St. Paul's Episcopal Church   Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

"Making friends while serving God"

The Week of July 22-28 2019

Knock and the door will be opened

Jesus told his disciples, "Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened." This set of assurances conveys a spiritual truth that many never encounter, much less recognize.
Jesus encouraged questions because he wanted his followers--even the hostile ones--to think about the issues at hand. The quotation above makes clear that the answer to the question, the result of the search and the knocking at the door will not necessarily align with our particular requests unless we are motivated spiritually. In Bible study we observe that prayers for Maseratis or yachts or even chocolate covered are answered but negatively.
The open door is the most suggestive of the three parts of the quotation. A doorway opens to a new space, likely an unfamiliar one. If a person is seeking a closer walk with God, chances are good it awaits on the other side of the newly opened doorway.


To be redirected to the Lectionary Page and get a digital copy of the readings 


Church moves to the Parish Hall to keep cool

Sunday's services as well as the Celebration of Life for Elisabeth Gillon were conducted in the Parish Hall this weekend due to the extreme heat outside and in the church. The temperature differential was an important 15 degrees.

The attendees at the services had plenty of room, fans and a fresh, bright space for worship and, afterward, fellowship.

Above, a photo of the congregation from our makeshift altar. Also, Brooke Plain read our Hebrew Bible reading involving Abraham and Sarah and the three angels. Maria Bell brought her granddaughter Josie. And our music section in the summer, Maris Kristapsons and Charlie Benjamin, adjusted to the changed location.


The Pastoral Care Committee is asking for help from the St. Paul's congregation to identify individuals who might appreciate some help dealing with their practical and spiritual struggles.

The Pastoral Care Committee reaches out to those who are sick, homebound, need support or are struggling in any way.
Visitations are made to those who are homebound or are in hospitals or nursing homes.
Cards are sent out on a regular basis for "Thinking of You",  Get Well, Sympathy or holidays to those we do not see but wish to keep in touch. Phone calls also keep us in touch with the home-bound.
Rides to church are provided to those who are unable to drive or need assistance. We don't know how many members of our parish are "stuck at home" due to the lack of transportation. Please consider those you haven't seen in church for a while and let the Pastoral Care team know.
Holiday bags are prepared at Christmas for those who are homebound.

If you have a concern or know of anyone in need of pastoral care, please contact Cynthia Benjamin, Chairperson or any member of the committee - Rose Marie Proctor, Janet Quade, Charlie Benjamin, Norma Williams.

Pastoral Care also joins with the Seekers Group which meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 6PM. For more information on this, please contact Cynthia Benjamin.
--Janet Quade
St. Paul's has a long history of involvement with Habitat for Humanity Dutchess County. Parishioners have participated in the building of new homes, helped out at the Habitat Re-Store, and, earlier this month, volunteered in setting the Habitat booth at the First Friday celebration site at Eastman Park.

St. Paul's participants have found that helping to build a house that will later be the home for a needy family, as well as helping Habitat for Humanity more generally, are tangible and loving expressions of God's love.

The new "Faith Build" Habitat has planned in our area will be built in Wappingers Falls by the end of this year, Dec. 31, 2019. The fund raising goal for the project is $120,000. As of June 24, 2019, partner churches have raised $2,424.00. So far at St. Paul's we have raised a little over $400. If we reached a goal of $1,000 our contribution would buy three doors for this new home. Please let me know if you'd be able to donate or would like to help with fund raising.

Also, currently we pray weekly as a community and individually for Faith Build 2019 and the family that will live in this new house.

I am looking for willing hands from St. Paul's along with friends and family members to make a team of volunteer for the ReStore on July 27, 2019. Leave a message for me at the Church Office for me if you are interested. There are two shifts - 10 am to 1:30 pm and 1:30 to 5 pm. Volunteers can work one or both shifts.  
--Deacon Julett Butler

Perfect summer brunch
featuring Caribbean fare
Sunday Aug. 4 we'll see a special feature at St. Paul's after church with a summer brunch featuring Caribbean specialties and some of the regular coffee hour breakfast offerings.
Of particular note:
            - Ackee and salt fish
            - callaloo
            - fried dumplings
            - fried plantains
            - escovitch fish
            - corn pudding
            - African specialties.
More conventional breakfast foods such as scrambled eggs, ham and sausage will be on hand as well.
The price for this splendid brunch is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Please plan to attend and enjoy the convivial atmosphere after church. Please also invite any neighbors, friends and family who might enjoy the great food and our remarkable congregation.  

