Welcome to Saint Paul’s!

St. Paul’s is a different kind of church.  We’re not a large megachurch with a sound stage and a suped-up production machine, but we strive to be a church full of authentic followers of Jesus.  No matter how you come to visit us, we pray you’ll find clear examples of God’s love, whether through us or through our ministries – but hopefully both!

You might be excited about finding a church to belong to, or you might be a bit fearful from bad church experiences in the past. Either way, if you are looking for a church that focuses on creating spiritual fruits, not religious nuts, then you have come to the right place!

I hope the information on this website will help you get to know us, whether you’re an online or in-person visitor. Feel free to email me if you have any further questions that are not covered here.
 
Our Mission statement at St. Paul’s says a lot about who we are and what we do:

 

As a Christian family of faith,
Saint Paul’s affirms God’s love by
transforming lives,
connecting generations,
impacting our community & world,
and
making disciples for Jesus Christ.

 
Affirming God’s Love by
transforming lives:
Here at St. Paul’s we believe that we are supposed to transform peoples’ lives for the better because of our Christian faith. Whether it is feeding people who are hungry, giving hope to the hopeless, or voice to the voiceless, faith is not just for our own benefit, but is supposed to be for the whole world!
Matthew 25:31-46
 
Affirming God’s love by
connecting generations:
Here at St. Paul’s we believe that connecting generations is a key part of how we affirm God’s love. We believe in ministry that serves the needs of particular age groups but also connects generations together. This can be seen when our Children & Youth make and deliver gifts to our homebound members, when adult volunteers attend a “youth” mission trip, or when our younger members are welcomed to be a part of our adult ministries. We believe that it takes a village to raise a child, and that we all benefit when we are all involved in age-related ministries.
Matthew 19:13-15, Mark 10:13-16, Luke 18:15-17
 
Affirming God’s love by
impacting our community & world:
Here at St. Paul’s we believe that our faith needs to have an impact in our community (through local ministries such as Interfaith Emergency Services and Open Arms Village) and our world (through Disaster Relief, Rise Against Hunger, or Peace by Piece Sewing Ministry)
Matthew 5:13-16
 
Affirming God’s love by
making disciples for Jesus Christ:
Here at St. Paul’s we believe that the core mission of the church to which all our activities point is to make people into disciples (followers) of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 28:18-20
 
St. Paul’s Christian School shares its campus with us and many of the families in our church and school come from the surrounding neighborhood. In this quiet, picturesque corner of Ocala we are like the neighborhood park – you’re likely to see families playing on our playground, couples taking a stroll around the campus, someone sitting for a prayer in our Memorial Garden, or our Scouts having a meeting at the fire pit. This is really the vision we have for St. Paul’s: a place that offers God’s grace, love and comfort to the people around us.
 
Want to know more?  Come and see what we’re all about, either online or in-person!
 
In Christ,
 
Robert

Robert’s Blog

From Lament to Story: Memorializing

Happy 10th Sunday after Pentecost! 

In a pair of tombstones reads a tragic story in the history of my family.  August 1850 was a terrible time for the panhandle of the newly-created state of Florida, and yellow fever took the lives of 30-year-old Elizabeth Matilda Baker, her newborn daughter of the same name, and her two-year-old son Simmons Jones Baker, Jr.  Their memorials still stand in the graveyard of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, a testament to a father and husband’s grieving heart and his belief that he would meet them again one day in heaven.  This was the third wife he had lost in his rather long life, and it would mark the end of what was a promising start to a new family.  He had only had one child prior, a son, born in 1799 when he was 24. 

