Weekly Update
August 28, 2020
Worship Moments
Scripture Lesson: Exodus 3:1-15
Each Sunday, Worship Moments is live-streamed from our sanctuary at 8:30AM, and then uploaded to be viewed at your convenience. Tune in via our app, website, Facebook, or YouTube.
Outdoor Worship
Please register to attend this weekend's outdoor worship services. All are welcome!
Bring Your Bible (or Bible App) to Worship!
We encourage everyone to bring your Bible to worship. We will be inviting you to follow along as we read from scripture. We also hope that as we develop the habit of everyone bringing their Bibles to worship, we can begin turning to Psalms together during our prayer time. Some may prefer to reference scripture on their phone using Bible Gateway or other Bible apps - that works too!
If you need a Bible, let us know- we will be happy to find you one that you can use at home and bring to church. We grow as disciples as we open our Bibles and explore together, and seeing the words on the page (or screen) can help us move to a deeper level of engagement.
This Week
Limited Office Hours
Please note that while Carla is on vacation, office hours will be limited through Labor Day. Please leave a message on our answering machine and we will return your call as soon as possible. Please click here for a list of extensions, and you can dial the person you wish to speak with directly!

For immediate assistance and pastoral emergencies, please contact our Pastors:
Pastor Jeff: 814-706-2388
Pastor Karen: 412-889-2355
Pastor Chad: 724-799-0810
Fall Epistle
We are working on a Fall Epistle. Please submit your articles no later than Thursday, September 10. Thank you for your contributions!
Working for Justice Ministry: St. Brendan's Episcopal Hosts Public Forum on Anti-Racism
St. Paul’s and St. Brendan’s have begun collaborating on justice related ministries. We recommend this event for your consideration of ecumenical activities.

When: Tuesday, September 1, 7:15PM

Where: Zoom webinar with a moderated period of Q&A. Please register to receive your own unique Zoom link.

Why: This June, in response to the death of George Floyd and many other Black women and men, St. Brendan’s posted a banner that stated, “St. Brendan’s Believes Black Lives Matter.” This prompted phone calls and email messages critical of our actions. Now, in the first of a planned series of Zoom webinars, we seek to articulate for our members and for the general public:
  • the beliefs of the Episcopal Church on issues such as systemic racism and racial inequity;
  • the beliefs of many members of St. Brendan’s on those same issues and, in addition, the decision we took to display the banner; and
  • the background and goals of the national Black Lives Matter organization.
Panelists:
Rev. Eric McIntosh, Canon for the Beloved Community, Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh
Tim Austin, Senior Warden, St. Brendan’s 
Tanisha Long, Founder, Black Lives Matter of Pittsburgh 

Moderator:
Jon Delano, Money & Politics Editor for KDKA-TV
Share Your Love by Donating Blood
From a Nurse Practitioner who cares for leukemia patients, whose beloved mom is now a leukemia patient, "I always tell people when they ask 'what can we do' in situations like these- call the Red Cross and start donating blood or platelets regularly (if you are able). No leukemia patient stands a chance at survival without the supply of donated blood available in our country. It’s quite humbling when you think about it. We can support mom’s journey by doing our part to contribute to the supply in our local areas. After you get enrolled with the Red Cross, go to bethematch.org and learn how to register your DNA for people who need bone marrow transplants, again, if you are able. Note that the criteria for donating blood versus bone marrow is different so if you are ineligible for one it does not necessarily exclude you from the other. While mom most likely won’t need to access the National bone marrow registry for a donor (if she even needs one), being a part of the registry puts you in a huge pool of potential donors for people who are not so lucky to have siblings capable of donating. My cousin was actually a bone marrow donor for a stranger a few years ago after registering on bethematch! It’s such a simple and tangible way to show support for those fighting against cancer of the bone marrow, including mom. If you are ineligible, you can always be an advocate for others to get enrolled.”

What a practical and beautiful way to enflesh our prayers and share the love of Christ! To find an opportunity to donate blood, go to www.redcrossblood.org.
Seasonal Flu Shot
St. Paul’s COVID-19 Response Team is encouraging everyone to get their Seasonal Flu Shot this fall. The Center for Disease Control is encouraging all children (even babies 6 months and older), teens, adults and senior citizens to be vaccinated for the Seasonal Flu. Our health care workers are doing their best to care for those with COVID-19, so we need to do our part. We need to be protected against the regular flu so the health care system is not over taxed. It is so important for each person to be vaccinated, even those with egg allergies, so be sure to check with your doctor. Flu shots are available at your doctor’s office, so give them a call! They are also available at Costco, Sam’s Club, Giant Eagle and pharmacies (most are walk in!).
Update from Pastor Jeff
As I write this update for our Friday email, I’m preparing for a virtual meeting of our Re-opening Task Team happening on Thursday night. This team has been guiding us through the COVID-19 period, working to prepare our building for the time when we may offer in-person ministry beyond just our Preschool, Child Care, and Kidz Korner, and keeping us abreast of the current state and county Coronavirus rules and guidelines. I am grateful to the people, including our Medical Advisory Panel, who have agreed to serve on this task force. Obviously, we are moving with great caution, not only to keep you and your family safe, but also to protect the children and staffs of our essential Weekday Ministries that are currently operating in the church facility.

