St. Paul's Episcopal Church   Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

"Making friends while serving God"

The week of December 3-9, 2018  
The booklet of meditations being used this Advent season


St. Paul's tradition of an Advent soup and bread supper with Advent meditations returns this week. The Wednesdays of Advent 2018 (Dec. 5, 12 and 19) will find parishioners in the parish parlor at 5:30 for a light supper, followed by seasonal meditations and a service of Compline. The program is always completed by 7 pm.                                                                  
Signup sheets are in the narthex for the Dec. 12 and 19 programs. Participants are asked to bring soup or bread (or something else) for the meal.
This year the Advent meditation booklet "Let Every Heart prepare," by Barbara Crafton has been selected for the program. The author is a priest and spiritual director in the Episcopal Diocese of New York.


 Malachi 3:1-4  Canticle 16
  Phillippians 1:3-11; Luke 3:1-6

This week's readings
                   RIGHTEOUS MULTI-TASKING
Multi-tasking has become commonplace in this day and age. Sometimes it seems as though it is the norm. Perhaps it has to do with the ease of communicating with electronic media on multiple platforms. Perhaps it is a good thing. Perhaps not. It is a change that impacts our lives whether we want it to or not.
It may seem as though this is a new phenomenon, but it's not. Last Sunday, the First Sunday of Advent, we were entering into a season of preparation and expectation of the birth of Jesus at the same time as we were hearing from him--as an adult!--in the Gospel. Likewise this week, we are told of the coming of John the Baptist in Malachi. John the Baptist being the foreteller of Jesus: a herald, a messenger, a prophet. And then in the Gospel we hear again about Jesus, cousin of John the Baptist, and only 6 months younger than John.
There is a lot to this business of expectation and preparation. It's a good thing we've been here before. We know what's coming yet we thrill to its reappearance. We aren't rushing to Christmas, we're remembering--literally, putting back together--these notions of faith and history and God's great love.
We can balance at one time Jesus the idea, Jesus the expected infant, Jesus the narrator of the Gospel and Jesus, known to us in the breaking of the bread. This is righteous multi-tasking. And it is most definitely worth the effort.


Every year St. Paul's provides Christmas dinner help for our food pantry clients. In years past we have distributed hams and turkeys as well as other key elements for the annual Christmas dinner.
This year we have conducted a Christmas drawing for gift cards at a local supermarket. Over 150 clients entered the drawing. 50 were selected for the first round of Christmas dinner help.  Card amounts were based on household size and are not eligible for tobacco or alcohol purchases.
To help more of our clients with Christmas dinner we asked the Vestry to approve second collections this Advent. The Vestry did approve the request and second collections for another drawing will be held on Dec. 16 and on Dec. 23.
Please do what you can to be generous in this effort to help our food pantry clients with Christmas dinner.

Our annual Lessons & Carols celebration  will be held on Sunday, December 16th during the 10am service. Hope to see you all there!

This is a perfect time to invite irregular churchgoers or family and friends who do not ordinarily attend to join you and appreciate the season of Advent, the preparation for and expectation of the nativity of Jesus.

St. Paul's Girl Scout troop will be providing hospitality at the coffee hour following our Lessons and Carols service on Dec. 16th. The troop will be serving breakfast as a group service to the church.
The troop's popular dried soup mix will also be on sale for holiday giving, as will cookie mixes. Parishioners are encouraged to enjoy this service by the troop and to consider buying soup and/or cookie mix for friends and family.

The 25 Week Club ticket holders are invited to attend the final drawing and party on Saturday, December 22 at 1:00pm in the afternoon. Watch for your invitation and reply form either in the mail or in an envelope in the Narthex.  YOU MUST REPLY!
We need to know how many people to plan for. 
Recent $20 & $10 winners are: Lillian Buckley, Maria Bell, Donna Ackert, Sarah LoConte, Pete Bedrossian, Kevin Kelly, Debbie Pitcher. Congrats to all the winners

Thank you to the many people who have already turned in their generous pledge for 2019.   There are Pledge Forms in the Narthex for those who missed Consecration Sunday or haven't yet returned their pledge for 2019.  

We are still waiting to hear from 14 parishioners who pledged last year, but haven't yet returned this year's pledge.  Are you one of them? Please send it in so you'll have your box of envelopes for 2019.
Remember, Pledge envelopes will be available at the end of December for those who have submitted a pledge form.

Our Food Pantry needs your help! We are once again asking our parishioners to bring food to church every Sunday, and we're going to try something new. Each month we will ask for a donation of a particular nutritious food that we offer to our clients.

Please don't forget to bring Beef Stew on Sunday and for the next three Sundays after that. The basket will be back in the narthex and will be brought to the altar for blessing.
The Sunday Sermon...

