St. Paul's Episcopal Church   Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

"Making friends while serving God"

The Week of July 08-14, 2019
Manifest mercy
Jesus' answer to 'Who is my neighbor?'
Sunday we encounter the parable of the Good Samaritan. This is one of the most compelling stories in the entire Bible. It is easy for forget that the story itself was Jesus' answer to a question from someone who sought to test him.

The question Jesus was asked was: "(W)hat must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." There was no talk about the Good Samaritan or anyone else until Jesus was then asked, "who is my neighbor?"
There have been lots of signs around Poughkeepsie like the one shown here. Jesus used the parable instead of a sign to let everyone know everyone we encounter is our neighbor. Even the man who was trying to trap Jesus acknowledged that it was the Samaritan, "the one who showed mercy," who was a neighbor to the roadside victim.





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

  Deuteronomy 30:9-14; Psalm 25:1-9;
    Colossians 1:1-14; Luke 10:25-37




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!

On July 20 Episcopalians are invited to Beacon to participate in the 2019 Episcopalians in the Park picnic at Saint Andrew and Saint Luke Episcopal Church, 850 Walcott Ave. in Beacon. All are welcome. An RSVP is requested.


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
God's Kingdom is here
Sermon: 4 Pentecost C 7 7 19
What Jesus had to say to his disciples as he sent them out to do ministry is reported differently in the four Gospels. In Luke, which we read today, he is quite specific and, at the same time, nuanced. We can look at it and recognize that he was trying to get his disciples to appreciate their circumstances, to be nimble in thought and action, and to roll with the punches, to accept what comes their way.

If a person sought to lay out a linear argument for how to behave based on this reading it would be difficult. It would be a little like a famous party game, where the first person whispers a phrase in the ear of the person on their right, then they repeat the phrase to the person on their right, until it gets back to the person who first whispered to the person on their right. The phrase at the end would be nearly unrecognizable as the first phrase.

That might be true concerning Jesus' instructions because they inspired and required imagination. Going out like lambs among wolves requires courage, strength, perhaps cunning. Meeting strangers calls for calm and care, listening and intuiting what is going on with the other person. Clearly both sets of instructions cannot be implemented at the same time. Jesus wanted his disciples to be prepared for all kinds of situations.

Luke's central message in this Gospel lesson is that the Kingdom of God has come near. Jesus didn't quite say, "God was here," but instead suggested something had happened that people needed to stop and notice. He suggests the phrase be used with people who are engaged with the disciples and with those who reject the teachings of the disciples. The reason for this is that unless people are looking for it they will miss it.

However, once people start looking for signs of God's involvement and presence they find it everywhere. I was chatting with a friend who visits prisoners in one of the area correctional facilities. She prays with them and says she feels God's presence there more than anywhere, partly because she thinks it is about all the prisoners have: their faith.

But for everyone, God's lively presence has to be called out. It has to be sought and noticed and named.

Naaman reinforces this idea in our Hebrew Bible reading this morning from the Second Book of Kings. First Naaman proves it by nearly missing the miracle of the healing of his leprosy. Naaman was so furious that Elisha wouldn't give him special, personal treatment for the disease, he almost passed up the cure. It took a lowly and likely terrified underling to bravely suggest that if Elisha had prescribed something difficult, Naaman would have done it, so why not try a simple prescription?

One thing that is curious about the story of Naaman the Syrian is how determined he was to be cured of his leprosy yet how ready he was to ignore the cure. His ego told him he was a great and powerful general and, for that matter, "...Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel?" He couldn't believe that the prophet would not come out of his tent to heal him personally.

Worldly powers are not the same as heavenly or spiritual powers and the importance of this distinction almost rendered Naaman a leper for the rest of his life. If he had not heeded the suggestion from his servant, if he hadn't agreed to try something simple rather than demand a welcome and a consultation he considered worthy of his position, well, he might have died a leper.

This particular weekend we might pay special to this story. We have become accustomed in the US to Independence Day celebrations that are non-partisan and non-military. A decision was made this year to show off military might and hold up military heritage as a declaration of the greatness of our country, which theoretically it would seem, was intended to define what makes America great so we could again make our nation great. (I am parsing my words so as to, hopefully, not offend.)