Outdoor worship services and livestreaming will continue at least through September, and we are tentatively planning to keep Faith’s Chapel in the Woods open for worship as long as possible, even if some worship is moved indoors in October. Remember, there will be no “grand opening,” even when this becomes a possibility (and a necessity when the weather turns colder). COVID will still require limits to the number of persons present, pre-registration, social distancing, and face coverings for the foreseeable future.

Regarding the livestream of our “Worship Moments” at 8:30AM, early “glitches” got ironed out a few weeks ago when we were able to directly connect the livestream camera to our church Internet. Then, last week, these pesky glitches returned. As I wrote on our Facebook page, a power failure during the storm the night before last Sunday’s livestream had bumped the MEVO livestream camera back onto our old, slow wireless network, and off the hard-wired high-speed version we had been using. Honestly, we didn’t know this was something that could happen, and therefore started the broadcast, which was then interrupted multiple times. Our Tech experts had to literally take the broadcast offline, reset the camera, and begin again. We know that was highly frustrating to those of you who rely on this means of tuning in for worship. We are now permanently hard-wired to the fast network, and since we have now installed a new high-speed wireless network throughout the church, the old network has been dismantled, at least in the sanctuary. SO, if something like this ever happens again, the “default” will still be a high-speed network capable of maintaining our connection.

We think you will be pleased with the new public wireless network that has been installed for your use and convenience when we are able to be back in the building! It has already been a boon to the staff and our Weekday Ministries.

We have been concerned for some time for the church members who do not “do” computers or smart phones, and who have not had access to our livestream worship. We are in the process of arranging the ability to provide the audio of our services over a regular telephone line so persons may just call in and listen, at their convenience. We will be sending out “snail mail” correspondence to all when this becomes available. Also, we have begun working on a “catch up” version of St. Paul’s Epistle, which we expect to mail out by the end of September, or early October, at the least.

Our small group studies, Bible studies, and church meetings will continue to be held virtually for the foreseeable future. This has been working well for us during the pandemic, and the fact is that, since socially distancing is still required, many of our typical meeting rooms can only handle a small number of people (i.e. a Sunday School room that might have housed 15 people for a class before COVID-19 can only host four or five with social distancing).

St. Paul’s Leadership Team (the three pastors, Carla Porterfield, our Office Coordinator, Erin Soza of Children’s Ministries, Tami Weisner of Youth Ministries, and Tom Taylor, of Music and Worship Ministries) meets weekly via Zoom to coordinate current ministries and “brainstorm” how we might expand what we do and how. This past week, we began imagining the various scenarios we might be looking at during the Advent and Christmas seasons, again expecting that many of the restrictions of COVID will still be with us. We’ve got some interesting ideas, so stay tuned!

I can’t stop thanking all of you for your prayers and support of our staff, our lay leadership, and our ministries during the pandemic. Please take time to read the separate article on our current financial situation. Spoiler alert—it’s mostly very good news!

If you are comfortable going out to be among people, obeying all of the necessary precautions, sign up to join us for one of our outside worship services. If not, and you use a computer, tablet, or smartphone, join us for our livestream worship opportunities (8:30AM on Sundays, or after the videos are archived, on St. Paul’s Facebook or YouTube pages, at your convenience).

Stay safe and well, Beloved. Remember to reach out to Pastor Karen, Pastor Chad, or me, if you have a pastoral care need, any questions we may help you with, or just to “reconnect!” We are happy to arrange socially distanced porch visits, a Zoom or FaceTime visit, or just chat on the telephone! Shalom!
Adult Ministries
A Giving Thank You!
On behalf of St. Paul’s Stewardship and Finance Committees, I want to offer a big “Thank You” for your kindness, generosity, and commitment during these difficult and puzzling days of COVID-19. While those of us on the Leadership Team, the church staff, our Weekday Ministries leaders and staffs, and the elected lay leaders of St. Paul’s have worked very hard to maintain the ministries, outreach, teaching, worship, and caring programs of our church during the shutdown of our facility, it would all be impossible without your financial and prayer support, as well as your participation, at whatever level you have been able to maintain.