       Starting over--again
SERMON: 1 Advent C 12 Dec 2018
It should come as no surprise to anyone here when I tell you: if there had been damage or injury to our family in Alaska in Friday's earthquake, Molly and I wouldn't be here today. We might still be waiting at the airport, in New York or in Seattle or somewhere else. But we would be on our way to our family in the 49th State, no matter what. Oddly, we received the "everybody's ok" message from our daughter, Anna, before we knew there had been an earthquake. Their new home was undamaged; the kids' daycare was intact. However, both Anna and Jim's workplaces had some damage.That's the Jones family report. And I think it's quite remarkable that I find myself giving it on the First Sunday of Advent. Because in Advent we are looking anew at our faith, at our aspirations, at our confidence in a loving God and at our conviction that God wants good for us.

Those were not my first thoughts when I learned there had been a significant earthquake in Alaska. Even knowing there were no deaths or injuries--so far, at least--I still was racked with convulsions of emotion: fear, gratitude, awe. Fear of what might have been, gratitude that all was comparatively well, awe at how quickly my emotions overtake my theology. You see, there is one point I am called to make again and again. I make this point when people ask me why bad things happen, why there is evil, and so forth. And when I think of bad things I think of earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes and tornadoes, deadly diseases and, yes, human will which manifests in all manner of unpleasant ways. And what I tell people who are struggling with these erratic actions of nature or human will is this: when God created the planet, marvelous as it is, God likely was not thinking of us. We were the last to join creation, according to the Bible, anyway, and also according to a fair amount of science. So God made the earth of molten material that is still cooling, still resolving its shape and size and temperature. This dynamic causes earthquakes. And people, like it or not, seem to build homes and cities in places where earthquakes and tidal waves and hurricanes happen.

And now we have evidence of this seemingly careless and confusing constellation of circumstances two day before the first Sunday of Advent. I'm not big on attributing the inexplicable to coincidence. I think if we look more closely at the occasional odd coordination of events--sometimes happily, sometimes not--we see that there is usually some deeper explanation. I also like the definition of a coincidence as a miracle but one in which God decides to remain anonymous. The miracle I have in mind here is not Advent or survival or the nearly simultaneous occurrence of them this week. The miracle I have in mind is the opportunity to see creation at work--in the form of an earthquake, in all its frightening power--and to see it as we enter Advent and the glories of our faith. And most of all to see them as inseparable. Creation is always happening.

Let me say that again: Creation is always happening. The world and our faith is always being reborn, and not just on the First Sunday of Advent. Jesus is always coming into the world. We need only to watch a little differently, a little more closely, a little more with our hearts than our eyes. For Christians, that is what the Creation is all about. The constant renewing, realigning, readjustment of the world and the unfolding of God's will. When we look at each day that way, we have the ripe opportunity to change and grow, despite the circumstances. By doing things a little differently, by gaining a new perspective, we can learn new things about our surroundings. We can freshen our outlook. We can see things with new eyes, if we try.

Today is an especially good day to try. As the season of Advent begins today it is formally revealed in church in the Advent wreath, in the change of the liturgical color from green to purple, and in the modification of the Eucharistic Prayer in our Communion service at 10 am from Prayer A to Prayer B. An Advent supper series has marked the arrival of the Advent season at St. Paul's at least as long as I've been here and one has been planned for this Advent season. The season is defined as a period of preparation and expectation for the nativity of our Lord. These are weighty words to consider. They are also an invitation to an event which can change your life. Advent is an invitation to see things again for the first time: look at church and at the members of the congregation and marvel at our stained glass. But also realize that there is a change in the works. The color, the prayers, the wreath all inspire the unique freshness of our faith if we let it.If we listen harder for the meaning of scripture not just in the Bible but in our own hearts we realize that our faith has a lot to say to us, a lot to reveal. But we have to keep the focus on looking deeper, listening harder, reflecting more deeply on what all these things mean to us, to you and to me. Sometimes it's a word, sometimes it's an image. Sometimes it's just a reaction to something that seemed familiar until --somehow-- it became unusual and deserving of special attention.

The season of Advent, the beginning of the church year in the Christian calendar, has a cosmic aspect to it of creation and glory, of God's plan being put into effect in wondrous ways. Our Hebrew Bible reading from Jeremiah God says, "...I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is the name by which it will be called: "The Lord is our righteousness." Now we know about the branch of Jesse's tree, but for a new branch to spring up, not out, suggests more than a bud or a mere branch, but a new mighty plant, a tree descended from David's father. The awesome might implicit in executing justice and righteousness, rather than mere military or economic power or force suggests that this Branch is what the people have been waiting for. This reading is part of our lectionary this week because of the beginning of Advent. It shows the beginning when we believe God announced the plan for another and a greater leader to help the people of God learn how to live. The clues in this brief reading point to what it is that will make the difference: executing justice and righteousness and being known as "The Lord is our righteousness."

