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Weekly Notes January 7, 2021

Dear Friends;
It is so good to be back!  I return with deep gratitude for the gift of sabbatical, and for the extraordinary leadership at Saint Paul’s that allowed this community of faith to thrive during the last quarter of 2020.  So many thanks to Pastor Becky for her outstanding leadership, and to each of you who stepped up to assist in various ways; for the way that you encouraged and undergirded Becky in prayer; for your spirit of generosity and compassion.  This is a special community, and I am delighted to be back with you.
This Sunday we begin gathered worship in a limited way.  We will offer one service at 8:30 a.m. in the Sanctuary.  As we have already mentioned, this service will be abbreviated from our norm (are we even allowed to use that word any more?), and I want to remind you of some important considerations:
1.            masks that cover nose and mouth are required while you are on campus.
2.            social distancing of 6’ is to be maintained while you are on our campus; this applies to all people who are not members of your household
3.            there will be no congregational singing at this time
4.            hand sanitizer stations are available at both entries for your use
5.            offering will be received via wooden boxes that are placed in both narthex areas
6.            dismissal from the service will be by section as needed as to maintain social distancing

I am grateful for your willingness to comply with these guidelines as we begin the process of regathering for in-person worship.  Please remain patient as we determine together the best practices for being together in a way that is safe for all.
Let me also remind you that our online worship continues to be produced each week and goes live at 10:00 a.m. on our Facebook page and YouTube.  We will continue our ministry of delivering DVD copies of our weekly worship to those who are not connected via the internet.
Friends, like most of us this morning, I am continuing to process the events that occurred in our capital yesterday.  The images were terrifying and startling and unsettling…and while many used the phrase , ‘this is not who we are’, the truth is that what we saw is exactly who we are – what we have become.  To deny that is to deny the need for healing, to deny the need for repentance, to deny the need for help that only comes from God.  To deny our brokenness, scripture tells us, is a lie.  If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8).  There is so much work to be done, and as people of faith, we are called to the work of reconciliation.
 I am so deeply grateful to our Bishop, Ken Carter, who addressed us this morning in a live Facebook broadcast that you can access below.  I strongly commend it to you – perhaps even using his words as a starting point of discussion in your families and small groups.  As people of faith, as United Methodists, part of the vows we take at our baptism is to resist evil and oppression in whatever ways they present themselves.  Jesus calls us to be makers of peace, and I am proud to be part of a faith tradition that has historically entered into, and continues to engage, this call actively and courageously for the sake of the gospel. 
It is no accident that our sermon series during these next five weeks is to examine together how we as United Methodists put feet to our faith in real and tangible ways, and how we engage the world around us informed by the teachings of Jesus.  This is such an important call on each of our lives – and I want to encourage you to connect to this teaching series fully.  Join us in person or online – read the materials that will be shared each week – pray – ask God where you/we might put our feet. 
God is with us,

Message from Bishop Ken Carter
Join us as we gather for worship in our sanctuary at 8:30 a.m. (see notes above).

Online worship at at 10:00am on either Facebook, our church website, or YouTube as we learn how we might put feet to our faith.

If you have not yet mailed in your pledge for 2021 to support the ministries at Saint Paul's, you can do so online just by clicking the button below.  
Fill Out Your 2021 Pledge Card Online

COURAGEOUS CHURCH - Wednesday Evenings starting Jan.13

As we begin a new season of life for Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church ALL MEMBERS of the congregation are encouraged to participate in this 5 week class called COURAGEOUS CHURCH.  We will utilize excerpts from General Session presentations at the recent Leadership Institute at the Church of the Resurrection and talk about how our church moves forward amidst the many changes in our world.  A recommended book for you to read prior to or during this five week class is Bishop Michael Curry’s Love is the Way, which is available on Amazon.  This class will be highly interactive, and allow you a voice in our ministry and life together.  (sign up below for more details)

Sign Up Here
Starting this Sunday, January 10, our nursery care for infants through Kindergarten will be open on Sunday mornings for the 8:30am Worship Service. We ask that those desiring nursery care please sign up so we will be sure to have our nursery staff available. Sign up on the button below. We request signups by 6:00pm on the Saturday before Sunday worship. Contact with any questions. 
Sunday Worship Nursery Request
Worship Arts ~ Mini SPARKS!

Wednesdays starting January 13
Kindergartners to 5th Graders

We will gather in groups of 10 with Stephany Nystrand and Gaye Herndon learning music using our hand chimes, drumming and boomwhackers along with art projects with Pastor Kandace and even some dance!  For more information and to sign up click here!
Sign up for Mini SPARKS here

ENTER THE STORY - Daily Bible Reading 2021

Our Daily Bible Reading 2021 will take us through 52 of the greatest stories in scripture - stories that will remind us of who God is; who we are; and who we are called to be.  I invite you to enter the story - to dig deep below the surface of the narrative and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what meaning might be hidden there.  I will offer my reflections only as a starting point.  The story belongs to all of us!

Our 2021 Daily Bible Reading is available by email every day.  If you would like to receive these daily mailings and are not currently subscribed, you may do so by clicking the link below.

Subscribe to Daily Bible Readings
Want to connect with others in the church who may need a word or encouragement or prayer?  You can access an address list for our monthly care list along with a list of monthly birthdays here.  A thoughtful card or note would brighten a day and make a difference!

A reminder that we have online prayer gatherings on Sunday at 7:30 pm, and Tuesday morning at 8:00 am.  You may also stop by the sanctuary to pray on Thursdays from 10 am until 12 pm.  Pastor Becky is there to offer prayer as well. 

You can submit prayer requests by clicking the button below.  Prayer requests are always private unless permission has been given to share.  
Submit Prayer requests here
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