St. Paul's Episcopal Church Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

"Making friends while serving God"

The Week of August 25-30, 2020
Relatives of Charleston church shooting victims hold hands outside a bond hearing for Dylann Roof.
This week's readings

In this week's Epistle Paul lays out what it means to be a Christian.  Most of the directives, though not necessarily easy to follow, align with our usual sensibilities; loving each other, hating evil.  But buried in there are a couple of tough ones; bless those who persecute you,  do not repay evil for evil.   
This article from the June 25, 2015 Washington Post tells of people who put Paul's directives into action.  It's on the families of those slain by Dillan Roof in the Emmanuel Church massacre offering forgiveness to Roof.  
The powerful words of forgiveness delivered to Dylann Roof by victims' relatives
The relatives of people slain inside the historic African American church in Charleston, S.C., earlier this week were able to speak directly to the accused gunman Friday at his first court appearance.
One by one, those who chose to speak at a bond hearing did not turn to anger. Instead, while he remained impassive, they offered him forgiveness and said they were praying for his soul, even as they described the pain of their losses.
"I forgive you," Nadine Collier, the daughter of 70-year-old Ethel Lance, said at the hearing, her voice breaking with emotion. "You took something very precious from me. I will never talk to her again. I will never, ever hold her again. But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul."
Felicia Sanders spoke about her son, Tywanza Sanders, who was killed.
"We welcomed you Wednesday night in our Bible study with welcome arms," said Felicia Sanders, her voice trembling. "Tywanza Sanders was my son. But Tywanza Sanders was my hero. Tywanza was my hero....May God have mercy on you."
Some people chose not to speak. Others, like a relative of Myra Thompson, echoed the forgiving sentiment, calling on Roof to repent.
"I acknowledge that I am very angry," said the sister of DePayne Middleton-Doctor. "But one thing that DePayne always enjoined in our family ... is she taught me that we are the family that love built. We have no room for hating, so we have to forgive. I pray God on your soul."
Wanda Simmons, granddaughter of Daniel Simmons, said that the pleas for Roof's soul were proof that "hate won't win."
--Shawn Prater-Lee  
To be redirected to the Lectionary Page and get a digital copy of the readings  
Exodus 3:1-15; Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26, 45c  Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 16:21-28         
The Sunday sermon
Matthew 16:13-20
It was a Sunday morning. The liturgy was over and people were leaving the church. Not meaning to, a parishioner bumped into a gentleman who seemed to be kind of lost. He was looking up at the cross on top of the church steeple. She apologized and started to walk away; but the man called her back and asked if she could tell him about Jesus, and why she worshiped him. She opened her mouth and then realized that she really didn't know how to articulate her faith. So she pointed to me. I happened to be greeting people as they left church. And she told him to ask me. But finally he elected to excuse himself and walked away. That event really bothered her. She felt guilty and called me during the week, and we met and had a good talk. Now let me ask you something? Have you ever thought of what you would say if confronted by a person who queried you in a similar fashion?  

In this morning's gospel Jesus and his disciples had just come into the district of Caesarea Philippi. They had watched Jesus do a lot of teaching and they had watch him leave a trail of miracles behind them, the feeding of the five thousand, the calming of the storm at sea, the curing of the Canaanite woman's daughter, and many others.

Small wonder then that they are a little anxious when Jesus gathers them all around and asks them an unusual question; "Who do people say that I am?" One disciple said that people were saying that he was John the Baptist. Another said they thought he was Elijah. Still another said he was thought to be Jeremiah. Actually, the disciples had to have been relieved; because he was not putting them on the spot; he was only asking what other people were saying.

But then believe it or not, he directed the question to them. "But who do you say that I am?" At that point there had to have been what is referred to as one of those pregnant pauses. You know, I'll bet they were feeling a lot like that lady who bumped into that man that Sunday years ago. However, regrettably I didn't happen to be there to field the question for them. Then all of a sudden, "You are the Christ," said Peter, "the Son of the living God." Thank goodness for Peter! Right or wrong he is always the first one out of the gate, the first one to leave his fishing net and follow Jesus, the first one out of the boat to walk on water, the first to volunteer his opinion on any subject. And immediately Jesus announced that Peter was blessed, and called him the rock upon which the Church would be built.

