St. Paul's Episcopal Church Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

"Making friends while serving God"

The Week of December 15-20, 2020
The Places in which Jesus has Lived and Will Live 
I have a confession to make.  Until recently I never really paid attention to how our weekly readings related to each other.  I knew that the Gospel followed a certain line each year and that the Collect, the Old Testament Reading, the Psalm, and the Epistle were all taken from a Lectionary, curated somehow and repeated every three years.

This week's readings
In writing this weekly column and especially this week I have come to see that the reading, right down to the Psalm and the Collect, are chosen to go together with a central theme and that that theme is reflected in the Collect.
This week our theme is the places where Jesus has lived or will live.  
Our Old Testament reading is written for David with the Lord revealing to him all of the places that the spirit of the Lord has dwelt in leading to David.  As King David abides in the lineage that brings us Jesus.  Our Psalm and our Epistle echo this.
It is in our Gospel that we get our first dwelling place of the physical manifestation of our Lord.  The Angel Gabriel explains to Mary how she will carry and bare God's Son and that He is next in David's Kingly lineage.
Our Collect then makes this all very personal.  In it we are told to purify our conscience through God's daily visitation so that when Jesus comes he will find in us a mansion in which to dwell.
--Shawn Prater-Lee
To be redirected to the Lectionary Page and get a digital copy of the readings  
The Sunday sermon
John 1: 6-8, 19-28, John the Baptizer

With the latest Christmas tunes blasting away at us from every corner of every department store we enter, with many Christmas specials appearing on our televisions, it becomes nigh unto impossible for us to stop and listen to the voice of this pathetic looking figure, dressed in animal skins and eating of all things locust washed down with wild honey.
His name is John the Baptist, a prophet, and like too many prophets before and since his time, he is eventually a martyr as well. John says he is Isaiah's voice crying in the wilderness. And like all prophets, he stands up against those activities that call themselves sacred, but are not. Why? Because John knows that which is truly sacred; he knows it will be recognized in the person of a man called Jesus. The German theologian Jurgen Moltmann, writing about Christian prophets who perished resisting the Nazis regime, described the martyrs as "witnesses to the coming truth that would prevail against the ruling lie." John the Baptist was certainly one in a long line of such witnesses, testifying courageously to what is and is not to be taken as ultimate truth.
What I need to remind us is that the Church is called to this same courageous witness, to this same seriousness of purpose, to hold up before the world being overwhelmed by all sorts of negative prevailing winds, that which is the ultimate truth. Thomas Merton, the great 20th century monk and spiritual writer, imagined the Church taking on his sacred voice, fulfilling the vocation of the Baptist.
If that is the case, if Merton is correct, the Advent theme of watchfulness that we embrace at this time of the year should be recognized as an important activity of the Christian life all year round. And, I must add, as witnesses of Christ, like John, our witness should continually be pointing away from ourselves, should continually be pointing towards the poor, the hungry and those who are treated unjustly, because it is in their midst, in their faces, that people will find the Christ. But this is hard to do. Why? Because as a Church universal we have been pulled to pieces, and our task, our vocation could be so much more effective if the Church was one. It saddens me that we put more energy into arguing and debating our differences, and less time recognizing within ourselves what Merton calls "the undeniable foretaste of the resurrection in a world regrettably still filled with Good Fridays and Holy Saturdays."
Believe it my sisters and brothers in Christ. Until that day when the late Billy Graham sits down in communion with Pope Francis, and the Archbishop of Canterbury breaks the Eucharistic bread with our brothers and sisters from Churches Pentecostal, until the coming of that day as best we can, we must behave like Easter people witnessing, demonstrating to others in the world the importance of seeking out the Christ, the importance of hearing the crying of the Christ child perhaps in the quiet weeping of the families of Eric Garner or George Floyd.
When we come together on Sunday mornings, we become a sign, a sacred sign of a broken Church led by a broken Christ, we become a community that holds a dream that awaits a liberating future. From our lips and through our behavior we pull ourselves up above the fray, living out to the best of our ability a better future for all humanity, rather than succumbing to our perpetually limping along from war to war, from bigoted incident to racist injustice, from hungry children to starving adults who live in the streets.
"There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him."
There were people sent from God, who were members of St. Paul's Church. They came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, so that many might come to believe through them. 
--Fr. C. Allan Ford


December 14, 2020
Dear St. Paul's Church family,
We hope this letter finds you enjoying a Blessed Advent and anxiously awaiting a joy filled Christmas.
Since we have parishioners that do not receive our weekly online newsletter, we write today with some unfortunate news that impacts us all. Last week, we learned that our Church boiler sustained major damage and may well be beyond repair - this is the boiler that heats the Church proper and Parish Hall. Apparently, our chimney collapsed due to soot build-up, which then backed up into the gas furnace. The collapse set off the CO2 alarm, which signaled a response from the City Fire Department, Central Hudson, and Winslow Heating (our contractor). All came within minutes to get the situation under control, and we are grateful for their quick response.

