The Week of June 9-14, 2020
Dear St. Paul's Family,
I hope this finds you, your family, and your friends safe and well. You are reading my inaugural article on this week's readings, and I ask for your patience and understanding as I fumble around such a daunting task - one that others have done so well for so many years. I also ask that you read my words as those of a lay person, with no academic background or qualifications to seriously present such ideas. Instead, please view them as the simple thoughts of someone who attends church like you and tries to find meaning in the words we hear and recite.
Like many of you, I have found the events of the past few weeks troubling and difficult to process. During such daunting periods, we can find some solace in the lessons presented in this week's readings from Genesis, Romans, and Matthew. And though they hold a wealth of ideas and themes, too many to properly explore here, I want to focus on the one that resonated with me: hope.
Hope, the expectation that something will happen, is a powerful concept. It motivates us, gives us strength, and provides focus. Paul's Letter to the Romans (5:1-8) offers us a unique interpretation of hope, and how it's achieved: "Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us." Here, Paul proposes quite a process, some might say ordeal, to gain hope. Perhaps we must suffer and endure trials and tribulations to shape our hopes and dreams, and perhaps they must be endured to achieve them, at least those that seem the most impossible. For me, this is one of the takeaways from this week's readings: one that seems so apt for now.
What do you hope for during these times? More importantly, what can you do, small or large, to effect that hope? Whatever the answer, I pray that you and I have the endurance and character to realize them.
Yours in faith,
Mark Debald, Warden
To be redirected to the full readings at the end of this newsletter
Genesis 18:1-15, (21:1-7)
Psalm 116:1, 10-17
The Sunday sermon
Trinity Sunday, June 7, 2020
Would you believe that Psalm 8, the psalm read this morning, was the first Biblical text to reach the moon? The Apollo 11 mission left a silicon disc on the moon containing the eighth psalm as well as messages from seventy-three nations, including the Vatican State.
It is said that Neil Armstrong, on that celebrated, lunar, starlit night, looked up and found himself in awe of the immensity of God's creation. He realized that as individuals we were just a tiny speck in the whole scheme of things. It puts me in mind of the creation story as found in our first lesson. Do you remember the refrain that was repeated over and again in the first chapter of Genesis as different things were created? It goes like this: "And God saw that it was good."
God looking upon his creation and calling it good makes me think of an incredible experience I had one of my summers at a residential camp. I was a counselor in training and assigned to the camp infirmary. One day the program director and his wife came rushing in to the infirmary. She was pregnant and her water had broken. Immediately the camp nurse directed me to put two tables together, throw two mattresses and a sheet on them. Then I was directed to put two chairs facing each other on the table. Being given no more directions, I then backed up and pretended to hold up one of the walls. After all, I was a sixteen year old curious kid. I heard the nurse order the mother to push. When the child finally arrived, I was awe struck and I had tears in my eyes, and there was great joy and big grins on the faces of the new parents, on the faces of the co-creators with God; and they recited a portion of the refrain from Genesis. They said, "this is good." And I was in a daze for the remainder of the summer.
As we meditate on the creation, as we read about it in the beginning of Genesis, as we rejoice about it in a makeshift camp birthing room, if you are like me we want to stay in that positive, creative moment. But then we remember that we live on a planet where there are wars and rumors of wars. We remember that there is the spreading of an opioid addiction destroying many of our young people; and that there is immense political discord that we can read about in the newspapers on a daily basis. And there is the ongoing disease of racism also grabbing today's headlines; a disease that started in the year 1619 when Africans were first brought to these shores against their wills to work as slaves. And that disease spread as this country grew.
But then centuries later came the Emancipation. Racism was dealt a tremendous blow. There were some who felt because the slaves were freed we had defeated the disease. But no, it reappeared in all its ugliness it reappeared in a practice called Jim Crow. We were free, but we couldn't go into the front door of any establishment. We were segregated in all ways from the white community. And then decades later came Martin Luther King with his marches and sit ins; and his work led to the Voting Rights Act in August of 1965. It allowed virtually everyone to be able to vote. Surely, it was felt, we had destroyed the disease of racism. But again, no we hadn't.
