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9/10/21: A Message from Fr. Eric

Dear Ones,

Last evening as we were preparing to put our daughter Una to bed, she came into our room and started singing a tune which she said she could hear through her window.

We walked her back into her room to investigate. The lights dimmed, her windows open, curtains swaying in the breeze–we realized that the heavenly strains of the evening choir rehearsal were drifting all the way to her bedroom window and lulling her to sleep.

What an amazing few weeks it has been! Our campus is awakening: with sounds of choir rehearsals, sounds of machinery working to restore this wondrous and sacred place, the sound of children’s voices as the choristers begin anew, the sounds of committees preparing for a new season, the sounds of happy greetings as old friends set eyes on one another again after summer vacation or the longer Covid-induced hiatus.

This weekend, we will have our annual “Welcome Back Sunday,” a tradition at St. Paul’s where we collectively gather together after so many have travelled and mark the beginning of the Fall Program. This upcoming Welcome Sunday will be a particularly poignant occasion, however, because it will mark the first Welcome Back Sunday in two years. We will be welcoming one another back after a time of many challenges brought on by the pandemic. Whether you worship with us in person or worship virtually, we welcome you back with open arms.

I personally can’t wait to meet some of you for the first time! I hope that you will consider inviting a friend–either a friend who has had to stay away from worship services during this time and is beginning to feel comfortable returning, or someone who has never been to St. Paul’s before who might be hungry for the spiritual nourishment that this special place has to offer.

Radical welcome is one of the hallmarks of the Gospel. It is one of the primary teachings of Jesus, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” (Mark 9:37); “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Matthew 25:35). Welcoming well is one of the primary things we do as a Christian community. God welcomes all and so must we.

This welcome back Sunday, Starting at 10:00 a.m., we will have outdoor games and activities for the children to enjoy, at noon we will be serving lunch on the lawn for everyone. We’ll also have an opportunity to sign up for and learn about ministries.

We are the gathered Body of Christ. We are all in need of one another’s companionship, love, and encouragement and this is the perfect opportunity for us to reconnect and perhaps meet a sibling in Christ who regularly attends another service. This Sunday let us welcome one another with joyful hospitality in the name of the One who welcomes each one of us into the Family of God.

Yours in Christ,
Fr. Eric+

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