The Week of September 8-13, 2020
To be redirected to the Lectionary Page and get a digital copy of the readings
After Peter asks Jesus how often he should forgive someone who sins against him, Jesus tells the story of a servant whose massive debt is forgiven by the king, but who refuses to forgive a smaller debt owed to him and is tortured for it. The theological implication is that God will forgive all sins, and you should too.
Exodus 14:19-31; Psalm 114; Romans 14:1-12; Matthew 18:21-35
The Sunday sermon
I guess Jesus really believed in the importance of community, because throughout the entire eighteenth chapter of Matthew's gospel, community is the perpetual theme. Speaking to his disciples, he let them know that their faith is not a private matter, that it is not something they can go off by themselves and enjoy all alone under the shade of some tree. He wanted them to know that their life in Christ is a community affair. Their life in Christ does remarkable things when two or three of them are gathered together in his name.
He let them know that they needed to engage each other like brothers and sisters need to engage each other, to remind themselves that they belong to one family. When families or communities work well together, they become a means through which the fruits of the kingdom are truly recognizable. When families do not work well together, there can be episodes of striking out against each other in hurtful ways. When such occasions present themselves, constructive and loving communication has to be pursued, hoping that such communication will again permit that family to be a manifestation of how God wants us to share, to work together, and to care for one another.
This is exactly what Jesus is talking about in this morning's gospel. In the Christian family, in the Christian community, when your brother or sister sins against you, you must go and have conversation with him or her. And if that doesn't work, you don't stop there. You must keep going back, if necessary, taking other people with you, doing every thing in your power to get your brother or sister back in communion with you.
There are, I think, two curious things about this advice that Jesus gives. First, he puts the burden on the person who has been offended. This seems strange at first, until you take note of how easy it is for us to hurt another person and not even know we have done it unless we are told. Consider how easy it is for us to make what we think is an innocent remark in conversation that in reality is a cutting or hurtful statement to one or more of our listeners.
When I was chaplain at Greer School, back in the seventies, I lived for 10 years just outside the village of Millbrook. There were, and still are many very wealthy people living in Millbrook. On a number of occasions, I was invited to some of those wealthy parties; and one of the things this poor guy found fascinating was that the food came up on a dumbwaiter from the kitchen to the upstairs maids. It was then brought to us at the table. At one of those parties before dinner, I was in conversation with perhaps a quintet of people and we were all sipping martinis. One of the ladies had been asked where she lived. She responded, "Hopewell, New York." I had never heard of a Hopewell, New York. "But," I blurted out, "Do you mean Hopewell Junction?" There was silence. I later learned that to everyone else in the group Hopewell Junction sounded rather vulgar and the young lady wanted to give the impression that she came from a more sophisticated part of the world, not a place with a name that had a blue collar sound to it. How did I know? I was just a kid who grew up in a very poor place called the South Bronx. And I didn't realize at the time that I had caused her so much pain and embarrassment. A little later in the evening she came over to me, and it appeared that she had had a few more martinis, and let me know, with more than just a touch of anger, how she felt about my comment. I felt like two cents, and immediately, I profoundly apologized. Fortunately, I was able to get a bit of a smile from her.
When we are sinned against, or when someone hurts us or offends us, Jesus wants us to go to that person and let him or her know what he or she has done. I must confess, I really don't think the young lady at the party was thinking biblically when she confronted me; she clearly didn't use biblical words on me, nor, to be honest with you, she didn't use any words I care to repeat in the pulpit. But I do think I have given you a contemporary example of what is being asked of us in this morning's gospel. And I do know from that point on, this man has been very careful not to offend other people, especially at dinner parties where martinis are flowing.
The second curious thing is that Jesus seems truly interested in getting people to listen to each other. If a member of family, a member of community is unable to listen, if even in the presence of other people the doors used for communication stay firmly shut, we are not to go through our lives pretending that nothing has happened. We are to recognize that the family is not whole, and the attempt for reconciliation, the attempt for healing must continue.
