Strength for YOUR Journey

A message from the Interim Rector:
It is important more than ever to mark time for each other. The regular patterns and rhythms of life and work have been shaken up and mixed about so much it is easy to ask, “What day is it?” People have expressed how grateful they are for Sunday services, simply as a reminder we are beginning a new week together. With that in mind, Welcome or (in some places) Homecoming Sunday is an invitation to everyone to make and mark time as fall begins and return to church as a deep well of courage and strength for our journey together. There is something very comforting in the liturgical year -an invitation to return, St. Francis Day and the Blessing of the animals at the 9 am service (Oct 4th), All Saints and Halloween, Advent, Christmas, and New Year. St. Paul’s is planning to mark all these important events with live and virtual liturgical and worship experiences, lots of educational opportunities for young and old through Godly Play, middle school programs, confirmation class and adult education on Sunday mornings. We hope these opportunities cheer the heart and give courage and strength to the soul as the parish calls a new rector and the world turns another year older. What a year it has been! We hope you will make time to take care of YOU during these challenging days with all their extra pressures and challenges. We are here to serve you and our community, marking time and ever thankful for God’s love made known in the risen Christ and his body on earth, the church.
Next Sunday will have some additional offerings and I hope you will plan to make use of them.
By popular request, we will be broadcasting the in-person worship at 9 as well as 11 a.m. from September 20th on. People expressed how much they missed an earlier broadcast, so we will offer both from Welcome Sunday. Families with younger children also asked for some continuity in children’s education through Godly Play, so from next week at 9.30 as the first service ends, you will be able to tune into a godly play lesson, introduced by one of our clergy who will be the online chaplain that morning. This 15-20-minute time for a prayer, the lesson, and some time to discuss the theme, and have a very short time of fellowship/coffee hour for the 9 am congregation online. At 10 a.m. we will begin the adult education program which will have really interesting speakers interspersed with our new program “Clergy Conversations’. Dan and I will be interviewing different people about their lives, interests, and faith journey. This week, I had the privilege to interview Marion and Oscar Johnson and hear about their extraordinary journey as entrepreneurs, educators, writers of musicals and how they became friends with Elton John! On Welcome Dan, Dan Kline interviews me about my journey as a priest over the past 40+ years. Each presentation at 10 will be followed by an online ZOOM discussion with the interviewees. A great way to get to know our fellow church members from 10-11 a.m. We will then broadcast the 11 a.m services and beginning this coming Sunday, the music department is offering a creative repertoire of sacred music led by four staff singers. The Choral Eucharist will be followed by coffee hour at 11. Parents Exchange will continue to meet online at 10 as an alternative to the adult education programs. We are grateful to many of you for switching over to online giving through the website and continuing to shop for a few extra items in your grocery carts to feed the local hungry during this challenging time where so many people find themselves out of work and unable to feed their children. Amid this pain, chaos, and uncertainty, we travel this road together. I hope you and your friends and neighbors can make use of these opportunities to reconnect with God, one another, and most of all to yourself. You can send a weekly link to a friend or neighbor and share these experiences with others who may need a little extra support at this time.
There are many things we miss, and value and I know COVID-19 and its restrictions can wear us all down and disorient us into the rabbit hole of depression, pessimism and even nihilism. Structuring our day and weeks and breaking free of isolation is vital if we are to get through this and not go mad. God is with us and our weekly round of worship, education, service, and fellowship are the four pillars of our Anglican heritage that St. Paul’s has faithfully shared these past 160 years. This is what we do best, and this is who we are. Please, please make use it all as YOUR strength for the journey.
Rev. Canon Albert Ogle
Interim Rector