The Week of June 2-7, 2020
This is the day when we intentionally celebrate our human understanding of, and language for God. Every day we express what we believe about God through reciting The Apostles' Creed at Morning and Evening Prayer and at Baptism or Renewal of our Baptismal vows. It is thought that the expressions embedded in this Creed first derived from the prayers offered by the very earliest followers in the Way of Jesus as the early Church began to be formed around the apostles, and thus the title Apostles' Creed. It is foundational to the expression of our faith as Episcopalians. There have been numerous iterations of this prayer and, over time, the language of what we now call The Nicene Creed evolved. It is built on and is an expansion of the original. At services of the Holy Eucharist -- offered mostly on Sundays - the Nicene Creed is recited after the Sermon. Our Church claims the Apostles' Creed as 'The Baptismal Symbol;' and the Nicene Creed as 'the sufficient statement of the Christian faith" (BCP, p. 877; Resolution 11, para. (b)) A more in-depth study of the history of the creeds could be done during Christian Education hour or at Bible Study or at classes in preparation for Confirmation. But there is a third creed that helps our understanding and aids in informing our expression of God as "three in one and one in three." Notwithstanding its archaic language, the expression of God as "Three in One and One in Three" is beautifully articulated in The Athanasian Creed - the Quicunque Vult - found in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer pp. 864-5. However in this twenty-first century when challenged to say what it is that we believe we can call to mind the language more simply expressed in the Question/Answer format of The Catechism which many of us learned as young children. A review before Sunday might help: God the Father - p. 846; God
the Son - p.849; God The Holy Spirit - p.852; on The Creeds - p. 851-2. The scripture readings for next Sunday, Trinity Sunday, undergird all these references and inform our Theology of The Trinity.
The Genesis reading speaks to the activity of God in creation. In the beginning God created - heaven and earth; In the beginning God the Spirit breathed; In the beginning God the Word spoke and said "Let there be ..." Ultimately God created humanity, all humanity -- you and me - and George Floyd, protesters, police officers, even Donald Trump -- in God's image, the imago dei, and empowered humanity giving us dominion over everything that had been created - except domination over each other, except domination over humanity. In the beginning God-- the Creator of life, the Word of life, the Breath of life. In the Epistle Paul writes his Second Letter to the Church in Corinth and in his closing of that letter invokes a Trinitarian blessing "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." Finally, in the last chapter of The Gospel According to Matthew (28:16-20), we hear the voice of Jesus as He commissions his disciples, and gives them authority to baptize - not in His Name only, but in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. God is One. One God - not three gods; not two gods, but One. Remember this on Sunday, Trinity Sunday, when you affirm your faith, when you go to the Altar of God in your hearts; when you bring the challenges of the world in which we find ourselves today - the challenges of coronavirus; the unfettered killing of Black people; the drive and passion and call for justice, equality; for unity of purpose; as we speak to God and beseech God's presence for changed hearts that lead to healing, unity, reconciliation. Go before the Altar of God and pray in the Name of the One God who Creates relating to us as a parent; who Reconciles through our faith in Jesus Christ risen and ascended; and who Sanctifies and enkindles us giving us all strength to carry on.
--Rev. Gloria Payne-Carter
To be redirected to the full readings at the end of this newsletter
The Sunday sermon
Come, Holy Spirit
SERMON: Pentecost A 5 31 20
I find it difficult to reflect on the two anticipated elements of today's service without acknowledging first the obvious: the elephant in the room is the death of George Floyd and the legion of black people and other people of color and poor people who have suffered unfairly, unduly, unconstitutionally at the hand of the white power structure of the United States of America.
Our constitution is an aspirational document. It was intended to separate us from other nations. It does not do its job carved in stone on the wall, or printed and framed and hung in a place of honor. It does its job as our society lives according to its tenets. We fail to do that every single day of the week, the year, on and on through the centuries. Combined with this week's installment of entitled violence in America, is the reality of the corona-virus which is imposing its own violence on our nation, and most especially on poor people and people of color.
Now most of us recoil from the violence which erupted after the murder of George Floyd by uniformed police in Minneapolis. We know that is not the answer. But it is an expression. An expression I found put best buy one black commentator who said: Don't talk to us about violence. We learned it from you.
Truer words were never spoken. Why have we not recognized that reality in our 300 years of constitutional existence? Why have we not dealt with it?
