St. Paul's Episcopal Church   Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

"Making friends while serving God"

The Week of July 15-21, 2019
Manifest mercy
Entertaining angels unawares
Hospitality plays a key role in our readings this Sunday. In the Hebrew Bible reading from Genesis, Abraham --then known as Abram--welcomes three men who, unknown to Abram, were angels of God. He offers them a rest and a foot washing and some bread before they continue their journey. Abram and Sarai, his wife, ponder the travelers' assertion, "...your wife Sarah shall have a son." That was their biggest hope and their most serious concern, as they were childless.  
This is considered one of the Biblical sources for the phrase from the Letter to the Hebrews, 13:2, "Do not neglect to provide hospitality to strangers, for you may be entertaining angels unawares."
In our Gospel reading, depicted in a stained glass window in our church, Martha and Mary entertain  Jesus. Mary sits at his feet, absorbing everything he has to say. Her sister Martha prepares some food and, frustrated  that her sister avoids all the work, finally explodes and demands, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me."
In this instance there is no question in our minds (or Mary and Martha's) that they are dealing with a holy figure. But it is also obvious they haven't figured out how to offer hospitality without resentment.
These are incidents of hospitality with lots of other implications. One clear lesson appears to be that the value of hospitality depends on the state of our hearts as we offer others comfort or food or rest. These readings together also suggest that hospitality with expectation is incomplete.


To be redirected to the Lectionary Page and get a digital copy of the readings 



St. Paul's has a long history of involvement with Habitat for Humanity Dutchess County. Parishioners have participated in the building of new homes, helped out at the Habitat Re-Store, and, earlier this month, volunteered in setting the Habitat booth at the First Friday celebration site at Eastman Park.

St. Paul's participants have found that helping to build a house that will later be the home for a needy family, as well as helping Habitat for Humanity more generally, are tangible and loving expressions of God's love.

The new "Faith Build" Habitat has planned in our area will be built in Wappingers Falls by the end of this year, Dec. 31, 2019. The fund raising goal for the project is $120,000. As of June 24, 2019, partner churches have raised $2,424.00. So far at St. Paul's we have raised a little over $400. If we reached a goal of $1,000 our contribution would buy three doors for this new home. Please let me know if you'd be able to donate or would like to help with fund raising.

Also, currently we pray weekly as a community and individually for Faith Build 2019 and the family that will live in this new house.

I am looking for willing hands from St. Paul's along with friends and family members to make a team of volunteer for the ReStore on July 27, 2019. Leave a message for me at the Church Office for me if you are interested. There are two shifts - 10 am to 1:30 pm and 1:30 to 5 pm. Volunteers can work one or both shifts.
--Deacon Julett Butler

Save the Date - Caribbean Brunch
On August 4th following the 10:00am service. Invite your friends. Delicious Caribbean food: Adults - $10; Children - $5.

St. Paul's - First Lutheran
Vacation Bible School
 Once again St. Paul's along with First Lutheran is holding Vacation Bible School (VBS) for children ages 6-12. Dates are August 6,7,8th from 5:30 - 8:00 p.m. The exciting theme is HERO CENTRAL - Discover Your Strength in God. The evenings will begin with a light supper followed by activities that will include bible stories, music, games, and crafts. There are fliers in the Narthex. Please invite friends to join you. Call the church office 845-452-8440 to let us know you are interested. Someone will call you back with a reminder as the time grows closer.

During the summer months, our Food Pantry volunteers see an increase in demand from our neighbors in need. School is out, so children are eating more meals at home. Please bring non-perishable food with you when you come to church and place it in the large basket in the Narthax.
Items that are always needed are pancake mix and pancake syrup, tuna fish and mayonnaise, and beef stew. Anything you donate will be given away. Thank you!

On July 20 Episcopalians are invited to Beacon to participate in the 2019 Episcopalians in the Park picnic at Saint Andrew and Saint Luke Episcopal Church, 850 Walcott Ave. in Beacon. All are welcome. An RSVP is requested.


Do you have your ticket for the 25 Week Club? Remember "you have to be in it to win it!! We have held weekly drawings since April 7 for $20 & $10, so that means there have been 28 winners so far and some people have won more than once.   The final drawing for the large prizes will be held at a lunch on September 28th. Ticket holders will receive an invitation in late August. Money raised from the 25 Week Club helps support the church and this time half of the earnings will go toward the cost of the new pew cushions. It's not too late to get a ticket - see Bobbie Gordon if you'd like one or if you can sell some to your friends.


