Sunday - 3 Services
South Sudanese Service
5:30 p.m. Holy Eucharist
12:05 p.m. Holy Eucharist
For the Summer Schedule please contact the church office.
6:00 p.m. Holy Eucharist
This Sunday: 10:00 am Service & Patio Fun
Join us for Worship at 10:00 am with more beautiful music and prayers, followed by a quick cuppa in the Garden Room and games on the patio. (corn hole!) Please see other important information about this weekend below, and thank you in advance for grabbing your name-tag at the south entrance so we can get to know each other better.
Cost of Discipleship, a sermon preached June 30 by the Rev'd Deacon Bryan England
I don't know how it is with my esteemed colleagues who stand in this pulpit, but sermon preparation at my house goes something like this. Linda will ask me, "Is your sermon finished." No matter how I respond, either yes or no, she will then ask, "Are you going to [blank] people off?" No matter what the topic is, I generally respond with, "Probably." "Why," she asks. "Because it's my job," I respond.
After 25 years of ordained ministry, Linda doesn't get that part of the role of a deacon in the Church. That role is found in the bishop's charge to the diaconal ordinand on page 543 of the prayer book. The concluding sentence of this charge is paramount, "At all times, your life and teaching are to show Christ's people that in serving the helpless they are serving Christ himself."
There's an old axiom that abbreviates this charge by saying the role of a deacon is "to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." I don't know how well I do the former, but I seem to excel in afflicting the comfortable. But that has a cost, you're going to [blank] people off. When he was dean of Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, Bishop Terry White would just shake his head and say, "Deacons."
Today's Gospel lesson consists of four pericopes, or self-contained stories, that were placed together in Luke's gospel because they share a common theme: the cost of being a disciple of Jesus.
I love the first one. Jesus' disciples had entered a Samaritan town to prepare a place for him, but the townsfolk, given the hostility between Samaritans and Jews, refused to welcome them. This inhospitality was the same sin which had caused the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah2, so it was logical for the disciples to ask Jesus, "do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?" But Jesus turned and rebuked the disciples, then continued on his way.
Apparently, one of the costs of being Jesus' disciples is giving up the right to persecute others, no matter how they have offended your sensibilities. Almost daily we see stories of fundamentalist "Christians" advocating depriving people of basic
rights because of their sexuality, or native language, or religion, or country of origin, even their gender, all in the name of the Jesus who rebuked his own disciples for wanting to get even with those who violated the ancient laws of hospitality.
Doubt that? A recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found that, fifty years after the Stonewall Revolt started the gay rights movement, 30 percent of Americans supported the right of business owners to refuse service to gay or lesbian people based on their religious convictions. White evangelicals supported it by 42 percent. Lest you feel smug, white mainline protestants supported it by 37 percent. White Christians also led the way for refusing service to transgender people, atheists, Muslims, Jews, and African Americans. In 2019, 22% of white evangelicals and mainline protestants supported the right of business owners to deny service to African Americans if it violates their supposed religious beliefs. Twenty-two percent! Doesn't it make you proud to be a Christian?
However, it's not only what one does, it's what one does not do. In Matthew, Jesus talks about separating the sheep from the goats on the last day. To the goats he says, "I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' The consequences of this neglect are dire. "'Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.' And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
You might ask those who support our government's actions on our Southern border, those who defend removing children from their families and locking them up in facilities that have been described as concentration camps, where they are forced to sleep on the floors and are deprived of basic sanitary supplies, how they interpret these passages.
How about us, though? You and I are not locking people up. No, but what are we doing about it? Archbishop Desmond Tutu famously said, "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."7 If we remain silent about the plight of our neighbors, no matter how distant, we are complicit in their oppression.
Jesus' next three pericopes are enigmas, and I would just as soon pass them by, but that's against the rules. One person approaches Jesus on the road and offers
to follow him wherever he goes, and Jesus responds by apparently bemoaning the itinerancy of his ministry. Jesus calls the final two to follow him, but they each offer an excuse to delay. "Let me go and bury my father," and, "let me first say farewell to those at my house."
Jesus' responses to these last two people share a common theme, which he sums up by saying, "No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God." As any farmer knows, when one is plowing and looks back, one's furrows will be crooked, and everyone hates crooked furrows. Jesus is calling his disciples to look forward, not backward.
