St. Paul's Episcopal Church Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

"Making friends while serving God"

The Week of December 1-6, 2020
Jesus came to John the Baptist is a painting by Richard Hubal 

The Bible's Original Odd Couple
During this season of Advent we are anxiously yet hopefully (I like that word - full of HOPE) awaiting the coming of Jesus. This week's readings give us some Biblical examples of prophets who foretold His coming.  I want to highlight the last prophet in this line John the Baptist.
This week's readings
Picture John the Baptist, "clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey." He's out in the wilderness, baptizing people in a river (no sprinkling there, full immersion of adults), and proclaiming loudly that One would come after him even more powerful than him. Though we don't really get any confirmation of this, I bet people were surprised then by Jesus's nature. Wild John is saying that the One would be even greater than him, but who shows up? Jesus was a carpenter, so yes he had to have some strength and some calluses, but his message was of love and forgiveness, of feeding the hungry, of welcoming the children to him. This was very different from John's demeanor and from John's call for repentance.
It's interesting to then picture Jesus's baptism. This was the moment that God publicly announced that Jesus was His Son, I think it's pretty cool that God used camel hair wearing, locust eating John in the river to be the person and place used for this. If God can use John in this way imagine what He can do with us "normal" people.

--Shawn Prater-Lee
To be redirected to the Lectionary Page and get a digital copy of the readings  
Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; 2 Peter 3:8-15a;  
Mark 1:1-11
The Sunday sermon
Mark 13: 24-37 Stay Awake!

They tell the story of a 911 operator who was not too good at staying awake. It was three in the morning, and someone dialed 911 to report an emergency and to request that they get help right away. But instead of speaking to an operator, for nearly two minutes all that was heard was the sound of heavy snoring. Fortunately, a supervisor at the 911 center eventually noticed what was happening, woke the operator and got the person the help she needed.

Stay awake! Really that is one of the prayers that every preacher says before entering the pulpit. We pray that the congregation will stay awake, at least until the sermon is over. But staying awake may not be the easiest thing to do. After all regarding today, it's been a long holiday weekend, you've been cooking and washing all those Thanksgiving dishes. You're stuffed with turkey which is loaded with a chemical called tryptophan which causes drowsiness. You've spent time carefully avoiding crowds, trying to take advantage of the black Friday sales; and you're not sure right now how long I may go on with this sermon.
So staying awake, and staying focused isn't always the easiest thing to do. In Hawaii it was proposed some years back that all state employees be allowed to take a nap every day and get paid for it.

Stay awake! That's the message Jesus has for us in this morning's gospel. But why does he tell us to stay awake? For what reason does he want us to be alert? Many people think of this season of Advent as a time to be awake, alert, and focused on what happened over 2000 years ago in that Bethlehem manger. According to the Christmas story, the innkeepers in that day certainly weren't awake and focused on what was going on. After all, according to tradition, innkeeper after innkeeper turned Mary and Joseph away. So the birth of Jesus took place in a manger; and it is not why we are asked to be alert today.

The truth is that Advent is primarily a time for us to be alert and focused on the time when Jesus will come again. That is what this passage in the Gospel of Mark is all about. But regrettably in traditional, mainline churches like ours, we don't tend to talk much about Jesus' return. When the subject comes up, we picture people walking along the city sidewalks and carrying sandwich board signs that say "The End is Near, Repent!" And we don't want to associate with them. So the whole subject makes us a bit edgy. But the truth is the return of the Messiah is very much a part of what it means to be a Christian. A lot of people believe that if Jesus is going to return, the best thing to do is to figure out when that will be. And, my friends, throughout history there has been no shortage of people who have tried to do just that.
In the thirteenth century there was a fellow named Joachim de Fiore; he said that by studying the New Testament he found a secret message that said that the world would come to an end sometime between 1200 AD and 1260. When the year 1260 was almost over, thousands of his followers started beating themselves with iron spikes, believing that this would cause Jesus to appear. I guess one might say that they made a grave error.

The problem with making such predictions is that they fly in the face of what is said in Holy Scripture. The Bible says regarding the second coming, "About that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." So, it would appear that no one knows but God.

That brings us back to our original question. If as Christians we believe the Messiah is going to return someday, what are we to do now? How are we to conduct ourselves? First, let me say that I don't think we are to throw our beds away, and load up on lots of caffeine bearing foods. No, I humbly suggest to you that we are called to behave ourselves as if we were one of his disciples who walked the Palestinian coastlines with him when he first came. I think we are to courageously reach out to people who need help as Jesus did. I believe we are to speak the truths that Jesus spoke, and do all that we can to eliminate war, disease, and hunger; if during our waking hours, we focus upon and stay alert doing those things, when the Messiah returns, be it tomorrow, in ten years or in ten thousand years, it will be like a relay race. He will find clusters of people up and running with the gospel message, and will simply catch up with us/them, grab the baton and take the lead and he will be followed into the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And as his followers cross the finish line. One just might hear Jesus say, "Well done good and faithful servant. Receive the crown of glory that never fades away.
--Fr. C. Allan Ford


