Friday 17 March 2023 -St. Patrick’s Day
Dear Members and Friends of St. Paul’s,
This week is the Fourth Sunday in Lent, also known as Laetare Sunday. Laetare Sunday is a Sunday where we celebrate joy – the anticipated joy of the coming Easter. The tradition is we change from our Lenten purple to rose colored vestments. Not all churches have rose vestments, but I was given a set for my ordination to the priesthood – so as long as I remember to bring them to the church, I will be wearing rose vestments this Sunday.
Our Gospel reading this week is, once again, from John (9:1-41). It is the story of the healing of the man born blind. The setup for the healing has Jesus’ disciples asking him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” In the past this question always evoked a response in me along the lines of – well these people were obviously ignorant of science. But now I realize we, as a society, still look to generational sin. Only it is our society that has committed the sins that are passed from generation to generation. The impacts of redlining have deprived many people of color from generational wealth. The siting of the freeways in Sacramento purposely cut Asian communities in half and dislocated large portions of once thriving communities. And the relocation of people of Japanese descent during World War II deprived those families of their lands and possessions. The redevelopment of the West End (think the stretch of Capitol Mall from the Tower Bridge to the Capitol) destroyed a vibrant, largely Black, community.
While I would like to think these actions are historical sins – for which so many are paying the price from generation to generation, it is not just historical. Just this week I heard a report of a rubber plant located adjacent to a largely Black community, and next to a school, emits a carcinogen at high levels, so high that the community has the highest cancer rate in the country. And yet it took reporters raising the issue, and the racism of not acting, to get our government to start to address the toxic discharge.
There is much more going on in this week’s Gospel about how the community reacts to the healing – and I will just say it “isn’t pretty” and I will have more to say about that in my sermon! I wonder how we can be agents of change in our communities? How can we work to heal the generational sins that cause so many to be in need of healing?
Program Click here to view/print the program for the service for our Sunday Eucharist. This will allow you to better participate in our worship.
What’s in a Name?
It is now official. The Vestry of St. Paul’s, with the concurrence of Bishop Megan, have called me to be the Rector of St. Paul’s. I have been serving as the bishop’s appointed Priest-in-Charge on a two-year letter of agreement that expired last September. This week a new letter was finalized naming me Rector of St. Paul’s. It has been over 2o years since our last Rector. The major difference is that the Priest-in-Charge serves at the pleasure of the bishop for generally a fixed term. The Rector is a “tenured” position that serves until we mutually agree that it is time to end this pastoral relationship. This is still a part-time cure – I am one-third time with a commitment to being at St. Paul’s two Sundays a month. This is a big change for the Diocese as well. In the past our bishops have held that Rectors had to be full time positions. Bishop Megan recognizes that churches can be vital, thriving congregations at any size and it is the health of the congregation, not its size, that determines the possibility of calling a Rector. I am thrilled to continue to work with the people of St. Paul’s as we see where the Holy Spirit is calling us to ministry.
Calling all Singers! Our choir is starting up again! All are welcome to join in and “Make a joyful noise to the Lord.” Choir rehearsals are Saturday starting at 1:00, after the sack lunch distribution. If you would like more information, see Justin after the Sunday service, or e-mail the church and I will forward your e-mail to Justin.
New Website We are excited to announce that our new website is up and running. It is still under construction so watch for additional content as the weeks go on. One new feature is the ability to easily give using this website. Just click on the giving link on any of the pages to set up a one-time or recurring donation. The website is at stpaulssacramento.org.
Masks The community level of Covid-19 in Sacramento County continues to be medium based on cases and hospitalizations, according to the most recent update from the C.D.C. on March 9th. We recommend wearing masks indoors, especially when singing in the congregation. Our COVID response guide includes following health guidance so at this time we will be masking except when eating and drinking.
Livestream of the service This week we will, technology willing, again use two platforms for sharing in our worship: YouTube and St. Paul’s Facebook page. St. Paul’s YouTube channel can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UcjU73KRrR_-y3gc9n_gr80A Our Facebook page can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/StPaulsSacramento/
175 Anniversary Planning meeting: A meeting to continue planning for the 175th anniversary (demisemiseptcentennial) is scheduled for Tuesday evening March 21, 2023 at 7:00 pm at St. Paul’s Church. This will be presented in the hybrid format, those who can are invited to meet in person at the church, those unable to attend in person may sign in via the zoom link attached. All are invited to participate in the planning of this celebration. 1) We will receive progress reports from subgroups that have volunteered to research aspects of specific events 2) We will continue to accept ideas to include in the celebration 3) We will continue to develop the celebration plans. Please join us in person or on line. Doug Clagh St. Paul's Episcopal is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting. Topic: St. Paul's Episcopal's Personal Meeting Room Join Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/2753851976 Meeting ID: 275 385 1976
Soundbath Evensong The Soundbath Evensong last Sunday was beautiful. If you were unable to attend, you can still listen to the service. Deep thanks to Justin, Mark, and Doug for their work in making beautiful music and to Will for organizing hospitality. It is available here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyL5y1QAzNo&t=2007s We plan on having another Soundbath Evensong this summer.
