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.

The Summons

 

Happy 7th Sunday of Pentecost!

Heading toward this Sunday’s worship, we continue our journey through the Acts of the Apostles, written by St. Luke as a second volume of his “History of Jesus and the Church.” Here we see another central character emerge, almost like parallel storylines in a TV show.  We’ve had Jesus, Peter, James, John, Stephen, Philip, and now Saul.  We’ve seen Saul mentioned already as a leading figure in the persecution of Christians in Jerusalem, and we meet him in Acts 9 as he is journeying to Damascus to capture and harass any Christians who live there, or who might have escaped Jerusalem.  Think about this: he’s heading to another town with the blessing of the religious establishment to essentially kidnap and imprison Christians.  This kind of conduct would be exceedingly criminal in our world, and yet it’s the kind of mission Saul asked for – we’re told he went to the high priest and asked for the letters so he could head to Damascus.

So on this mission, as Saul nears Damascus, he has a vision of the risen Christ that changes his life forever.  Also in Damascus, a Christian named Ananias receives a similar life-changing vision to come to Saul’s aid and be the person who initiates him to the Christian life.  Saul is converted to Jesus and a new mission in life, and Ananias is converted to loving the unlovable – the terrorist who has now become a fellow Christian.  How would we react in their shoes?  What does this pivotal story in the Bible have to teach us about our lives?  Let’s open our hearts, our minds, and our Bibles as we find out!

 

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: 7/19/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

Sunday’s In-Person Service – At 8am we will worship in the church courtyard (between the Fellowship Hall and the Sanctuary).  Worshipers are asked to bring their own chairs or picnic blankets, face coverings, hand sanitizer, and Communion Elements (bread & grape juice) to each service.  We will have communion at every 8am service.

We have introductions to both our SPKidz Church and iClub lessons on our YouTube channel. After you watch the introductions to the lesson, be sure to download the packet with discussion questions and activities to do at home!

This week we have a special lesson and learning for our iClub at 9:45am on Sundays, just as we would if we were together!  You will be able to access this through Zoom, which is an online conferencing tool. Contact Kraig by email for directions on how to access this.

Check our YouTube channel for the SPKidz & iClub Video introductions: St. Paul’s YouTube

SPKidz Packet

iClub Packet

 

The Youth will be taking a break from regular meetings throughout the rest of the summer. Praise NG will be meeting in the Sanctuary on Sunday evening at 4:30pm as part of our re-launch plan approved by the trustees. Masks will be required!  Contact Kraig by email for more information if you are interested.

 

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 office hours are limited, someone will receive your message and get back to you as soon as possible.

 


…who can explain it to me?”

 

Happy 6th Sunday of Pentecost!

This Sunday we read a compelling story from the ministry of Philip, one of those Hellenist deacons we read about earlier.  While the apostles thought they were ordaining him to a life of “waiting on tables” as they called it in the food bank of the early church, he ends up doing all sorts of things as the church is attacked and scattered amid the killing of Stephen.

Philip, led by an angel, encounters an Ethiopian eunuch.  This eunuch was, essentially the secretary of the treasury for the Candace (Queen) of Meroe, a Nubian Kingdom on the banks of the Nile in modern-day Sudan.  This high-ranking (but enslaved and mutilated) eunuch goes to Jerusalem to worship, but does not find what he is seeking there.  Instead, he is barred from the Temple because of his non-Jewish birth and his condition as a eunuch (Lev. 21:20 & Deut. 23:1).  So he heads back home, probably reading the Isaiah scroll to himself and trying to figure it all out.  Why was I rejected?  What does all this mean?

Enter Philip – a Christian who helps him discover that he is not rejected, but is instead a part of the household of God.  When a Christian is invited to mentor someone who is seeking to find God, they should do so by interpreting Scripture for them as a gateway to that knowledge.  Afraid you don’t have the words?  Well, that’s why God is with you?  And who knows, you might get the chance to watch God change the destiny of an entire kingdom!

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: 7/12/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend!

Sunday’s In-Person Service – At 8am we will worship in the church courtyard (between the Fellowship Hall and the Sanctuary).  Worshipers are asked to bring their own chairs or picnic blankets, face coverings, hand sanitizer, and Communion Elements (bread & grape juice) to each service.