And still, 171 years later, a relative of his can look down and see the history of that terrible month and feel a bit of sorrow for all that Dr. Simmons Jones Baker, my 4th great-grandfather, had to endure during that long, hot summer.  Also, with all that we’ve been through recently, I do feel more of a connection to him.  And that’s what memorializing really does; it keeps a connection alive.  We turn the grief into a memorial, keeping our connection to the person or the thing we have lost.  As we read from Lamentations 5:1-3, and 15-22, we’ll see how memorializing might be the best thing we can do as we rebuild our identity in light of our loss.  Instead of trying to get to this step too quickly, as we are often want to do, we need to approach it with the grief and lament still in our hearts and see the throne of God as a place we can lay down our old self and get help creating the new self.  Is it easy? No, it’s like walking to church every day and being reminded of the wife and two children you recently lost.  But memorializing helps us see our connection to our grief, not an absence from it.  What in the world am I talking about?  Well, you’ll find out on Sunday! 

 

Sunday’s Livestream Service—We recommend logging into your Facebook account a few minutes before 10:30 am so you can troubleshoot any issues you might have. You can find a direct link to our Facebook page at stpaulsworship.org You can chat once the Livestream service has started. If you don’t have a Facebook account you can also access the Livestream at stpaulsworship.org without the chat feature. A pop-up will ask you to log in and in small letters at the bottom you can click “Not Now” and still be able to watch the service. We will also post the Livestream service to YouTube after the service is over. 

Sunday’s In-Person Service –Our in-person indoor worship is currently in the Sanctuary, starting at 10:30am.  Please go to our website to get the latest COVID-19 Update. There will be space for those who still wish to social distance, and masks are still welcome, but not required, for worship. 

 

Our regular Children’s ministries include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub.  They are currently meeting at 10:15 am in the Fellowship Hall.  

 The next Praise New Generation practice is in August! Our Youth will be taking a break for the next two weeks and will relaunch on Sunday, August 15th. Our regular Youth schedule is: Praise New Generation meeting from 4:00 pm-5:00 pm every Sunday and SPYouth meeting from 5:00 pm-6:30 pm every Sunday. You can always check the calendar at childrenandyouthcalendar.org for updated info. 

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us. You may contact the church office by email at info@spocala.org or by phone at 352-694-2161 if you have any questions or need any help. We will get back to you as soon as possible. 



Remembrance

Happy 8th Sunday after Pentecost! 

This Sunday, we begin a three-week series on grief, studying the Book of Lamentations.  Now, you may be wondering what in the world I would be thinking to preach on such a topic in this happy summer vacation season.  A summer when we’re all chomping at the bit to catch up on the summer memories we lost last year to the pandemic.  That, however, is precisely why we need it.  Dealing with and naming our grief is what we must do during this time if we’re to make a spiritually healthy transition and see this new post-pandemic world with God’s eyes.      

The book of Lamentations is a work of art produced in response to a historical disaster. Its five poems grieve over the destruction of Jerusalem, military occupation, and the deportation of its leading citizens by King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians in 586 BCE, which you can read about in 2 Kings 25:8–21. The book’s powerful poetry enables it to encompass the sorrows of the world.  In fact, its title in the Hebrew Bible is actually ‘ekah, which is more properly translated “How?”  Recognize the grief there? 

During this first week we’ll read from Psalm 89:46-52 as well as Lamentations 1:1-3 and 4:1-5.  As we read these verses we’ll lean into our own grief and explore it.  Yes, I know it sounds horrible, but if we want God to heal us, we’ve got to show God our wounds!  If we want to grow up spiritually healthy, we’ve got to eat our spiritual vegetables, and learning from grief is one of them.  So let’s practice good grief these next three Sundays so we can grow into the new reality that God is bringing forth.    

Sunday’s Livestream Service—We recommend logging into your Facebook account a few minutes before 10:30 so you can troubleshoot any issues you might have. You can find a direct link to our Facebook page at stpaulsworship.org You will be able to chat once the Livestream service has started. If you don’t have a Facebook account you can also access the Livestream at stpaulsworship.org without the chat feature. There will be a pop-up asking you to log in and in small letters at the bottom you can click “Not Now” and still be able to watch the service. We will also post the Livestream service to YouTube after the service is over. 

