Sibelius at the Piano

Cape Ann Finns and St. Paul Lutheran Church are excited to announce a piano performance by Ruusamari Teppo, the great-great-granddaughter of the world-famous composer, Jean Sibelius.  Ms. Teppo, who is pursuing doctoral studies in the USA, plays internationally.  Recently, she played at the 2019 FinFest.  The concert will be held at St. Paul Lutheran Church on Sunday, October 13th, 2019 at 4:00 PM.  Suggested donation is $20 per person for this wonderful opportunity.

Late Summer Update

Dear Friends,

It has been a busy summer at St. Paul. In addition to our usual summer activities, we began a construction renovation project on the education wing in July. This is a major overhaul of the building which we have been planning for the last several years. If you haven’t been by the church to see the new windows, new siding going up, scraping and painting of the whole church, please come by. It’s wonderful to see what is happening. The new windows let in much more light, and they are easy to use!

Robin Carlo, our new Assistant for Family Ministry and Outreach, has been working and planning this summer. We are excited to announce that Rally Day will be on September 15th. In a departure from past years, we are meeting at 9:15 a.m. on Sundays. Our theme this fall is Creation. Many churches have begun using these lovely autumn Sundays as a time to focus on creation in their classes and worship.

The Yard Sale was lovely and successful, even in the midst of our construction project. It was smaller in terms of items for sale, as we did not have rummage sales this year. But the crowd was delightful, a steady stream of shoppers, who enjoyed delicious food, found bargains, and chatted with neighborhood friends and visitors. Our thanks to Yard Sale organizers.

This spring, we decided to form a new peace and justice group. We’ve had one in the past, focused on racism from 2015-2018. The group wanted to study Pope Francis’ Laudato Si this summer, and met on the beach, when the weather permitted to read and discuss the Pope’s powerful encyclical on the climate crisis and our response as followers of Jesus. The group will continue to meet this fall, focused on care for creation and climate change.

We have a new organizer for our Open Door/Cape Ann Food Pantry commitment to provide meals four times a year. One of the evenings was in late July, and as always, our beef stew was a hit. Thank you to all who made that possible.

In late August, I participated in an annual ecumenical and interfaith arts camp, Cape Ann Arts Alive, held at St. John’s Episcopal Church. This year our theme was the 400th anniversary of Gloucester, which is coming in 2023. The children come from all over Cape Ann, some as far away as Cambridge. The program is funded by grants from the Episcopal Diocese, and other cultural associations.

Much more has happened of course. These are some of the highlights. We look forward to worship returning to 10:00 a.m. next week, September 1st. There is a month left of summer–and we hope you enjoy it.

Pastor Anne

A Sweet Surprise from the Twitterverse

A sweet surprise: This morning, as I visited social media, one of the ways I keep up with the church around the world, friends and world news (don’t worry, I check sources), I came across a beautiful question by a young Episcopal priest asking people to reflect on their experiences of Holy Communion. For those of you who use twitter, please visit our Twitter page, as I posted her question and the over 100 people’s responses to it. Reading it was like reading a litany of joy. They are short answers, so it won’t take you more than 10 minutes to read them if you want to. Writers reflected on the way receiving communion dissolved barriers, the way it moved their hearts, what it felt like to walk forward with open hands, what it is like to look into someone’s eyes as they receive, what it is like to hear one’s name in communion, what it is like to sit down afterward and take in the holiness of the moment, the profound reality that Christ is really and truly present in the elements. There were so many, I can’t reproduce them here. But here is question:

“Instead of getting too bogged down in the negativity, I’d like to start a thread in which we share our extremely meaningful experiences of the Eucharist, regardless of our denomination. ”

They are worth reading, prayers of gratitude for what we have received.


The writer is an Episcopal priest and writer The Rev. Erin Jean Warde @erinjeanwarde (on Twitter), if you want to follow her. Here is an article she wrote recently for the Mockingbird, an on-line journal on religion and all kinds of other things. https://www.mbird.com/2019/06/sobriety-broke-me-to-pour-me-out/

Special Congregational Meeting June 23rd

On June 23rd, immediately following our 10:00 a.m. worship, we will hold a Special Congregational Meeting on the Education Wing Renovation project, and funding. We will be voting on the project and proposal. If you are a voting member, please attend. If you have questions, please send an email to office@stpaulcapeann.org and we will forward to the appropriate person to answer your question.

