I think there is an inherent logic in that because I am a lover, my sister lives for the summer, and my brother is a notorious sinner. He got away with everything and I envied him— not because of what he got away with, but because of his ability to savor life, to live one day at a time and get extraordinary joy out of it, even in the midst of extraordinarily difficult circumstances. My brother’s daughter has MS and has been bed ridden for the past four years. She has endured a series of experimental drugs to help relieve her pain and increase her mobility, but nothing seems to help much. My brother is her primary care giver. Where others would despair, he just keeps moving on. Taking each day as a new opportunity to deal with whatever happens. That’s what saints do. They face problematic, exhausting, and sometimes scary circumstances, trusting that with God’s help, they will not be defeated. The dictionary defines a saint as “someone who possesses an exceptional degree of holiness worthy of veneration.”
In our celebration of All Saints Day this Sunday, we proclaim that we are all worthy of sainthood. The doctor, the priest, the soldier, and folk like you and me are saints— not because we exhibit a rare degree of holiness, but because we realize how much God loves us and believes in us. Being a saint is living into an awareness of how much God believes in us. Once we understand that, we begin to see God’s glory all around us— We see it in our worship. We fully grasped it in the power of Gods forgiveness and in the strength we are given to forgive others. We see the glory of God in the community we share online, or in person. We see it in our outreach and our struggle to heal the deep wounds of division we have inflicted on one another. We see God’s glory in the nourishment of Christ’s body and blood, physically, and/spiritually.
St. Paul’s is hallowed by the saints who have gone before us, whose work and ministry to its members and the community beyond its doors, laid the foundation for our present ministry and mission. They worshiped, sang, prayed, gave of their time, talent and treasure and were molded by word and sacrament. They reached out to the needy with the good news of Christ’s love no matter what circumstances they faced because they had faith that God believed in them and they sought to give God the glory.
You now are the St. Paul’s saints. You are invited to work, pray, give, teach, study, laugh, cry, and care for those you love, and those you struggle to love. You stand with a great cloud of witnesses— the communion and fellowship of the saints.
Your prayers and pledge of time, talent and treasure for 2021 is a sign of thankfulness to God, for all of God’s blessings. It is a sign that you want to continue the work of the saints who have gone before you. We are so grateful to, and encouraged by, those who have already made a pledge, many of whom increased their pledge. I invite you to join your friends who have pledged already and make a pledge by mailing in your pledge card or making a pledge online by All Saints Day, November 1. On this Ingathering Sunday we will offer a Litany of Thanksgiving for all the good gifts God has given us. Please remember that St. Paul’s future depends on God and on you.
As you know our parish administrator, Carl Samet, has resigned. We are grateful for his ministry among us. One of the three foci of the Strategic Plan is Human Resources. Be sure to tune into the Vestry’s Human Resources presentation this Sunday, November 1 at 9:15 during our Adult Christian Formation time via ZOOM. The Human Resources Team of the Vestry, along with the Rector, is charged with finding a right balance of paid and volunteer staff to maintain and grow our ministry.
Carl’s departure offers us an opportunity to explore what is essential about the Parish Administrator’s position as currently defined, and what responsibilities might be unnecessary, or identify responsibilities which need to be added. For now, we are planning to use a combination of contract labor and volunteers to carry out the most urgent tasks of administration. We are going to reduce office hours, and staff the office with volunteers on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. I am grateful to those of you who have already volunteered to help.
If you want to help, you can sign up on our website here. The primary duty is to answer the phone. If you have other skills that our complimentary to our needs, that is a welcome bonus. We believe that volunteers on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays will provide sufficient in-person office coverage. In recent months, because of COVID-19, there is little to no traffic in the office, so it is unnecessary for someone to be here in-person just to answer the phone every day. A new phone system is being installed which will forward calls and give us the capability to call and retrieve messages at any time. Unless we have pastoral calls, or other canonical responsibilities, Adam and I are usually in the office Monday- Thursday. If you have an urgent need to come to the office outside of the covered hours, we can arrange an appointment time.
You are invited to join us in person, (with an Eventbrite Invitation,) or online for a special service of Compline on Election Day, November 3 at 6:00 p.m. Likewise, join us in person (with an Eventbrite invitation) at 8:00 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. on Sundays. If we reach the maximum number permitted, you will automatically be put on a waiting list and notified if there is a cancellation. Eventbrite links appear on the home page at spechurch.com.
Safe safe. Keep the faith.