The Week of June 16-21, 2020
Contrary to the beliefs of many, when one becomes a Christian, God does not remove all trials, problems, and difficulties from life. Indeed, Jesus warns the disciples that it will be just the opposite. If the world crucified the master, Jesus, what would we expect the world would do to the servants of the master?
Jesus tells his disciples that their work will be hard. They may have to give up their families and be persecuted for doing the right thing.
We are similarly called. At the time of social upheaval we are ever more called to our Baptisimal Covenant: to strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.
We will be rewarded. Jesus gives us great encouragement. "Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven." No matter what the world does to you, stand for Jesus and His word, and when judgment day comes, Jesus will stand with you before God! What wonderful encouragement to stay faithful.
To be redirected to the full readings at the end of this newsletter
The Sunday sermon
Matthew 9:35-10:8, 2020
There are things in life that simply can't be done by one person. Let me give you a couple of examples. Can you conceive of a tug of war all by yourself? What about a hearty handshake, or running a relay race; and of course there are so many more examples. Yet, we so often demand to do things by ourselves. We take pride in our self-sufficiency; particularly, many of us of the male gender. Frankly, the consequences of such an approach to life in my way of thinking can be rather frightening.
You see, in spite of our wishes and desires, there are some things in life, perhaps more than we care to acknowledge, that simply aren't designed to be carried out by one person. I guess it's just impossible to try seesawing by ourselves. I tried as a kid and had difficulty sitting down for the next couple of days.
When Jesus was involved in his ministry, he discovered early on that proclaiming the good news of the kingdom was something best not done alone. He realized that it was both impractical and inefficient. I suspect that is why he went about pulling people off of fishing boats, or away from tax collecting and away from their families to help in his ministry. It must have been somewhat overwhelming for him to recognize that there were so many people who needed to hear a good word of hope, so many who needed to be in touch with his gospel. And he just could not get to them all by himself.
And you know what? Though we may try to convince ourselves otherwise, our world, much like the world into which Jesus was born, continues to contain its share of heartaches and heartbreaks. There are victims of war; recipients of abuse. We don't have to look too far to see folks who are in a great deal of pain, both physical, emotional, and spiritual. As Matthew describes it in this morning's gospel, there are people who are wandering through life aimlessly like "sheep without a shepherd." And the gospel of Christ, the love of God needs to be brought to them
On Friday afternoons, I volunteer in a prison just outside of Ellenville, New York, where I, and a Methodist minister, meet with some of the inmates in a program called Exodus. As part of that program, one Friday a month, one of the men is called upon to do what we call a lifeline. In that exercise the inmate takes us chronologically through significant events in his life, from as far back as he can remember to present day. Several weeks ago, I got a member of the group who I had been after for several months, to finally present his lifeline. He had resisted presenting, because he was ashamed of revealing some of the ugly things that had occurred in his life. Even when he was alone in his cell he resisted thinking back to some of the things that had occurred in his life.
When an inmate does a lifeline, he draws a chalk line across the board. And on that line he has arrows pointing up, as well as arrows pointing down as he goes from left to right along the line. The arrows that point down represent negative experiences in his life and of course the ones pointing upward represent things positive. And then the presenter talks about the incident represented by each arrow. As the inmate on that Friday drew his line, initially there were few arrows pointing in either direction. But then something unusual happened. As he spoke, he found himself looking into, what he later described as, the most caring expressions on the faces of his audience, the 18 men who were part of the group. He quickly came to realize that many of the men had had the same experiences he was describing. And he began to share on the deepest level some of the ugliest episodes of his life on the streets. And when he was done, with tears in his eyes he said he felt like "a thousand pound weight has been lifted off of my shoulders," and those of us in the room witnessed a man experiencing healing. And it was clear to all of us that it was through the reality of the group that Christ was able to touch him and heal him. By himself he was unable to confront the issues of the past; by himself he was unable to engage the demons that lingered and festered deep within him. Again, it took the group to make a pathway for Christ to come in and heal.
There is a rule in prisons which if broken can cause an inmate to be punished. And what is that rule? It is that there is to be no hugging between inmates. Needless to say, that rule was broken on that Friday, but none of the guards caught us.
Doesn't it make sense that the Church was created to be the group that takes on the responsibility of continuing the work of the gospel of Christ? Doesn't it make sense that we are a significant pathway through which Christ is able to touch and heal those who are without hope? When we gather on Sunday mornings for worship and fellowship even in this virtual mode, we are being strengthened to be that path through which the Christ can bring his healing into the world.