Part of my summer reading has been an Edward Rutherfurd novel entitled, New York. Salvatore Caruso, a brick layer living in "Little Italy, falls in love with a lovely young woman from Long Island. He courts her, meets her family and introduces her to other members of his family, including his younger brother, Angelo, with whom he lives. The day he asks her to marry him, she confesses that she is not in love with him, but with Angelo. Oh boy! Salvatore immediately feels estranged from his younger brother, add to that to some degree he no longer feels part of the family as they spend time preparing for the wedding between Angelo and Teresa. Uncle Luigi tries to talk to Salvatore, as does his little brother. He even refuses Angelo's invitation to be the best man at the wedding. However, he grudgingly elects to attend the nuptial event. When he sees his brother on the wedding day, he is immediately overwhelmed by the love that he has felt for decades for his little brother, and he holds him and tells him how very proud he is of him. The anger and jealousy dissolve; and on that day, not only were Angelo and Teresa made one, but the Caruso family was also again made one.
Jesus is telling us in this gospel that we need each other. Through the eighteenth chapter of Matthew, especially the verses that make up this morning's gospel, Jesus underscores the importance of Christian community. Speaking to his disciples, speaking to us, he lets us know that our faith is not a private matter. We were not created to isolate ourselves from each other. .
I would remind you also, when families, when communities work well together, we become the primary vehicle through which the advent of the kingdom of God is manifested in this world. Let us join our hands, our intellects our energies, and our hearts together as one big family, manifesting the hope, the joy, and truly manifesting the fruits of the kingdom of God.
--Fr. C. Allan Ford
SEPTEMBER WORSHIP SCHEDULE
Thanks to all who have attended church these past few weeks whether it was in person at 161 Mansion Street or whether it was on Zoom. As announced several weeks ago we'll have in person worship on the first and third Sundays of the month. Otherwise we'll be on Zoom.
Our schedule for September will be:
In Person Worship on September 20.
Hope to see you in church on Sunday and/or on Zoom.
Zoom church this Sunday, and September 27.
Our Zoom connections remain the same and are:
Meeting ID: 823 3911 5280
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In Person Worship on September 6 and 20.
A NOTE FROM THE TREASURY TEAM
Total deposit for the past week - $5120.07 ($515 for the 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!!!
CROP WALK 2020
If I just said October 18, 2020, what would your answer be?? It's a Sunday??? It's St. Luke's Day??? It's my Alexis' 18th birthday?? All of these answers would be right. But the correct answer is the 44th Dutchess Interfaith Council's Crop Walk.
March, 2020 I was given a certificate from the Interfaith Council by Rev Taylor Holbrook. the Crop Walk committee Chairperson. It reads..."Rose Marie Proctor Crop Hunger Walker par excellence for FORTY years, she has made this a Family Priority. She has marvelously represented St. Paul's Church, Poughkeepsie. She has supported sisters and brothers world-wide who walk each day for food & water" Alexis, Adriana, Mr. Adrian, Father Tyler and Gail Burger (who was the director of the Interfaith Council) and many others that were in attendance I have walked with for these 40 years.
This year's walk hopes to step off as usual, but we all know that things are a little different. Walk the Walkway Bridge, walk around the block, walk along the river. Keep your own measure. Do your six miles in whatever way works for you. I will count my walks back and forth to St. Paul's. As I am joined again this year ( I hope) by Maria, Kevin, Julete, Madison, Adrian, Alexis (she walked on her 16th so..) please consider stepping out with us.. I hope that we are able to walk the pattern that has been done for the last 44 years.
I started walking because I heard a story about women my age and younger walking 6 miles - the length of the walk - twice a day to get water. There are now community wells in many villages. I still hope with God's grace to step out on October 18th and know that each step I take brings water, food, and hope to many around the world. I have been blessed to be able to continue this with your help, support and prayers. It is important that you are aware that 25% of the monies collected stay in our area.