We have introductions to both our SPKidz Church and iClub lessons on our YouTube channel. After you watch the introductions to the lesson, be sure to download the packet with discussion questions and activities to do at home!

This week we have a special lesson and learning for our iClub at 9:45am on Sundays, just as we would if we were together!  You will be able to access this through Zoom, which is an online conferencing tool. Contact Kraig by email for directions on how to access this.

Check our YouTube channel for the SPKidz & iClub Video introductions: St. Paul’s YouTube

SPKidz Packet

iClub Packet

 

The Youth will be taking a break from regular meetings throughout the rest of the summer. Praise NG will be meeting in the Sanctuary on Sunday evening at 4:30pm as part of our re-launch plan approved by the trustees. Masks will be required!  Contact Kraig by email for more information if you are interested.

 

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 office hours are limited, someone will receive your message and get back to you as soon as possible.

 


Showing Love by Sharing

 

Happy Independence Day Weekend! 

This week we begin a few notable things: an 8am in-person service, a new month, the second day of my fortieth year on the planet, and a new sermon series!  We leave the Gospel according to Matthew for several Sundays this summer in order to study how the newly-formed Christian church grew and stayed centered on Christ while they encountered their own hinge time.   

What’s a “hinge-time?” I encountered this phrase as I read an article from May in the Financial Times where the author equates this current crisis to other pivotal events in which history “hinged” from one course to another.  Other such examples are the 1914 assassination of Archduke Ferdinand that began the First World War (and laid the groundwork for the Second), the 1929 stock market crash which ushered in a worldwide Depression, or the 2001 Terrorist Attacks on the World Trade Center.  You can find the article at: https://www.ft.com/content/de643ae8-9527-11ea-899a-f62a20d54625. This virus, the author argues and I’m inclined to agree, have changed the world as we know it, and will probably continue to change it going into the future.  And, importantly enough, he wrote his article before we encountered the next hinge of protests around the brutal killing of Black men and women by people sworn to serve and protect those same communities. 

The early church was born in just such a time.  As the influence of Jesus began to grow after his death, the new church had to figure out how Jesus’s teaching would be manifest in the world.  They had no template to work from, and they merely prayed and constantly sought guidance on what they should do to bring the Good News to the world.  In reading through the Acts of the Apostles again, I pray we can see our own way through this time of change and anxiety into a deeper relationship with Christ and each other.  In Acts 6:1-7 we’ll read Luke’s telling of the first conflict within the church – which might sound strangely familiar – and see how we too can begin to heal the wounds that have been exposed within our society.  What if Christians were known for that? For healing emotional, generational wounds and bringing reconciliation to hurting parts of society?  I pray it is so! 

 

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 the YouTube premier page both before and during the service. Find the premier page on our YouTube channel at: 7/5/20 Online Service.  The premier page will be active from the moment the video is uploaded, so you can practice any time this weekend! 

Sunday’s In-Person Service – At 8am we will worship in the church courtyard (between the Fellowship Hall and the Sanctuary).  Worshipers are asked to bring their own chairs or picnic blankets, face coverings, hand sanitizer, and Communion Elements (bread & grape juice) to each service. 

We have introductions to both our SPKidz Church and iClub lessons on our YouTube channel. After you watch the introductions to the lesson, be sure to download the packet with discussion questions and activities to do at home! 

This week because of the holiday we will be taking a break from iClub, but usually we have a special lesson and learning for our iClub at 9:45am on Sundays, just as we would if we were together!  You will be able to access this through Zoom, which is an online conferencing tool. Contact Kraig by email for directions on how to access this. 

Check our YouTube channel for the SPKidz & iClub Video introductions: St. Paul’s YouTube 

SPKidz Packet 

iClub Packet 

 

The Youth will be taking a break from regular meetings throughout the rest of the summer. Praise NG will be meeting in the Sanctuary on Sunday evening at 4:30pm as part of our re-launch plan approved by the trustees. Masks will be required!  Contact Kraig by email for more information if you are interested. 

 

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 office hours are limited, someone will receive your message and get back to you as soon as possible.