St. Paul's Episcopal Church Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

"Making friends while serving God"

The Week of August 18 - August 23, 2020
This week's readings
In this week's epistle we are called to be a living sacrifice.  When we think of a traditional Biblical sacrifice we think of dead animals on an altar.  What makes something a living sacrifice?  It's us and how we live our lives.  As comically pointed out in the illustration this choice to give our lives as a sacrifice is something that we must do each day.  We keep moving off of the altar, but must pick ourselves back up each day and give ourselves as a sacrifice.

--Shawn Prater-Lee  
To be redirected to the Lectionary Page and get a digital copy of the readings  
Exodus 1:8-2:10, 12-28; Psalm 124;  
Romans 12:1-8; Matthew 16:13-20        
The Sunday sermon
Matthew 15:21-28
Please tell me if I am wrong, but aren't our earliest, childhood memories of Jesus, aren't they of a man who was kind, compassionate and loving? Isn't it true that from the moment we learned there was a Jesus we were taught that Jesus of Nazareth healed the sick, cared for those who were treated unjustly, reached out gently to children? He was a person who was open to all people, regardless of race, gender or creed. The bible stories that we read, for the most part, confirmed the fact that Jesus was a person who cared, and responded to human need.
Therefore, when we read this morning's gospel, we all should be deeply offended. We should be troubled because of the way that Jesus initially treated this Canaanite woman. Here is a woman whose daughter was probably mentally sick. Any of us who have had a child, a relative, or a close friend who has suffered from mental illness should be able to empathize with this woman.
The woman came to Jesus and cried for mercy and Jesus ignored her. And he did more than that, he demeaned her. He called her a dog. "It is not fair", he said, "to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs." He was saying that it was not right for him to take what he brought for the children of Israel and give it to people like her.
This is not a side of Jesus I wanted to know. This was not a gospel story I wanted to discuss in the context of a sermon. So as I read, grudgingly, some commentaries that dealt with this gospel, I learned that some scholars felt that Jesus really cared about the woman but that he was testing her faith by throwing up road blocks. One scholar felt that Jesus was just teasing the woman, because the word dog in this reading translated from the Greek really means "puppy." Still another scholar suggested that Jesus was, in some way, testing the woman's humility.
I have to tell you I have never considered myself a biblical scholar, but I am going out on a limb to tell you, I find these interpretations a way to attempt to make Jesus look good during his initial exchange with the woman. And while I'm on that limb, I want to suggest to you another way of looking at this passage. My suggestion is that we not read this passage of Scripture putting the focus on the mind of Jesus, but instead that we read it trying to understand the heart of the woman. Perhaps, if we focus on the woman, we may find a theme that offers us a very important message.
Let me start by saying, if we read this gospel story from that perspective, we begin to understand how people who are helpless can actually feel that they are on the outside of God's love. Reading this gospel from this woman's perspective, we understand what it is like to feel ignored by God.
I remember taking a class offered to clergy many, many years ago that dealt with the process of grieving the death of someone close. One of the things we talked about was how the death of someone close to us can cause a veil of anger to come upon us, rendering us totally despondent, sometimes separating us from one another, and yes, sometimes even causing us to feel separated from God. My late wife died at home in my presence in July, on the afternoon of the Feast of Saints Mary and Martha. Minutes before she died, hoping she was hearing me, I was reading aloud Scripture, more specifically psalm 130. "Out of the depths I cry to you O Lord, Lord hear my voice." When I saw that she had breathed her last, I went into a rage and threw the Holy Book on the floor and cried out like a baby. I felt powerless; I felt God had turned away from me, and let my wife die. Perhaps this gospel story is an expression of what it is like to be in so much pain and agony and to feel deserted.
If that is so, then what is the message for us? This woman, feeling powerless and helpless, knew nothing else to do but to cry out, "Have mercy." I would suggest to you that the message for us is to remember that as human beings when we are totally helpless are instincts call upon us to cry out. We find ourselves remembering and engaging the power and the passion of the cry. Remember George Floyd in his most powerless moments. What did he do? He cried out for his mother?
Some of you remember the power of the cry when in the middle of the night that new born baby cried and the adrenaline flowed within you and you shot out of bed to respond. Cries have a power to evoke a response.
The people of Israel cried out to God during their exodus. They lamented when they were in the desert because they were hungry, and God heard their cry and fed them with manna from above. Of the 150 psalms in the Old Testament, 50 of them are lamentations. Fifty of them describe people calling out to God to help them, crying out to God to be fair. "How long, how long, O Lord, will you hide your face from me?" the psalmist cries out.
When covid-19 began to destroy one life after another, initially many of us felt it would soon go away. I think our president said it would probably be gone by April. But the number of deaths has continued to climb. One hundred and sixty-nine thousand plus! The family members and friends of many of the victims, out of their grief cry out. "It is not fair," as they stand around the caskets of their loved ones. And the medical professionals hear the nation's cry, and have been working day and night to come up with a vaccine and a therapy to control the virus.
Our Lord hung on the cross, and even he at one point with great passion cried out, "My God, my God why have you forsaken me?" Again it is part of our instinct; it is a form of prayer to cry out. "Lord, hear our prayer, and let our cry come unto you."
An interesting thing happens when we begin to cry out against injustice. Barriers are broken down especially as we hear the same cry coming from different parts of the globe. The people of West Germany in their lamenting, heard the president of the United States join them and cry out "Mr. Gorbachev tear down that wall." And it was as if Joshua again fought the battle of Jericho, because the Berlin wall came tumbling down.
I do not know what in the world Jesus was thinking when initially he ignored that poor woman in her plight. But she teaches me that there is power in the human cry, and in my opinion it is high time, in fact it is long past time for the Church universal to break down the barriers that separate us from one another, it is time that we, embracing the lesson taught to us by the Canaanite woman no matter how hopeless it may seem, that we be united in loud cries, that we cry out to relieve the many injustices that the children of God are experiencing. It is time for the Church with one voice to scream loud enough to penetrate the seals that separate us from heaven so that God's grace may pour through and descend upon us, giving us the courage to destroy the weapons of war, the courage to use our intellectual prowess solely for the purpose of healing diseases and pandemics, and to give us the need to see that no one goes to bed hungry, and that we strive to see that there is justice for the disenfranchised, and that we strive to remove all other things that keep the Kingdom of God from being realized right here in our midst. We must be a people who cry out and hope when there is no hope. And so we call out! "Oh Lord hear our prayer, and let our cry come unto you."
--Fr. C. Allan Ford