Book Group: This Here Flesh continues on Monday evenings, 6:30pm on Zoom. “By listening to another person’s stories—about God, about their greatest hope, about their deepest pain—we learn about their experience and reflect anew on our own.” Books and copies of the schedule are available in the narthex We will meet for an hour, reflect on what struck us in Cole’s stories and share our own related stories, using story sharing practices. If you have questions or need a copy of the book email Karen at email@example.com We will be meeting on Mondays through May 15, except for Holy Week. This week we’re talking about Belonging. You’re welcome to join whenever your schedule allows. Contact the church at firstname.lastname@example.org for the oom link.
Lenten Ingathering This lent we are collecting blankets, sleeping bags, and socks for our cold neighbors. Recently Safe Space wound down their ministry, so we now have room to store more to help those who come to our doors. Please consider donating to this expanding ministry at St. Paul’s.
Living Compass We have the Living Compass Lenten mediation booklets available. You can pick one up starting this week. If you would like one mailed to you, please e-mail the church at email@example.com J
oin the Journey Through Lent A poster that leads us on the path through lent to Easter. Each day on the journey there are short activities and suggestions to prepare for Easter. It is like an Advent calendar – but without the chocolate! They can be picked up in the back of the church.
Sanctified Art Lenten Material We have several offerings from Sanctified Art. We have a devotional booklet “Seeking: honest questions for deeper faith.” The devotional booklets can be picked up in church or can be mailed to you. In addition, there are cards for each day of Lent that offer a question to ponder as well as a daily prayer. The cards for the first week of Lent are available to be picked up at the church.
Living Compass Lenten Group sponsored by Trinity Cathedral Please join us for our Living Compass Lenten Book Group, a seven-week discussion of Practicing Compassion with All Your Heart, Soul, Strength, and Mind. To sign up for the group, please email the Rev. Anne Dryden McKeever at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive the Zoom link and arrange to receive your free copy of the booklet either at church on a Sunday or via postal mail. We’re grateful to our Diocesan Partners in Ministries of Health for providing these booklets to us at no cost. And we give thanks for Susan Hotchkiss, who will handle technology for us. When: Noon - 1:30 pm Mondays, February 20, 27, March 6, 13, 20, 27, and April 3. Where: Zoom
Midweek Noon Services Come join us on Wednesdays and Fridays for midweek Eucharist at 12:10. We use the lessons assigned from Holy Women, Holy Men. It is a great way to learn more about the “saints” of the church. The “noon” services start at 12:10 pm.
Save the Date for WordFest! Psalms: Lament, Listen, Laugh Saturday, May 6 | 10:00 am – 2:00 pm Zoom Only Back by popular demand! If you are a lay reader or lay preacher, or just love to learn about scripture, join us for WordFest. This year, we are examining the Psalms – understanding them, and learning different ways to share them effectively in worship. Registration details to come. Zoom: $10 per person
Getting the Word Out One way of letting others know about St. Paul’s is to “Share” the livestream of our worship services that are on St. Paul’s Facebook page to your individual Facebook page or to start a “watch party” on Facebook. It’s a very efficient way of sharing access to our worship and liturgy with others. If you are not able to join us at 10 a.m., the service will be recorded on both our YouTube page and our Facebook page so you can share in the service as your schedule allows.
Keeping up Appearances The grounds can always use a bit of sprucing! If you have a little free time to pick up litter and sweep the walks it would be greatly appreciated.
Giving We will again be blessing the gifts given this week at the “Offertory” and together we will pray a “Doxology” of gratitude. I am so grateful for your ongoing support to cover the financial expenses of St. Paul’s, so we are able to continue our vital ministry." Gifts can be sent to: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church P.O. Box 160914 Sacramento, CA 95816 Should you not wish to mail checks or don’t have access to stamps, please use your bank’s Bill Pay feature to set up your recurring gift. You can also give through our website at stpaulssacramento.org/give We pray over these gifts every week asking God’s blessing upon them and that we be wise stewards of everyone’s generosity.
The Very Rev. Rik Rasmussen Rector & Dean of the Capitol Deanery