Sunday’s In-Person Service –Our in-person indoor worship is currently in the Sanctuary, starting at 10:30am.   Our current COVID Protocols have changed, so please go to our website to get the latest COVID-19 Update.  We will no longer be doing registration or temperature checks at the door, but we will still be entering from the south Narthex doors (facing the Fellowship Hall).  There will be space for those who still wish to social distance, and masks are still welcome, but not required, for worship. 

Our regular Children’s ministries include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub.  They are currently meeting at 10:15am in the Fellowship Hall.  

Praise New Generation won’t be meeting until August. SPYouth are having a special pool party send-off for the Seniors. Check with Kraig for details about that! Our regular Youth schedule is: Praise New Generation meeting from 3:00pm-4:00pm every Sunday and SPYouth meeting from 4:00pm-5:00pm every Sunday.  

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these trying times for everyone. Please contact the church office by email at info@spocala.org or by phone at 352-694-2161 if you have any questions or need any help.  While in-person office hours are limited, someone will receive your message and get back to you as soon as possible. 



Youth Mission Trip Celebration

Happy 7th Sunday after Pentecost! 

This Sunday we are celebrating Mission Trip 2021 that the SPYouth and adult volunteers went on a few weeks ago. We are excited to see what they accomplished and learn how it changed their lives! We will also have a report from those who attended Annual Conference at the beginning of June and what they learned from their time there. Please make time to worship with us in-person or on Facebook live during these Spirit-filled Sundays of Summer.  See you soon! 

Sunday’s Livestream Service—We recommend logging into your Facebook account a few minutes before 10:30 so you can troubleshoot any issues you might have. You can find a direct link to our Facebook page at stpaulsworship.org You can chat once the Livestream service has started. If you don’t have a Facebook account you can also access the Livestream at stpaulsworship.org without the chat feature. A pop-up will ask you to log in and in small letters at the bottom you can click “Not Now” and still be able to watch the service. We will also post the Livestream service to YouTube after the service is over. 

Sunday’s In-Person Service –Our in-person indoor worship is currently in the Sanctuary, starting at 10:30am.  Please go to our website to get the latest COVID-19 Update. There will be space for those who still wish to social distance, and masks are still welcome, but not required, for worship. 

 

Our regular Children’s ministries include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub.  They are currently meeting at 10:15 am in the Fellowship Hall.  

SPYouth are having a Senior Celebration Pool Party next Sunday starting at 3:00 pm. Contact Kraig for information. The next Praise New Generation practice is in August! Our regular Youth schedule is: Praise New Generation meeting from 3:00 pm-4:00 pm every Sunday and SPYouth meeting from 4:00 pm-5:00 pm every Sunday. You can always check the calendar at childrenandyouthcalendar.org for updated info. 

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us. You may contact the church office by email at info@spocala.org or by phone at 352-694-2161 if you have any questions or need any help. We will get back to you as soon as possible. 



Your Bone and Flesh

Happy 6th Sunday after Pentecost! 

This Sunday, on the secular calendar, is Independence Day, when we celebrate the forming of our nation and the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  This letter to King George III of England and the resulting struggle for independence took us from 13 colonies to one country.  Valuing our regional differences, we remain “one Bone and Flesh” with each other, regardless of our skin color, national ancestry, or any other category.  It puts us in a unique category of peoples who are united, not by ancestry, religion, or race, but by the values we hold dear. 

Discipleship begins with relationship. With whom are we willing to be in relationship? Who is included in our understanding of bone and flesh? Who is “us” in a world of “us” and “them”?  When we are around “our people,” we might call that home.  When the tribes of Israel come to David and pledge their allegiance to his Kingdom, they acknowledge that David is of their bone and flesh, and that his kingdom is indeed their home.    

