St. Paul's Episcopal Church Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

"Making friends while serving God"

The Week of November 10-15, 2020
Diversity is more than just Race

Dear St. Paul's Church Family,

I am going to go off-topic today and write about something other than the readings for the week.  I am writing to you as Shawn, not the Vestry and not toward any official position taken by St. Paul's Church.  I am going to write about the many ways that our church family exhibits its specialness through its diversity.
This week's readings

We are a church that greatly and rightly pride ourselves in the diversity that is present in our church family.  Our church family's diversity is present and obvious in the areas of race, of national origin, of gender, of gender identity, and of socio-economic status.  We are right to celebrate this.  We are unique in this country, in this world.  Our country's most segregated hour is that hour on Sunday morning when we are worshipping.  It's not that way at St. Paul's though.  That's special.

Though not so obvious is that a church family we are also diverse in our political viewpoints.  During Zoom Church Coffee Hour many were expressing their sense of jubilation and relief in the Saturday announcement by many media outlets that Joe Biden is our President Elect.  At the same time though many in our church family were rooting for President Trump.  Their sadness and loss is equal but opposite to the jubilation felt by others.  

As a family we need to be mindful of this.  Our commonality in our devotion to God's work here on the north side of Poughkeepsie is what brings us together.  Let's continue that, strong together, and loving each other.

Much love to all,
--Shawn Prater-Lee
To be redirected to the Lectionary Page and get a digital copy of the readings  
Judges 4:1-7; Psalm 123; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Matthew 25:14-30                 
The Sunday sermon
Matthew 25:1-13, Oil Lamps

This morning's gospel begins with these words: "The kingdom of heaven will be like..." and we get ready to hear a parable, one of those strange stories told by Jesus. But is this story really one of Jesus' parables? I say that because it may actually offend us. Just as we think we know what's coming next, the story takes an unexpected twist. I guess parables are meant to challenge us, and perhaps to change us and our thinking as they give us a glimpse into the kingdom of God. But are they to offend us?
Again, the gospel begins: The kingdom of heaven will be like...a big wedding, with ten bridesmaids, all arriving together in one of those long limos with, of all things, flashlights in hand. Why? because there has been a power outage, but the ceremony must go on. Five of the bridesmaids bring extra batteries, because no one is sure when the bridegroom will show? And there's an unexpected twist in my way of thinking, because it is usually the bride who is late. However, according to the parable the groom is quite late. The bridesmaids pace up and down the aisle; they keep refreshing their makeup; they stick their bouquets in water to keep them fresh. Finally it gets really late and they fall asleep in a couple of pews in the back of the church.

At midnight the wedding coordinator burst into the church and announces that the bridegroom has finally arrived. And it's time to get the show on the road. The bridesmaids hurry to turn on their flashlights to illuminate his path to the entrance of the church, but their batteries are beginning to fail. Five bridesmaids packed extra batteries and they replace the old batteries with the new ones. The other bridesmaids with no extra batteries beg the plan-ahead gals for some of their extra batteries. But the other bridesmaids tell them, "Sorry girlfriends, isn't our problem that you didn't bring extras. Go buy some at that store around the corner. It stays open 24/7."
So those five bridesmaids hitch up their skirts and hobble down the streets in their stiletto heels. They buy new batteries and get back to the church as soon as they can. Outside they can tell that the reception has already started because they can hear the music playing, glasses clinking, and people laughing. Add to that, Central Hudson has been there because the lights are back on.
One bridesmaid steps up to tug at the heavy church door, but it is locked. They bang on the door, and it is the groom himself who comes to the door and says, "Do I know you? I don't think so," he says. And he slams the door in their faces.
Now I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound like a portrayal of the kingdom of heaven to me. Ten women all trying to do what they're supposed to do, getting ready and showing up. So a power outage occurs. First, I think it's rather sexist to lay the responsibility of lighting the bridegroom's path to the church on the shoulders of the bridesmaids. Weren't there responsible males that could handle that job? Secondly, it is true that some people are more organized than others; some of us tend to always have a back-up plan. However, people like me don't always have a plan B. Does that mean that we should have the door shut in our faces? Is that a reason why we should not be able to attend the wedding banquet? I don't think Jesus works that way. So, I say to myself, "Self, maybe Jesus isn't responsible for this parable.

