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.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

 

Happy Christmas Sunday!  Sunday’s worship will be in partnership with the Campus ministries of the Florida Annual Conference.  There are 12 campus ministries at college campuses throughout the state of Florida, and they help to extend the ministry of the local church to the college campus so that kids who leave youth groups and head to college can still find a place to grow their faith with a Wesleyan foundation.

Each of these campus ministries are called “Wesley Foundations,” and you can find them all over the country at different colleges and universities.  The ministry of the Wesley foundation is so important to countless college students who are trying to find their faith in an adult world as they leave home to head to college.  

It’s also personal to me, you see, way back in the previous millennium, I was a college freshmen at the University of Alabama.  By going to school there, I had moved closer to my dad’s family, but I was over 500 miles away from all my high school friends and church family.  Since I had grown up in the Episcopal Church, I tried their campus ministry but just didn’t feel like I fit in.  My roommate was randomly assigned to me at the beginning of the school year, and as we got to know each other and he found out I wasn’t having much luck finding a church, he invited me to the Wesley Foundation, where he went.  They had a dinner on Thursday night that was free for anyone who came for the first time.  Honestly, I was really tired of eating out of the dining hall and my dorm room microwave.  So I fell for the hook.

He was United Methodist, and while I had no idea what that was, I decided I would give it a try.  That was 21 years ago this Fall.  The Wesley Foundation at the University of Alabama is also where Heather and I met, and where I found a place to really search out this call to ministry I had been hearing.  So for those of you in high school now, especially if you’re close to graduating and heading off to college, know that there is an extension of St. Paul’s there for you.  It’s a place to continue to explore your faith in a more serious way as you grow into a young adult.  I hope you enjoy this special worship service today led by our Campus ministries of the Florida Conference.

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: 12/27/20 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 will be our last in-person worship for the year. We will continue to meet on YouTube on 12/27 and 1/3, but won’t be offering in-person worship until 1/10/21.

Our Children’s ministries include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub.  They are currently meeting at 9am in the Fellowship Hall. Please join them for an interactive socially distanced fun time as they learn their lessons and play games together. iClub won’t be meeting this week (12/20), but join both iClub and SPKidz for a fun PJ party on 12/27/20 at 9:00am.

SPYouth and Praise New Generation are invited to come hang out on 1/03 from 3:00pm-4:00pm for a Christmas Concert Livestream on the big screen! Praise New Generation won’t have another practice session until 1/10/20. Our regular Youth schedule is: Praise NG will be meeting from 3:00pm-4:00pm every Sunday and SPYouth will be 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.

 


Waiting on the Threshold

 

Happy Fourth Sunday of Advent! 

It’s almost Christmas. We hit what rocket scientists call Max-Q somewhere around this last week before the day itself. We run on overload or we find a little bit of magic, a little miracle working to make it all come out the way we hope and pray that it will. Those seem to be our choices in this season, don’t they? Overwhelmed or by the skin of our teeth.  Why? Because it is Christmas. 

It’s the fourth Sunday of Advent, and we are on the threshold of a new world. Never mind the fact that we’ve been on this threshold for over two thousand years. We are standing on the brink. We need to proclaim what is on the other side.  What does it mean for Christ to take up residence in our world?  What did it mean then, and what does it mean now?   

That’s what even the casual church-goer is asking as we get close to the celebrations of this Sunday and Christmas Eve.  The problem is, people come with their answers too.  And their answer is often “not much.” It doesn’t mean much, except in romantic holiday movies and sappy cards in the mail.  But this is your chance, our chance as a church, to tell a different story.  This is our chance to tell the story of a life with Christ that changes everything.  This is our chance to remind everyone that while we stand on the threshold of a new world, there is also another One standing on our threshold, waiting for us to open the door. 

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: 12/20/20 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 will be our last in-person worship for the year. We will continue to meet on YouTube on 12/27 and 1/3, but won’t be offering in-person worship until 1/10/21. 

Our Children’s ministries include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub.  They are currently meeting at 9am in the Fellowship Hall. Please join them for an interactive socially distanced fun time as they learn their lessons and play games together. iClub won’t be meeting this week (12/20), but join both iClub and SPKidz for a fun PJ party on 12/27/20 at 9:00am. 

Praise New Generation is not meeting this week and won’t have another practice session until 1/10/20. Our SPYouth are planning on caroling this Sunday evening (or indoor plans if it rains) from 6pm-8pm. This will be their last meeting of 2020! Our regular Youth schedule is: Praise NG will be meeting from 3:00pm-4:00pm every Sunday and SPYouth will be 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. 

 
 


Deck the Halls

Happy Third Sunday of Advent! 

After finding the mess and cleaning it up as the clean-up crew, what now?  Decorations! We’ve got to make the place look great for those who are coming, and the One who is to come.  We want our welcome to be beautiful and our hospitality to be breathtaking, both for visitors to our church and for Jesus.  So where do we start?  What do we include?  What does it matter? 

Why do we decorate our homes or our sanctuaries? It could be argued that it is to show off, or to make us happy, to feel good about where we live and worship.  That’s certainly not untrue; but the real impetus for decoration is invitational.  As we listen to John’s Gospel and the Prophet Isaiah today, we’ll see something about decorating – that we are constantly pointing beyond ourselves. 

So, let our worship be about pointing to Christ.  We reflect our inner experience of Christ with our outward appeal. We decorate because we know the depth and promise to which those decorations point.  When our homes and our church is a place of joy, love, invitation and welcome, the environment reflects that.  Having reflected on our need to address the mess, we now set about decorating our homes, our church, and the world with the love and light of Jesus.  Let’s open our hearts, our minds, and our Bibles as we worship together! 

 

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: 12/13/20 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 month 

Our Children’s ministries include the nursery, SPKidz, and iClub.  They are currently meeting at 9am in the Fellowship Hall. Please join them for an interactive socially distanced fun time as they learn their lessons and play games together. 

Our regular Youth schedule is: Praise NG will be meeting from 3:00pm-4:00pm every Sunday and SPYouth will be 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.