This weekend the secular calendar moves from March to April. For sports fans like me, that means its time to enjoy the thrill of the college basketball finals and the excitement of baseball’s Opening Day!
Meanwhile, our Church calendar welcomes us into the Fifth Sunday of Lent. As we continue our journey of Lent, we see Holy Week and Easter Sunday ever-closer on the horizon! Through worship, study, service and fellowship, we are renewing our repentance and faith, as we prepare to renew our Baptismal Covenant at Easter.
On Monday evening, we will have a special opportunity to renew our faith as Dr. Patricia “Patty” Kollander shares with us the inspiring story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran pastor and theologian who spoke out courageously against Hitler and Nazism, something for which he was martyred in the Flossenburg concentration camp.
On Wednesday morning, we will have another opportunity to renew our faith through worship and fellowship as we welcome The Rev. Rich Barbour, Associate Pastor of Advent Lutheran Church in Boca Raton and current president of the board for Family Promise, as our guest preacher for an ecumenical prayer service. This special Lenten ecumenical prayer service will start at 11 am and will be followed by lunch at 11:30 am. Lunch is $10, dine in or take out, and all proceeds will support the good work of C.R.O.S. Ministries, which feeds the hungry here in Palm Beach County.
As we look ahead to Holy Week, I remind you that next weekend (April 8 & 9) we observe Palm Sunday of Our Lord’s Passion. Our 10 am service next Sunday will begin in the courtyard and include the Liturgy of the Palms and procession into church. Our Church School children will sing a gathering hymn in the courtyard and our Choir will lead us in singing the processional anthem into church.
Today we bid a grateful farewell to Dr. Keith Paulson-Thorp, who has served as our Director of Music Ministry for more than 10 years. As Keith enters into his well-deserved retirement, our prayers and best wishes go with him and Marshall. We will have two festive farewells for Keith this weekend, one after our Saturday 5pm Illuminated Worship and the other after our 10 am service. We hope you will be able to join us as we celebrate the gift of Keith’s ministry among us!
Thanks to our talented and resourceful choir members, I’m happy to say that we will have superb musicians serve our musical needs in the interim period, as we await the arrival of Dr. Paul Cienniwa on June 1st.
Speaking of arrivals…we begin the season of Lent this Wednesday, March 1! On February 28, our Brotherhood of St. Andrew will prepare a Shrove Tuesday pancake dinner and on Ash Wednesday we will celebrate the Holy Eucharistic with Imposition of Ashes at 7 am, 12 noon, and 7 pm. Our 12 noon Ash Wednesday service will be a combined service with our Delray Episcopal neighbors, St. Matthew’s and Blessed James Holly Mission. At that service, Fr. Mike Cassell, the retired rector of St. Joseph’s in Boynton Beach, will be our guest preacher. A simple soup lunch for $10 will follow the service. The 7 pm service will feature our choir.
Finally, last, but certainly not least, I know that I speak on behalf of our entire congregation when I say THANKS to the many people who gave of their time, talent, and treasure to support our 8th Annual Sale: Furnishings, Fashion, & Flowers. Our co-chairs Kathleen Megan, Judy Fenney, and Adele Harrell, their team of volunteers, and our office staff helped to make this, once again, an incredible event!
This Third Sunday of Advent is Gaudete Sunday, the Sunday to rejoice. As you contemplate the various causes for rejoicing in your own life, one that we share in common is the infinite love our Creator has for each one of us, a love that overflows with grace and mercy. By God’s grace, we have been drawn into a life-giving relationship not only with our Maker, but also with each other. Through our sharing in God’s mercy, the wounds in our relationships can be healed.
As we continue to prayerfully discern what God is calling us to in our common life as a parish family, particularly over these next four years, we share a renewed Mission Statement and Vision Statement to guide us in the living out of God’s grace and mercy.
St. Paul’s Mission Statement:
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church spreads God’s love and grace in the world through inspiring worship, meaningful fellowship, Christian education, and compassionate outreach.
St. Paul’s Vision Statement:
In 2020 St. Paul’s will be recognized as a spiritual leader in our changing community, our doors open to all, a welcoming home to those seeking a deeper relationship with God, a champion of justice and diversity, a servant to those in need, and a loving teacher of God’s Word.