The Gospel text presents a reinterpretation of the concept of “home” as we consider shared mission and ideals. Here, too, there is room for confession of how we have not always seen the other, particularly those who might not look like us outwardly, as our bone and flesh. We have dismissed those who are not like us as somehow less than we are.  Discipleship, however, begins with relationship, and not a common likeness.  The Kin-dom of God reminds us that, through Jesus, God has shown what it means for us humans to be bound together by something more powerful than our national identities, ancestries, race, or anything else.  What makes us Christians one bone and flesh with each other is that we are on mission together to be the people of Jesus.  We are supposed to laugh together, celebrate together, mourn together, struggle for justice together, and be one with each other across all that can divide us. 

Worship on this day should be about drawing the circle as wide as possible – to acknowledge our common kinship through the Spirit. Let there be less of a nation of boasting and more of a nation striving to be the light on the hill, the shining example of the kin-dom of heaven on earth.  Worship with us in-person or on Facebook live during these Spirit-filled Sundays of Summer.  See you soon! 

Sunday’s Livestream Service—We recommend logging into your Facebook account a few minutes before 10:30 so you can troubleshoot any issues you might have. You can find a direct link to our Facebook page at stpaulsworship.org You will be able to chat once the Livestream service has started. If you don’t have a Facebook account you can also access the Livestream at stpaulsworship.org without the chat feature. There will be a pop-up asking you to log in and in small letters at the bottom you can click “Not Now” and still be able to watch the service. We will also post the Livestream service to YouTube after the service is over. 

Sunday’s In-Person Service –Our in-person indoor worship is currently in the Sanctuary, starting at 10:30am.   Our current COVID Protocols have changed, so please go to our website to get the latest COVID-19 Update.  We will no longer be doing registration or temperature checks at the door, but we will still be entering from the south Narthex doors (facing the Fellowship Hall).  There will be space for those who still wish to social distance, and masks are still welcome, but not required, for worship. 

 

Our regular Children’s ministries include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub.  They are currently meeting at 10:15am in the Fellowship Hall.  

SPYouth are off this Sunday because of the 4th of July holiday. They will meet at 4pm next Sunday. The next Praise New Generation practice is July 11th! Our regular Youth schedule is: Praise New Generation meeting from 3:00pm-4:00pm every Sunday and SPYouth meeting from 4:00pm-5:00pm every Sunday.  

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these trying times for everyone. Please contact the church office by email at info@spocala.org or by phone at 352-694-2161 if you have any questions or need any help.  While in-person office hours are limited, someone will receive your message and get back to you as soon as possible. 



The Breath of God

Happy 5th Sunday after Pentecost! 

This Sunday, although I’m back from the mission trip, you’ll be hearing from Rev. Kristina Schonewolf.  She is the pastor at our new church located in the Lowell Correctional Facility, the largest women’s prison in the country.  She will be giving you an update on how “The Oasis,” as it’s called, is going, despite the challenges of the past year and a half.  The last Sunday you heard from her was March 8, 2020, and we went into lockdown after that.  I promise this one will be better, so come and hear about the ways God is working through our new ministry at Lowell Correctional Institute! 

Worship with us in-person or on Facebook live  during these Spirit-filled Sundays of Summer.  See you soon! 

Sunday’s Livestream Service—We recommend logging into your Facebook account a few minutes before 10:30 so you can troubleshoot any issues you might have. You can find a direct link to our Facebook page at stpaulsworship.org You will be able to chat once the Livestream service has started. If you don’t have a Facebook account you can also access the Livestream at stpaulsworship.org without the chat feature. There will be a pop-up asking you to log in and in small letters at the bottom you can click “Not Now” and still be able to watch the service. We will also post the Livestream service to YouTube after the service is over. 

Sunday’s In-Person Service –Our in-person indoor worship is currently in the Sanctuary, starting at 10:30am.   Our current COVID Protocols have changed, so please go to our website to get the latest COVID-19 Update.  We will no longer be doing registration or temperature checks at the door, but we will still be entering from the south Narthex doors (facing the Fellowship Hall).  There will be space for those who still wish to social distance, and masks are still welcome, but not required, for worship. 

 

Our regular Children’s ministries include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub.  They are currently meeting at 10:15am in the Fellowship Hall.  