A rally tonight at 9 o'clock at Mill Street and Market Street is planned to protest the murder of George Floyd and the status of our so far unfulfilled constitutional democracy. And yet, we all need to recognize, the coronavirus will be in attendance. Can we attend safely? Will a mask suffice? This is a very personal question, because it requires that we all consider our age and our health and underlying conditions, our confidence in being out at night, and among strangers, probably.
But know this: God will be there. God will be in the midst of people in anguish, angry, devastated, disappointed in the extreme. May God keep those who gather safe.
Now I can address the two anticipated elements of the sermon: Pentecost and my departure.
Today we are blessed with the recorded arrival of the Holy Spirit. We've done this many times before. Perhaps not countless times - but after all, we all know how old we are and how long we've been in church, and so on. We could figure it out, more or less. But we're repeating a very familiar story. And it continues to thrill and inspire.
It is especially delightful because it is paired in the lectionary with the story of Eldad and Medad, who were moved by the spirit even though they were not among those ordained by Moses. We don't have to concern ourselves with the 70 ordained who failed to fulfill their vows; we can focus on Eldad and Medad and imagine how their experience in the spirit reflects our own.
But let's remember this: Moses had to ask God what to do about the people he was supposed to shepherd. God didn't suggest or direct the ordination of the 70 independently. That gives us a clue as we consider how we should or could relate to Moses or Eldad and Medad. It is this: if we don't ask God our questions in prayer and in the way we live our lives, we have no way to know how to interpret the twists and turns our lives take. Instead, if we do ask, then God's answer is in the unfolding of our lives and the opportunities we are given to fulfill our aspirations.
When Moses asked for help, what did he get? Widespread passivity from those God ordained, at a time when there was a lot of work to do. But also Moses got active help from the brothers. Consider this with our reality: there is always a lot of work to do and we can see that this lesson contains important information for the church and for each of us. But when we say, "God, do this for me" we may not be able to recognize the answer. But when we pray, "God, what should I do about this?" then we can comfortably and reliably await the opportunity that represents the answer.
One thing it points out is that the Holy Spirit arrived just in the nick of time. With Eldad and Medad and with the early Christians on the first Pentecost. It animated and motivated the followers of Jesus in today's reading from the Acts of the Apostles. It revealed that each of us has the capacity to address and understand others, even those from different cultures using different languages. This is a big help when we are nervous about outwardly loving our neighbor.
This pairing of the Pentecost experience and the Eldad and Medad story also inspires us in the way they discerned what they were called to do (or perhaps just invited to do). These Bible lessons talk about how they did it, sharing with others the news of God's love and power. We don't know if they had a dream or just a wild notion, but off they went. So should we. Because there is never a bad time to testify to the goodness and greatness of the Almighty.
Our friend Susan Fortunato at Christ Church here in Poughkeepsie tells of being a young mother trying to avoid the regular attempts at home visits from faithful Seventh Day Adventists scouring her neighborhood for prospects. Ultimately she invited them in. And while she didn't share their theological perspective or want to respond as they had hoped to their invitation, it did inspire her to consider her own faith and to engage more deeply over time with the obvious result.
That tells us that we might get or we might give a message of faith in encounters with others and we have no control over what they do with it. We can't assign them a seat at St. Paul's. But we can trust God to do something with that person and with the information we gave them.
So if we are mindful and generous with telling others of our own sense and reality of God, like the Pentecost experience two thousand years ago, we find ourselves and our story understood and accepted. The inverse is true as well: if we don't share our story, if we are not open with the other, we are not understood and therefore are likely not to be accepted.
I love how these lessons are manifested in the church. I have observed it in varying degrees in every church I've attended ever since I became clear about the importance of it. And rather than recite the list of churches and their pentecostal performance, I will just say this: the Holy Spirit lives here at St. Paul's. I anticipated it from reading the profile and in conversations with parish leaders when Molly and I were still in Germany. I experienced it when I got here. And I have observed it reliably and regularly among the leaders, the regulars, the occasional attendees. It has brought great joy to my heart and a sense of fulfillment to my ministry. I thank you for that. Deeply.
The spirit of this church is inspiring and moving and faithful. It is recognized by those who come to St. Paul's and I have great confidence that will continue as long as these walls stand and support our fabulous roof.
I see myself in a line of prior priests who have served here, most of them from another time and unknown to us, and a handful known quite well. The three I've met have shared with me the same opinion and sentiment about St. Paul's I have just related to you. Likewise several clergy who have supplied here over the years I've been your priest. And especially Father Allan Ford who will become your priest as I depart. I will admit a smidgen of envy of his new role, but the majority of my emotional response is that he's a lucky guy and you are a lucky congregation. So I feel really good about that.