So I did a little biblical research, and I found that this story only appears in Matthew's gospel, not at all in the other three. And perhaps it really sounds more like Matthew speaking and not Jesus. It appears that this gospel was written during a very difficult time in Early Church history. It was written at a time when Christians were beginning to realize that Jesus might not be coming back anytime soon. He had told his disciples, "Some of you will not taste death before I return." But everyone who had heard that promise had already died. I think this story in Matthew's gospel was put there to keep those early Church Christians alert. To get them to not lose focus regarding the return of Christ Jesus, because he just may come at a time when some are not paying attention, and they just may miss out. They just may have the door slammed in their faces. But let me add this. I don't think Jesus plans to leave any of the sheep behind, not even those that are lost. You remember the story of the Good Shepherd?
So, when is Jesus coming back? My answer, I don't know. What might be delaying the bridegroom? Again, my answer, I really haven't a clue. And what are we to do in the meantime?

I do have something to say about that question. I think we do our best to keep our lamps burning. To the best of our ability, I think we are to shine our lamps and light the path, not so much for a returning Jesus, a returning bridegroom, but for those who find themselves in darkness, for those who need light as they look for a true and wholesome direction in life. I also believe that if our lamps grow dim and we are without oil, we can always turn to each other for support. That is one of the beautiful, one of the Christ-like characteristics of a parish family. None of us would ever slam the door; none of us would ever turn his or her back on one of us in need. When we share our light, when we share the light of the gospel with each other, we are truly demonstrating the gospel of Christ.
--Fr. C. Allan Ford



Beginning Sunday, Nov. 15 we will be selling tickets to win a basket of wine for the Christmas holidays. 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

Everyone should have received their Welcome Back letter, 2021 Pledge form and 3rd quarter statement by now. All pledges should be returned to church by November 15th when they will be blessed at the altar. If you won't be able to be in church on the 15th, please send your pledge now so it can be included with all of the pledges to be blessed that day. If you need another pledge form, please either call the church or email Bobbie Gordon (
--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 November 15 and December 6 and 20.
We will be on Zoom the other Sundays.
 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 - $925 (including $130 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!!!




45th Annual Interfaith Music Festival 
and Thanksgiving Service

"Still We Give Thanks!"

Sunday afternoon, November 22nd at 2pm  

Due to Covid 19 precautions, the event will be held online.


The Interfaith Music Festival is one of the largest fundraisers of the Dutchess County Interfaith Council and the proceed support the many worthwhile programs of the Interfaith Council which include the CROP Walk to End Hunger & the Interfaith Story Circle, among others. Donations to support the work of the DCIC can be made via PayPal through the donation link on our website at; checks may be mailed to DCIC, 9 Vassar St. Poughkeepsie, NY 12601.

Here's What people Are Saying About the Music Festival
Maris Kristapsons, Music Director of St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Poughkeepsie said, "At a time when forces in our society are driving people apart, the Interfaith Music Festival's role in bringing people of different faiths and beliefs together is especially important.  Working with the Festival for many years has been tremendously gratifying, finding common ground through music."
When asked why the Music Festival is worthwhile, Donna Gallagher who will sing in the Interfaith Choir and is a member of Temple Beth-El, Poughkeepsie replied," Music touches our souls.  It soothes.  It speaks to us.  With all the hate rhetoric and the fighting worldwide, events like this Music Festival help us to remember that we share common values, even though we may worship differently (or not at all)."
Since its beginning in 1975, the purpose of the Interfaith Music Festival has been to draw together people of many faiths to share each other's worship music.  According to Roberta Sheehan, who instituted this yearly event, "Since the Interfaith Council had grown from an interchurch association, to the more inclusive interfaith organization, we wanted to have a meaningful gathering to draw together people of many faith traditions.  Music seemed to me to be the perfect vehicle.  The first Music Festival concluded with the singing of "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."  These words seemed to sum up the purpose of the Interfaith Council.  Therefore, by tradition, we conclude every Festival with all the participants and even the audience members joining together to sing those words."
Past Executive Director of the DCIC, Gail Burger, who has been involved in every Music Festival said, "A long time City of Poughkeepsie Middle School teacher, Mary Atkins (May her memory be for a Blessing), was fond of speaking about "weaving the thread of Community."  This Interfaith Festival is "weaving the thread of Community" writ large in the language of song." 
Gretchen Gould, who has been involved in the Interfaith Music Festival for many years, said, "As a jazz pianist, composer, and church musician, I have come to appreciate these eclectic efforts because my own family is religiously diversified.  It feels right and peaceful to me to work with and enjoy being with others whose experience is different from mine."

