St. Paul's Episcopal Church   Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

"Making friends while serving God"

The week of September 3-9, 2018  
Alexa nder Crummell:  A Kick Off Sunday inspiration
September 10 is the official date in the Episcopal Church's book, "Lesser Feasts and Fasts," for commemorating Alexander Crummell. Obviously his commemoration date doesn't always fall on a Sunday,. So we are permitted to honor him the Sunday before or after. This year the first Sunday after Labor Day, which we always call "Kick Off Sunday," is the day before Crummell's commemorative date. And it is utterly fitting that we should honor him even though we focus on the life of the church, ordinarily, on "Kick Off Sunday."
Mother Gloria and Julett Butler will help us explore the life and ministry and leadership of Alexander Crummell. Julett is now a Deacon In Training here at St. Paul's. You will see her in the coming months engaged at the altar and with the Gospel reading
Alexander Crummell was an African American man of faith who surmounted every obstacle placed before him as an African American Episcopalian. He was denied a seminary education in New York but, unbowed, was ordained in Massachusetts. He spent time  in England and received better treatment there. He established an Episcopal Church in Liberia and encouraged establishment of a theocracy, that is, a government based on a religion. Predictably, he believed the governing religion in Liberia should be the Episcopal Church.
He returned to the US and the Episcopal Church, continuing in his ministry with vigor and provided leadership for the remaining decades of his life. When southern bishops proposed a separate missionary district for black congregations, Alexander Crummell instead formed the organization that evolved into the Union of Black Episcopalians, to organize and represent disenfranchised members of his race within the church. That organization thrives today and honors Crummell yearly at this time.
Alexander Crummell's legacy is one of fortitude, vision and persistence. His refusal to give up may be as bright a beacon as we can find as we attend and support and work to grow our church in every way. As we enter into a new church season and consider, it being Kick Off Sunday, how we intend to engage in the life of the church, Alexander Crummell's example is an inspiration and a playbook.  

Plan to be in church to learn about all of the committees that are at work at St. Paul's. Think about how you want to be involved. Time and Talent Pledge forms will be available throughout the month of September for you to complete letting the leadership know ways you want to be engaged.
Watch your mail for a letter listing other dates of our annual pledge campaign and the Stewardship Prayer.   We hope you will consider your many blessings when pledging.

Our boast is of God's mercy
Jesus heals the daughter of the Syro-phoenecian woman
 Isaiah 35:4-7a;  Psalm 146
James 2:1-10,11-13,14-17; Mark 7:24-37

This week's readings
That boast is mentioned in our collect and is manifested directly or indirectly in each of our readings Sunday. We boast of God, ever ready to help. Isaiah wrote, "Say to those who are of a fearful heart, "Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense." If the vengeance is upon us for our misdeeds, we know, too, that God will help us heal. In verse 8 of our psalm we sang, "The Lord loves the righteous; the Lord cares for the stranger; he sustains the orphan and widow, but frustrates the way of the wicked." Whether we're considering our goodness or our own grand schemes, or those of others that deserve to be frustrated, we know God is attentive to us, loves us and is good to us.
In his epistle, James reminded those who welcome the wealthy but demean the poor, "Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?" Can you imagine a clearer sign of God's mercy?
Jesus manifested God's mercy by relieving the Syro-phoenecian woman's daughter of her demon, albeit only after her importuning somewhat. And he healed the deaf man with a speech impediment, who couldn't restrain himself from publicly praising Jesus' miracle of healing, even though he was asked to not broadcast it.
All these signs of God's mercy remind us that God's promise is to be with us always, through thick and thin, good and bad, no matter what.

P A R I S H  N E W S
Be sure to get yours ASAP in order to get in all of the drawings. 
Here's a reminder of how it works:
Tickets are $25.00 each. Drawings will be held every Sunday from July 1 - December 9.   Prizes for those drawings are $10 and $20.  

Winners have been drawn weekly since July 1.  The following people have been the lucky ones so far:  Linda Santos, Claudette Tucker, Sarah LoConte, Rose Cox,  Donna Hosier, Angelique Casey,  Tony Hamel, Mark Debald, Dolores Kelly, Carolyn Dewald, Cynthia Benjamin, Dewy Clarke, and Carol Rohde.  Some of these people have even won multiple times.   Be sure to get a ticket so you have a chance to be a lucky winner too.