In our epistle reading from the first letter to the Thessalonians we are provided another lens through which to explore our new beginnings in faith. Paul asks, "How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy that we feel before our God because of you?" Take a moment, right now, and look around this church at the people you know and the people you don't know. Let's think on how it is we rely on one another to come together, as Jesus prayed --that we all might be one--and how we conduct ourselves in faith and in the regular daily life of this parish together. Think about how we help one another see God in our midst, by talking of those faithful moments in our lives in church and outside church, and sharing how that makes us feel. Paul tells the people of Thessalonica that even though he can't thank God enough for them, he wants to help restore their faith. The only clue we have to any lack of faith is what he says in the letter: "May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, just as we abound in love for you."

So it is that we are inspired to crank up our love for one another in faith, by opening up to one another, meaning not just you and me, but the outsider, the stranger, the newcomer, and by showering all with the love of God upon which we so deeply depend and which has been bestowed on us. For those of us disposed toward skepticism, doubt or fear, though, let us look at today's Gospel. This wonderful reading from the Gospel of Luke heralds change beyond our imagination, events both frightening and awesome, glorious and worrying. These are the opening lines of today's Gospel:

"There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. " Can we hear these words, can we read them and pretend we haven't felt beset by these very signals? Haven't the weather and the political atmosphere and the perpetual wars made us feel sometimes like we might faint from fear? These signals were written in the Bible two thousand years ago, yet we have been living their reality in our time. We are told, "...Then they will see 'the Son of Man coming in a cloud' with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." Our redemption is in our choice to live our lives as Christians, as persons committed to loving God and loving our neighbor. We need not fear. We need not panic.

Jesus told his followers the parable of the figs: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near." We can rest assured the Kingdom of God is near; in fact it is here. Jesus continued: "Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." The closing admonitions which Jesus closes with are but reminders of how we are to live our lives. The meat of the matter lies in those words, "You know that the kingdom of God is near."

Let us pray that our Advent, this season of preparation and expectation of Jesus' birth, unfolds in ways which enrich our faith. May we find symbols and vision s and new awareness of God at work in the world to lift our hearts, to relate and cheer others with and to cement our confidence in Christ to come once again when the season of Advent is concluded. Amen

A sermon preached the First Sunday of Advent, Dec. 2, 2018, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Poughkeepsie NY by The Rev. Tyler Jones, Rector

                         DECEMBER BIRTHDAYS
3      Andre Clarke                             11         Marian Perkins
6    Jeremiah Jordan                        15         Jasmin Bryant
7     Jeanne Henderson                     17         Felicia Santos Griffin
      Casey Lynn Parisella                  20         Ruby Smith
8     Brendan Foley                            23         Carol Anderson
9     Lillian Goldson                                         Bruce Petito
10  Lisa Koen                                    26         Maria Bell
                                                          29         Imina Sade Santos-Thompson

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St. Paul's Episcopal Church-Poughkeepsie

'In Service to God & You'
Server:            Maria Bell

Lectors:           Rose Marie Proctor
                        Adrian Goldson

Litanist:           Pete Bedrossian
Organist:         Maris Kristapsons
Acolytes:         Shawn Prater-Lee                 
Lectors:           Bert Mazzuto
                        Jeanne Henderson
Litanist:           Mark Debald
Usher:             Dewy Clarke
                        Mark Debald
Altar Guild:     Mertlyn & Norma

Greeters:         Mary Ann Bagatta                       


1982                 65               Prepare the way, O Zion
1982                 631             Book of books, our people's strength
WL&P               758             You have come down to the lakeshore
1982                 66                Come, thou long-expected Jesus

HYMN INFORMATION: Cesáreo Gabaráin (1936-1991) was a Roman Catholic monsignor and musician, and one of the best-known composers of Spanish liturgical music following the reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the early 1960s. Written in 1979, You have come down to the lakeshore ("Tú has venido a la orilla," in Spanish) has been translated into more than 80 languages and is the most popular of over 500 hymns he wrote. It was inspired by Gospel passages (Matthew 4:18-20; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11) where Jesus found brothers Simon Peter and Andrew casting a net into the Sea of Galilee and called them to follow him as his first disciples, promising to make them "fishers of men." The hymn entreats us to follow Christ with the same obedience and commitment, and the gentle melody is reminiscent of a rocking boat by the lakeshore.


December 3-9, 2018
7:30am "Good Morning" AA Meeting;  

5pm Stewardship;
6pm Evening Prayer, Vestry Mtg;
6:30pm "Journey to Recovery" NA Meeting 

10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Small Blessings Thrift Shop; 

7:30am "Good Morning" AA Meeting;
10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Thrift Shop; 

12:15pm Healing Service & Eucharist;  
5pm Advent Study;

10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Small Blessings Thrift Shop; 
 6pm Evening Prayer, Evangelism/Outreach;

7:30am "Good Morning" AA meeting; 

SAT  8
11am Girl Scout Meeting;
3 pm NA Meeting "Journey to Recovery"; 
4:30pm SH Private Event;
5pm PH Private Event;

8am Rite I;
8:45am Lesson's Discussion
9:30am Choir Practice; 

 10am Sunday School;

10am Rite II; Julett Butler

11:15am Coffee Hour;
11:30am Youth;
1:30pm SH Private Event;


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