Naaman kind of had this mindset also. He thought his military successes made him great and worthy of more attention than he received. Our Independence Day celebration in Washington DC reflected a like view: that our military power is our greatness or is representative of our greatness, not our ideals, not our Constitution, not our rule of law and not our Bill of Rights.

Elisha did not reappear in this morning's Hebrew Bible reading after he had a servant give Naaman the prescription. He believed that God would heal Naaman if Naaman would take the humble prophet's advice. We have no indication as far as our national celebration is concerned that anyone involved in the planning considered what God would like us to be doing in celebration of our independence. But it is easy to imagine that we are headed for the equivalent of lifelong leprosy because we seek power, we brandish might, and we give short shrift to the notion that we should "Love God and love our neighbor." This is especially ironic as we claim that our country was founded on God-given principles. Yet, like Naaman before he relented, we observe leaders who strut and brag and demean and victimize others.

When Elisha told his servant to tell Naaman to wash in the Jordan seven times he was full of confidence in God's mercy and that it would be visited on Naaman if he did as the prophet prescribed. This is comparable to Jesus in our Gospel telling his followers twice to tell those they encountered in their ministry, "The Kingdom of God has come near."

The news that people needed, have always needed and need right now is the knowledge that, as Jesus said, "The Kingdom of God has come near." This is analogous to the exclamation of "Emmanuel," meaning God is with us. If we believe God is with us, then we don't have to go far or do much to make our petition of God, to let God know what weighs us down or brings us joy or causes us pain or inspires us to love God and love our neighbor. Knowing God is near, that the Kingdom of God has come near, opens us to God's grace, and prepares us for God's involvement in our lives.

Whether we are seeking a miracle cure or expressing our gratitude, whether we are hurting or on top of the world, God's presence and the knowledge of it is a comfort, a delight.

Jesus wanted his disciples to make this clear to his followers. There would be those who wouldn't listen and those who didn't care. But for those who did listen and care there would be an abundance of experiences of God, experiences they could share with others, experiences they could relate to raise the awareness and hopes of those who were down.

This is the kingdom of God we're talking about. Not the kingdom of Naaman's majestic army, not the kingdom of tanks and missiles in parade. This is the kingdom of God where what matters is that we recognize it and share the good news.

Happy independence day weekend!                                     Amen

A sermon preached on July 7, 2019 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Poughkeepsie NY, by The Rev. Tyler Jones, Rector
                                   JULY BIRTHDAYS
  2   Elisabeth Gillon                                     17   Roseline Oni
  4    Julett Butler                                          20   Kaylee Curtis
  7   Janet Quade                                         22   Ruthie Hodge
11   Ginny Gates                                          27   Faith Mincey
13   Sharon Sherow                                     28   Michael Babb
       Christopher Evens                                31   Selene Hyson


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St. Paul's Episcopal Church-Poughkeepsie

'In Service to God & You'

Lectors:           Rose Marie Proctor
                        Mark Goodwin

Litanist:            Pete Bedrossian

Server:             Maria Bell

Organist:         Maris Kristapsons
Acolytes:         Shawn Prater-Lee                 
Lectors:           Judith Mizell
                        Aleen Clarke
Litanist:            Mark Debald
Usher:              Dewy Clarke
                         Mark Debald
Altar Guild:       Hyacinth & Daphne



1982        637     How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord (Lyons)

1982        336     Come with us, O blessed Jesus (Werde munter)
1982        335     I am the bread of life (I am the Bread of Life)
LEVAS-II   60     O Lord, my God, when I in Awesome wonder (How Great Thou Art)

July 08-14, 2019
MON 08

7:30am   AA Meeting
6:30pm   NA Meeting - Journey to Recovery

TUE 09
10:00am   Food Pantry, Thrift Store;
6:00pm     Evening Prayer; Bible study

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

THU 11
10:00am   Food Pantry, Thrift Shop; 

FRI  12
7:30am     AA Meeting
6:30pm     NA Meeting

SAT 13
9:30am     Morning Prayer
10:00am   AA meeting in Scout Hall; Bldg. & Grounds Mtg
11:00am   Block Clean-up
3:00pm     NA Meeting - Men Do Recover

SUN 14
8:00am     RITE I
8:45am     Lesson' Discussions
10:00am   Sunday School; RITE II
11:15am   Coffee Hour
11:30am   Youth



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