,  Karl Duerk, William Grant, Edward C. Griffith IV, Jacob B. Hall, Brandon Moore, Russ Necessary, Zach Necessary, John W. Pardue, Charlie & Lauren Pendry, Adam Pinkerton, Avery Smith, Philip Southwell, Mark Stone, Patrick Szvetitz, Jackson Triplett, Levi Walker, Jason Westmeyer, Nathan Wyatt, and all others who serve in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world.
The Lessons for September 27, 2020
Exodus 17:1-7

From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16

1 Hear my teaching, O my people; *
incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in a parable; *
I will declare the mysteries of ancient times.
3 That which we have heard and known,
and what our forefathers have told us, *
we will not hide from their children.
4 We will recount to generations to come
the praiseworthy deeds and the power of the Lord, *
and the wonderful works he has done.
12 He worked marvels in the sight of their forefathers, *
in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
13 He split open the sea and let them pass through; *
he made the waters stand up like walls.
14 He led them with a cloud by day, *
and all the night through with a glow of fire.
15 He split the hard rocks in the wilderness *
and gave them drink as from the great deep.
16 He brought streams out of the cliff, *
and the waters gushed out like rivers.
Philippians 2:1-13

If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy, make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others. Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death--
even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Matthew 21:23-32

When Jesus entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?” Jesus said to them, “I will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?” And they argued with one another, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
“What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went. The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him; and even after you saw it, you did not change your minds and believe him.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church | 336-667-4231 | office@stpaulwilkesboro.org | https://stpaulwilkesboro.org