Molly and I had plans for specific retirement activities that have been set aside due to the corona virus and all that entails. As I leave St. Paul's and my priestly role Molly leaves behind her roles in support of the food pantry and Parish Aid and a variety of other incidental activities. I am profoundly grateful that Molly has been so deeply engaged in the life of this parish during our 14 years here. And I am glad we are retiring together.
Our first day of retirement - tomorrow - we intend to explore Iona Island, a small island in the Hudson just south of the Bear Mountain Bridge and part of Bear Mountain State Park. You may remember that Molly and I twice have visited the island of Iona in Scotland, one of the world's most famously recognized "thin places," where the junction of the earthly and the heavenly becomes clear and the divine discernible. My own interpretation of thin places is repeatedly sensing there is no question of the presence of God and of my purpose in being present. That is decidedly my sense of my fourteen years in this beloved and gorgeous old church.
We have no particular expectation that Iona Island, New York, will strike us as a thin place, but we have it in mind.
We will have you in mind as well. I am especially conscious of being somewhat disturbed, emotional and apprehensive as I move away from full time ministry and as I separate myself from St. Paul's. Perhaps I need to say it, so no one is left in doubt: I am required to separate myself from the church for a period while you resolve how you intend to face your future and put that plan in place. Once a priest is called and has been in place for a year I can ask that person's permission to attend at St. Paul's. But until that person is clear that the full transition to their pastorate has been made, I am obliged to stay away. I have heard really sad stories about priests who stayed involved and who badly messed up the ministry of their successor. I intend to avoid that at the expense of my relationships with you in the interim. It is more important that you have the opportunity to make it work with the new priest than it is for me to worship and have fun with my friends at St. Paul's.
I will stay in touch with the wardens to the extent that they need me to explain or interpret what has gone on and how things are done. If you have questions about Molly and me relative to the church, ask the wardens. Molly and I will be observant, of course, concerning events at St. Paul's via the Messenger and other communications. We will be especially prayerful and attentive about the impact of the corona virus. We pray that it's impact on St. Paul's will continue minimal and that you all stay safe, as well as your families and friends.
This time of pandemic has changed our world in so many ways and one of the most trying is our inability responsibly to meet and worship and connect in church on Sundays. This will pass, we know not when, but pass it will. And when you are able to be together in our fine old church once again I imagine tears of joy, expressions of love and faith, and all the good things that I know live in your hearts and are borne out reliably in your lives and in our building. May God make it so and make it so soon!
Thank you for all you have been for Molly and me this past 14 years. God bless you all!
A sermon preached at a Zoom service of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Poughkeepsie NY on Pentecost, May 31, 2020, by The Rev. Tyler Jones, Rector
HAPPY TRAILS TO YOU...
Molly took this photo of me just before our Sunday service on zoom. I knew that everyone wanted to see our vast home recording studio. Seriously, your thoughts and good wishes, your complements and tributes, were received most joyfully and happily, with only a few dabs of the eyes. You are a wonderful congregation; somebody is going to be very fortunate to be your seated priest soon. Molly and I will keep you in our prayers and our hearts.
A NOTE FROM THE TREASURY TEAM
Total deposit for the past week - $2358.75 ($600 - 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.
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:
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 362 Holy, holy, holy! (Nicaea)
1982 366 Holy God, we praise thy Name (Grosser Gott) (verses 1,2,& 4 only)
1982 372 Praise to the living God (Leoni)
Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
And God said, "Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
And God said, "Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, "Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it." And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.
And God said, "Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth." And it was so. God made the two great lights-the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night-and the stars. God set them in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth, to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.
And God said, "Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky." So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.
And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind." And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."
So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." God said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.
These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
Domine, Dominus noster
1 O Lord our Governor, *
how exalted is your Name in all the world!
2 Out of the mouths of infants and children *
your majesty is praised above the heavens.
3 You have set up a stronghold against your adversaries, *
to quell the enemy and the avenger.
4 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, *
the moon and the stars you have set in their courses,
5 What is man that you should be mindful of him? *
the son of man that you should seek him out?
6 You have made him but little lower than the angels; *
you adorn him with glory and honor;
7 You give him mastery over the works of your hands; *
you put all things under his feet:
8 All sheep and oxen, *
even the wild beasts of the field,
9 The birds of the air, the fish of the sea, *
and whatsoever walks in the paths of the sea.
10 O Lord our Governor, *
how exalted is your Name in all the world!
2 Corinthians 13:11-13
Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
The Gospel of the Lord