Wow! Peter must have felt as if he had passed go on the monopoly board, but that he didn't need to collect $200.00 because he felt like he was going straight to heaven. He had to be so very, very excited and happy. Jesus saw him as the rock upon which he was going to build his church. But wait a minute, guess what; only six sentences later Jesus is going to stub his toe on that rock. Because no sooner had Peter received his new authority, he began to argue with Jesus about what is going to happen to Jesus in Jerusalem. And guess again; in next week's gospel Jesus addresses the man he had just blessed in a strange way, he called him Satan, and told him to get out of his sight. So, Peter went from being the rock upon which the Church would be built to a stumbling block in Jesus' way.
So what was going on? Why was Peter chosen? It doesn't seem to be because of his flawless character, or because of his intellectual prowess, or even his spiritual depth. Quite the contrary, this guy was bullheaded, big hearted, fallible, and as stubborn as a mule. I think he was chosen because someone like him just might understand someone like me. I think he was chosen because like me without thinking he often put not one foot but both feet in his mouth, like me he makes so many promises that he doesn't keep. You remember that famous promise he made to Jesus, saying that he would never deny him. And then he went out and denied him three times.

Yes, if Peter is the rock upon which the Church is built, then there is hope for me, and may I say for all of us? Because he is God's chosen rock whether he is acting like a cornerstone or making himself a stumbling block. And also because he shows us something very important; he shows us that being blessed is less about being perfect and more about our willingness to try to live the faith of Christ crucified, simply try.

The story of Peter's last encounter with Jesus is told not by Matthew, but by John in his gospel. It took place on a beach where the risen Lord has just cooked breakfast for his disciples. I bet you didn't know that Jesus was a master chef? As soon as the meal was over, Jesus turned to Peter and three times asked him, "Do you love me?" And three times Peter answers, "Yes Lord, you know I do." "Feed my sheep," Jesus said. You know what that means to me? It tells me that Jesus is not so all fired concerned about what we say, probably because it's quite possible, we will from time to time put our foot in our mouths; but he is more concerned about what we do in our lives, how we reflect our Christianity. I think it was St. Francis who said, "Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words."

So the next time you bump into, or simply engage in a conversation with someone who asks you what you believe as a Christian, invite that person to join you as a volunteer in the food pantry, or perhaps insist that they go with you to a Rural Migrant Ministry event.
--Fr. C. Allan Ford


Thanks to all who have attended church recently. It has been great seeing all of you. As announced several weeks ago we'll have in person worship on the first and third Sundays of the month. Otherwise we'll be on Zoom.
Our schedule through the end of September will be:

Zoom church this Sunday, September 13 and 27.
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)    
In Person Worship on September 6 and 20.
Hope to see you in church either on Zoom or in September when we are next back in church. 
--Shawn Prater-Lee 
Total deposit for the past week - $1158 ($513 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!!!


Are you registered to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election on November 3rd?  
If you have recently changed your name or your address, you currently may not be eligible to vote. To check on your current registration, call the Dutchess County Board of Elections (845-486-2473). They are open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday and after Labor Day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They will check on your current registration and, if you are not registered, they will mail you a registration form. You can also get a form online at Or you can call the church at 845-452-8440, and we will get one to you. If you want to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election, you MUST register to vote by October 9th. 
First Lutheran and St. Paul's Episcopal Church are cooperating on a joint voter registration project. First of all, we want to be sure that our congregations are registered to vote. We have received a number of forms from the Dutchess County Board of Elections. They are available for you, your family and friends by calling me at 845-454-8440. Second, we will also be registering folks through the thrift shop and food pantry. If you have questions or want to help, please call Shawn at 845-464-2007.
 --Shawn Prater-Lee
Evidence of a living faith
While we continue to isolate let's keep on giving our faith some physical exercise. Call your local library, rent online or borrow these movies - "War Room" and "A Hidden Life." Watch them and reflect on where you are in your prayer life and spiritual journey. I would love to hear from you.                                                                                           Deacon Julett.
Ponder this:
"An Interrupted Life, a young imprisoned Jew in Nazi Germany, Etty Hillesum, says straightforwardly, "Each of us must return inward and destroy in [ourselves] all that [we think we] ought to destroy in others. And remember that every atom of hate we add to this world make it still more inhospitable." [1] It surely follows that each of us moves things along in the direction of healing and wholeness each time we choose to love. It is always a choice and decision."
[1] Etty Hellesum, diary entry (September 23, 1942), An Interrupted life: The Diaries of Etty Hellesum, 1941-1943, trans. Arno Pomerans (Pantheon Books: 1983), 180.
--Deacon Julett

 1 Josephine Sherow 
 3 G.C. (Gerry) Sprague 
  7 Charlene DuBois

14 Ed McCurty
23 Marlene Taylor
25 Dewy Clarke
 4 Owen Tucker
 5 Owen Scarlett

15 Adrianna Babb

20 Krystal Hyson

27 Jessica Ann Krainski



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:
Lori, Steven, Elyse, Jim, Seth; Phil; All essential workers; Beryl & Glen, Vincent  
family; 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, 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; 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.


August 25-30, 2020

TUE     2510:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

WED    26
10:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

THU     27
10:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

SUN     30
10:00am   RITE II - Zoom 





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

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