My brothers and sisters, with God's help, let us keep on keeping on! Amen.
--Fr. C. Allan Ford
Dear St. Paul's Family,
I hope this week finds you and your loved ones doing well. As our region enters a new normal and slowly reopens, the thought of returning to our wonderful worship space seems more real by the day. Although the situation remains fluid, we are optimistic that the Diocese will soon provide us guidance on when and how we should reopen. We will of course let the congregation know as soon as we have clear plans. And we ask for your patience and understanding during this time: the health and safety of our parish is paramount, so we must be deliberate with our reopening.
Once again, we find ourselves in the aftermath of another tragic killing, and though the location may be different, the story remains the same. If you seek inspiration, perhaps an uplifting distraction during these troubling times, I recommend listening to one of Bishop Curry's
Way of Love podcasts
: this week he shares a conversation with Richard Rohr, so you really can't go wrong (I personally like their thoughts about the relationship between our ego and God).
And what a difference a week can make - perhaps not nationally, but at least with our Sunday lessons - most notably with the Gospel reading from Matthew (10:24-39}. Compared to last week, where we were buoyed by hope and optimism, Matthew presents a starker picture of what lay in store for the twelve disciples, and those who spread the word of Jesus. It's not pleasant, with Jesus declaring that "Do not think I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother." Heavy stuff. Well, my takeaway from this is that Jesus is providing full disclosure to his followers about what lies ahead. It will be difficult and uncomfortable, some will listen, and some may not want to. In fact, one might say that what was true then, may still be true today.
As always, I pray that you and yours remain safe and healthy, and faithfully await our return to St. Paul's.
Yours in faith,
Mark Debald, Warden
A NOTE FROM THE TREASURY TEAM
Total deposit for the past week - $1941.75 ($105 - 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 pray you are all well and look forward to "seeing" you at Zoom Church.
If you're tired of cooking, we still have Super Chili that we're happy to sell for $10 per quart. You can pick up your order on Mondays from 10-12pm.
Knee on My Neck: Slavery's Ghost
A Five-Week Virtual Retreat
Juneteenth - Friday, June 19, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Subsequent Meetings on Wednesdays
June 24, July 1, 8, and 15, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Participants must commit to participating
in the whole series as it is cumulative
A Program of Roots & Branches: Programs For Spiritual Growth
in collaboration with the diocesan Reparations Committee
Co-sponsored by Rural & Migrant Ministry, Inc.
Since the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Abery, protests have sprung up across the country demanding real change. Is this the time for that change? Is this the moment that will lead to a lasting difference? It CAN be. Let's not let it slip by.
Embedded in the institution of slavery are principles that are the foundation of successive oppressive institutions in American culture today. Join us in this five-part webinar series to explore, understand, and strategize ways of transforming those corrupt principles intended to benefit a few, into life-affirming policies for the good of all.
Knee on My Neck: Slavery's Ghost uses lectures, videos, and other supportive resource materials to help prepare participants to generate plans and strategies for parishes, the diocese, and the wider church embody and bear witness to policies and actions that affirm, support, and celebrate all.
This program is created by the Rev. Masud Ibn Syedullah, TSSF, assisted by the Rev. Chuck Kramer, Rector of St. James, Hyde Park and member of Reparations Committee.
The Rev. Masud Ibn Syedullah TSSF, a priest of the Diocese of New York , is Founder and Director of Roots & Branches: Programs for Spiritual Growth,
. A Professed member of the Third Order, Society of Saint Francis, (a Christian Community in the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion), his spirituality and ministry are inspired by the peacemaking and reconciling witness of St. Francis of Assisi. For more than thirty years he has designed and led an array of conferences, retreats, workshops, and spiritual pilgrimages to strengthen and further the mission of the Church throughout the Episcopal Church, other Provinces of the Anglican Communion, and other denominations as well. An African American raised in the inner city of St. Louis, Missouri during the 50's and 60's, and having lived and ministered in several parts of the United States, he is well aware of our nation's struggle to assure equal rights and opportunities under the law for all its people. Having already successfully produced and led programs devoted to racial healing for the Reparations Committee, he now offers Knee on Neck: Slavery's Ghost to help guide us towards the next crucial steps to develop institutional policy reforms in response to our current national situation.
