From the Pastor's Desk:
Transitioning Back to "Normal"
As I write this, there is hope that America and the world is approaching the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. If has now been over a year, and most of us are eager to return to normal. It is true that we are not there yet, but it is hoped that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
With that in mind, St. Paul is beginning to take tentative steps forward as we plan for the fall. One sign of this is the fact that our "in person" worship attendance has begun to exceed our online attendance. In the last two months, the in person attendance has exceeded the online attendance three out of four times. Another sign of normalcy was the success of the Trunk Sale that was held on May 1st.
As we move into May, we are planning to restart many of our programs for families and children. We recently hired a Children's Minister who will begin to develop mid-week programs for this summer. Our regular Nursery Attendant is planning to return to work on May 9. The Board of Education is planning to hold Vacation Bible School in the month of July. The Youth Group will be going on a Mission Trip in the month of June. Our hope is that we will be able to begin a full schedule of Sunday School, Children's Ministry and Youth Ministry when we get into September.
Meanwhile, some of our adult programs have resumed. The Chancel Choir is practicing on Thursday nights and is singing on Sundays. (The Praise Team continued to practice and perform throughout the last year.) Pastor Lutz taught a Bible study on Genesis in the winter. I am now teaching a seminar on Mere Christianity on Wednesday nights.
The Parish Life committee is planning a picnic for the July 4th weekend. Plans are also in the works to restart our Wednesday night meals in September.
Key your eyes open for more information about our programs as we move into the summer!
Yours in Christ,
Rev. David A. Charlton
LUTHERAN MEN In MISSION
June 2021 Bible Study
The LMM monthly Bible Study will be Saturday, June 19, at 7:30 A. M. in the Parish Hall. We are continuing the Course on "Spirituality." This is the sixth and final session where we will be discussing the subject "Gifts and Calling: What is the Will of God for My Life?" The Bible study topic is "Worrying About God's Will: 'Don't worry'" (Matthew 6:19-34). This Bible Study will follow Option 2: Advanced: Teaching with Margin Questions.
Matthew 6:19-34 (NIV)
Treasures in Heaven
19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
Do Not Worry
25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Chapters 5-7 of the Gospel of Matthew contain what is called the Sermon on the Mount. This sermon probably covered several days of preaching, if not more. In it, Jesus revealed his attitude toward the law of Moses, explaining that he requires faithful and sincere obedience, not ceremonial religion. The Sermon on the Mount challenged the teaching of the proud and legalistic religious leaders of the day. The first part of Chapter 5 contains the Beatitudes, the most well-known portion of the sermon. In the remainder of these three chapters Jesus teaches about many different areas of behavior that give the people a different perspective on doing God's will.
In the first part of these verses in Chapter 6 Jesus teaches about money. Jesus had been teaching about how his followers should live differently from those in the current religious establishment. The section about money focuses on true discipleship and how wealth is often the most common distraction from such discipleship. Our attitude toward money is often the pulse of the heart of our discipleship.
In the next section, Jesus teaches about worry. Jesus continued to highlight kingdom priorities - the attitude toward life that his disciples should exemplify. They need not be overly concerned about food or clothing because they know that God will care for them. Worrying about food and clothing should never take priority over serving God. When we worry over lack of food or inadequate clothing, we immobilize ourselves and focus on the worry.
Discussion will focus on our attitude as to what constitutes success in our society and how we think Jesus would measure it. If Jesus were to analyze our life where would he say our treasure is? Do we have worry dominating our life? If so, what do we worry about? Should we be worrying about our physical needs in life? According to Jesus, what should we really be concerned about?
All men of the
congregation are invited to attend.
The fourth and final class, scheduled for June 6th at 3:30pm, will focus on the Social Statement adopted in 2009 by the ELCA on "Human Sexuality: Gift and Trust" and the revised version of "Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline" passed by the ELCA Church Council in April 2021. Below are the PDF files for these documents. They can also be found on the ELCA website.
We encourage members to research these documents to become informed as well as to read other pertinent Social Statements adopted by the ELCA. All three classes have been recorded. If interested, please contact Steve Humphrey for a link and pass code for each recording: email@example.com
Again, the final class will be held on June 6, 2021 at 3:30 pm. For social distancing purposes the meeting will be held in St. Paul sanctuary. A Zoom meeting will be available with the link provided the week before June 6th. Questions or comments, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For Definitions and Guidelines for Discipline,
please contact the office for an emailed pdf version.