SPYouth are meeting for a mission trip debrief this Sunday night at 4:00pm. The next Praise New Generation practice is in July! Our regular Youth schedule is: Praise New Generation meeting from 3:00pm-4:00pm every Sunday and SPYouth meeting from 4:00pm-5:00pm every Sunday.  

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these trying times for everyone. Please contact the church office by email at info@spocala.org or by phone at 352-694-2161 if you have any questions or need any help.  While in-person office hours are limited, someone will receive your message and get back to you as soon as possible. 

 
 


Reclaiming Our Power

Happy 4th Sunday after Pentecost! 

This Sunday during worship I will be on the road with our SPYouth as they lead a mission trip to Gulf Shores, and while I’m away, Deborah Pritts will be preaching and leading the service with Jo Crowder, our Director of Music Ministries.   Deborah is a retired United Methodist Minister from New York, and you also know her as our accompanist as she works with Jo to develop music for our worship each Sunday.  She’ll be preaching on Psalm 8 as she speaks about “Reclaiming our Power.” 

Many experiences during the pandemic have caused us to feel powerless and limited in our ability to function as God’s people in our church and in God’s world.  We will be reminding ourselves of our true identity in God, the limited yet critical nature of our contribution to God’s world, and the importance of “holy boldness” as we move forward.   

Worship with us in-person or on Facebook live during these Spirit-filled Sundays of Summer as we explore Reclaiming Our Power in the truest sense of the word – with God at the center.   

Sunday’s Livestream Service—We recommend logging into your Facebook account a few minutes before 10:30 so you can troubleshoot any issues you might have. You can find a direct link to our Facebook page at stpaulsworship.org You will be able to chat once the Livestream service has started. If you don’t have a Facebook account you can also access the Livestream at stpaulsworship.org without the chat feature. There will be a pop-up asking you to log in and in small letters at the bottom you can click “Not Now” and still be able to watch the service. We will also post the Livestream service to YouTube after the service is over. 

Sunday’s In-Person Service –Our in-person indoor worship is currently in the Sanctuary, starting at 10:30am.   Our current COVID Protocols have changed, so please go to our website to get the latest COVID-19 Update.  We will no longer be doing registration or temperature checks at the door, but we will still be entering from the south Narthex doors (facing the Fellowship Hall).  There will be space for those who still wish to social distance, and masks are still welcome, but not required, for worship. 

 

There are no regular Children’s ministries this week as our SPKidz Team is going on the mission trip! Our regular Children’s ministries include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub.  They are currently meeting at 10:15am in the Fellowship Hall.  

Please pray for the SPYouth this week as they are on a mission trip! There will be no meeting at the church this week. The next Praise New Generation practice is in July! Our regular Youth schedule is: Praise New Generation meeting from 3:00pm-4:00pm every Sunday and SPYouth meeting from 4:00pm-5:00pm every Sunday.  

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these trying times for everyone. Please contact the church office by email at info@spocala.org or by phone at 352-694-2161 if you have any questions or need any help.  While in-person office hours are limited, someone will receive your message and get back to you as soon as possible. 



Growing in the New Creation

Happy 3rd Sunday after Pentecost! 

Worship this week is about growing into the new creation that we are called to be in Christ. So, think about about growing.  We need stories to help us see what living as a disciple is like. We tell our stories, and we tell stories of others as examples of a faithful life.  What is your story of growth with God?  How has your relationship with God grown over the years, or has it?  If God were to co-author a book with you, what would be the title?   

Jesus was also good at telling stories and using metaphors, as we can see in our reading from Mark 4:26-34.  They were hints of stories, glimpses of something just out of reach. Some find these stories or images confusing. “Why doesn’t he just tell us plain?” Well, some things are too complex to be plain. Sometimes you have to share the bigger picture in order to see.  Jesus’s stories and metaphors were his way of giving us the eternal, other-worldly glimpses of the New Creation; a reality we were unable to see with our own eyes, unable to realize with our own efforts.