St. Paul's - First Lutheran
Vacation Bible School
 Once again St. Paul's along with First Lutheran is holding Vacation Bible School (VBS) for children ages 6-12. Dates are August 6,7,8th from 5:30 - 8:00 p.m. The exciting theme is HERO CENTRAL - Discover Your Strength in God. The evenings will begin with a light supper followed by activities that will include bible stories, music, games, and crafts. There are fliers in the Narthex. Please invite friends to join you. Call the church office 845-452-8440 to let us know you are interested. Someone will call you back with a reminder as the time grows closer.

During the summer months, our Food Pantry volunteers see an increase in demand from our neighbors in need. School is out, so children are eating more meals at home. Please bring non-perishable food with you when you come to church and place it in the large basket in the Narthax.
Items that are always needed are pancake mix and pancake syrup, tuna fish and mayonnaise, and beef stew. Anything you donate will be given away. Thank you!


Do you have your ticket for the 25 Week Club? Remember "you have to be in it to win it!! We have held weekly drawings since April 7 for $20 & $10, so that means there have been 28 winners so far and some people have won more than once.   The final drawing for the large prizes will be held at a lunch on September 28th. Ticket holders will receive an invitation in late August. Money raised from the 25 Week Club helps support the church and this time half of the earnings will go toward the cost of the new pew cushions. It's not too late to get a ticket - see Bobbie Gordon if you'd like one or if you can sell some to your friends.


Sunday's sermon
The better part

SERMON: 6 Pentecost C 7 21 19
Let's cut to the chase. In our Gospel this morning Jesus tells Martha, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her."
What do you think he means?

It is a really interesting question because there is so much going on in this story. This is a short Gospel reading--shorter than the other readings this morning--and it tells a simple story. Except there are people involved and there are, shall we say, issues.

How many of you remember Alley Oop? Alley Oop was a comic strip when I was growing up. The title character was a caveman who had been brought to the 20th Century by Doc Wonmug, a scientist with a time machine. I always loved the strip. Alley Oop visited different periods in history carrying a caveman's club that looked like it would fell a tree.

Anyway, I want to offer you a trip in my virtual time machine. Let's get all comfortable and take a trip back about two thousand years to the home of Martha and Mary. Let's say we're chatting with them when they see Jesus walking up the path to their door. "Oh my goodness," they say in unison. "It's Jesus come for a visit."

Now let's think about how things got haywire between the sisters. Because it's pretty obvious that Mary couldn't wait to sit at Jesus feet and hear everything he had to say. Meanwhile Martha thought, "I want to make him comfortable and fix him something to eat."

These competing notions are not at odds in the beginning. We can know this because we're in their home and they aren't squabbling yet. If we go in the front room with Mary and Jesus we see everything's just fine. Jesus is speaking. Mary is listening, perhaps asking a question now and then. But if we go in the kitchen, Martha is realizing that her choice to provide food means she's missing out on the conversation. She blows a gasket and demands that Jesus tell Mary to help her out. It's pretty interesting that Martha didn't just ask Mary herself.

I don't think it would have taken much to get the situation squared away. Martha could have said, "Mary, would you give me a hand in the kitchen so I can be part of the conversation also?" Mary might have said, "You bet," and gone to help. Or she might have said, "Sit with us Martha, and I'll help get the food ready when we're done talking."

That kind of situation confronts us all the time. Can we change course and make a correction to a poor decision? Or are we going to seethe with resentment, like Martha?

But when Martha charged Jesus with resolving the matter she put him in the position to re-prioritize her options. She had chosen to prepare food, Mary had chosen spiritual conversation. Jesus makes it clear, Mary's choice was better.
I read one article about this Gospel reading this week which sided with Martha. She is a devoted follower of Jesus; she just prioritized poorly. Mary made the right choice but left her sister to do all the work. It is easy, in our comfortable seats in my time machine, to see there were easier, less confrontational ways this situation could have been resolved or avoided.

Jesus said Mary made the better choice, chosen the better part. What he is telling Martha is that it is more important that she gets what he has to offer than it is for him to get what she has to offer. Perhaps there will be time for him to enjoy a meal with the sisters. But what really matters is that she hears him and learns from him, as her sister was doing.

I think there is also an implication in this Gospel reading that there was another option open to Martha. This alternative doesn't always get attention, but I think it's pretty important. Because if Martha had been satisfied with the role she had chosen--the one preparing food--she wouldn't have gotten mad at Mary for letting her do all the work. She would have been at peace with her choice.

I suspect that kind of peace was what Jesus was talking about with Mary. Because just as Martha was getting all worked up in the kitchen, not especially enjoying the food service role she had given herself, so could Mary be sitting at Jesus' feet be thinking, "Oh my goodness, I've got to feed the chickens, will he ever finish talking," or maybe even "I really should be in the kitchen helping Martha."

My point is that Jesus regularly explains how we need peace. He offers peace when he encounters people. He declares peace to his followers. And it's not just for those moments in conversation with him that Jesus recommends peace. He thinks we should be at peace all the time.