The theme of today's Gospel lesson is summed up in its first sentence, "When the days drew near for Jesus to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem." It was there where the climax or his ministry would occur, and with it the cost of his discipleship to the calling of God. He might not have known what that cost would finally be, but he knew it would have to be paid.
Every good thing has a cost. "But wait," you say, "The best things in life are free!" No, they may not have a monetary price, but there is a cost. The best thing in my life is my thirty-three marriage to Linda, but as any of my Facebook friends can attest, the cost I pay is having to watch the stuff she picks from Netflix. I assure you; the cost Linda pays is much greater.
One of our rector's favorite theologians is Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who in 1937 wrote the book, The Cost of Discipleship. In it, Bonhoeffer makes the distinction between "cheap" and "costly" grace. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, grace without cost.
Cheap grace is coming to the communion rail on Sundays and then living the rest of the week as if nothing had happened, as if you aren't a portion of the body of Christ in the world.
There is a cost to living the Gospel in that broken world, beyond [blanking] people off.
There are some people who are accepting that cost. Our rector has spent his life working for economic justice in our society, even going to jail to stand up for the Gospel, and probably costing him support in his own parish. This last week, employees of Wayfair, an online retailer, found out their firm was selling furniture to a government contractor setting up camps for asylum seekers in the southwest and risked losing their jobs by staging a walkout in protest. Mother Megan Castellan tweeted, "we should help them, yes? Yes." People are facing imprisonment for leaving food and water near our southern border for migrants seeking a better life. People in San Diego and Tampa have been arrested and fined for feeding the homeless without a permit. A ship's captain was arrested in Italy for rescuing migrants on the Mediterranean. The list goes
on. Regardless of their religious affiliations, all these are serving "the least of these as if they were Christ himself."
We can take steps to make our world a better place. We can make the lives of our elected officials miserable by calling and writing them continually. We can give monetary support to organizations aiding immigrants, whether documented or not. Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg tweeted, "Pay their bail." I have an article on my Facebook page that lists organizations that do just that. Finally, we can take to the streets and make our voices heard. I know where the local ICE offices are.
At the end of each service, the deacon calls the people of God to "go in peace to love and serve the Lord," not to live their everyday lives as if nothing has happened and come back next Sunday, but to love and serve. At St. Paul's, the children of the parish are requested to join me in calling the congregation to go forth. I love that Heidi refers to them as "prophets," those speaking the word of God to God's people. Join us in proclaiming the love of God to a suffering world, in the name of he who was once a refugee in Egypt, with Joseph and Mary.
Information about these events can be found in the "more information" section below.
August 4: Celebration of Thanksgiving & Brunch
for Father Stan
This summer the children of the parish are focusing on serving others. They have planned special projects using their great gifts to meet a world's deep need. Please join us at 10:00 am on the third floor. Everyone aged 4-11 is welcome to come and bring a friend. Children join the worship service in time for communion. Nursery care provid
ed for younger children on the 2nd floor.
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Education for Ministry Registration Ends July 2019
Upcoming Events ~ More Information
Celebrating July Birthdays Today
Chris Artherton, Catherine Beachy, Rebecca Burnett, Olivia Davison, Natalie Foster, Mark Frame, Gordon Gee, Jay Howard, Brad Johnson, Ford Johnson, Shelley Lichty, Allison Lopez, John Matthews, Travis Myer, Betsy Parker, Virginia Rickel, Kim Robinson, Guytie Runnels, Andrew Saleh, Hayley Seaton, Karen Seitter, Bridgett Shirley, Fred Wickman, and Buzz Willard.
What is Birthday Sunday?
On the first Sunday of every month St. Paul's celebrates birthdays and anniversaries for the month ahead. During the 10:00 service, persons who wish to (not required) come forward for a brief word of thanks, and the naming of God's continued blessings in their lives. Following the service, we enjoy special celebration treats, and each other's company, during Fellowship in the hall under the church. Join us.
If you don't see your name but have a July birthday, or if you have a birthday coming up during the next twelve months and aren't sure we have the correct info, please let us know. You may email
or call the Church Office at 816-931-2850.
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Let's paraphrase the Prophet Marley and sing One love, one heart,
one service.... let's get together and feel all right!"
It's a great time to be a part of this family of faith.
Bring your friends. Worship God. Spread the Gospel.
