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.

Walk Before Me

Happy Second Sunday of Lent! 

Our texts on Sunday are about naming and walking, in part. God seems to care about names. In the conversation with Abram in Genesis 17:1-7 and 15-16, God renames him, and then God renames Sarai too. She is a part of the covenant, not just added baggage. Knowing names is knowing the people, at least in part. It says you care about them. 

At the same time, we go beyond our names and take on a new identity in Christ when we enter into covenantal relationship with God. Or perhaps it would be better said that we become more fully ourselves when we walk before God with our whole selves. God doesn’t ask us to set aside who we are, but helps us to use the gifts within us to serve the kin-dom and the community of faith.  That’s how St. Paul unpacks the mystery of God’s grace and adoption in Romans 4:13-25.  Abram and Sarai’s new identities were the product of 24 years of following without God without fully realizing the promise, and it would be still longer before they could completely say God had completed the covenant with them.  Twenty-four years into the journey with God, Abraham and Sarah are still in the dark, still waiting for fulfillment. And yet, somehow, they were still willing to believe. They were still willing to walk before God, step after step after step.  When our hopes aren’t immediately realized, will we be willing to walk before God, step after step? 

 

Sunday’s Online ServiceIf you log in to your Google/YouTube account about 10-15 minutes early, you will be able to easily access the chat and fellowship through thYouTube premier page both before and during the service. Find the premier page on our YouTube channel at: 2/28/2021 Online Service.  The premiere page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!   

Sunday’s In-Person Service – We‘ve launched our in-person indoor worship in the Sanctuarystarting at 9:00am. We are asking everyone to register at this link: cometoworship.org so that we don’t go over our maximum capacity. We ask everyone to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. Temperatures will be taken before entering the building, and communion elements will be provided as you enter the sanctuary to worship on the first Sunday of the monthThis Sunday we are not offering in-person worship, but we will return to in-person worship next week, the 10th of January. 

Our Children’s ministries include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub.  They are currently meeting at 9am in the Fellowship Hall.  

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. This week Praise New Generation isn’t meeting as they are presenting in the 9am Service! 

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. 

 


This is the Sign

 
 
 

Happy First Sunday of Lent! 

 

So, entering the season of Lent this week, let me ask you a question: What could you do with a rock-solid promise? What would the security of a promise do to make your life different? Today we’re going to look at the rock-solid promise of Genesis 9:8-17 and hear Peter’s unpacking of the promise in 1 Peter 3:18-22.  Of course, you think, there are lots of promises in the Bible.  That is true, but essentially they all stem from the singular promise of presence.  “Best of all, God is with us,” as John Wesley supposedly said on his deathbed.  So today we focus on that simple and profound truth: God is with us; we are not alone. 

Now, the symbol of the rainbow is well known throughout the history of the faith.  And cultures throughout the world have always seen symbolism in the rainbow and its mysterious, ephemeral nature.  Today we’ll look at God’s promise of protection and presence to the world that God created.  The rainbow is a sign of God’s love and protection.  With the rainbow we point beyond ourselves to the naturally occurring light refracting through the rain and producing an arc of color and light; but because the church is the community of God doing Christ’s work, now we are the sign.  

The church has become the rainbow sign of the presence of God as we seek to gather up the scattered beloved people of God into one covenant community of faith. Where’s God’s sign of presence and protection for today?  It’s us – we are the sign. 

Sunday’s Online ServiceIf you log in to your Google/YouTube account about 10-15 minutes early, you will be able to easily access the chat and fellowship through thYouTube premier page both before and during the service. Find the premier page on our YouTube channel at: 2/21/2021 Online Service.  The premiere page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!   

Sunday’s In-Person Service – We‘ve launched our in-person indoor worship in the Sanctuarystarting at 9:00am. We are asking everyone to register at this link: cometoworship.org so that we don’t go over our maximum capacity. We ask everyone to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. Temperatures will be taken before entering the building, and communion elements will be provided as you enter the sanctuary to worship on the first Sunday of the monthThis Sunday we are not offering in-person worship, but we will return to in-person worship next week, the 10th of January. 

Our Children’s ministries include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub.  They are currently meeting at 9am in the Fellowship Hall.  

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. 



But Only Jesus

 
 

Happy Transfiguration Sunday!

Transfiguration Sunday might not be a common observance in the United Methodist tradition, or in any Christian traditions on our side of the liturgical spectrum. There are those who do attempt to pay attention to this significant moment in the life and ministry of Jesus, but many do not. However, as we read the story of the Transfiguration in Mark 9:2-9, the key is actually what occurs around the Transfiguration.  If you’re already reading this blog post, go ahead and read the whole context of what is happening by reading Mark 8:27-9:1 and then 9:10-37.  This section of Mark makes a full circle and provides a more wholistic picture of that is going on here.

 

 We can always ask which is the real Jesus? Is it the one who gets his hands dirty with the mud and spit of this world, or is it the one who stands on the mountain top and glows with a radiance divine? Well, of course, the answer is yes! Yes, it is both. The human Jesus and the divine Christ. The transcendent part of the Trinity of God, and the immanent, incarnate human laid in a manger and nailed to a cross, the one who walked and taught and healed and loved on earth just like you. Yet not like you. More than you. A glimpse of what you might be. A hint of what you were created to be. An invitation and a hope.  The question for us is, will we accept the invitation to be what we were created to be?

 

 As we end the Season after the Epiphany and turn our eyes toward Lent this coming week, we’ll also look at Elisha chasing after the heavenly as Elijah is getting ready to be taken to God in 2 Kings 2:1-12.  Will we chase heaven like that?  Will we refuse to let go until some of heaven is given to us, or will we accept what the world says we should have (hint: it’s much less heavenly).  I’ll see you online and in-person as we worship this Sunday and open our hearts, our minds, and our Bibles in worship!

 

Sunday’s Online Service—If you log in to your Google/YouTube account about 10-15 minutes early, you will be able to easily access the chat and fellowship through the YouTube premier page both before and during the service. Find the premier page on our YouTube channel at: 2/14/2021 Online Service.  The premiere page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend! 

Sunday’s In-Person Service – We’ve launched our in-person indoor worship in the Sanctuary, starting at 9:00am. We are asking everyone to register at this link: cometoworship.org so that we don’t go over our maximum capacity. We ask everyone to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. Temperatures will be taken before entering the building, and communion elements will be provided as you enter the sanctuary to worship on the first Sunday of the month. This Sunday we are not offering in-person worship, but we will return to in-person worship next week, the 10th of January.

Our Children’s ministries include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub.  They are currently meeting at 9am in the Fellowship Hall.

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. Praise New Generation won’t be meeting this Sunday (2/14/21). SPYouth will have a longer session from 4:00-5:30pm.

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.