Third Sunday of Easter
Friday 21 April 2023
Dear Members and Friends of St. Paul’s,
Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
This Sunday we move to the Gospel of Luke (Luke 24:13-35) for the Road to Emmaus story. We are still in the early days after the crucifixion. In Luke’s account this story takes place right after the Marys told the disciples that they had found the tomb empty. We pick up with two of the disciples apparently heading home. They are trying to process all that had happened in a few short days. They had witnessed Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey – being declared a king. And after that it all went downhill quickly. Jesus was betrayed, arrested, tried, and executed. And now the women have told them that the tomb is empty. It is just too much for these two – so they head home. While on their journey Jesus appears and asks them what they are talking about. They are amazed that this stranger is not also talking about all the events that had happened. In their grief they do not recognize Jesus. Just like Mary, in her grief and darkness, could not initially recognize the light of the world.
Jesus walks with them and opens their hearts and minds to all that he had been teaching them. Starting with Moses and the prophets Jesus teaches them what all the events meant. And as they approach their hometown near evening, they invite Jesus to join them – it will soon be too dangerous to be out on the road, so they offer this “stranger” hospitality. And when Jesus breaks the bread – just as he did at the last supper, their eyes are opened. Just as Mary’s eyes were opened when Jesus called her name. The light and love that they had walked with is in the room with them. Feeding them both spiritually and physically. They then, with no regard for traveling after dark, run back to the others in the locked room.
I wonder, when have web had our hearts opened by God? When has our grief been pierced by the light and love of Jesus? So that our hearts burn with the love that would not and will not die at the hands of humankind.
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.
Diocesan Commission on the Environment Church forms Green Team
St. Paul's has formed a Green Team to take on the task of slashing the church's carbon emissions to zero by 2030, in keeping with the goal set by the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California.
The team currently includes Doug Clay, Carol Lucic, Matt Weiser, and Alexa Mergen. We welcome others to join who want to be part of this historic effort. In addition to eliminating planet warming emissions, the team will also look at other aspects of church operations to minimize our effect on the planet, from recycling to landscaping.
The diocese formed a Commission on the Environment (Matt is a member) to help churches achieve the carbon-zero goal. The diocese signed a contract with Interfaith Power & Light to develop a carbon calculator and a web page for each church to assess its emissions. In addition, the commission is in talks with a group called Energy for Purpose, based in Austin, Texas, to personally visit each church in our diocese and develop a customized zero-emissions plan for each of them.
The diocesan resolution calls on each church to develop a zero-emissions plan by 2024, and to achieve those goals by 2030. This may require churches to install new technology, such as solar panels, heat pumps and ultra-efficient appliances, and take steps to sequester carbon from the atmosphere, for instance by planting trees.
There's no doubt this is a monumental effort. We're the very first Episcopal diocese in the nation to adopt such an ambitious goal. But there's also no question about the need: Without fast action to reduce our planet-warming emissions, we are likely to experience more severe droughts and deadly storms, sea level rise, more human hardship, and loss of biodiversity.
We will share more about this effort as it evolves. If you have questions in the meantime, or want to get involved, email Matt Weiser at: email@example.com.
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 is now at the Low level of community spread as of this week. We continue to recommend wearing masks indoors, especially when singing in the congregation. Our COVID response guide includes following health guidance so currently we are not requiring masking but to protect the vulnerable I continue to recommend masking when inside when not eating or 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/
Hopes Space If you are seeking hope, healing, or a community with whom you can ask hard questions, you’re invited to drop in on our Monday evening book group in the next couple of weeks. We’ll be talking about Justice and Repair as we continue exploring #thishereflesh by Cole Arthur Riley. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
Book Group: This Here Flesh continues 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.” Copies of the updated schedule are 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 This week we’re talking about Justice and Repair. You’re welcome to join whenever your schedule allows. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom information for this group.
Family Caregiver Group The next meeting of our support group for Family Caregivers will be Fri May 5th at 11 am. This is a hybrid meeting, so you can participate at church or on Zoom using the information below. E-mail email@example.com to join the Zoom Meeting
Midweek Noon Services Come join us on Wednesdays and Fridays for midweek Eucharist at 12:10. We use the lessons assigned from Lesser Feasts and Fasts. It is a great way to learn more about the “saints” of the church. The “noon” services start at 12:10 pm.
WordFest! Is Postponed From Bishop Megan:
Dear Friends: I am writing to update you on the WordFest Conference scheduled for Saturday May 6. You may have seen information about the event in the ENews or on the registration email that was sent earlier this week.
Yesterday, a retired clergy person of the diocese contacted our office with concerns about William Jessup University, the private Christian College in Rocklin, where three of the WordFest presenters serve as faculty. It was brought to our attention that William Jessup has a partial exemption to Title IX which allows it to legally discriminate against LGBTQ+ students for religious reasons.
While it is entirely within their rights for Jessup to do so, such a policy is not in alignment with the mission and values of the Episcopal Church. After consulting with staff members of the Office of the Bishop, and the Rev. Peter Rodgers, who organized the event, I have decided to postpone WordFest to a later date, allowing us to make needed adjustments.
Like many who were looking forward to learning more about the Psalms, I am disappointed that we will not be able to learn from these scholars, but doing so would be a slight to those in our diocese in the LGBTQ+ community. Fostering an open, inclusive, and accepting environment for our clergy and parishioners is of foremost concern.
This decision is one reached after prayerful consideration and discussion. Rest assured this action is in no way a reflection upon the presenters or the validity of their scholarship. However, we do have concerns about their employer’s stated policy. Asking them to participate would potentially put them in an awkward position. I also want to recognize and thank Rev. Rodgers for his hard work to plan this event. The presenters are scholars whom he knows personally.
Last month, at the first Congregation Leadership Conference on Vestry Essentials, a participant asked if the diocese had a formal diversity statement in place. Surprisingly, we did not. I asked Canon to the Ordinary Julie Wakelee to address this immediately. Working with JoAnn Williams, a member of the Commission for Intercultural Ministries, a draft statement was presented at a recent Board of Trustees meeting. Their response was enthusiastic and supportive. We are currently fine tuning the language, and the final version will be released soon.
I can, however, share the shorter version:
We are a community rooted in the promises made at baptism to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, honoring our neighbor as ourselves,” and to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.” As such, diversity, equity, and inclusion are core values of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California and are embraced as key practices to thriving and faithful life as the Church.
Even though the statement hasn’t been finalized and formally adopted, it is foundational in my decision to postpone WordFest for the reasons stated earlier. For those who have already registered, you will receive a full refund.
As always, I am open to discussing such matters, but rest assured, I am most concerned with the welfare of all persons in our diocese.
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