We also thank God that no one was hurt and that the damage was limited to the boiler room itself. Our Church Secretary, Ben, and volunteers from the Food Pantry and Small Blessings store all made it out safely, and we are extremely grateful for this. And thankfully, the other boiler that heats our Education Building (i.e. parlor, office, and tenant) is still fully functional, so our Food Pantry, Small Blessings store, and Transition Center can continue their vital missions unimpeded. Plus, we have gotten so good at Zoom church that we can still celebrate the Gospel on Sundays.

We have already met with a number of boiler repair and replacement contractors to assess our next steps, as well as adjusters from our insurance company. Needless to say, we will be without heat in the sanctuary and undercroft for some time. We'll hopefully know more about the exact duration soon.  
Given this turn of events, we will not be holding in-person Church services until further notice, and instead rely on Zoom for all of our services. This includes our usual 10 a.m. Sunday Service and our 5:30 p.m. Christmas Eve service. As was decided before the boiler situation, there will be no service on Christmas Day.
Also, after this past Sunday's service, we created a YouTube channel with a recording of the service - so even if you missed it, you can still watch and enjoy. We will post future services on the same channel. At the end of this letter, there is information regarding how to get on our Zoom live service and how to access our recorded services on YouTube.
Again, as unfortunate as this is, we are grateful that no one was injured, that our ministries can continue, and that we have found ways to worship virtually. We are comforted by the outpouring of support from the community, and equally important, by the support of our congregation. It leaves little doubt in our hearts that we will overcome this challenge.    
Shawn Prater-Lee and Mark Debald
St. Paul's Church
Our Zoom connections remain the same and are
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We now have a YouTube channel and the full version (from 10:00 start through the end of coffee hour) of the Third Sunday in Advent is posted. To get there go to:
or search on YouTube for St. Paul's Poughkeepsie.
We hope to put copies of all of our online services there.
For those who have pledged - Your Pledge Envelopes for 2021 can be picked up from the church office beginning Dec. 28 - Mon., Tues., Wed. or Thurs. between 10:00 and Noon. At that time Church calendars will also be available for $5. If you are unable to get to the church during those times, please call the church office and other arrangements will be made.

--Shawn Prater-Lee

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

THANK YOU TO ALL who bought tickets for our Christmas Wine Basket Raffle. It brought in $278. Many thanks to Deb Williams for preparing the basket.
Mark Goodwin was the lucky winner.     
--Bobbie Gordon
--The Rev. Dcn. Julett Butler
Total deposit for the past week - $2268 (includes $520 for Food Pantry Gift Cards and $225 for 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'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!!!


Shooting Incident at the Cathedral
On Sunday Afternoon
My brothers and sisters,
Many of you will have seen in today's news that we experienced an event at our cathedral today involving an active shooter. The cathedral has issued the following statement about the event:
"Our Carols for the Community event this afternoon was interrupted by an armed individual, who set off a round of gunfire into the air from our front steps. Thankfully, no injuries were reported among the attendees and the suspect is in custody. It is horrible that our choir's gift to New York City, a much-needed afternoon of song and unity, was cut short by this shocking act of violence. We will remain strong, together, and serve as a safe space for prayer, meditation and celebration during the upcoming holiday season. We are grateful to our first responders, and our prayers are with all those affected by this event."
Both Dean Daniel and I were in the street in front of the cathedral during the event, and were witnesses to the gunfire, by a shooter standing immediately in front of the great bronze doors. It is important to note that the gunman did not, by all appearances, aim his weapons at any person, nor did he shoot at anyone, and no one was hurt. The gunman, though, was shot by police officers and has subsequently lost his life. I ask your prayers for the cathedral clergy, staff and community; for the many who were traumatized by the event; and for the gunman himself. On an afternoon that brought us the most sublime and beautiful Christmas music, an hour of terror, and the shock of self-destructive violence, I bid you all, in the Name of Christ, the fullness of Advent hope and Christmas peace. 
Dietsche sig
The Right Reverend Andrew ML Dietsche
Bishop of New York


 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:
Burton family; 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, 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 15-20, 2020

TUE     15
10:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

WED    16
10:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

THU     17
10:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

SUN     20
10:00am   RITE II - Zoom





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