We are collecting monetary donations in order to purchase Price Chopper gift cards for our Food Pantry Clients. These are special gift cards that are unable to be used for beer or cigarettes. There will be a second collection Dec. 6 and Dec. 20. Checks can be sent anytime and should be made payable to St. Paul's Church with Pantry Christmas on the memo line.   
This money will supplement the grant received from United Way/ Holiday Helping Hand in order to serve more of our clients.
--Bobbie Gordon
Lifetime parishioner, Ms. Shirley M. Richardson, had passed away on Friday November 27th, 2020. Our Condolences to her son Mr. Robert Richardson and their family. The funeral will be held 11am, Friday, December 4th, 2020 at Joseph J. Darrow, Sr. Funeral home (845-452-1840) located at 39 South Hamilton Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601. 
The Holiday Basket Raffle is ongoing. Many thanks to Deb Williams for putting the basket together. It looks most enticing!!! Get your tickets at church or contact Bobbie Gordon either by email ( or through the church office. See the enclosed flier for details.  
The basket will be displayed in the lobby of the Education building. Tickets are $1.00 each or 6 for $5.00. Be sure to include your name & phone number on the ticket!!!  The drawing will be held December 14 at the Stewardship meeting.  Please see Bobbie Gordon if you would like tickets to sell.
--Debbie Williams
--Bobbie Gordon
Thank you to the 42 parishioners who have pledged $49,503 for 2021. It's never too late to return your pledge form - if you haven't had a chance to do that yet, please take a moment to fill it out and send it to the church. If you have misplaced the form, just call the church office and we'll be happy to send you another form. 
--Bobbie Gordon 
Thanks to all who have attended church these past months whether it was in person at 161 Mansion Street or whether it was on Zoom. We will continue to have in person worship on the first and third Sundays and on Zoom all other Sundays through the end of January.   
We will be in church December 6 and 20.
We will be on Zoom the other Sundays.
Our Zoom connections remain the same and are
Meeting ID: 823 3911 5280 
One tap mobile 
+16465588656,,82339115280# US (New York) 
+13017158592,,82339115280# US (Germantown)

Dial by your location 
        +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
 Hope to see you in church on Sunday and/or on Zoom.

--Shawn Prater-Lee
--The Rev. Dcn. Julett Butler
Total deposit for the past week - $2326 (including $300 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 the first and third Sundays of the month when we'll be in church with communion. The other Sundays will be on Zoom. Don't forget to wear your mask!!!


New: Parish Honoraria and CPG Contributions for Deacons
On November 7, 2020, the annual Diocesan Convention approved a resolution that calls on each parish with a serving deacon to pay:
  1. to each of that parish's deacons an honorarium of $25.00 per month; and
  2. to the Church Pension Fund (CPF) the contribution that the Episcopal Church requires the CPF to receive based on the monthly honorarium (currently $4.50 per month). 
Through these payments, the deacons of our Diocese will qualify for certain benefits that the CPF already provides to other clergy of our Diocese.
Parishes with deacons are asked to begin - if they have not already started - to implement the Diocesan Convention's resolution by paying the monthly honorarium to deacons and the monthly contribution to the CPF, effective November 2020. Because the payment of the monthly honorarium is solely for the purpose of enabling deacons of our Diocese to receive certain benefits from the Church Pension Fund:
  1. parishes are to pay an honorarium to only those Deacons who qualify for CPF benefits (that is, deacons who are under the age of 72); and
  2. each deacon is to receive only $25 per month as an Honorarium for his/her service, even if the deacon serves more than one parish.
Parishes that are served by the same deacon must promptly agree upon the fair allocation among them of the costs of the deacon's Honorarium and the related Contribution to the CPF. Those parishes must also promptly decide on a process for paying those amounts, which may require one parish to be responsible for communicating with and paying the CPF.
The Bishop's Committee for the Diaconate is currently gathering information from the CPF about its procedures and the benefits that it will provide the deacons of our Diocese. Early next week, members of the Committee have two scheduled conversations with representatives of the CPF. When the Committee has obtained further information, it will share it across our Diocese.
If you are a leader of a parish served by a deacon and you have questions about your parish's payments of the Honorarium and the CPF Contribution, please feel free to contact The Rev. Canon John Perris - Canon to the Ordinary and Bishop's Liaison to the Deacons - at


 3 Andre Josephs-Clarke 
15 Jasmin Bryant29 Imina Sade Santos-Thompson
 7 Jeanne Henderson   
17 Felicia M Santos-Patterson
30 George Thomas

 8  Brendan Foley  
20 Ruby Smith
 9 Lillian Goldson

23 Carol Anderson
     Bruce Petito

13 Lloyd Waldemar

26  Maria Bell        



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

Our prayers are asked for:
Becky Campos, Lillian, Matthew, Sasha; Paul & Donna, Margaret, Joe, G.J., Aleta, Plain family, Melius family; Ibadan Diocese, All Saints' Church, Oni family; Gary, Legend; Rhonda, Joe, Ann, all Teachers, Parents, Students, Theodore, John, Paul, Kathy, George, Janett, Renate, and Notoe; Sharon Greene, Owen,Agnes, Norma; McLauren family; Graham family; Wood family; Braxton family; Lori, Steven, Elyse, Jim, Seth; Phil; All essential workers; Beryl & Glen, Vincent family; George;  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, Kathy B.; Carola and Violet; Whitman, Medical Reserve Corp. of Dutchess County, Dept. of Behavioral and Community  health of Dutchess county; 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; 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.


December 1-6, 2020

TUE       1
10:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

WED      2
10:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

THU       3
10:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

SUN       6
10:00am   RITE II - in Church 




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