Thanks to all who have attended church recently. It has been great seeing all of you. 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 through the end of September will be:

Zoom church this Sunday, on August 30, and September 13 and 27.
Our Zoom connections remain the same and are
Meeting ID: 823 3911 5280 
One tap mobile 
+16465588656,,82339115280# US (New York) 
+13017158592,,82339115280# US (Germantown)

Dial by your location 
        +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)    
In Person Worship on September 6 and 20.
Hope to see you in church either on Zoom or in September when we are next back in church. 
--Shawn Prater-Lee 
Total deposit for the past week - $650 (no money 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!!!


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 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.
 --Shawn Prater-Lee
Hope to see you there! 
For any questions please call Rural & Migrant Ministry, Inc. 845-485-8627
 --Deacon Julett

 1 Josephine Sherow 
 3 G.C. (Gerry) Sprague 
  7 Charlene DuBois

14 Ed McCurty
23 Marlene Taylor
25 Dewy Clarke
 4 Owen Tucker
 5 Owen Scarlett

15 Adrianna Babb

20 Krystal Hyson

27 Jessica Ann Krainski



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:
Steven, 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, Phil, 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; Seth;Lori; 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.


August 18-23, 2020

TUE     1810:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

WED    19
10:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

THU     20
10:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

SUN     23
 10:00am   RITE II - Zoom 





Help us get the word out by submitting news of parish activities. Send submittals to or call 845 452 8440

Give us a call today!