St. Paul's Episcopal Church Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

"Making friends while serving God"

The Week of July 22-26, 2020
He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches."  Matthew 13:31-32
This week's readings
"How different our life would be if we could but believe that every little act of faithfulness, every gesture of love, every word of forgiveness, every little bit of joy and peace will multiply and multiply...Imagine your kindness to your friends and your generosity to the poor are little mustard seeds that will become strong trees in which many birds can build their nests...Imagine that you're trusting that every little movement of love you make will ripple out into ever new and wider circles...You and I would dance for joy were we to know that we, little people, are chosen, blessed, and broken to become the bread that will multiply itself in the giving."
Henri Nouwen (1932-1996) in Life of the Beloved (New York: Crossroad, 1992) 123-124. 
--Shawn Prater-Lee  
To be redirected to the Lectionary Page and get a digital copy of the readings  
Genesis 29:15-28 ; Psalm 105:1-11, 45b ; Romans 8:26-39; Matthew 13:31-33,44-52       
The Sunday sermon
Matthew 13: 24-30, 36-43
Some years ago I remember reading about a journal somewhere in the Mid-West electing for its Christmas edition to feature only the current, good news on the first ten pages of the newspaper, and the bad news, the shootings, the robberies, the fighting, the horrors of war that were occurring in the middle-east were relegated to the very back pages of the newspaper. In a box on the front page, the editor explained they had arranged things in that fashion "in deference to the spirit of the season." For twenty-four hours only the pleasant things were to be immediately apparent. The threatening and foreboding things were hidden in the back, as far out of sight as possible.
This form of presenting the Christmas news was in striking contrast to the way the New Testament reported the original Christmas day. In Luke's gospel, the story of the manger scene appears side by side with the news of a universal taxation placed by the Roman government upon the shoulders of the already tax burdened Jewish people. And when you look at Matthew's gospel, the account of Jesus' birth is found on the same page with the story of Herod's order to have all male babies in Palestine killed to avoid any threat of someone of royalty growing up and laying claim to his throne. There is no attempt in the gospels to separate the good from the bad. Just as we find in our everyday lives, these two realities are intermingled. So which is the better way of dealing with the realities of life, the style reflected in the Christmas edition of that mid-western newspaper, or the fashion demonstrated in the accounts we find in Matthew and Luke's gospel?
This is an important question. No honest person can deny that there is such a thing as evil in our world, that there is something that seems to detest that which God takes delight in. And by whatever name we address this force, and there are many, its intent is to unmake what God has created and destroy whatever beauty this demonic force may find. Knowing this helps us to begin to understand why that mid-western journal put together its Christmas issue as it did. Who among us would not like to gather up all the evil, all the bad in the world and put it "far, far out of sight?" Who among us would not like to simply, forcefully destroy evil?
In this morning's gospel, Jesus addresses this very issue. He tells us a parable concerning a farmer who planted a crop only to have an enemy come at night and scatter over the recently planted ground a poisonous weed. In time the farm hands recognized the weeds growing throughout the wheat. They proposed that they might root the weeds out. The landowner did not agree with that approach. It would, in his opinion result in even greater destruction. Because, in trying to separate out and destroy the weeds, he felt they would pull out the good grain as well and destroy the entire crop. Jesus was saying something very profound regarding the way that evil was to be handled. He realized that one of the most subtle temptations we humans face is to be seduced into imitating the very thing we abhor. For example, if you come up and strike me on the cheek for no reason, my first reaction might just be to give you a taste of your own medicine. And the violence continues back and forth allowing the sum total of evil to increase. Consequently, the logical end of the concept of "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth," is a blind and toothless generation. The Quakers have a wise teaching. "If in order to defeat the beast, one has to become a beast, then bestiality has in fact won." Put in other words, when evil seduces us down to its own level, the battle for authentic goodness is already lost.    
Therefore, the word of the farmer was much more realistic when he said, "Let's wait until both of the plants have grown to their full stature. We cannot separate them now without destroying the good seed as well." Wow, doesn't this remind you of what people thought about a bunch of unsalvageable youngsters that I talked about last Sunday? But let me add, to wait in this sense is not to remain passive and uninvolved. It is to return good for evil. It is to do exactly what Jesus did on the cross, when he was provoked in every way to imitate evil. On that day he was spat upon, ridiculed and brutalized. Yet he did not become a beast in the face of all that bestiality. He remained human in that sea of inhumanity. Ask the Roman centurion who had a close up and personal view of the entire event; remember what he was able to say, "Truly this was the Son of God."
Years ago there was a movie entitled "Stars In My Crown." In a little town there was an elderly black man who was like an uncle to several generations of children. He told them stories, taught them to hunt and fish; he was greatly loved. He owned a cabin and a small parcel of land. One year a valuable deposit of copper was discovered that ran through his property. Some of the business leaders in town offered to buy his land so that they could start a mining operation. The old man simply wanted to live out his days in the only house he ever owned. He refused to sell. When the businessmen could not buy him out, they resorted to nasty threats. They got word to him that they were going to hang him if he did not leave the property. The town's preacher heard about what was about to happen. So he went to the elderly gentleman's home. When finally the executioners road up hiding behind their white hoods, the preacher stepped out on the porch with the old man. He then proceeded to say, "John knows he is about to die. He asked me to come out today and write his will." He continued, "He wants to give his fishing rod to Pete, because he fondly remembers while teaching him how to fish, the first bass that Pete caught. And he wants to give his rifle to James because he remembers using it to teach James how to shoot." Item by item with love, the old gentleman gave away his possessions to the people who were there to kill him. One by one, the would-be executioners as they turned away removed their hoods and left in silence. The black man's grandson was watching from a distance. After the crowd dispersed, he asked his grandfather, "What kind of will was that granddaddy?" His grandfather answered, "That was the will of God!" You see, there is in the decision to return good for evil, the great possibility that good may triumph. When in the parable the farmer said to wait until harvest time, he was not demonstrating a passive capitulation to evil. Quite the contrary, he was responding to the evil that was done to him with good. As difficult as it may seem for us sometimes, Jesus wants us to try to do the same in our lives.
--Fr. C. Allan Ford



There will be in person worship with a 10:00 am Eucharistic service this Sunday. 
Unfortunately due to technical difficulties the service will not be live streamed on Zoom. The Vestry is discussing other options to stay connected with our online congregants. 