I was listening to the radio the other day and a caller was explaining how meditation became a fairly common American activity because it was popularized by the Beatles. They went to India to learn about it from the Maharishi. The caller said that people who wanted peace should be peaceful, not angry or militant. The caller quoted the Maharishi as saying, "just as for a forest to be green the trees need to be green, if we want peace we must be at peace." That snippet of radio chatter reminded me of Jesus' propensity to offer peace, even the peace that passes understanding.

This peace business addresses our heart. It informs our every act and thought. It allows us to live our lives at peace, joyfully, gratefully, even though there may be serious concerns or disturbances. This is peace that some have never experienced.
Many think of peace as a kind of armed standoff, where at least two sides aren't actively fighting and hurting one another. But the peace that Jesus is talking about is one that lets us live full and fulfilled lives even though things often do not go as we would want them to go. It is obvious Martha lacked that kind of peace, storming around in the kitchen. Mary we're not sure about.

But while we're thinking about peace, look for a minute at our Hebrew Bible reading. Abraham and Sarah have really been through a lot already, and they are concerned because they have no children to care for them in their old age, which is rapidly approaching. Abraham offers hospitality to three men whom Abraham does not realize are angels of God. As they leave they ask after Sarah and they assert that she will bear a son.

Even with my amazing virtual time machine we cannot directly connect the hospitality and the child. But we also should not put our faith in coincidence. Instead we can look at these more or less connected events and infer that God intended to reward Abraham and Sarah with their hearts' desire because at least in part they had demonstrated their faith in a generous God by being generous themselves with their hospitality.

It would have been easy for them to stay in their tent and not share their food or go to the trouble of welcoming the travelers. Instead they welcomed and cared for the three who turned out to be angels. Coincidence? I don't think so.

These lessons show us the potential for our offering acts of kindness and generosity that parallel God's goodness and generosity in the world. They show us with real examples what it means to love God and love our neighbor. It also shows us what amazing good can come from making the choice to respond to what life brings us in the ways that we have read about today.                                                    Amen
A sermon preached July 21, 2019 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Poughkeepsie NY by The Rev. Tyler Jones, Rector
                                   JULY BIRTHDAYS
   4   Julett Butler                                     17   Roseline Oni
   7   Janet Quade                                    20   Kaylee Curtis
 11   Ginny Gates                                     22   Ruthie Hodge
 13   Sharon Sherow                                27   Faith Mincey
        Christopher Evens                           28   Michael Babb
                                                                 31   Selene Hyson


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St. Paul's Episcopal Church-Poughkeepsie

'In Service to God & You'

Lectors:           Tom Walker

Litanist:            Pete Bedrossian

Server:             Maria Bell

Organist:         Maris Kristapsons
Acolytes:         Shawn Prater-Lee                 
Lectors:           Debbie Pitcher
                        Jim Schneider
Litanist:            Mark Debald
Usher:              Dewy Clarke
                         Mark Debald
Altar Guild:       Joanna & Rose Marie



1982        616     Hail to the Lord's Anointed (Es flog ein kleins Waldvogelein)

1982        304     I come with joy to meet my Lord (Land of Rest)
1982        671     Amazing grace! how sweet the sound (New Britain)
1982        460     Alleluia! sing to Jesus (Hyfrydol)
 Hymn Information

The authorship of Jerusalem, my happy home is unclear. A manuscript in the British Museum is dated around 1583 and the author is thought to have been a Catholic priest who based the hymn on the writings of St. Augustine. However, various hymnals have other, later attributions. The first stanza is similar to a hymn from Southern Harmony (1835) but the other stanzas in this version differ. The tune most often associated with these words is an American folk tune titled "Land of Rest," with roots in ballads of northern England and Scotland. It was known throughout the Appalachians and a shape-note version of the tune was published in The Sacred Harp (1844).


July 22-28, 2019
MON 22

7:30am   AA Meeting
6:00pm   Evening Prayer; Vestry
6:30pm   NA Meeting - Journey to Recovery

TUE 23
10:00am   Food Pantry, Thrift Store;
6:00pm     Evening Prayer; Bible Study

WED 24
7:30am     AA Meeting
10:00am   Food Pantry, Thrift Shop; 
12:15pm   Healing Service & Eucharist;

THU 25
10:00am   Food Pantry, Thrift Shop; 

FRI  26
7:30am     AA Meeting
6:30pm     NA Meeting

SAT 27
10:00am   NA Meeting
3:00pm     NA Meeting - Men Do Recover

SUN 28
8:00am     RITE I
8:45am     Lesson' Discussions
10:00am   Sunday School; RITE II
11:15am   Coffee Hour
11:30am   Youth - Connect


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