St. Paul's Episcopal Church Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

"Making friends while serving God"

The Week of November 24-29, 2020

This week's readings
Stay Awake

Several times in our Gospel reading this week we are told to stay awake or to remain watchful. As Jesus was the one saying this, the passage is often cited to foretell His return in a second coming.

As we enter the new church year and the Season of Advent, I'd like to focus us on Jesus's first coming. Let's all stay awake and ready ourselves. There is no better way that I can think of than to follow Jesus' admonition to Peter, "if you love me feed my sheep."

--Shawn Prater-Lee
To be redirected to the Lectionary Page and get a digital copy of the readings  
Isaiah 64:1-9; Psalm 80:1-7, 16-18; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9;  
Mark 13:24-37                   
The Sunday sermon
Matthew 25: 31-46, Goats and Sheep

There is this story about a preacher who stepped into the pulpit and asked the congregation, "Do you know what I am going to talk about today?" The congregation responded, "How can we know what you are going to say when you have not yet spoken?" So the preacher said, "If you don't know what I am going to say, I have no reason to speak." And he stepped down from the pulpit. The members of the congregation looked at each other not knowing what to think! The next week the preacher stepped into the pulpit and asked the same question: "Do you know what I am going to say today?" Prepared this time, the congregation said, "Yes we know." So the preacher said, "Well if you already know what I am going to say, I have no reason to speak. The next Sunday when the preacher asked whether the congregation knew what he was going to say, half the congregation said "Yes," and the other half said "No." The preacher paused and then said, "Good, now those of you who know what I am going to speak about tell the others who do not." And again, he stepped down from the pulpit.
How do you preach on this morning's gospel when everybody knows what you are going to speak about, that the sheep are rewarded and the goats are not? How do you preach on this parable when everybody knows that you are going to invite them to feed the hungry, care for the sick, clothe the naked and visit the imprisoned? How do you preach on this subject when you know the punch line is that Christ the King is found and is served in the midst of the poor, the ill, and the oppressed?
Well, I did a lot of thinking and praying about this gospel, about separating the good people from the bad people, the sheep from the goats. And then it occurred to me that if Judgment Day is the way it is described in this gospel reading, I for one am going to be a big troublemaker when I come before Jesus for that final judgment. It's not that I want to be a troublemaker; it's just that I don't fit neatly into either of the categories that Jesus describes. When Jesus sits as King on his throne and says to me, "Alright Allan, make your case" I will surely answer: "Well, Lord, sometimes I fed the hungry, there were days when I clothed the naked, and a lot of times I visited in prisons." And the Lord will respond, "Very well, you are a good and decent sheep, come here and stand on my right side."
But before I can move to his right side, I have to be honest and tell him, "Lord there were other days when I stuffed myself with food while others went hungry; there were nights when I kept warm in my house while others slept in the cold with no kind of shelter at all. And there were needy people on the streets who approached me and begged for money but I turned them away.
Then the King will say, "Yes I see, that is characteristic of goat behavior. So what am I going to do with you? Do you see the kind of trouble I am going to make? I am not 100% sheep, but then I am not full-blooded goat either. I'm fit neither for the right hand of the King, nor his left hand. You know, it is rather fascinating to track the Church's theology through the years. I can recall Requiem Masses, or funeral services. The color of the vestments was black. And the intention of the mass, the prayers of the services were designed to petition God to bring the soul of the deceased to heaven and not condemn him or her to hell. And now, see how the theology has evolved. When someone dies, the vestments used are white. And the intention of the liturgy is to celebrate unquestionably the resurrection of that person's soul into heaven. What has changed is that we have come to realize that Christ the King, by virtue of his death and resurrection, Christ the King whose love for all of us is unending, unconditional, regardless of the times we may have turned our back on him in goat-like behavior, his love will bring all of us to his right side on the Day of Judgment.
During the burial office there is a wonderful prayer that I feel expresses what I am trying to say: "Into your hands, O merciful Savior we commend your servant. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive him/her... into the glorious company of the saints in light." What it is saying is that through Christ the King, we all know redemption.
The question that presents itself if one accepts this theological position might be formulated in this fashion. Why do I have to try to behave like a saint for the rest of my life if Christ will love me and bring me to be with him when I die no matter how I behave? My answer comes in one word, "gratitude." I am so thankful for this gift of redemption that comes through my Lord and Savior, that I am continually moved to give thanks through doing my best to emulate his behavior, through doing my best to emulate Christ's teachings, and through doing what I can to share this glorious message with those whose lives are spinning in circles and who haven't a clue as to what unconditional love is really all about.
The preacher stepped into the pulpit and asked his congregation if they knew what he was going to be talking about. In one voice they called out, "The unconditional love of our Lord Jesus Christ!" Hearing that he said Amen and with a smile on his face stepped away from the pulpit.
--Fr. C. Allan Ford


The Holiday Basket Raffle is ongoing. Many thanks to Deb Williams for putting the basket together. It looks most enticing!!! Get your tickets at church or contact Bobbie Gordon either by email ( or through the church office. See the enclosed flier for details.  
The basket will be displayed in the lobby of the Education building. Tickets are $1.00 each or 6 for $5.00. Be sure to include your name & phone number on the ticket!!!  The drawing will be held December 14 at the Stewardship meeting.  Please see Bobbie Gordon if you would like tickets to sell.
--Debbie Williams
--Bobbie Gordon
Thank you to the 42 parishioners who have pledged $49,503 for 2021. It's never too late to return your pledge form - if you haven't had a chance to do that yet, please take a moment to fill it out and send it to the church. If you have misplaced the form, just call the church office and we'll be happy to send you another form. 
--Bobbie Gordon 
Thanks to all who have attended church these past months whether it was in person at 161 Mansion Street or whether it was on Zoom. We will continue to have in person worship on the first and third Sundays and on Zoom all other Sundays through the end of January.   
We will be in church December 6 and 20.
We will be on Zoom the other Sundays.
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)
 Hope to see you in church on Sunday and/or on Zoom.

--Shawn Prater-Lee
--The Rev. Dcn. Julett Butler
Total deposit for the past week - $1470 (including $1100 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!!!


--The Rev. Dcn. Julett Butler


  1 Mary Ann Oughton 
  6 Judy Lovelace-Donaldson
25 Ron Harris
  5 Melody Ware  
19 Cora Keith  

     Mark Debald 
21 Rhonda Lynn Melius





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:

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, Annie, Ron, Dave, Liz; Jill,  
Lana,  Andrew, Susan; Schneider family, all in need; Susie; Sherry, Claudia


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'

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.


November 24-29, 2020

TUE     24
10:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

WED    25
10:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

THU     26
Thanksgiving Holiday

SUN     29
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!