It continued to show itself, in various places. For example, it is thriving in our prisons which are predominantly inhabited by black and brown inmates. If you haven't already, you just might want to read an excellent book entitled "The New Jim Crow," by Michelle Alexander. It's about how the disease of racism has spread through all of our American prisons. And of course you have been following the ways many of the members of our police forces, the people who are in our communities ordained to protect and serve us have been treating many of our black men like animals. There are very few of my black brothers who have not been challenged by a white police officer simply because of the color of our skin. My first year in the seminary, I was invited to the home of one of my professors for dinner. I had to take a bus to his house. As I got off the bus and walked a few steps, I noticed a police car following me. He turned his spot light on me and ordered me to come to his car. He asked for identification, and then asked what I was doing in that neighborhood. When I told him, he let me go, but followed me with his spotlight on me until I got to the professor's house and was welcomed in. I've often thought back to that evening. Had I been a bit defiant, I could have received the same treatment received by George Floyd, or Eric Garner or maybe Freddie Gray.
So, I ask myself what has happened to that wonderful creation that God called good? Maybe one of the things that happened is that we misunderstood what it meant to have been given dominion over the works of God's hands. It seems as though maybe some of us have come to believe that having dominion gives us license to exploit fellow human beings. Nothing could be further from the truth. What some of us may have forgotten or perhaps never having truly realized is that being good stewards to God's creation includes remembering that all of our fellow human beings are like we are, made in the image of God.
There are some who believe that racism will never go away. I do not agree with that position. In part because of what I mean whenever I recite the prayer Jesus taught us. "thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." But also because I have been watching on my television screens the young people of all races, sexes and creeds demonstrating day after day in the major cities of not only the United States but also some of the major cities of the world.
They are not going to give up. They want change. They are driven by the Spirit, just as the apostles were on the Day of Pentecost. They need our support in any way we can offer it. We must destroy the disease of racism. It has no place in God's creation; it has no place in that which God saw as good.
--Fr. Allan Ford
A NOTE FROM THE TREASURY TEAM
Total deposit for the past week - $2013 ($725 - 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 pray you are all well and look forward to "seeing" you at Zoom Church.
If you're tired of cooking, we still have Super Chili that we're happy to sell for $10 per quart. You can pick up your order on Mondays from 10-12pm.
The Beloved Community Faces White Supremacy
June 1, 2020
Our Dear Brothers and Sisters,
George Floyd was killed last Monday night by a police officer who knelt on his neck and, despite his protestations that he could not breathe, would not get off of him until he asphyxiated. That is what happened to Eric Garner on Staten Island in our city in 2014. In March, Breonna Taylor was shot and killed at night in her bedroom by a force of policemen who broke into her apartment unannounced on a "no knock" warrant. That is what happened to Deborah Danner, a communicant of this diocese, in the Bronx in our city in 2016. In February, Ahmaud Arbery was shot by two vigilantes under the guise of a "citizen's arrest" while he jogged through a white neighborhood. That is what happened to Trayvon Martin in 2012. George, Breonna and Ahmaud join Eric, Deborah, Trayvon and countless others who have fallen victim to the fear and violence of racist America and the outrages of police officers across our country throughout this country's history, and raised to high relief by the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri six years ago. And this week America has erupted.
At a time when pandemic has led everyone to be told to distance from one another, and to stay home, seeing so many clustered in the streets at personal risk in protest of these deaths is a testament to the exhaustion, frustration, shared grief, and anger of Americans across our country. This is not the first time. Michael Brown's killing raised into high relief the threat under which black people live in this country and brought about the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement. Month after month, we made our witness, we marched and protested, we insisted on the value of African American lives, we named and called out the evil of White Supremacy. These recent killings are not only tragic and violent and abominable in their own right, they drive home the harsh truth that almost nothing has changed, and that the long, weary legacy of contempt by people of power toward people of color continues unabated. For too many people, black lives don't matter, and hearts too filled with hate and fear refuse conversion. Until white people and people with privilege and power in this country face the reality of life in this country for people of color, and understand that their own souls are at stake, and that no one is fully human until everyone is fully human, the Beloved Community will remain an unattainable dream.