As we read about in 2 Corinthians 5:6-17, in Christ we are a new creation, reconciled to God. Just as it says, when someone comes to Christ – BOOM! There is a new creation!  So therefore, we are agents of God’s reconciling love for all creation. How, then, do we do the right thing and stay grounded in God’s love?

Worship with us in-person or on Facebook live during these Spirit-filled Sundays of Summer as we explore growing in the new creation– with God at the center of that new creation – the Kin-dom of God.  See you soon! 

Sunday’s Livestream Service—We recommend logging into your Facebook account a few minutes before 10:30 so you can troubleshoot any issues you might have. You can find a direct link to our Facebook page at stpaulsworship.org You will be able to chat once the Livestream service has started. If you don’t have a Facebook account you can also access the Livestream at stpaulsworship.org without the chat feature. There will be a pop-up asking you to log in and in small letters at the bottom you can click “Not Now” and still be able to watch the service. We will also post the Livestream service to YouTube after the service is over. 

Sunday’s In-Person Service –Our in-person indoor worship is currently in the Sanctuary, starting at 10:30am.   Our current COVID Protocols have changed, so please go to our website to get the latest COVID-19 Update.  We will no longer be doing registration or temperature checks at the door, but we will still be entering from the south Narthex doors (facing the Fellowship Hall).  There will be space for those who still wish to social distance, and masks are still welcome, but not required, for worship. 

 

Our regular Children’s ministries include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub.  They are currently meeting at 10:15am in the Fellowship Hall.  

SPYouth will be meeting from 4:00pm-5:00pm. The next Praise New Generation practice is in July! Our regular Youth schedule is: Praise New Generation meeting from 3:00pm-4:00pm every Sunday and SPYouth meeting from 4:00pm-5:00pm every Sunday.  

On Sunday we have a special Kingdom of the Sun Brass Quintet concert, and we invite you to come!  The concert will be in the courtyard between the worship building and the Fellowship Hall at 6:30.  The concert is free, but a love offering for Kingdom of the Sun will be taken during the concert.  Please bring your own chair and some friends and family for this special summertime concert. 

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these trying times for everyone. Please contact the church office by email at info@spocala.org or by phone at 352-694-2161 if you have any questions or need any help.  While in-person office hours are limited, someone will receive your message and get back to you as soon as possible. 



Coming Home

Happy 2nd Sunday after Pentecost! 

Where do you go for sabbath rest? For time with God, alone or in community? Where is the place? When is the time? How do you plan for a time when you surrender fully to the presence of God and set aside everything else?  If you had only one word to describe that comfortable, anchored place, it would probably be home. 

That’s where we start this week, in Mark 3:20-35. Jesus went home – except it wasn’t home. Other translations don’t say home. One says he entered a house or the place he was staying. In other gospels, the text says he doesn’t have a home. But maybe that’s after he tried to go. Maybe that is the result of finding that homes aren’t the haven you hoped they would be.  That’s certainly what Jesus found in our passage today.  Jesus went home, and his family tried to restrain him, and his neighbors tried to call him out. Welcome home, Jesus.  

We think of home as a place of renewal. We think we can go home and rest. And we can, but only if our focus is right. Home won’t renew us, won’t build us up, unless the focus of our home is on the One who raises us into a new kin-dom, a new reality. Unless it is our true home, “not made with hands but eternal in the heavens.” That is the place of renewal, of strengthening. And it is available now as it will be in eternity. It is our peace, our grace now and a grace to be shared. A home to be built, here and now with all the people of God. 

Worship with us in-person or on Facebook live  during these Spirit-filled Sundays of Summer as we explore coming home in the truest sense of the word – with God at the center.  See you soon! 

