Sunday, May 25, 2008

175th Anniversary Tree Planting

Today just after our 8:00 AM service we planted a small white cedar near the south west corner of the Saint Paul's Cemetery. The tree was a gift from the Portsmouth Tree Commission. During the simple and joyful ceremony there were brief remarks by our Senior Warden Doug Byrum and a blessing from the Reverend Charles Chaplin. In his remarks Doug stated that the tree was being planted both in memory of those who were part of our church's previous 175 years and as a gift from us and the town to our future parishioners. Our Junior Warden Linda Remington closed the ceremony by reciting a portion of a poem by e.e. cummings .

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

- e.e. cummings

Monday, May 5, 2008

Presiding Bishop's Pentecost Letter

This Pentecost, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori writes that the gift of Holy Spirit is a 'breath of ever-new life' as we encounter 'issues of identity, vocation, and mission'. Her letter is provided below.

My brothers and sisters in Christ,

As we come to the end of Eastertide and the feast of Pentecost, we shift to an awareness of God present with us in Holy Spirit. The early church marked that gift as inspiration, fire, and language -- the breath of ever-new life and the burning desire for ongoing relationship with God. That gift of Holy Spirit keeps us lively and moving, bears us into new territory and challenges unsought.

In this as in every age, we face issues of identity, vocation, and mission as members of the Body of Christ. Entering the long season of Pentecost brings our focus to how we, too, will follow Jesus inspired by Holy Spirit. I would like to offer a few reminders about identity, vocation, and mission that I shared recently with the people of the Diocese of San Joaquin:

1) Jesus is Lord. In the same sense that early Christians proclaimed that Jesus, not Caesar, is Lord, remember that no one else -- not any hierarch, not any ecclesiastical official, not any one of you -- is Lord. We belong to God, whom we know in Jesus, and there is no other place where we find the ground of our identity.

2) We are all made in the image of God. Even when we can't see that image of God immediately, we are challenged to keep searching for it, especially in those who may call us enemy.

3) In baptism we discover that we are meant to be for others, in the same way that God is for us. This means that God's mission must be the primary focus, not anything that focuses on our own selves to the exclusion of neighbor. For when we miss the neighbor, we miss God.

4) None of us is alone. We cannot engage the fullness of God's mission alone, nor know the fullness of God's reality alone. Together as members of the Body of Christ, we can begin to try. And the Spirit, burning fire, inspiring breath, and speaking in many tongues, is present in that Body, empowering and emboldening and strengthening our work. Thanks be to God who continually makes us new.

Your servant in Christ,

+Katharine Jefferts Schori

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Our Person-to-Person connections ministry is underway. Each person who signed up has the name and phone number of another Person-to-Person participant and a commitment to call them once a week and to pray for them as they indicate based on the call. The eight week commitment to the Person-to-Person ministry will enhance communication by having more people at Saint Paul's talking on a regular basis, will build a bond by sharing something of value, will build fellowship by doing something Christian together, will increase our chances of hearing what God is saying to us by practicing listening, and will respond to the parish strength revealed by our recent survey which was that 92% of us pray regularly outside of church services.