Over the months of the COVID pandemic we have watched as the wealthy have fled the city to weekend and summer homes while the poor have been left clustered in dense apartment buildings at the center of the epidemic. We have watched (and many of us have been) the privileged, working safely from home on full salary, while those who serve in hospitals and drive ambulances, and who pack and deliver groceries and pharmaceuticals, and who deliver for restaurants, and who care for old people in nursing homes, and drive subways and taxis, are forced day after day back into the public square and jobs which expose them to continual risk of disease. We have seen COVID claim a terrible harvest in black and Latino communities far beyond the losses of white people, and strike a hammer blow upon the very poor and the undocumented, as the ongoing injustices of entrenched poverty and poor diet and lack of access to health care have made disproportional pandemic death a new terrible price of our racial and economic injustice.
We are all of us participants in a culture and economy which fails now, and has always failed, since the inception of this country, to value people of color as the full human beings God created them and every person to be. White Supremacy exists on a long spectrum of attitudes and behaviors. At one extreme end is a police officer with his knee on the neck of a handcuffed man. But at the other end, and across that spectrum are the thousand thousand ways in which White Supremacy protects itself: the unexamined assumptions and willful blindnesses and rationalizations that train ordinary white people to turn their eyes from the evil of a racist culture, and from the racism within themselves. On the Feast of the Pentecost we celebrate that we are baptized disciples of Jesus Christ, and that we have been graced and gifted by the Holy Spirit into that New Creation heralded by Saint Paul. In our baptismal covenant we promise to "strive for justice and peace, and respect the dignity of every human being." This is of Christ. This is part of the transformation to a fuller and more glorious humanity before God. We are all of us participants in a culture and economy which dehumanizes people of color and counts their lives so cheap, so this striving for justice will require something sacrificial from every one of us. It will require every one of us to stand up. White Supremacy is written into the American character in ways that white people too often do not want to see, but as people of God we are also participants in a Beloved Community coming into being. At the center of that becoming is our insistence that black lives matter and are lived before the loving eyes of God. If our advocacy is to arise from our love, if we are to be agents of the change, it must also arise out of our humility and contrition and our resolve.
The Rt. Rev. Andrew ML Dietsche
Bishop of New York
The Rt. Rev. Allen K. Shin
The Rt. Rev. Mary D. Glasspool
2 Donna Taylor
13 Kimberli Williams
15 Bobbie Gordon
|30 Luke Goodwin
7 Molly Jones
Marry Ann Bagatta
|16 Oni Obafemi
17 Benjamin Rosborough
| 8 Serena Mazzuto
|| Jordon Rosborough
|10 Hyacinth Curtis
21 Shirley Richardson
|12 Ira Wethington
Garrett Martin Bell
|22 Michael Babb II
25 Donna Hosier
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:
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 our by helping others.
1982 8 Morning has broken (Bunessan)
1982 377 All people that on earth do well (Old 100th)
1982 562 Onward, Christian soldiers (St. Gertrude)
Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in your steadfast faith and love, that through your grace we may proclaim your truth with boldness, and minister your justice with compassion; for the sake of our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Genesis 18:1-15, (21:1-7)
he Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, "My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on-since you have come to your servant." So they said, "Do as you have said." And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, "Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes." Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.
They said to him, "Where is your wife Sarah?" And he said, "There, in the tent." Then one said, "I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son." And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, "After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?" The Lord said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, and say, 'Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?' Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son." But Sarah denied, saying, "I did not laugh"; for she was afraid. He said, "Oh yes, you did laugh."
[The Lord dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised. Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to his son whom Sarah bore him. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Now Sarah said, "God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me." And she said, "Who would ever have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age."]
Psalm 116:1, 10-17
love the Lord, because he has heard the voice of my supplication, *
because he has inclined his ear to me whenever I called upon him.
10 How shall I repay the Lord *
for all the good things he has done for me?
11 I will lift up the cup of salvation *
and call upon the Name of the Lord.
12 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord *
in the presence of all his people.
13 Precious in the sight of the Lord *
is the death of his servants.
14 O Lord, I am your servant; *
I am your servant and the child of your handmaid;
you have freed me from my bonds.
15 I will offer you the sacrifice of thanksgiving *
and call upon the Name of the Lord.
16 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord *
in the presence of all his people,
17 In the courts of the Lord'S house, *
in the midst of you, O Jerusalem.
Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person-- though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.
esus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."
Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, 'The kingdom of heaven has come near.' Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. [Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food. Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
"See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes."]