A Prayer For the Good Use of Leisure
refreshment and peace; and grant that we may so use our
O God, in the course of this busy life, give us times of
leisure to rebuild our bodies and renew our minds, that our
spirits may be opened to the goodness of your creation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
TEFAP & Backstage Hands Needed
TEFAP: The Emergency Food Assistance Program has experienced a large increase in quality and quantity of food coming into our pantry. As a result, more clients are coming, bringing friends, and we are able to help them all. We served over 120 households last month (last year we averaged 80 per month). While we are happy to be able to help more, we really need more able bodied folks to help with moving, setting up, and distributing all of this heavy food. If you are able to help, it's only once a month, on the 3rd Saturday of the month, from 8am - noon. If you work with a youth group, scouting group, or know of youth or young adults needing service hours, we would welcome the connection. Please contact Melissa Hill via St. Paul's at email@example.com.
Backstage: Many of us have seen, and been a part of, the food distribution at
our Pantry. It is humbling, hard and holy work.
But there is a very important part of our Pantry ministry that goes mostly unseen, and it's there that we can use your help.
To save money
where possible and practicable
bulk supplies of essential items for our pantry clients. It takes time and care to divide-up these supplies for distribution. It includes things like
rice, pasta, dry beans
detergent, hair care supplies, frozen foods, etc. If you are able to come and help us sort these into shareable sizes, please let us know
. Thanks so much. Richard Scarritt
, Easom Bond
We need more caring
hands on-deck in the
St. Paul's Parish Nursery.
Each Sunday we have two paid staff persons caring for our youngest (and cutest!) members. All are required to take the "Safeguarding God's Children" training, pass a background check, and love our kids and their families. We also occasionally need nursery caregivers during the week for special meetings, worship services, or events. Please speak with
if you are ready to join the team. Service hours for high school students are available, but the training requirements remain. Thank you!
Coffee Hour Hosts
July 7 - Birthday Sunday
July 14 - Rebecca Forsyth & Ellen Haden
July 21 - ?you?
July 28 - Jessica Kerrigan
Hosting Coffee Hour is a fun and easy way to get to know other St. Paul's members! The host brings the food and the church provides the drinks. An example of what a host might bring would be: two large pans of brownies (cut very small), maybe a bowl of fruit (oftentimes grapes cut into small clusters), and a bowl or two of pretzels or popcorn. If you have questions or wish to co-host with another member, please contact Alison. Dates are available.
verse for the week
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
- Romans 12:9-13
voice for the week
You have to actually go and break something down. We can't 'nice' racism away.
- Rachel Cargle
prayer for the week
Christ who resurrects and redeems, usher us along in a cycle of lifelong death and rebirth. Grant that we may not simply "work" or be "lukewarm," but make us into a new creation over and over again, growing and learning and changing.
thought for the week
Jesus came as a physician for the sick and a shepherd for the lost - not only for the just and righteous. He is God's love at work on earth. If we really understand this, we will realize that following Jesus means suffering. It cannot be a comfortable way.--
J. Heinrich Arnold
| Episcopal Church response to the crisis on our border
uly 2, 2019] Over the past several weeks, The Episcopal Church has responded to the reports of inhumane conditions for children and other asylum seekers in government custody in a number of ways. This response includes calls for donations and goods from Episcopal dioceses on the border, prayers for those seeking safety, efforts to engage in advocacy, and pastoral messages from bishops around the Church.
"We are children of the one God who is the Creator of us all," said Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. "It is our sisters, our brothers, our siblings who are seeking protection and asylum, fleeing violence and danger to children, searching for a better life for themselves and their children. The crisis at the border is not simply a challenge of partisan politics but a test of our personal and public morality and human decency."
The Episcopal Church, through the Office of Government Relations (OGR) and Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM), has compiled a list of resources, bishop statements, and information in response to the ongoing humanitarian situation at the southern border.
"Reports of poor care for children in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody and continued policies to limit access to asylum are extremely concerning to people of faith. We must remember these children are here because they cannot find safety anywhere else," stated Rebecca Linder Blachly, Director of The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations. "The U.S. has an established system to process asylum seekers, who are coming to the U.S. legally. The response to asylum seekers who are desperate and afraid should not be deterrence or detention. We have the capability to respond in a humane and compassionate manner, and I am grateful for everyone in The Episcopal Church who is responding to this crisis."
"The enormity of the challenge is daunting. It is easy to feel helpless to make a difference. While we cannot do everything, we can do something," said Curry. "The links to resources of bishops and dioceses on the border, the Office of Government Relations and Episcopal Migration Ministries offer practical suggestions for how we can each and together do something."