So... CIRCLE OCTOBER 18TH, 2020 ON YOUR CALENDARS.
A DAY ON WHICH ALL OF US CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE...
Thanks for your continued support. I have never asked that everyone has not said yes.. I felt guilt because I couldn't walk the year I had the argument with the car. Aleen put her arm around my shoulder as I cried and said "God knows your heart. It's OK" Thanks my friend. Keep in mind the many that we can make a difference for by just saying YES.
Remain Blessed.. Your sister in Christ..
--Rose Marie Proctor
August 30, 2020
It is the end of August, and the fall is upon us. It is my hope for all of you that you have had some opportunity, even as we continue to live mostly in isolation from one another, to find rest and recuperation. Margaret and I spent most of August at our rustic cottage in the Catskills, where the highlights were: a brief visit from our granddaughters (they and we quarantined for weeks to make that possible); fireflies; the daily appearance of bright, red, beautiful Mars in the inky darkness of the night sky; and lunch one day with Bishop Mark and Karen Sisk. That was the first time we had eaten in public since March 9, and it was wonderful to see Mark and Karen again and to find them so well. Someone might say these were small things, but they were something, and they were reminders that a world which seems to have come undone still has things in it that I love and which move me so deeply and which make me a better person. We have a lot of work ahead of us - much to do - and I hope that you also have had some respite, and a reminder of those things which move you and enlarge you too.
Next week is Labor Day weekend, and the traditional time of fall start-up for our parishes. And that represents a new chapter of our life with COVID-19. Through the spring and into the summer, you received a series of emails from me regarding the pandemic and the choices and decisions which every church was invited to make about the movement back into some form of in -person worship. As well, on the last day of May, in the week following the killing of George Floyd, you also received my letter, in which I was joined by Bishops Allen and Mary, called "White Supremacy Meets the Beloved Community," with a reflection on the imperatives for all people and for the church in the escalating crisis around social justice and our continuing urgent claim that Black Lives Matter, and in the new civil rights movement which was exploding across America. I want to say a little about both of these subjects, and where we are at the end of a long, hot summer. And what it means for us in overlapping crises to still be the Church.
Worship in a Continuing Pandemic
Since the beginning of July, a number of our churches have begun holding some form of in-person worship. This has usually been with a smaller-than-usual congregation, and scrupulous adherence to rules regarding masks, disinfectant, and rigorous social distancing. The good news is that these first steps back toward in-person worship have mostly succeeded. However, at least an equally large number of our churches chose not to come back together during the summer, but to wait until after Labor Day, or even until after the turn of the year. This is the "new chapter" of COVID which I referenced. Over these next weeks and months I expect to see the move toward in-person worship expand, with all of our churches coming back together in some form, however limited or modest, by the end of 2020 or soon after. I also assume that our churches will continue the remote and remarkable live-streaming or zoom practices of worship,
fellowship and study which have sustained us as a diocese all along the way so far.
It would be very helpful if every church could let me know if you have begun in-person worship and when you did, or if you have not yet, your expectations and plans for coming back together in person. And especially, if there is anything you need, or questions you need answered, please call on me or any member of my staff. COVID infection rates have continued (surprisingly, I think) at a low level in New York throughout the summer.This bodes well for our careful return to something like normal life in our congregations. But if we should see a surge in infections in the fall or winter, we may have some setbacks and a return to remote worship.
All of that is to say that earlier in the year we thought that by the fall we might be largely past all this, but we are not. We are clearly in a time of transition, with an active pandemic virus still among us, and that continues to carry risks. For that reason my colleague bishops and I have decided not to resume the cycle of Sunday parish visitations until after the turn of the year, on the Feast of the Epiphany. Some parishes feel ready for visitations and have told us so, or have asked about holding confirmation services with few, if any, members of the congregation present. But some parish priests, significantly, have said that they would like us to wait, until Advent or Epiphany. They are just not ready. Their churches are not ready, to say nothing of the congregations which are not even meeting in person yet. We have found these voices, and these concerns, compelling.