Sunday’s Livestream Service—We recommend logging into your Facebook account a few minutes before 10:30 so you can troubleshoot any issues you might have. You can find a direct link to our Facebook page at stpaulsworship.org You will be able to chat once the Livestream service has started. If you don’t have a Facebook account you can also access the Livestream at stpaulsworship.org without the chat feature. There will be a pop-up asking you to log in and in small letters at the bottom you can click “Not Now” and still be able to watch the service. We will also post the Livestream service to YouTube after the service is over. Sunday will include Holy Communion, which ou are invited to participate in, even if you’re not attending in-person.  Before worship, grab some bread and grape juice and join us as we partake in God’s grace through the sacrament. 

Sunday’s In-Person Service –Our in-person indoor worship is currently in the Sanctuary, starting at 10:30am.   Our current COVID Protocols have changed, so please go to our website to get the latest COVID-19 Update.  We will no longer be doing registration or temperature checks at the door, but we will still be entering from the south Narthex doors (facing the Fellowship Hall).  There will be space for those who still wish to social distance, and masks are still welcome, but not required, for worship.  As you enter the sanctuary for Holy Communion, you’ll be invited to take pre-packaged bread and grape juice with you so you can be a part of the Sacrament. 

As a United Methodist Church, St. Paul’s celebrates Holy Communion with an open table, meaning we don’t have any tradition of refusing Holy Communion to anyone who comes forward with an open heart to celebrate with us.  We believe God’s grace is available to all who come forward to receive it, so we feel the same way about God’s grace through Holy Communion!

 Our regular Children’s ministries include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub.  They are currently meeting at 10:30am in the Fellowship Hall.  

The schedule for SPYouth is different this Sunday. They will be meeting from 6:00pm-7:30pm. The next Praise New Generation practice is in July! Our regular Youth schedule is: Praise New Generation meeting from 3:00pm-4:00pm every Sunday and SPYouth meeting from 4:00pm-5:00pm every Sunday.  

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these trying times for everyone. Please contact the church office by email at info@spocala.org or by phone at 352-694-2161 if you have any questions or need any help.  While in-person office hours are limited, someone will receive your message and get back to you as soon as possible. 



Born Again of the Spirit

Happy Trinity Sunday! 

This is the first Sunday after Pentecost.  The beginning of a long season that takes us all the way through the rest of the liturgical year until we reach Advent once again in November. So, this journey has some length to it. It’s also the church’s journey, the church’s story. The first half of the year, from Advent until Pentecost is Jesus’ story. From Pentecost, then, the story shifts to us—to all the followers really, to how we seek to live out the call to discipleship, how we fulfill the commission that Jesus gave us as he ascended. And we begin our journey by turning to our Creator first.  This isn’t an accident, as you might surmise. In part at least, this is a reminder that we are who we are because of who God is. Our identity is in God. Our story is wrapped up in “The Story” or in “God’s Story.” 

Today we dive into the story of “Nick at Night,” from John 3:1-17.  We’ve landed in this story recently already, but this week, as we celebrate Trinity Sunday on the Sunday after Pentecost, it’s a time to look again at this familiar passage.  This Greek-named Pharisee is coming to Jesus with questions, but what he needs is a re-orientation of his entire worldview in relation to God.  He needs a new birth of understanding, a new vision of God’s eternity, a conversion to a different life. 

This Sunday should be a time of wonder and awe. Let us pray to the God who astounds us, who surprises us, who can’t be nailed down. We tried that, remember, it didn’t work out so well! So, let’s open up to something bigger, something that inspires and transforms, something that unsettles a little bit too. The God we worship doesn’t want to leave us as we are, but to continually transform us. That is never an easy and often an uncomfortable process. But let’s prepare ourselves to tell the church’s story by reminding us that there is a God who guides us, who calls us, who claims us, and who loves us. Let’s be reminded that we are made new in the Spirit, continually renewed in the Spirit, as we seek to make disciples of ourselves and the world. 

 

 

Sunday’s Livestream Service—We recommend logging into your Facebook account a few minutes before 10:30 so you can troubleshoot any issues you might have. You can find a direct link to our Facebook page at stpaulsworship.org You will be able to chat once the Livestream service has started. If you don’t have a Facebook account you can also access the Livestream at stpaulsworship.org without the chat feature. There will be a pop-up asking you to log in and in small letters at the bottom you can click “Not Now” and still be able to watch the service. We will also post the Livestream service to YouTube after the service is over. 

