From the Pastor’s Pen

Dear Members and Friends:

“Let’s start with an honest admission. The history of the church, on the whole, has been badly damaged by clergy taking over most of the roles of lay ministers in worship, including the proper role of the people of God gathered to worship! Clergy cannot – and should not – do everything in worship.” (Christian Scharen, Serving the Assembly’s Worship – A Handbook for Assisting Ministers, Augsburg Fortress, 2013.)  A new Worship Ministry Team (committee) has formed at St. Paul’s.  Claudia O’Malley is the Council Liaison for the team.  This ministry team is sharing and praying together about worship here at St. Paul’s.  (There’s another group – Director of Music, Pastor, and members who choose the hymns and songs for our liturgies.)  At our first meeting, we discussed the historical and traditional role of the assisting minister or deacon in worship.  I will begin teaching the communion assistants to serve more fully in worship as Assisting Ministers.  It will take several weeks, as I will teach just two people at a time so that they have ample opportunity to practice before serving in worship.  If you think you are being called by God to this ministry, please let me know.

The Transition Team stalled a few months ago due to family responsibilities, a computer crash, and the church’s internet and phone systems being fried from one of the recent storms.  It’s nobody’s fault.  Life, and stuff, happens.  The Team is back on track with Co-Chairs Carrie Izzo and Donna DeCillis leading the process of completing the MSP and other documents for Bishop Bartholomew.  Brothers and sisters in Christ, I trust that God is preparing the best possible pastor for you, and in God’s time you will discern who that is.  Too often, it seems to me, we think we control this entire enterprise, but we don’t.  Yes, we have tasks to work through, but God is the One in control.  And God will not leave you desolate.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
     and do not rely on your own insight.
   In all your ways acknowledge him,
     and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3.5-6

One more month to get ready to go back to school!  Yes, already!  The big box stores have the school supplies out, and if you watch the ads closely you can get everything you need over three or four weeks at bargain prices.  Here at St. Paul’s, we’re collecting school supplies and backpacks for kids in need at three locations in our area.  See the display and collection area in the narthex.  Carol Moyer is the coordinator for this ministry.  And thank you very much for your generosity.

God bless you and your activities this summer.

Pastor Elaine

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