Sunday's sermon
Clear guidance
SERMON: 5 Pentecost C 7 14 19
Deut30:9-14;Ps25:1-9;Col1:1-14;Lk 10:25-37

There was a time, around 1982, when I became interested in church. Raised an Episcopalian, I went to see the priest of the Episcopal church nearest my home, a fellow I had worked with on a non-profit board for ex-offenders. I essentially asked him, "What's new?" I'd been missing from the church for a little over a decade.

Anyone who had been involved in the church during the years of my absence would know that those years were difficult times for the Episcopal Church. Specifically, like most mainline Protestant churches in the US, the Episcopal Church had noted the reforms in the Roman Catholic Church resulting from their early-60s Vatican II review. The Episcopal Church and the other mainline Protestant Churches established their own review and reform panels.

Being people of the Book of Common Prayer, the Episcopalians set out to update the BCP. It was a grueling task with squabbles and skirmishes about how modern the language should be, how much of the 1928 BCP itself and how much of its style should be retained. The church witnessed a number of trial revisions including a green book and a zebra book. Only in 1979 did the Episcopal Church produce its "new" prayer book. The 1979 BCP, I think you probably know, is still called the "new" prayer book.

The compromises and changes that it contains are for discussion another day. But when I asked the priest in Anchorage, Alaska what was new in the Episcopal Church, he raised up this red book and said, "This." I took one home and looked it over and started going back to church. There were things in it that really caught my attention, and I'll mention just two.

The first was the Post-Communion prayer on page 365 which we pray at the end of each 10 am service. I found that that prayer explained to me in plain language what happened in Communion and what I was charged to do in response. I loved (and love to this day) its clarity, its simplicity and its bright tone.

The second thing was The Peace. Previous to the 1979 BCP release the Peace was a more private matter. One shared the Peace with the priest, who ordinarily did not circulate, and maybe with one or two people nearby. With the 1979 BCP and its focus on congregational life, people felt empowered to get into the aisles, to greet one and all if they wished, and, and reflect the grace of God which grants us peace and to share it with one another, not just acknowledge it to God and the priest. Actually, prior to the 1979 BCP the priest was called the minister.

But these things caught my attention. They opened up for me my understanding of church and my place in church and my relationship with God. There were dozens of other "aha" moments that led me to this pulpit, if you will. But eventually I came to explore the language itself, the words that we pray, word by word. All this reflection surfaced for me when I read this morning's collect.

Let's read it together:

O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen

We have asked God to hear us. We have asked that we could know and understand what we ought to do. And we ask for grace and power to do it. The mechanical clarity of this prayer is the kind of thing that brought me back to church. I understand these words. This prayer also points out my role in this business of praying. I need to discern what God would have me do. Uncomfortable, awkward, inconvenient though it might be, I still need to do it. I am asking God to help me do it. It was that kind of microscopic clarity--oh, yes, and DO it--that jarred my sense of involvement in my faith into action.

And that is what Jesus wants for his followers. As he is engaging the lawyer who is testing him in today's Gospel reading he is also teaching all those present, especially the disciples. He weaves this dramatic tale of the man who was attached by a gang of men who robbed him, stripped him, beat him and left him half dead.
Well this is terrible, we think to ourselves, Somebody's got to help him. But two people--a priest and Levite--pass him by. Whatever their reasons, they don't help him. Then along comes the Samaritan. And the way he helps the man exceeds our simple thought of "somebody's gotta help." It is really impressive:

He was moved with pity. He bandaged his wounds, he poured oil and wine on them, he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii-the equivalent of two days' wages--gave them to the innkeeper, and said, 'Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.'
Needless to say this puts the priest and Levite to shame. And they are the spiritual leaders of Jesus' people. They are Jewish leaders. And for biblical reasons such as not working on the Sabbath and not touching blood, they passed him up.
But the stunner is that it was the Samaritan who helped the victim. Samaritans were outcasts to the Jewish faith. They engaged in practices which the religious authorities prohibited. So they did not deal with Samaritans. Yet here is this outcast doing as Jesus would have him do and there are the religious leaders doing the opposite. This is the kind of layered complexity that makes Bible study interesting and deeply meaningful. Obviously we can see the Samaritan is showing the mercy Jesus prescribes. We can also see the leaders are afraid or perhaps simply unwilling to do the right thing, however good their reasons.

There's no doubt as to who is doing the will of God here. God wants us to love God and love our neighbor. It would seem that the two who passed by the victim were doing the will of the rulebook, not of God. And the person who their religion shuns is doing God's merciful will.