The Reparations Committee was created in 2006 in response to three 2006 General Convention resolutions calling on dioceses to respond to the Transatlantic Slave Trade and its aftermath of segregation and discrimination. The Committee produced a DVD for churches called, The Diocese of New York Examines Slavery: Talking About Reparations, Repair and Reconciliation. The Committee also produced A Year Of Lamentations in 2018, which involved a lamentation of the Diocese's role in enslavement through book studies, films, discussion, liturgy and theater. The Committee specifically produced the theatrical production: A NEW YORK LAMENTATION. Presently the Committee is developing a series of podcasts entitled: "We All Have Skin In the Game" as well as shepherding the creation of a one million dollar Diocesan Reparations Fund.
* "Reparations is the process to remember, repair, restore, reconcile and make amends for wrongs that can never be singularly reducible to monetary terms. The process of reparations is "an historical reckoning involving acknowledgement that an offense against humanity was committed and that the victims have not received justice.**"
** Passage in quotes offered by Bernice Powell Jackson, Executive Minister for Justice Ministry, The United Church of Christ.
INVITATION TO EVENING PRAYER
Dear St. Paul's Family
Fr. Chuck Cramer at St. James has graciously invited us to join his Evening Prayer group at 6:30pm, Monday through Friday, and Compline on Saturday. If you are interested in becoming a part of his subscriber group and for daily Zoom information, you must contact Fr. Cramer directly at
To view with Facebook, click here:
2 Donna Taylor
13 Kimberli Williams
15 Bobbie Gordon
|30 Luke Goodwin
7 Molly Jones
Marry Ann Bagatta
|16 Oni Obafemi
17 Benjamin Rosborough
| 8 Serena Mazzuto
|| Jordon Rosborough
|10 Hyacinth Curtis
21 Shirley Richardson
|12 Ira Wethington
Garrett Martin Bell
|22 Michael Babb II
25 Donna Hosier
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:
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
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 our by helping others.
1982 530 Spread, O spread, thou mighty word (Gott sei Dank)
LEVAS-II 184 Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
1982 655 O Jesus, I have promised (Nyland)
O Lord, make us have perpetual love and reverence for your holy Name, for you never fail to help and govern those whom you have set upon the sure foundation of your lovingkindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The child grew, and was weaned; and Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned. But Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, playing with her son Isaac. So she said to Abraham, "Cast out this slave woman with her son; for the son of this slave woman shall not inherit along with my son Isaac." The matter was very distressing to Abraham on account of his son. But God said to Abraham, "Do not be distressed because of the boy and because of your slave woman; whatever Sarah says to you, do as she tells you, for it is through Isaac that offspring shall be named for you. As for the son of the slave woman, I will make a nation of him also, because he is your offspring." So Abraham rose early in the morning, and took bread and a skin of water, and gave it to Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, along with the child, and sent her away. And she departed, and wandered about in the wilderness of Beer-sheba.
When the water in the skin was gone, she cast the child under one of the bushes. Then she went and sat down opposite him a good way off, about the distance of a bowshot; for she said, "Do not let me look on the death of the child." And as she sat opposite him, she lifted up her voice and wept. And God heard the voice of the boy; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, "What troubles you, Hagar? Do not be afraid; for God has heard the voice of the boy where he is. Come, lift up the boy and hold him fast with your hand, for I will make a great nation of him." Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. She went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the boy a drink.
God was with the boy, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow. He lived in the wilderness of Paran; and his mother got a wife for him from the land of Egypt.
Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17
1 Bow down your ear, O Lord, and answer me, *
for I am poor and in misery.
2 Keep watch over my life, for I am faithful; *
save your servant who puts his trust in you.
3 Be merciful to me, O Lord, for you are my God; *
I call upon you all the day long.
4 Gladden the soul of your servant, *
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, *
and great is your love toward all who call upon you.
6 Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer, *
and attend to the voice of my supplications.
7 In the time of my trouble I will call upon you, *
for you will answer me.
8 Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord, *
nor anything like your works.
9 All nations you have made will come and worship you, O Lord, *
and glorify your Name.
10 For you are great;
you do wondrous things; *
and you alone are God.
16 Turn to me and have mercy upon me; *
give your strength to your servant;
and save the child of your handmaid.
17 Show me a sign of your favor,
so that those who hate me may see it and be ashamed; *
because you, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me
Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Jesus said to the twelve disciples, "A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household!
"So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops. Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. And even the hairs of your head are all counted. So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
"Everyone therefore who acknowledges me before others, I also will acknowledge before my Father in heaven; but whoever denies me before others, I also will deny before my Father in heaven.
"Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
For I have come to set a man against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
and one's foes will be members of one's own household.
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it."