ALERT - Standing with our sisters and brothers
Proposed federal vaccination plan to unjustly target people who are undocumented

We write today to ask you to stand firm with our sisters and brothers who are undocumented as they face a new, unforeseen challenge. Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo informed leaders from across the state that the Trump administration plans to release a COVID-19 Vaccination Implementation Plan in the next few weeks. Included in this plan is an unabashed attempt to create a registry of undocumented people across the country, exposing them to harassment and deportation, and putting states in the untenable position of choosing between human rights and public health.

In order for states to receive a vaccine if/when one is approved, the Trump administration is requiring that people who wish to receive the vaccine register with the federal government, providing a driver's license, social security number, or passport. Let us be clear: this would create a national registry of undocumented people for the administration's uses. The policies of this administration have disproportionately harmed and traumatized our communities of color, and in a moment where farmworkers are bearing the brunt of COVID-19, it is unconscionable to think that they might be forced to choose between exposure to the virus and exposure to deportation.

We ask you today to take a stand against this severe injustice, which affects not only undocumented persons, but all of us. Public health is not just for the few. It is for the many. Rural & Migrant Ministry, Inc. stands firm in its conviction that human rights are essential to all people, and that every person, no matter their documentation status, is deserving of health, protection, and safety. To this end, we ask that you reach out to your elected representatives, state and federal, asking them to stand against this proposed vaccination plan, which puts all of our lives at risk in order to further an agenda that puts immigrants and people of color last. A just rural New York is a New York that works for all people, and we will not stand for any distribution plan that excludes our fellow sisters and brothers.

With so much to hold up, in action and in prayer, we ask that you take a breath, reflect, and take this step forward with us. We have accomplished so much together, because we work together. So let us take action now to defend the least among us, so that all might live and thrive.

In peace,
The Rev. Richard Witt
Executive Director, Rural & Migrant Ministry Inc.
About Rural & Migrant Ministry, Inc.
Rural & Migrant Ministry, Inc. | (845) 485-8627 | Email | Website

Rural & Migrant Ministry, Inc. is a tax-exempt non-profit organization eligible to receive tax-deducible contribution under IRS Code 501[C][3}

--Shawn Prater-Lee

logo with pix TD2020b.png  
In a year like no other, Episcopal Charities has responded to the call of our neighbors in need to outreach programs by providing crucial assistance to the most vulnerable among us. We ask you help us in this mission by attending our Virtual Tribute Dinner on Thursday, November 19th, 2020. 
Our Virtual Tribute Dinner will be evening of remarks and performances by friends of Episcopal Charities, during which we'll come together throughout the ten counties of the Diocese of New York -- and beyond! -- to celebrate, give thanks, and reaffirm our commitment to transforming lives. 
We hope you can join us. To buy tickets -- or to make a donation in lieu of attending -- click the link below. 

Tip: Unable to attend? You can still help us respond to the call of those in need. Click the link below to make a gift.
--The Rev. Gloria Payne-Carter 


  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:
Rhonda, Lillian, G.J., Paul, Sasha, Matthew, Joe, AletaAnn, all Teachers, Parents, Students,  
Theodore, John, Paul, Kathy, George, Janett, Renate, and Notoe, Stephanie, Aaron; 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; 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

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 10-15, 2020

TUE     10
10:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

WED    11
10:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

THU     12
10:00am   Food Pantry & Thrift Shop

SUN     15
10:00am  RITE II - in Church




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

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