Sunday’s In-Person Service –Our in-person indoor worship is currently in the Sanctuary, starting at 10:30am.   Our current COVID Protocols have changed, so please go to our website to get the latest COVID-19 Update.  We will no longer be doing registration or temperature checks at the door, but we will still be entering from the south Narthex doors (facing the Fellowship Hall).  There will be space for those who still wish to social distance, and masks are still welcome, but not required, for worship. 

 

Our regular Children’s ministries include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub.  They are currently meeting at 10:30am in the Fellowship Hall.  

This week there is no Praise New Generation or SPYouth meeting. The next scheduled SPYouth meeting is June 6 and the next Praise New Generation practice is in July! Our regular Youth schedule is: Praise New Generation meeting from 3:00pm-4:00pm every Sunday and SPYouth meeting from 4:00pm-5:00pm every Sunday.  

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these trying times for everyone. Please contact the church office by email at info@spocala.org or by phone at 352-694-2161 if you have any questions or need any help.  While in-person office hours are limited, someone will receive your message and get back to you as soon as possible. 



Spirit Poured Out

Happy Pentecost!

Pentecost worship is about joy, and the invitation is to let the Spirit be poured out on you. But remember, that “you” is plural in the Scripture we will read from Acts 2:1-21. Let the Spirit be poured out on all y’all. It was because everyone was gathered together that this happened.  The Spirit is, essentially, corporate. Whether you’re attending worship online or in-person as we open up more capacity for our sanctuary, this gift, the Spirit poured out, is for the whole body, not just for a few.

The story of Pentecost is also about bridging gaps of understanding between people who see the world differently based on their cultures, languages, or political affiliations.  All these different people heard about God’s deeds of power in their own languages, and they began to understand, thanks to Peter’s preaching, that God was bringing the work of Jesus to continued fruition, this time to people groups outside the 12 tribes of Israel and Judah.  The Holy Spirit directly contradicts our tendency to tribalism, which is a lesson we could use these days.  As a part of our Christian faith, we should seek out and learn from people different than us who can show us the unique work of the Holy Spirit.

For worship on Sunday, let’s wear red, which signifies the Holy Spirit, as a symbol of our celebration!

Sunday’s Livestream Service—We recommend logging into your Facebook account a few minutes before 10:30 so you can troubleshoot any issues you might have. You can find a direct link to our Facebook page at stpaulsworship.org You will be able to chat once the Livestream service has started. If you don’t have a Facebook account you can also access the Livestream at stpaulsworship.org without the chat feature. There will be a pop-up asking you to log in and in small letters at the bottom you can click “Not Now” and still be able to watch the service. We will also post the Livestream service to YouTube after the service is over.

Sunday’s In-Person Service –Our in-person indoor worship is currently in the Sanctuary, starting at 10:30am.   Our current COVID Protocols have changed, so please go to our website to get the latest COVID-19 Update.  We will no longer be doing registration or temperature checks at the door, but we will still be entering from the south Narthex doors (facing the Fellowship Hall).  

 

Our nursery and SPKidz ministry will meet this week, but our iClub has the week off. Our regular Children’s ministries include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub.  They are currently meeting at 10:30am in the Fellowship Hall.

This week there is no Praise New Generation or SPYouth meeting. The next scheduled SPYouth meeting is June 6 and the next Praise New Generation practice is in July! Our regular Youth schedule is: Praise New Generation meeting from 3:00pm-4:00pm every Sunday and SPYouth meeting from 4:00pm-5:00pm every Sunday.

We so appreciate you keeping connected with us as we navigate these trying times for everyone. Please contact the church office by email at info@spocala.org or by phone at 352-694-2161 if you have any questions or need any help.  While in-person office hours are limited, someone will receive your message and get back to you as soon as possible.