June 1, 2019 – St. Paul Lutheran Church Annual Plant Sale

June 1, 2019 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM – Rain or Shine

1123 Washington St, Gloucester, MA 01930, USA

Check out plants and seedlings from the gardens of church member and neighbors! Also, Nisü (Finnish coffee bread), garden tools, books, activities for the kids and more! Come have fun and check out our hardy New England plants.

It’s also not too late to be a part of our Compost fundraiser: you buy the compost (non-synthetic-chemical plant food) at the regularly priced retail price of $10 and St. Paul keeps the retail portion, which is $5.00, a bit like we are a store. Thanks for Black Earth Compost for offering this fundraiser and their good work.

If you would like to place an order, please contact Anne Wheeler at office@stpaulcapeann.org or at 978-283-6550.

Whether you are a seasoned gardener or not, we have something for you. Hope to see you there!

Holy Week and Easter Services 2019

Holy Week and Easter Services

Wednesday: Healing Service, 7:00 p.m. 

Maundy Thursday: Holy Communion and Foot-Washing, 7:00 p.m.

Good Friday Tenebrae, 7:00 p.m.

Holy Saturday: Open Prayer, 9:00-5:00 p.m.

Easter Sunday Worship: 10:00 a.m.

Here I Am–#YouthGathering2018–Cynthia Carney’s Wonderful Sermon

Dear Friends, our Stewardship theme this year is Here I Am–Send Me! Each week we’ve been talking about different ways we show up for God, our neighbors, near and far, and the ways we have changed when we have shown up. On the link below is a sermon by one of our ELCA Youth Gathering leaders: Cynthia Carney. Cynthia has been taking youth to the last three triennial gatherings; she loves it, and below is her sermon on her experience. She offered it on Reformation Sunday, October 28th, 2018.

10-28 Show Up sermon

Prayers for Tree of Life Synagogue

Dear Friends,

No doubt you are as dismayed and broken-hearted as I am about the recent shooting in Pittsburgh, on Shabbat in the Tree of Life of Synagogue. We have learned that 11 persons have died. These losses are unspeakably tragic. I ask your prayers for the victims’ families, those who were wounded, and for the entire congregation and community of the Tree of Life. I ask your prayers for the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. We opened the church last evening for prayer and mourning in solidarity with them, and with the Jewish community there, here, and around the world.  One of my colleagues, the Rev. Maren Tirabassi, a UCC pastor and writer,  wrote a beautiful prayer for Pittsburgh based on Psalm 61.

Here is her prayer.

Prayer for Pittsburgh

God, we ask your presence
among the death at the Tree of Life –
for those shocked and mourning —
find comfort-givers,
for the wounded — healers,
for the fearful who shelter in place —
the fragile presence
of phone and internet support,
for those active in policing
in emergency care,
and gathering to offer
emotional support and counseling —
deep strength within themselves.

For we ask, with the psalmist,
that you set them on the rock
that is higher than fear,
become a refuge within and without,
a strong tower, enfolding tent,
and a shelter under your wings
for the aftermath of loss
and the crying to come. amen
(Ps 61)

Here are some of the verses from the Psalm:

 Hear my cry, O God;
    listen to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I call to you,
    when my heart is faint.

Lead me to the rock
    that is higher than I;
for you are my refuge,
    a strong tower against the enemy.

Let me abide in your tent forever,
    find refuge under the shelter of your wings.Selah
For you, O God, have heard my vows;
    you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name…

So I will always sing praises to your name,
    as I pay my vows day after day.

 

On this Reformation Sunday, perhaps you might also join me in prayers for a reformation of action to change the climate of hatred we find ourselves living in, including the reform of gun laws.

Here is an article from The New York Times, with more on those who died.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/28/us/pittsburgh-shooting-victims.html