St. Paul's Episcopal Church Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

"Making friends while serving God"

The Week of December 8-14, 2020
The Time of the End is the Time of No Room - by Thomas Merton
The Time of the End is the Time of No Room - by Thomas Merton 
A monk ponders why it had to be that there was "no room" for the Christ child 

This week's readings
Into this world, this demented inn,
in which there is absolutely no room for Him at all, 
Christ has come uninvited. 
But because He cannot be at home in it, 
because He is out of place in it, 
and yet He must be in it, 
His place is with those others for whom there is no room.
His place is with those who do not belong, 
who are rejected by power because they are regarded as weak, 
those who are discredited, 
who are denied the status of persons, tortured, exterminated.
With those for whom there is no room, 
Christ is present in this world. 
He is mysteriously present in those for whom there seems to be nothing but the world 
at its worst... 
It is in these that He hides Himself, for whom there is no room. 
--Shawn Prater-Lee
To be redirected to the Lectionary Page and get a digital copy of the readings  
The Sunday sermon
Mark 1:4-11

Many years ago, I had the privilege of spending a portion of December in Santa Fe, New Mexico. One evening I found myself standing outside and gazing into a sky that was ablaze with stars. The stars seemed so close that I felt like I could reach up and touch them. It was beautiful, and being miles away from the bright lights of a big city, the sky looked like the inside of a great black bowl with a plethora of holes punched in it allowing light to come twinkling through.
Of course, I knew better than that. After all, I grew up in a scientific age. I knew that standing there on the desert floor; I was just a speck of life on the surface of a small planet whirling around a sun. And I knew that our sun was one of a billion other stars making up a galaxy hundreds of light years across a universe so vast it completely boggles the mind. Yes, I knew the sky wasn't a bowl; rather it's an abyss that falls away from our little planet into forever.
But on that beautiful night I began to understand how primitive people might have looked up at that starlit sky and imagined themselves living under a solid dome with holes punched in it here and there to let in light or rain or snow. In the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible a portion of the creation story in Genesis is described in this way: "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."
The Old Testament scholar Lawrence Boadt is reported to have said that in the understanding of the ancient Hebrews the earth was like a round plate surrounded by water not only on the sides, but underneath and above as well. It was believed that a firm bowl, like the dome spoken of in Genesis, held the upper waters back, but this dome also had gates to let the rain and snow through. From below the plate, the waters broke through as rivers, and oceans, but the earth stood firm on pillars sunk into the waters like the pilings of a pier. And somewhere above the dome and above the waters, it was believed, was the dwelling place of God.
If you can picture the world like that, then some of the stories of the Old Testament begin to make more sense. Listen to this story from the 7th Chapter of Genesis. "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth and the windows of the heavens were opened." Can you imagine God reaching down into the waters surrounding the dome of the sky, opening up windows, and letting oceans of water pour through to flood the earth?
A crude conception of the universe, and yet I am not sure we have evolved too terribly much since those days. Some of us still refer to God as "the man upstairs." We still speak of heaven as being up there somewhere. We would never, if asked to point to where God is, point down. There were many people, including my mother who felt we had no right going to the moon. We had no right poking around in "the heavens." If memory serves me correctly, we had some bad weather systems shortly after the celebrated trek to the moon. It prompted my mother to suggest that it was God's way of expressing anger regarding our reaching clear up into the heavens. These leftover, ancient cosmologies still have a place in our thinking. Indeed somewhere deep within the recesses of our minds, we may still hold with the ancient idea that there is between God and ourselves, not only distance, but a barrier, perhaps a solid dome separating us from God.
So did you hear the good news this morning of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Gospel of Mark? "In those days," Mark says, "In those days" when people still thought the sky was a dome and God was up there somewhere watching our every move. "In those days, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the sky torn apart and the Spirit descended upon him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, 'You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.'"
The sky was opened, and this time it wasn't oceans of water that poured through to flood the world. This time it was the Holy Spirit, fluttering down like a dove and the voice of God saying, "Here is my Son." In that single, startling act the Creator smashed through the barrier that had separated us. And God did it not in anger but in love, and in that moment, through God's initiative, the Creator bridged the gap between us forever.
I must say, I don't think God ever intended to be separated from us. The truth of the matter may be that God didn't separate from us, but that we separated ourselves from God. The truth of the matter may be that the dome spoken of in Genesis is a creation from our own minds. But the good news of the New Testament tells us that God did not want to be outside the dome. In the story of the Incarnation, the feast we celebrate on the 25th of December, we hear about a God who lifted the lid, who sent his son to live "inside the dome" as it were. And in the story found in this morning's gospel, we learn that God can't bear to be among us and unknown. So God tears the dome open and shouts in a voice loud enough to echo through the centuries to present day, "Here is my son!" And in my words, "If you want to know me it's easy, get to know him." And at last, the barrier is finally gone.
--Fr. C. Allan Ford



We all miss Stephanie. I so wish she could have been with us longer.  She was sweet, fun to work with, kind to everyone, willing to do any job, and do it well!  Our pantry clients and shop customers just loved her.  She was like a young sister to me and others.  We talked often about Peru, her family's home land.  She knew about Charlie's and my desire to visit Machu Picchu and Inca ruins there.  She made quinoa dishes for us all to try.  They were delicious!

I'd like to read something I think she would like.  We often exchanged lines from books, especially the Wednesday crew.

By John Donne

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend's were .
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

Fly on Angels wings, Stephanie.

--Jeannie Henderson

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 on 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

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 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 - $3491.75 (including $645 for the Food Pantry and $610 Food Pantry Christmas donations). 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!!!


Dear friends,
We hope you're settling into Advent, this period of waiting and watching for the birth of our Lord and Savior. We're writing today so that you can take one thing of your to-do list: No need to figure out how you'll start the new year with scripture. We have your Epiphany Bible study ready and waiting, with loads of tools to help you, your book club, and/or your congregation dive into the Word of God.
The Good Book Club picks up again on January 1 through Shrove Tuesday, February 16, with the Gospel of Mark. Since Mark is the gospel appointed for this lectionary year, you'll have a chance to dive deep into the scripture through the Good Book Club and then spend time with Mark throughout 2021!
We know you have a lot going on, so we wanted to make this year's Good Book Club accessible and easy to participate. Along with partners from across the Episcopal Church, the Good Book Club offers daily podcasts of the readings and reflections, online book studies (live classes and pre-recorded), weekly preview emails, and different ways to participate via social media. Visit our resources page to learn more and sign up for classes. The Good Book Club also has a forum for Spanish speakers at El Club Biblico.
If you want to get a head start and learn a bit about the Gospel of Mark, download the readings in English and Spanish and this two-page primer in English and Spanish. You may also want to purchase A Journey with Mark, a wonderful companion for reading Mark with daily reflections by noted scholars and congregational leaders.
We look forward to continuing to read and learn about God's Word with you.
Yours in Christ,
Richelle Thompson
Managing Editor
Forward Movement
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 --The Rev. Gloria Payne-Carter


 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 8-14, 2020

TUE       8
10:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

WED      9
10:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

THU     10
10:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

SUN     13
10:00am   RITE II - Zoom

MON    14
  3:30pm   Stewardship Meeting




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