In Bible study some years ago we reviewed this story. The priest conducting the group asked who in the Good Samaritan tale we identify with. A few people fearlessly said they identified with the Samaritan. Some admitted they occasionally had fears about helping people and identified with the priest or the Levite. Someone said they identified with all the characters due to different experiences in their life. And one identified with the victim.

You can imagine how interesting the discussion that followed was, given all these perspectives. By listening to one another, by recognizing each others' apprehensions and desires to help, their cautions and, yes, their rule awareness, we all learned more about ourselves, each other, and the richness of this incredible Bible story.

We also learned that the reject sometimes has the right answer and the authorities do not. These are important lessons. But pushing aside all the qualifications and conditions, God's message is not complicated. It is hard, at times, to overcome our reservations. But mercy can be offered to anyone.

In our reading from Deuteronomy we read of God's mercy toward us. " ...(T)he Lord will again take delight in prospering you, just as he delighted in prospering your ancestors, when you obey the Lord your God..."Our Hebrew Bible reading also asserts something similar to last week's Gospel in which Luke wrote that Jesus repeatedly told his followers to proclaim, "The Kingdom of God has come near." Our Deuteronomy reading notes that people ask where they are to discover God and they are told, "' No, the word --that is God's will--is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe."

This tells us something we are sometimes afraid to know: we know what God wants us to do. Sometimes it suits us and sometimes we make excuses. That's normal. That's human. But we know.

This is the kind of situation where we can ask God to help us with our will, so it can better fulfill God's. That is why we have a prayer life and perhaps a meditation practice that keeps these issues in front of us.

Like the Good Samaritan we have the capacity to surprise people with our goodness. Sometimes the one we surprise is ourself.
A sermon preached on the fifth Sunday after Pentecost, July 14, 2019, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Poughkeepsie NY

                                   JULY BIRTHDAYS
  2   Elisabeth Gillon - R.I.P                         17   Roseline Oni
  4   Julett Butler                                           20   Kaylee Curtis
  7   Janet Quade                                         22   Ruthie Hodge
11   Ginny Gates                                          27   Faith Mincey
13   Sharon Sherow                                     28   Michael Babb
       Christopher Evens                                31   Selene Hyson


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St. Paul's Episcopal Church-Poughkeepsie

'In Service to God & You'

Lectors:           Cora Keith

Litanist:            Pete Bedrossian

Server:             Maria Bell

Organist:         Maris Kristapsons
Acolytes:         Shawn Prater-Lee                 
Lectors:           Alexis Plain
                        Brooke Plain
Litanist:            Mark Debald
Usher:              Dewy Clarke
                         Mark Debald
Altar Guild:       Norma & Mertlyn



1982        423     Immortal, invisible, God only wise (St. Denio)

1982        307     Lord, enthroned in heavenly spledor (Bryn Calfaria)
1982        293     I sing a song of the saints of God (Grand Isle)
1982        686     Come, thou fount of every blessing (Nettleton)
 Hymn Information

George Hugh Bourne (1840-1925) was a hymnodist, schoolmaster and warden, chaplain to the Bishop of Bloemfontein, South Africa, and ultimately on the staff of Salisbury Cathedral as Sub-dean and Prebendary. Educated at Eton and Oxford, he took Holy Orders in 1863. His best-known hymn is Lord, enthroned in heavenly splendor, first published in 1874. Though initially coupled with other tunes, its best-known pairing is with the hymn tune "Bryn Calfaria" ["Calvary Hill"], by Welsh amateur musician William Owen (1813-1893) The tune is reputed to have been originally written by Owen on a piece of slate, on his way to work as a quarryman.
Recorder ensemble postponed

In anticipation of very warm weather this weekend the recorder ensemble participation  in our Sunday service is being postponed. It will be rescheduled when it appears that somewhat cooler weather might prevail.


July 15-21, 2019
MON 15

7:30am   AA Meeting
6:30pm   NA Meeting - Journey to Recovery

TUE 16
10:00am   Food Pantry, Thrift Store;
2:00pm     Small Blessings/Food Pantry
6:00pm     Seekers Group; Evening Prayer

WED 17
7:30am     AA Meeting
10:00am   Food Pantry, Thrift Shop; 
12:15pm   Healing Service & Eucharist;

THU 18
10:00am   Food Pantry, Thrift Shop; 
6:00pm     Finance

FRI  19
7:30am     AA Meeting
6:30pm     NA Meeting

SAT 20
10:00am   AA meeting
3:00pm     NA Meeting - Men Do Recover

SUN 21
8:00am     RITE I
8:45am     Lesson' Discussions
10:00am   Sunday School; RITE II - Celebrating birthdays and anniversaries
11:15am   Coffee Hour


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