St. Paul's Episcopal Church   Poughkeepsie, NY 12601


MESSENGER
"Making friends while serving God"

 
The Week of February 3-9, 2020
  
 
 
 
Salt and light
 
Our Gospel Sunday involves salt and light.
"You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?" Then, "You are the light of the world...let your light shine."
   
bible.jpg
This week's readings
These two images are striking in the way that each of the subjects can be exhausted easily. Salt loses its taste; lights go out. The images are easy to comprehend in terms of human limitations.
 
Salt enlivens taste--sometimes too much--and light illumines, sometimes too brightly. But applying the light and salt of faith in our lives and to the benefit of others is our calling. The Gospel lesson reminds us that we should make use of our capabilities rather than let them dwindle and go unused. We are called to share our faith, demonstrate it in our lives, and make it known to the glory of God.
 
And if we don't, if we sit on our hands and keep our mouths shut with respect to our faith and putting it into action, we will pay a spiritual price. We will be spiritually diminished.
 
 
    
 
To be redirected to the Lectionary Page and get a digital copy of the readings 
 
 

Join the work party Feb. 12




 
Celebrate Abraham Lincoln's birthday
by participating in St. Paul's work party

St. Paul's Buildings and Grounds Committee has set Lincoln's Birthday, Feb.12, to take the first steps in restoring the ground floor of our church from the foot of the stairs in the Scout Hall to the dishwashing room. From 11 am-3 pm volunteers will be preparing the Scout Hall for painting and other improvements, removing obsolete telephone wiring, closing off the area under the stairs (a major junk magnet), repairing miscellaneous outlet and appliance issues and cleaning out the electrical room, the most dank space in the entire church.
 
This is the initial phase of a much larger project which will improve the meeting spaces and hallways both practically and aesthetically. All levels of expertise are needed--please plan to join the work party!
 
Questions may be addressed to Maria Bell, Buildings and Grounds Committee Chair, at mabell1264@yahoo.com or 845 629 9501.



   PARISH  NEWS
  
STEWARDSHIP NEWS
The Stewardship committee met last week and set the following calendar for 2020 Fund Raising activities: 
February 22 - Chili take-out 
March 14 - Corned Beef & Cabbage Dinner  
March 15 - Begin selling 25 Week club tickets 
May 16 - Dance for fun 
June 13 - Rummage Sale 
June 14 - First 25 Week Club drawing 
August 2 - Caribbean Brunch 
August 8 or 15 - Lunch at Outback 
Sept 12 or 26 - Game Night or Card Party 
October 24 - CIA Lasagna Dinner 
December 6 - 25 Week Club Final Drawing 
Mark your calendars now and plan to participate in these great activities.  Let us know if you have other ideas!!

 
   
 
Food Pantry Wintertime Supplies

At this time of year, our clients especially appreciate filling foods such as oatmeal (instant) for breakfast, soup for lunch, and hearty meals for dinner such as spaghetti and tomato sauce, beef stew, and corned beef hash. You can help! Every Sunday there is a large basket in the narthax waiting to be filled with nourishing nonperishable food. Please bring a little something each week.
 
Also, did you know that every Monday a volunteer purchases 40 loaves of whole grain sandwich bread for the Pantry? The Bread Alone Bakery in Rhinebeck donates specialty loaves and rolls, but our clients need sliced bread to make sandwiches with the peanut butter and jelly or tuna and mayo we give them. You can help by giving money for this purpose to the Food Pantry. 

We buy our sandwich bread at Freihofer's Bakery Outlet in New Paltz for 90 cents a loaf. For $5, you can provide five families with a loaf of top brand packaged bread with money to spare. Put the money in an envelope marked "For Food Pantry bread purchase" with your name and pledge number on it and put it in the collection plate.                                                                                                         --Molly Jones 
 
 
  COMMUNITY NEWS 
 
DUTCHESS COUNTY INTERFAITH COUNCIL  
        SEEKS A NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR            
 
If you know anyone who might be interested in applying to be our next Executive Director please encourage them to apply.  You will find a job listing at the following link,  http://bit.ly/2vtN3bn
 
If your community of faith is one that uplifts prayer requests, we ask that you uplift the Interfaith Council in this time of transition.  Also be on the lookout for upcoming  events and announcements.                 --Rev. Paul D. Lent, DCIC President
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Beatitudes  
SERMON: 4 Epiphany A 2 2 2020
Micah6:1-8;Ps15:1-7;1Cor1:18-31;Mt5:1-12  
Molly and I had dinner a few nights ago with a couple in a mixed marriage. He's an Episcopalian and she's a Roman Catholic. I mean, some people, right? The topic of jokes in sermons came up. Molly rolled her eyes. I told a couple of my favorites. I think the most fun thing about church jokes is that we can laugh at ourselves. Otherwise we take ourselves SOOOOO seriously. But then I thought I haven't told a joke in a sermon for a while. So I found this one. It pokes fun at all the Christian denominations, so you know it has to be good.
 