ELCA Advocacy ELCA Advocacy - Advocacy ministries of the ELCA want to share stories and your voices about public policies and relevant advocacy issues that are of interest to you. - Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Publicly Engaged Church - Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (elca.org)
Faith and Society - Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (elca.org)
Religious news & social issues Archives - Living Lutheran
2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly summary of actions - ELCA
LUTHERAN WORLD RELIEF QUILTERS
Dear Sisters and Brothers of St. Paul,
The Panhandle Conference hosted a Lutheran World Relief (LWR) ingathering at Holy Trinity to pick up quilts and kits to be transported to the LWR Warehouse. Whether you donated fabric, cut quilt squares, tied knots, donated items for baby care kits, assembled kits, blessed, or helped pack and weigh the quilts and kits, you are part of a 75 year plus ministry to people in need around the world. You are bringing hope and the light of Christ to those in need.
St. Paul's quilters made 153 quilts and WELCA assembled 24 baby care kits. Holy Trinity had 158 quilts and 151 personal care kits and Good Shepherd had 40 quilts, 1 fabric kit, and 53 school kits. The grand total was 351 quilts, 24 baby care kits, 1 fabric kit, 151 personal care kits, and 53 school kits totaling 1,752.6 pounds.
The last time we were able to participate in a LWR ingathering was August 2019 in Daphne, Alabama. At that time five (5) ELCA congregations donated 332 quilts, 25 school kits, and 385 personal care kits weighing a total of 1,858.7 pounds.
Again, thank you for your faithfulness to this important ministry! The generosity of your time, talents, and resources is a blessing to so many beyond our church and our community!
Your sister in Christ,
Phyllis Wade, President
Florida-Bahamas Synodical Women's Organization
LUTHERAN WORLD RELIEF QUILTERS
LWR Quilters are making quilts! We finished 10 quilts in February. LWR Quilters next monthly Quilt Tie is the third Friday and Saturday, March 19 and 20, in the Parish Hall. We begin about 9:30ish. As always, come and go as you like.
Quilt and Kit donations to Lutheran World Relief were down in 2020. Due to the covid-19 virus, most church Ingatherings were canceled. In September both LWR warehouses were totally empty of Quilts and Kits! In October a group of 24 churches in Missouri took matters into their own hands. Members of the 24 churches brought their items to the parking lot of St Andrews Lutheran in Columbia and loaded them in a rented 26-foot moving van. One couple drove them over 450 miles to the LWR warehouse in St. Paul, Minnesota. Lutheran camps also joined in the effort to get items to the LWR warehouses. Seven Lutheran camps scattered around the United States offered space where Quilts and Kits could be dropped off and stored over an extended period of time. In 2019 LWR distributed 333,405, but in 2020 LWR only 264,585 Quilts were sent. That is down 68,820 Quilts. The number of Kits was also down. School Kits went for 210,725 to 174,055. Personal Care Kits went from 137,760 to 71,900. Baby Care Kits went up from 51,915 in 2019 to 52,860 n 2020. LWR volunteers also made and sent 40,750 fabric face masks in 2020. I hope our Lutheran churches continue to work on Quilts and Kits during this difficult time. Then when Ingatherings begin again we can flood the LWR warehouses with gifts!
Florida was one of the few places that held their annual Quilt and Kit Ingatherings. It was good to have our Quilts and Baby Care Kits counted with those from other Florida Churches. Usually our items are counted with the Southeast, not Florida, since we used to take them to Alabama.
We received a donation of three more boxes of fabric this month. We have lots of fabric, but we could use a few more volunteers. Come join us on March 19 and 20 in the Parish Hall.
DEFIBRILLATORS (AEDS) -
St Paul Lutheran Church has 2 AEDs for use in an emergency. One is located in the Gathering Room hanging on the east wall (near the classroom door) and the other is in the Family Life Center/School in the Lobby.
TATTERED AMERICAN FLAGS
If you have a worn out, tattered, or faded US flag you need to properly dispose of, you can bring it to the church and Don Cleveland will deliver it to his Veterans of Foreign Wars Post for a proper and respectful disposal.
Community Pastoral Counseling
A ministry of St. Paul Lutheran Church and School
Rev. Robert R. Lutz, PhD Diplomate
American Association of Pastoral Counselors
Call 850-843-3083 for Information or to make an appointment