Saturday, October 1, 2011

Moving into high gear at St. Paul's

We are moving into high gear at St. Paul's this time of year, and it is feeling like everything went up a notch this weekend. In the photo at right are some of the folks working hard on our fall programs.

On Sunday we will be hosting the Right Rev. Larry Maze, the retired bishop of the Diocese of Arkansas, and we will be launching a series of sermons focused on how our life of giving is founded on our baptismal covenant. Bishop Maze is a gifted preacher and workshop leader and so I hope you will join us Sunday.

Later in the day, at 5 pm, we will have the traditional St. Francis "Blessing of the Animals" outside in the meditation garden. Bring your iguanas, hamsters, dogs and cats. And then stay if you can for the 5:30 pm Holy Eucharist which will also be on the lawn.

We heard an amazing talk last night from Elkanah Odembo, the ambassador to the United States from Kenya who was our guest our the annual "Harambe" fund raiser for the African Development Project.

Ambassador Odembo is an old friend of St. Paul's who has worked with our people for many years on  the project that brings basic development services to isolated parts of his country. 

I found his talk encouraging as he described Kenya's new constitution with its commitment to human rights. Yet he also gave us a sobering description of how Kenya is keeping its borders open to hundreds-of-thousands of refugees from Sudan and Somalia -- mostly women and children and who would face almost certain death without Kenya keeping its borders open. 

Ambassador Odembo spoke candidly of those challenges but he also described how Kenya is equipping itself to meet those challenges, including a goal of becoming entirely dependent green energy for electricity and bringing more and more rural villages onto the electrical grid. You can read more about his talk on Kay Slaughter's blog by clicking HERE.

We are in the season of harvest and gratitude. Soon we will be asking you to set aside some of your harvest in the year ahead for the building of God's Kingdom through the work of St. Paul's Memorial Church. Our Stewardship Team recently revamped our "Giving" webpage and it includes a wonderful statement of gratitude by Renee Fuller about the life she has found at St. Paul's. I hope you will take a few moments to read what she has to say:

At this summer’s Shrinemont Retreat, we were asked as participants in the Sunday service to consider sharing what about St. Paul’s we felt thankful for. After having shared a fabulous weekend with fellow parishioners and friends, I felt particularly caught up in my emotions about my St. Paul’s family. It was easy to think of several things about St. Paul’s I was thankful for, not the least of which was the very welcoming nature of the community. 

However, there was and continues to be something particularly salient about the women of the St. Paul’s community for which I am most thankful for. These strong, energetic, compassionate and supportive souls inspire me to be a better mother, a better wife and a better person. Their service to our church community is often open and large, but the service for which I am most thankful to them for, is the soft, quiet service. The service they perhaps offer without even knowing...the service that isn’t about what they know or outwardly do, but about who they are. 
It’s the innumerable acts like the “seasoned” mother that leans over and tells me not to worry when my young son is noisy, or the fellow bible study friend who shares a personal struggle or experience that in turns makes me feel like I’m not alone in my journey as wife and mother. These women bless me, and in them I see the light of God our Father. For this I am extremely thankful that we have found our “church home” at St. Paul’s.

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