So we will not be making Sunday visitations to our churches just yet. Please do not ask us to. Let us work on our stability in public worship a little longer. However, all three of us are ready at any time to record videos of sermons or homilies, Bible studies or teachings, or zoom conversations with young people, vestries, and parish groups. We are also preparing for some in -person parish happenings, including small-size institutions of new rectors, and funerals of those who have died during the pandemic months. We also expect to be working this fall on offering some small kind of in-person modest regional services of confirmation around the diocese.
In the scheduling of visitations for 2021, our first priority will be covering those very many 2020 visitations which had to be cancelled. We bishops will also be re-convening the regional zoom conversations with clergy across our diocese, and in some form the Wednesday video meditations as well.
I said back at the beginning that my decisions would be at every turn careful and cautious. That may have been frustrating for some of you. But I ask you also to go slowly, be careful, take small steps first. I think this is how we live with COVID. I think it is how we beat it.
There is a litany of names, victims of institutional violence against Black people in America, that we carry with us all the time. Certain names, of those who have in some way so fully captured the hearts and imaginations and grief of people that their memories have been lifted above the unending background of racist killing and lives lost to become for us icons of violated innocence, powerful reminders across time of the high cost of American racism. In his day, Emmett Till was one of those names, whose lynching lit the spark that ignited the Civil Rights movement. The martyrs of Alabama and Mississippi and all who fell in the struggle for equal rights. Martin Luther King of course. Our own days have provided more names than we can bear, to shine among them in that constellation: Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Deborah Danner. And more.
And over the last six months, the Martyrs of 2020. The front page of today's New York Times features a lengthy and rewarding portrait of Breonna Taylor, shot in her bed in Kentucky back in March. Her killing and that of Ahmaud Arbery while jogging through a white neighborhood three weeks earlier, and most especially the murder of George Floyd under the knee of a brutal police officer, became the catalyst for what have been continuing nightly protests across America which have signaled for three months that we have reached and passed a tipping point, beyond which there is no going back. These people have been taken, but their names now occupy a hallowed place in the minds and hearts of America. On the last day of May, in the week following the death of George Floyd, Bishops Allen and Mary joined me in a letter to the diocese entitled "White Supremacy Meets the Beloved Community." We joined our voices to the outrage felt by all of you in our churches and communities. And that outrage, and the protests, have continued to characterize the three months which have followed. During that time America lost in a single day the gentle, powerful, prophetic Civil Rights leaders Congressman John Lewis and the Reverend C.T. Vivian. When John Lewis died, it felt that our country, and maybe the world, paused, stopped, took a breath, and marked together the passing of one of the greatest among us. We may perhaps not see a saint of his grace and stature among us again in our lives. As a bold public witness, the words "Black Lives Matter" are painted now in giant yellow letters on some of the most significant streets of American cities. And the insistence over these months, never stilled, that Black Lives Matter, and the strident backlash against that claim have given us a season in which to reflect more deeply what those words mean, and what they mean in an America far from fully redeemed.
As a white American, the Black Lives Matter movement, now six years old, has been for me an opportunity, and invitation, to listen, to learn, and to go more deeply into an understanding of what it has meant and still means to be a black person in America. It has been an opportunity to grow in understanding of the ways in which we all participate in the systemic racism that characterizes our culture, our institutions, our public life, and even the church. I have been profoundly grateful for the witness and teaching and stories of black people in this movement. And I have been moved and shamed to discover how much I have taken for granted, and how much my black friends never told me - things which were perhaps too personal, too vulnerable to say - and the possibilities which were now being laid before us by a new era of honest declaration and the opening of eyes. I have been moved to receive the unfolding of human hearts which have carried so much pain. And I have been shown the poignancy of simply "mattering," and what that modest claim says about the value and worth of African Americans in America. I believed that these learnings and discoveries were widely received, and that we were in an historic moment of transformation in America. I imagined that we were entering a new chapter in our hope to become a better people.
