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.

December 2019

What came into being
through the Word was life,
    and the life was the light for all people.
The light shines in the darkness,
    and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.

~The Gospel of John, from The Common English Bible

 

John opens his Gospel, not with the Nativity story like Matthew and Luke, but with a Spirit-filled prelude about God’s Word coming down to earth, or “moving into the neighborhood,” as The Message translation puts it. God’s Word—not words on a page but something deeper—brings life. This life, John analogizes, is like an inextinguishable light shining in the darkness. Give me that light!

Light is a theme we often use during Advent and Christmas. We light the Advent Wreath, each candle pointing to an increased light and the One True Light coming into the world. We might go to a candlelight service on Christmas Eve, singing Silent Night by the light of hundreds of candles. As the days get darker, we talk more about this light and the impact it can have on our world.

This Advent we’ll talk about God’s light as we head toward Christmas. Will God’s light grow in your heart as you get closer to the celebration of the Nativity? How do you access God’s light in the middle of the darkness? How can you use God’s light to see danger ahead? How can Advent be a light to our path and life to our souls all year long?

Join us this Advent as we worship and learn from the light of the world. Each of the four Sundays in Advent (December 1st, 8th, 15th, and 22nd) we’ll delve deeper into this mystery, and we’ll culminate our season on Christmas Eve as we worship at 5:30pm (Service of the Nativity) and 8:00pm (Service of Carols & Candlelight).

Hope to see you there, and may the Light of the World be with you!

Robert

 



Devote Yourselves to Prayer…

Most of us are taught from an early age to live an unsatisfied life. We are trained to see our current situation as unsatisfactory, that if we can just get through the next challenge, get to the next life milestone, that we will have “made it” and life will be better for us. No sooner have we crossed that milestone, however, than we are off to the races again to get ahead of the next challenge or milestone in life. But what if we were just thankful for what we have now? Could gratitude change our life for the better? You bet! That’s exactly why the Apostle Paul, in his letter to the church in Colossae, encourages these early Christians with the scripture verse above. The ethic of gratitude focuses our souls on praising God, it drives us away from selfishness and narcissism, and it helps us enjoy this one life we have here on earth!

My first pastoral appointment began in the summer of 2007, just two months after I graduated seminary. I started that first Sunday morning with the knowledge that, after those three years in graduate school as a working student, a whole new education was about to begin. I’ve been blessed to officiate at many weddings and also presided over many funerals and memorial services. Some were for people I barely knew, while others were for people I had grown to deeply respect and admire. And yes, some were for scoundrels. But in all the services I’ve ever done, I can’t remember a single time the family said, “I wish dad had worked harder and bought us a bigger house,” or “I’m so sorry we didn’t have a nicer car.” Instead, when I hear families talk about their loved one, they talk about how their loved one made them feel. They express gratitude for the good memories, the hard times that they went through together, and the love they often felt, even when it was spoken only with a smile. This gratitude is what allows them to heal and travel through the valley of grief; and I am thankful for how these families have, time and time again, inspired me with their expressions of gratitude for their lived one. Gratitude doesn’t just affect the person feeling it; I’ve come to realize, it is infectious in its ability to inspire others, even when it’s done through the tears of mourning.

This November, I hope you’ll devote yourself to meditate on gratitude as we go from Sunday to Sunday. All Saints Sunday challenges us to be thankful for the Christians who have gone before us; the following Sunday will encourage us to be thankful for those who serve through our military and the service of our United Methodist Men of the year. On November 17th we are thankful for each other and for the work God is doing in our midst as we pledge another year of mission together. On November 24th, we express our gratitude for God’s love by loving those in our community who are less fortunate when we take our worship outside to bring in a harvest for Interfaith Emergency Services’ Food Pantry.

This month will be chock-full of gratitude, and my prayer is that it is infectious to everyone we meet!       

Gratefully Yours,

Robert

 



October 2019

October is the only month of the year that all the “big four” North American Sports Leagues schedule games. In October, the NBA begins basketball, the NHL is about one month into hockey, and both the National Football League and Major League Baseball are in full swing. In fact, there have been 19 days in which all four leagues have played games on the same day – something sports writers have called a “sports equinox.” It’s also interesting to note that the Canadian Football League and Major League Soccer are also playing games during this month, both approaching the ends of their respective regular seasons.
A lot of churches experience the same thing during this month too! It’s Charge Conference season, the Budget for the new year is getting planned out and many churches are doing some sort of Stewardship activity. Also, planning for fall festivals, pumpkin patches, Church School Open Houses and Trunk-or-Treats are going full-bore. Behind the scenes, the worship folks are already finalizing Advent and Christmas.
As we begin this latter-year lively-ness here at St. Paul’s, we begin this month with World Communion Sunday on October 6th, where we celebrate the worldwide church and our fundamental celebration of the Lord’s Supper. If you’ve got some sort of “traditional dress” that marks your heritage or nationality, you’re invited to wear it as we celebrate! October 7th marks our Charge Conference, connecting with other churches in our Mission Field as well as the larger United Methodist Church, certifying connectional items such as new candidates for ordained ministry, pastoral salary, and new officers for the coming year. We’ll be holding ours with the other churches of Mission Field Peter at Nueva Vida Central UMC at 7pm.  All members of St. Paul’s are welcome to come!
October also marks our annual “Trunk or Treat” for our community on October 27th here on the church grounds.  If you’re decorating a trunk for the event, please see the Trunk-or-Treat article for more detailed instructions! Last year we had over 500 people from our community come and get to know our church family!
Just at the beginning of November there is All Saints Sunday, this year on November 3rd during our morning worship. This solemn remembrance is a powerful way to remember our loved ones and friends who have gone to their eternal home during the past year. I hope you’ll choose to come and be a part of this important month in the life of St. Paul’s!
With the Peace of Christ,
Robert