The final drawing will be December 15 at a party that will include dinner and perhaps musical entertainment. Prizes awarded that day will be $10, $20 plus the big prizes of $500, $250, $150, $100 & $50. 
You can win multiple times since your ticket is always returned to the pile so that it's there for the final drawing.  All parishioners are asked to buy or sell at least 2 tickets.

Tickets to sell are available from Bobbie Gordon. Tickets for purchase are available from Vestry members and Debbie Pitcher, Deb Williams, Rose Marie Proctor, Charlie Benjamin, Cynthia Benjamin, Janet Quade and Bobbie Gordon.

C O M M U N I T Y   N E W S

Sunday Sermon
You hypocrites!

SERMON: 15 Pentecost B 9 2 18

When Jesus confronts critics he often uses the term "hypocrites." Today he exploded at the religious authorities because they were criticizing the disciples for eating without washing their hands.

"Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written, 'This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.'"

Jesus knows that the religious authorities are trying to undermine him at every opportunity. Every single thing Jesus and the disciples do is watched closely. When something appears out of alignment with the hundreds of rules in the Hebrew Bible they try to make a federal case out of it. This isn't your mom saying, "Did you wash your hands?" before dinner. This is the equivalent, at that time, of a police officer threatening them with a fine or arrest or jail time.

Throughout the Gospels people are trying to play "gotcha" with Jesus and his disciples. And because they are busy proclaiming the Good News, that is, the Gospel, they really aren't able to commit a lot of energy to following the norms of behavior among the openly and publicly religious who spend a great deal of their time following the rules. So they get criticized for thing like eating without washing their hands and working on the Sabbath, even though their work on the Sabbath is always to help or heal someone in need.

This reminds me of a joke I heard about a fellow who boasted to his pastor, "I never go to church. Perhaps you have noticed that, pastor?"

"Yes, I have noticed that," said the pastor. 

"Well, the reason I don't go is because there are so many hypocrites there." 

"Oh, don't let that keep you away," replied the pastor with a smile. "There's always room for one more."

The definition of a hypocrite is "one who affects virtues or qualities he does not have." I suppose in the context of the joke I told, a hypocrite is one who pretends -- or maybe even believes --he lacks negative qualities he actually does have.

But we see it again and again, leaders and public figures and even friends and family members and, dare I say, our silly selves, pretending to possess qualities we wish we had but do not possess, or acting as if we are innocent of vices we well know boil up in us at times. The greatest truism of all time is "No one is perfect."
The point of Jesus calling out the hypocrisy of others is not to shame them. It is to get folks to look at their own behavior, their decisions and their actions. What Jesus wants us to do is to realize that mouthing virtuous thoughts and beliefs is not the same as possessing those virtues. It is too easy to say we are something we are not.

Hypocrisy, hypocrite, hypocrites and hypocritical are mentioned in the Bible a total of 25 times. Five of those references appear in the Hebrew Bible, 20 in the New Testament. Of the New Testament examples, 14 are from Matthew, 2 are from Luke, 2 are from Mark, and two are from Epistles.

We can gather from this that Jesus thought being hypocritical about righteous things was far worse than being ignorant about them.

Why do you suppose Jesus would feel so strongly about this? After all, Jesus reached out to and welcomed sinners at various points in his earthly ministry. Why would hypocrisy be such a big deal to him?

To tell the truth, I didn't have an answer to this question until I was almost through typing it. I suspect that Jesus was so critical of hypocrisy because it would mislead people. If I am acting all holy and righteous in my public life and you find out I'm robbing banks in my spare time, how does that leave you feeling about whatever righteous things I've been talking about?

There's an interesting side-note to this on page 873 of the Book of Common Prayer. It is one of the Articles of Religion from the Historical Documents of the church titled, "Of the Unworthiness of the Ministers, which hinders not the effect of the Sacraments." What is says, in essence, is that if, in fact, I'm breaking God's laws by robbing banks during the week, the Sacramental works I do here--baptisms and Communion, primarily--are still valid.
Isn't that a comfort to you? I hope so. It is to me. But what it doesn't say is perhaps more related to our Gospel of today. Because it doesn't say because of my ordination, my acts are acceptable. It says they don't invalidate my celebration of the Sacraments. If I were to be robbing banks during the week, I would be a criminal, albeit one whose celebrations of the Sacraments were still valid.