But one week ago today Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back in Kenosha, Wisconsin. We see again how readily the death penalty is imposed against black people for any offense or often enough no offense. But what was astonishing was to see this shooting happen at a time when the whole world was watching. To happen so shamelessly. To happen without apology. And this week nothing could be clearer than that for far too many people in this country black lives do not matter. That the human lives of black people do not matter, and that they may
be taken away with impunity.
In a time of such crisis, of divisions drawn so boldly, of the fundamental truths of human life and human dignity and of the holiness of lives lived in God becoming lines of battle, it falls to people of faith to recommit to our most deeply held convictions, and to remember who we are and the demands that are placed on us by God. John Lewis, who offered himself for the costs and sacrifices of this movement, and carried the scars of it for the rest of his life, said that "You never become bitter. You never become hostile. You never try to demean your opponents." These are the words of a Christian man who has taken the Gospel fully into himself. But in these days, nothing could be more counter-cultural.
This diocese, through our Reparations Committee and Anti-Racism Committee, are offering opportunities for people in our churches and communities to rediscover and recommit to our Christian faith, and to become witnesses to the deeper and truer life which we believe is our call. The Apology Retreat this summer was wildly over-subscribed, as people flocked to engage together the learnings and listenings of this movement.And this fall we are about to embark on adiocesan-wide book study of Ibram Kendi's "How to be an Antiracist."It is a tremendous book, and everyone who reads it will see their country, and more importantly themselves, with new eyes. If your church has not yet planned to participate in the book study, please make those preparations now. These are the things we can do right now, all together, to transform and strengthen our own church, community and witness. That we may be part of the change, and citizens of that Beloved Community which, despite all, I still believe is being born. With every good wish, I remain
The Right Reverend Andrew ML DietscheBishop of New York
REGISTER TO VOTE
Are you registered to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election on November 3rd?
If you have recently changed your name or your address, you currently may not be eligible to vote. To check on your current registration, call the Dutchess County Board of Elections (845-486-2473). They are open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday and after Labor Day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. They will check on your current registration and, if you are not registered, they will mail you a registration form. You can also get a form online at elections.dutchessny.gov. Or you can call the church at 845-452-8440, and we will get one to you. If you want to vote in the 2020 Presidential Election, you MUST register to vote by October 9th.
First Lutheran and St. Paul's Episcopal Church are cooperating on a joint voter registration project. First of all, we want to be sure that our congregations are registered to vote. We have received a number of forms from the Dutchess County Board of Elections. They are available for you, your family and friends by calling me at 845-454-8440. Second, we will also be registering folks through the thrift shop and food pantry. If you have questions or want to help, please call Shawn at 845-464-2007.
1 Richmond Hodge (Noto)
|14 Clifford Robert Dubois Jr.|
|30 Thomas A. Walker|
||21 Aleen Josephs-Clarke||
7 Rebecca Lynn Brown
|22 Douglas Robinson|
Shamara Wethington Mizell
| 9 Janet woods|
|23 Benjamin Porter|
11 Louise Evans
28 Adrian Joseph Goldson
|12 Marjorie Marks|
|29 Daphne Barett|
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:
Lori, Steven, Elyse, Jim, Seth; Phil; All essential workers; Beryl & Glen, Vincent
family; George; Stephanie, Aaron; 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; Peggy;The Bedrossian family; 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; Ibadan Diocese, All Saints
Anglican Church,Oni family; Donna; 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.
THIS WEEK'S CALENDAR
|TUE 8||10:00am Food Pantry & Thrift Shop|
10:00am Food Pantry & Thrift Shop
10:00am Food Pantry & Thrift Shop