You see there was a great big convention of all the different churches. It was held in the biggest church in town. They were all there. Suddenly the secretary of the church rushed into the church shouting, " The building is on fire!"
 
The Methodists immediately gathered in the corner and prayed.
The Baptists cried, "Where is the water?"
The Quakers quietly praised God for the blessings that fire brings.
The Lutherans posted a notice on the door, declaring the fire was evil.
The Roman Catholics passed the plate to cover the damage.
The Jews posted symbols on the doors, hoping the fire would pass.
The Congregationalists shouted, "Every man for himself!"
The Fundamentalists proclaimed, "It's the vengeance of God!"
The Episcopalians formed a procession and marched out.
The Christian Scientists concluded there was no fire.
The Presbyterians appointed a chairperson who was to appoint a committee to look into the matter and submit a report.
The secretary grabbed the fire extinguisher and put the fire out.
 
It's interesting to discover a joke like this one and find out what it is that people think characterizes worship in the Episcopal church, not to mention the other denominations. It presupposes a couple of things. One is that there is a single thing that accurately captures the spirit of each denomination. The other is that it's not Jesus. It's not his birth, life, death, resurrection, and Holy Spirit enlivening all of us all of the time.
 
Well, of course it is Jesus. It is Jesus who during his earthly life and since has shown Christians the way to live their lives. Today, as we read part of the Sermon on the Mount and consider what Jesus had to say we realize that he wasn't just speaking to the crowd gathered on the hillside at Capernaum. He was speaking to everyone. You. Me. The other Christians. Not just Christians. Everyone.
 
He was telling us that the promises he made there, called the Beatitudes, can be relied upon. That the woes, the many woes, he knew people experienced, they would not last forever. That there are joys to be derived from living in faith and those joys are available to everyone.
 
Even more, he was telling the people who suffered the most and had the least that their burdens would be lifted and their spirits as well. By extension he was telling them that their money, property and prestige were no help to them, either, when it came to realizing the benefits of the Beatitudes.
 
Who did Jesus say was blessed? The poor in spirit; those who mourn; the meek; those who hunger and thirst for righteousness; the merciful; the pure in heart; the peacemakers; those who are persecuted for righteousness sake; those who persecuted and reviled on Jesus' account.
 
A person might look at this list and think, "Well, these are truly a sad bunch. Look at all their problems." But in fact what Jesus is saying is that we should all aim, actually try, to be like those enumerated in the Beatitudes. Their rewards are the rewards that matter. And they are the ones who receive those rewards.
"Well!" some well-off person or self-satisfied person ,might say. "That's not fair!"
 
Isn't it? The idea of being poor in spirit, if examined from the original Greek, means considering oneself open to learning spiritually and thereby receptive to God's guidance. By implication we can conclude that it is hard for the haughty and self-important to be humble enough to actually be "poor in spirit." Would it not make sense that a person utterly open to God would be better poised than others to receive God's blessings?
 
Likewise, who wants to mourn? Who wants to be sad over loss? Practically no one, but Jesus points out elsewhere that those who grieve are feeling the pain of the world and helping bear the pain of others, not in judgment but in sympathy.
 
With some effort we can explore the Beatitudes and get a clearer grasp of what it is that Jesus has in mind for us.
 
When we get in a mindset of absorbing God's will for us for a day or a year or a while, we open ourselves to God entirely. That is how we love God. When we put ourselves in the middle of the lives of those we love with all the mess and wrongdoing and dissatisfaction and struggle, and simply align with them for their well-being, we are demonstrating Christian love for them. When we do that for comparative strangers we are loving our neighbor.
 
It is not difficult to see how careful exploration of the other blessings outlined in the Beatitudes can lead to a deeper appreciation of Jesus' constant admonition that we love God and love our neighbor.
 
I found some really interesting and affirming news reports this week along the same lines. And they shone a strong light on a couple of questions that have been gnawing at me for decades.
 
Both of the articles were from the opinion pages of The New York Times, my favorite newspaper anywhere ever, including the ones I've worked for. You're going to get the impression from these articles that I'm just a self-absorbed liberal, and I guess that's close enough to the truth that I won't quibble about it. But the points these articles made are really interesting and they point squarely at the Gospel reading today and the Beatitudes.
 
The first one was titled, "The myth of middle-class liberalism." What it noted was that for a couple of centuries it has been assumed that as societies generated a larger middle class, elevating folks into the middle-class, that the expanded middle class would continue to lift others out of poverty and they, in turn would extend the favor to others, and that that process would be a self-perpetuating liberal shift in our society over all.
 
What the author actually found was that folks didn't necessarily assume liberal politics when they were elevated into the middle class. They weren't seeking ways to assist others attain that status; they were looking to protect their own. Thereby, for example, in the 60s and since we saw examples of unions resisting integration, refusing full membership to new members, and occasionally endorsing labor unfriendly candidates who found other ways to appeal to a more self-interested middle class.
 