The Office of Government Relations represents the policy priorities of The Episcopal Church to the U.S. government in Washington, D.C. This office aims to shape and influence policy and legislation on critical issues, highlighting the voices and experiences of Episcopalians and Anglicans globally. All of its work is grounded in the resolutions of General Convention and Executive Council, the legislative and governing bodies of the church. Connecting Episcopalians to their faith by educating, equipping and engaging them to do the work of advocacy through the Episcopal Public Policy Network (EPPN) is a key aspect of this work.
Episcopal Migration Ministries is a ministry of The Episcopal Church and is one of nine national agencies responsible for resettling refugees in the United States in partnership with the government. Episcopal Migration Ministries currently has 13 affiliate offices in 12 states. To directly support EMM and its life-changing work, visit
or text 'EMM' to 41444 (standard messaging and data may rates apply).
Other News & Thanksgivings
Transition Update: A note from Your Vestry
The Transitions Officer from the Offices of the Bishop met with the Vestry and Staff last week to give us an overview of the process moving forward, now that Father Stan has announced his retirement. It is fairly simple:
1 - Celebrate Stan and Say Farewell with Love and Thanks (see luncheon info in the ePistle)
2 - Establish clergy coverage for upcoming liturgies until we call an Interim Priest
3 - Welcome the ministry and services of an Interim Priest, who will work with the staff to provide full time attention to the St. Paul's parish until a new Rector is called.
4 - Discern and empower a Search Committee to work with the Offices of the Bishop to call a new Rector, once the parish has done her work establishing a profile and setting goals.
If you have any questions or concerns about this interim time for the life of the parish, please feel free to speak with any member of the Vestry. Your prayers are appreciated.
Almighty God, giver of every good gift: Look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a rector for this parish, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Name Tags are Here! The Name Tags are Here!
Please pick up your name-tag from the display in the reception lobby at the South Entrance, and wear it. If you don't see yours, leave us a note and we'll get one up there asap. Remember, wearing a name tag is something you do for everyone else... it's not about you.
Thanks in advanc
e for being kind and supportive as we continue to make adjustments.
The lanyards are only for those Sundays when the clips don't work on your clothing. It's fine if you take your name tag home or keep it in the glove compartment of your car. Just remember to wear it next time. Or you can replace it on the display neatly and somewhat in order. That helps others find theirs more easily. There will be baskets (soon) at the exits to remind you to leave it if that is your preference, and a volunteer will replace it on the display. If you want to help with this ministry, let us know. Thanks again.
Your Name Tag Ministry Team ~ Betsy Parker & Ann Ready
Prayer Request Forms are for requesting prayers for yourself, and for others. They are available from the box on the wall in the tower room near the pulpit, on the Usher's Desk at the 40th street door, and the Receptionist Desk at the South/School side door. If you are interested in becoming a part of the Pastoral Care Ministry Team, please contact Heidi Carter,
Associate for Ministry.
Every year, in response to the many and great gifts God freely bestows upon us, we are all invited to make a pledgeto the financial support of St. Paul's Parish.
Our gifts become a witness in the world of this parish's response to God's call to us to be a faithful community serving all God's creation.
You can use the link below to make your pledge or contact the
for a paper pledge form.
Thank you for your support financially, for your participation, and by remembering our efforts in your prayers.
Missionpalooza is a less than a month away!!!
Come and be the difference in our world!!
We will be going to different worksites where we will be feeding the hungry at St. Paul's KCMO food pantry. Another group will be helping move, clean, and organize supplies at Habitat Restores. Your group may be helping to clean and organize items for homeless or at risk youth with Synergy or cleaning kennels and helping pets with Unleashed Pet Rescue and Midwest Animal ResQ.
We are in need of work site adults during the day. If you are available for even one afternoon please let us know we would love to have you!
This event is for grades 9-12. July 22-28.
Please follow the link to register as a youth or adult volunteer!
"Will you seek to serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?"
eyond the Walls of St. Paul's
Opportunities to Stay Connected and Involved
Please Visit Our Website at
for information about The Diocese of West Missouri's
, The Episcopal Church, Outreach opportunities and Advocacy and Community Engagement. Scroll down the welcoming page to find a series of interesting links and information. Thank You.
by 6:00 p.m. Wednesdays.
Please help out the Epistle editor and submit your items in a timely way. Thanks!
St. Paul's Episcopal Church and Day School
11 E 40th St.
Kansas City, Mo. 64111