In terms of what Jesus was saying to his disciples and other followers, hypocrites can't be trusted in either the holy or the mundane because they are not faithful to God. They are faithful to the rules, not to the One which inspired them.
Jesus spoke of the state of the heart of the hypocrites and asserted that "...(T)here is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."
Jesus knew that the endless rules that the religious authorities considered so vital did little to establish or grow a relationship with God. The role of the heart, where the soul and the conscience lived in the minds of spiritual people of the time, was to help us in that relationship with the Almighty.
Let's look at the list of evil intentions that Jesus enumerated: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. We can see that these are perversions of the free will which has been given us. They distort our lives instead of leading us to a closer relationship with God. And that is our ultimate goal: to draw near to God in faith, to do God's will, not to harm others or entice them into harmful behavior, acts which erode the soul.

That is why in our collect this morning we prayed that God would "...Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works."
These are faithful prayers which we pray, in the faith, in the hope and in the knowledge that God, if asked, will help us avoid those hypocritical choices that loom forever before us.

Jesus showed us how important that is, to insure our hearts are clear of wrong motives and thoughts so we can 
better align our lives with our spiritual desires, to be at one with God and to do that which God desires for us: to love God and to do so by loving our neighbor.      Amen
A sermon preached Sept. 2, 2018 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Poughkeepsie NY by The Rev. Tyler Jones, Rector
 1     Notoe Hodge                                                14      Clifford DuBois Jr.
        Brandon Clarke                                                      Jack Porter
4      Brian McCarthy                                             21      Aleen Josephs Clarke
7      Florence Greenway                                      22      Shamara Wethington Mizell
        Rebecca Lynn Brown                                              Douglas Robinson
9      Janet Woods                                                 23      Benjamin Porter
        Judith Mizell                                                  24      Gladys Morais
11    Louise Evans                                                28      Adrian Goldson
12    Marjorie Marks                                              29      Daphne Barrett
        Colleen Misner                                              30      Tom Walker

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St. Paul's Episcopal Church-Poughkeepsie

'In Service to God & You'  
Server:            Maria Bell
Lectors:           Rose Marie Proctor
                        Tom Walker
Litanist:           Pete Bedrossian
Organist:         Maris Kristapsons
Acolytes:         Shawn Prater-Lee
                        Jordan Rosborough
                        Ben Rosborough
Lectors:           Daphne Barrett
                        Molly Jones
Litanist:           Mark Debald
Usher:             Dewy Clarke
                        Mark Debald
Altar Guild:      Hyacinth & Daphne

Greeters:         Debbie Pitcher
                        Bobbie Gordon

1982                47             On this day, the first of days
 1982               76              Joyful, joyful, we adore thee

 LEVAS-II        13              Oh Lord, what a morning
 1982               493            O for a thousand tongues to sing
HYMN INFORMATION: O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing is another hymn by Charles Wesley, who also authored Jesus, Lover of My Soul, which we sang last Sunday. Wesley fell ill in 1738 while studying in London. At the time, Wesley was plagued by extreme doubts about his faith. While in bed, he was attended by a group of Christians who offered him testimony and care, deeply moving him. Reading from his Bible, he found himself at peace with God, and when his strength began to return he looked upon it as a renewal of his faith. A year later, Wesley wrote a new hymn commemorating this event and praising God. Originally 18 stanzas long, the text was eventually shortened and has been coupled with various hymn tunes, most commonly Lowell Mason's 1839 setting of the 1828 German hymn tune Azmon, which we sing today.

September 3-9, 2018

MON 3                    7:30am "Good Morning" AA Meeting;    
                               6:30pm NA Meeting "Journey to Recovery";                                             
TUE 4                      10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Small Blessings Thrift Shop; 
                                6pm Evening Prayer, Stewardship;
WED 5                     7:30am "Good Morning" AA Meeting;  
                               10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Small Blessings Thrift Shop;   
                               12:15pm Healing Service & Eucharist;    
THUR 6                  10am-2pm Office, Food Pantry, Thrift Shop;  
                                6pm Evening Prayer, Evangelism/Outreach;  
FRI 7                       7:30am "Good Morning" AA meeting;                                                       
SAT  8                     10am Morning Prayer, Buildings & Grounds Mtg;  
                               11am Block Clean up
                                3pm NA Meeting "Journey to Recovery" 
                                5pm PH Private Event;                                                          
SUN 9                     8am Rite I;
                                8:45am Lesson's Discussion;
                               9:30am Choir Practice;
                               10am Sunday School;
                               10am Rite II- KICK OFF SUNDAY
                               11:15am Coffee Hour;    
                               11:30AM Youth


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