As of the end of July, our congregational giving to ongoing ministry is actually UP over last year! Who said miracles don’t happen anymore? If we can maintain this level of support, we will get through this shutdown period, and will be in good stead to begin ramping up more in-person ministry and slowly—but surely—getting back to normal, even though it will most certainly be a “new” normal.

Typically, our Weekday Ministries (Preschool, Kidz Korner, and Drop-in Childcare) pay an amount of “rent” from their proceeds, annually, and when they have a surplus from their operating expenses, this is folded into the church budget to help maintain, clean, and improve the space they use throughout the building. (One of our finance committee members used to say that any surplus from these programs is our “return” on the $3 million or so spent on building the Christian Life Center (CLC) that houses them.) This year, with the shutdown, and with the needs of our families for these programs changing, they are running behind, financially. The good news is that their directors and staffs are working hard to alter their programs to best meet the needs of local children and families, follow all state and local health department guidelines to keep everyone safe, and open back up successfully after their August breaks. One important piece of good news is that the Childcare program has been able to land a couple of grants to put toward operational costs, as both state and federal governments are aiming to keep childcare programs open, to aid parents who are needing to return to work.

I hope you will join me in saying a prayer of great gratitude for these leaders, our finance leaders and staff, and our Weekday Ministries personnel who are all doing an exceptional job helping us navigate COVID-19. And join me in saying a prayer of thanks for YOU, our loyal and generous members who have continued to go above and beyond in your support in a trying time.

Pastor Jeff
Pastor Karen's Bible Study
Pastor Karen's Bible Study meets on Wednesdays at 9:00AM. If you would like to participate via Zoom, please contact Pastor Karen.
Upper Room
The September/October issue of Upper Room is available in the Church Office entryway. Please pick up a copy at your convenience.
Barnabas Ministry
Would you like to bless one of our 2020 graduates as a Barnabas pal during their first year out of high school?

This Ministry was established to give encouragement to young persons from our church the first year following high school graduation. The name Barnabas is representative of the friend and encourager of St. Paul the Apostle. Our Barnabas is a ‘Secret Pal’ who sends notes, cards, or small gifts throughout the year. Whether the student is away at school, at home, or in the military, we let them know we are thinking about them. If you would like to be a Barnabas or would like more information about this ministry, please call Jacque Lang at the Church Office [412-486-7006; Ext. 212].
Fighting Systemic Racism
One way we can take personal action to counter systemic racism is to purchase from black and minority owned businesses. Of course, buying one lunch or just a few items one time from a black owned business will not solve racism, but it could be the first, or perhaps the next small step you take towards this worthy goal. Hopefully, it will be followed by more of your steps, and by hundreds of millions similar steps by others in the coming months. And that is how change happens.
 
To help you in this endeavor, we have prepared a list of black owned businesses in the greater Pittsburgh area. Please visit the Working For Justice blog to view the full list.
We appreciate your continued financial support during this time of challenge and hardship. Giving may still be done online. For those of you who typically place your gifts in the offering plate, please consider mailing them to the church office (1965 Ferguson Road, Allison Park 15101), as our financial staff are making sure these get deposited.

Have you found yourself shopping online more often? Please register for Amazon Smile in the name of St. Paul's and use the UMC Market (Allison Park) as a portal for all your online shopping. St. Paul's receives a small percentage from your purchases at no extra cost to you!
Youth Ministries
Stay Connected
Contact Tami to stay connected while enjoying the outdoors!
Children's Ministries
Parking Lot Help Needed
We are preparing for our Weekday Children’s Ministries programs to reopen, and are looking for parking lot help during peak Preschool dropoff/pickup hours from September 8-11. 

We ideally need 2 people per shift, one in the upper lot, and one in the lower. Preschool families will be parking by “zone” according to their class, so the upper lot helper will direct traffic to the lower lot, and the lower lot helper can help point families to their zone. (Staff and others can be instructed to park in other surrounding spaces.) If you have any time to share, please sign up!
Worship Bags
Worship Bags are available for children attending in-person worship on Saturday or Sunday. Please see an Usher or Hospitality Greeter to get a Worship Bag. Keep them with you for the next worship service or enjoy them at home.
Kidz Korner Employment Opportunities
St. Paul's Kidz Korner is our before and after school care program. We serve three local school districts and provide care, snacks/meals and transportation along with engaging activities and experiences for elementary aged children in the community. In addition to before and after school care we provide extended care on school district delays and early dismissals as well as in-service and weather closures. During the school year we also have a Kindergarten Enrichment program and during the summer we have a full day summer camp program. During this school year we will be providing full day care to students during their virtual learning days and are currently looking for assistants to supervise children while they work on their lessons. Please click here for complete details.