In light of the ongoing world pandemic, under the direction of the Bishop, and with great deliberation of the Vestry in person worship will continue as it did last week, but with (at least for the time being) some changes.

We will have a single service on Sundays with no midweek healing service.  All congregants will be required to wear masks. Pews will be marked off to easily facilitate social distancing between family groups.  All music will be instrumental with no singing. The Peace will be a non contact event. At the recommendation of the Bishop we will not be observing communion. There will be no coffee hour.

Bathrooms will be open, but please use a paper towel to touch all common surfaces: doors and sink handles.

There are other tweaks that will be made to facilitate the reopening of the Church.  Please know that these changes will be as small as possible and are done with the health and safety of our church family as top priority.

Please bring your mask and your patience to 161 Mansion Street on Sunday as we again get to worship together in the church. Thanks be to God.
--Shawn Prater-Lee

Total deposit for the past week - $1588.25 (no money for the Food Pantry). Many thanks to all who are remembering their pledge and to those both within and outside of the church who are generously supporting the Food Pantry.  
We're looking forward to seeing you in person on Sunday.  Don't forget to wear your mask!!!

Knee on My Neck: Slavery's Ghost
Some Suggested Resources for Individuals and Groups
The Rev. Masud Ibn Syedullah TSSF, Director
Roots & Branches: Programs for Spiritual Growth
Continue to review past sessions at this link: 
Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New York, NY: The New Press, 2010, 2012.
Barber II, The Rev. Dr. William J. The Third Reconstruction: How A Moral Movement is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2016.
Diangelo, Robin. White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism. Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2018.
Duncan, Lenny. Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the U.S., Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2019
Irving, Debby. Waking up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race. Cambridge, MA: Elephant Room Press, 2014. Jarrett-Schell, Peter. Seeing My Skin (A Story of Wrestling with Whiteness). New York, NY: Church Publishing, 2019.
Kendi, Ibram X. Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. New York, NY: Bold Type Books, 2016
Lepore, Jill. These Truths: A History of the United States. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2018.
Meeks, Catherine & Stroupe, Nibs. Passionate for Justice: Ida B. Wells As Prophet for Our Time. New York, NY: Church Publishing, 2019.
Stevenson, Bryan. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. New Yok, NY: Spiegel & Grau, 2014.
Wallis, Jim. America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2016.
Mosley, Walter. Fortunate Son. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company, 2006.
Food Pantry Update
This past week the St. Paul's Food Pantry received a $500 for COVID Relief. Thank you, United Way of the Dutchess and Orange Region for all you are doing to support our community. Please support our United Way because your financial donations come back to help us all provide for our neighbors in Christ. "One hand washes the other."   
--Deacon Julett

  7 Janet Quade
11 Ginny Gates   
17 Oluinayemisi Oni

22 Ruthie A.Hodge
28 Michael Babb

13 Sharon Sherow

27 Faith Mincey



Please keep those on our parish prayer list in your minds and in your 
prayers, especially at this time of separation and isolation.

JULY 2020
Our prayers are asked for:
Beryl & Glen, Vincent family; Rev. Susan of Christ Church; George; Stephanie,  
Aaron; Daniel Mizell and family; Liz, Martha; Lourdes;  
Eileen; the Butler; Richards and Barrett families; Fr. Allan and family; St. Paul's  
Vestry; Darien family; Richardson family; Sherow family; Edna Clarke, Michelle,  
Phil, Kathy B.; Carola and Violet; Whitman, Medical Reserve Corp. of Dutchess  
County, Dept. of Behavioral and Community health of Dutchess county;  
Peggy;The Bedrossian family; Seth;Lori; The Laken family; All parishioners;  
Kairos International, Catherine, Michelle, Yamily; G.J., Joe; Lois, Matthew,  
Lillian; Lynita,Perry, Melius family, Sasha; Stacey, Linda, Phil, Jody; Tucker  
family, Branch family, Atkinson family; Ibadan Diocese, All Saints Anglican  
Church,Oni family; Donna; Alison, McGhan, Sterling, Unah, Avonel,
Kim, Santos family, Madeline, Bramble, Charlie, Cynthia, Gencia, Val, Joanne,
Janet, Corkey, Pelaez, Josephs-Clarke family, Dixon family, Paulette, Jarah,  
Mertlyn; Adam, Paul, Andrew & family, Douglas family, Annie, Ron, Dave, Liz;
Jill, Lana, Andrew, Susan; Schneider family, all in need; Susie; Sherry, Claudia

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St. Paul's Episcopal Church-Poughkeepsie

'In Service to God & You'

Our food pantry volunteers are in active service at St. Paul's these days. We give thanks to them and thanks to God for their willingness to help us by helping others.


Help us get the word out by submitting news of parish activities. Send submittals to or call 845 452 8440

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