The article pointed out that populist movements get their greatest support from the middle class, from people concerned about protecting their property and their values. It is not difficult to see how these examples and this attitude stands in stark contrast with the elements of the beatitudes described previously. This clearly is not being open to God's spirit and attentive and supportive of one's neighbor.
 
The other article was titles, "Listen up, Liberals: You Aren't Doing Politics Right." This one grabbed me because it compared religion and politics and the ways they have evolved. Both started as membership organizations, people working with a mission, enlisting and training others, and regularly meeting with their expanding comrades. The interesting aspect of this article is that both in religion and politics the membership--and attendant expansion and recruitment efforts--have fallen by the wayside. Politics has become sort of a personal hobby for a lot of people as observers. Religion, likewise, has lost its visible public role, in large part, due to people declaring themselves "Nones," that is, not of any religion, or "spiritual but not religious," which often means there's no active membership engagement, much less recruitment and expansion.
 
Because I believe and participate in both religion and politics I found this extremely to the point and troubling. The article said, "The spiritual-but-not-religious and the political hobbyist share a mentality that is deliberately powerless, rejecting community to avoid the hassle and to avoid getting burned."
 
The article's focus on liberals is not my point. Rather, when we lose touch with our spiritual source, that is God, by not being "poor in spirit," and when we aren't mourning their difficulties with those who struggle, we are missing the point. We are the "hobbyists" of one of the articles, observing but not engaging.
 
Our ministries at St. Paul's give us a platform to address these two concerns. Our presence and our generosity in the Thrift Shop and the Food Pantry are a balm for our hard-up neighbors. This is a connection we can now take out into the world rejoicing, with the Beatitudes as our guide.                                           Amen  
 
A sermon preached at St. Paul's Episcopal Church Poughkeepsie NY February 2, 2020 by The Rev. Tyler Jones, Rector

                           
 
FEBRUARY BIRTHDAYS
     
 
 1  Maris KristApsons 13 Annastasia Schmouth
25 Cynthia Benjamin
 2  Mertlyn Tomlinson
     Stacey Babb 
14 Brooke Plain
26 Sterling Benjamin  
 3  Jamal Wethington 
15 Shawn Prater-Lee
     David Oni
     William Rosborough

 9  Marlene Fisher 
16 Luis Alberto Barban
10 Christopher McCaull-James 19 Anita Santos-Bravo  
12 Aaron Bissessar
23 William Hyson
 
                                              
                                                                                
                                                    
                               
                                            
  

Please " Like" our page to stay up to date with all services and events.
St. Paul's Episcopal Church-Poughkeepsie
 
 

'In Service to God & You'
SUNDAY 8AM
Lectors:          Rose Marie Proctor
                       Adrian Goldson       

Litanist:           Pete Bedrossian

Server:            Maria Bell

SUNDAY 10AM
Organist:         Maris Kristapsons
  
Acolytes:         Shawn Prater-Lee
Lectors:           Shawn Prater-Lee
                        Claudette Tucker
                    
Litanist:           Mark Debald
 
Altar Guild:      Daphne Barrett & Hyacinth Curtis


 
 
 
 
 
THIS WEEK'S HYMNS
 
 
1982             540     Awake, thou Spirit of the watchmen (Dir, dir, Jehovah)
 
1982             381     Thy strong word did cleave the darkness (Ton-y-Botel)
 
LEVAS-II      184     Blessed Assurance (Blessed Assurance)
 
1982             563     Go forward, Christian soldier (Deus tuorum militum)
  
     
HYMN COMMENTARY: Thy strong word did cleave the darkness is a modern hymn text, written in 1961 by Martin Hans Franzmann, an American Lutheran theology professor. It dates from his time at Concordia Lutheran Seminary in St. Louis, and refers to the seminary motto "Anothen to Phos" (Latin for "Light from above"). This is a complex text with many scriptural allusions, poetically stated. "Ton-y-Botel," also known as "Ebenezer," is a hymn tune by Welsh composer Thomas John Williams, written in the late 19th Century, and refers to Ebenezer Chapel in South Wales, where Williams was studying at the time.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

THIS WEEK'S CALENDAR
February 3-9, 2020
 
                               


MON     3
  7:30am    AA Meeting
  5:00pm   Stewardship
  6:00pm   Evening Prayer
  6:30pm   NA Meeting - Journey to Recovery


TUE      4
10:00am   Food Pantry &Thrift Shop
  6:00pm   Evening Prayer; Spiritual Life


WED     5
  7:30am    AA Meeting
10:00am    Food Pantry &Thrift Shop
12:15pm    Healing service & Eucharist


THU      6
10:00am    Office, Food Pantry, Thrift Shop


FRI        7
  7:30am    AA Meeting
  6:30pm    NA Meeting 


SAT       8
    2:00pm    NA Meeting - Men Do Recover 


SUN      9
  8:00am    Rite I
  8:45am    Lessons' Discussions
  9:30am    Choir practice
10:00am    RITE II; Sunday School  
11:15am    Coffee Hour
11:30am    Youth
                          
 

YOUR NEWS BELONGS IN ST. PAUL'S  MESSENGER

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

Give us a call today!