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.

Turning the page …

If you’re like me, then these calendar shifts in the year make you evaluate your life. While not as intensive as Lenten commitments, the summer is usually a time when I tend to think about these things, following my birthday in July and the new school year in August. I begin asking myself questions like: How am I doing in practicing my Christian faith? Are there any books I want to read? How am I doing emotionally? Are there relationships I need to repair, renew, or begin? Are there certain habits I want to recommit myself to, or certain things I’ve begun doing that I need to eliminate from my life? This summer I began to look for new resources to help me in preaching from the lectionary (which is a new thing for me). With a set series of readings each week, the lectionary gives you a “menu” of scripture each week to read and reflect upon, not just for a sermon but for anyone looking to develop or strengthen a regular scripture reading habit. In searching for resources, I’ve found some great material for devotions and reading based on the lectionary that I wanted to pass on to you if you are searching for a good habit to start in this new school year. If you have a smart phone, then podcasts can be a great way for you to listen to the Bible or to reflections based upon the week’s lectionary readings. One of my new favorites is “This Week’s Lectionary with the CEB,” which is a reading of the week’s Scriptures, plain and simple. Another is “Lectionary Lab Live,” which is technically meant for preachers but is really useful for anyone looking for fun and light-hearted Bible inspiration during the week. I also bought a new Bible this summer, a “CEB Lectio Divina Prayer Bible” to help me use this ancient Bible Reading practice more effectively in my life. Lectio Divina is a great way to systematically read and reflect on the Bible, and this edition is set up in sections to read prayerfully and actively. While I know I won’t always preach from the lectionary, I’ve found it has enriched my spiritual life greatly; and I hope these resources will help you in your walk with Christ as well! I’m here to help, and please let me know if there are resources that have helped you along the way!   

With the Peace of Christ,

Robert  



New Beginnings

August promises to be a wonderful month in the life of St. Paul’s, full of new beginnings and new life! On August 11th we’ll start the new school year by collecting supplies for Tools for Teaching, Blessing Backpacks and School Bags for all students and school staff. Tools for Teaching is in great need this year and we hope you’ll help this great organization that stocks school supplies for teachers and students.

In August we’ll confirm the remainder of our confirmands from Confirmation Camp and celebrate with them after church. Colin Elfring was confirmed on July 28th, and on August 18th we’ll confirm Celina Stafford, Layla Watson, and Dylan Watson. All four of our Confirmands participated in Confirmation Camp from July 21-24 with Zion United Methodist Church. There were a total of six youth participating, and each was given a confirmation sponsor from their local church to be their adult faith partner during this process and beyond.

The week following Confirmation Sunday, on August 25, we will baptize one of our children, Charlie Didia, as he has made the decision to accept Jesus Christ at a very young age and we are excited for what God has ahead of him in his life. Charlie’s parents are Amanda and Jon Didia, and Charlie is a graduate of our Christian School!

With all these new things starting, it’s easy to get excited about our ministry here at St. Paul’s. As the new school year begins, this is a time when many people decide to begin coming to church more regularly, so you may see some new faces among us! Whether they are returning friends, or completely new faces, this is a great time to welcome them and “love our neighbors as we love ourselves,” echoing Jesus’s command in Matthew 22:39.

Let’s be on the lookout for those who need a new friend or a warm smile as they come into our doors for what may be the first time. It can be intimidating to enter a new church, especially one where you are sure to be noticed, so let’s make it easy on them when they realize they’ve met a whole bunch of new friends!

With the Peace of Christ,

Robert

 



Happy Easter

Happy Easter! Easter Sunday was an amazing celebration and I was blessed to be able to share it with all of you during worship. Thanks to everyone who made Holy Week and Easter so great! From Palm Sunday to Good Friday, the Sunrise service, Breakfast, Easter Egg Hunt and the 10:30 service, I am blessed to be here among you!

Pentecost Sunday is June 9th, so we have the whole month of May to celebrate the resurrection as well as the end of school, the beginning of summer, and the return of our YMCA Summer camp on the grounds of St. Paul’s. We’re glad to have them back for another summer starting May 28th!

May will be a big month on another front, and I want to make sure everyone is in church on May 12th for a special Sunday. During worship I’ll be speaking about our Ministry to Children & Youth, specifically letting you know how the updated Florida Conference Children & Youth Protection Policy will affect St. Paul’s. This year, churches across Florida will be implementing the same updated Protection Policy in order to better protect and minister with their Children, Youth, and families. While some of the specifics will be a part of Children & Youth volunteer training, all of us in worship will learn the basics of the new policy so we can be prepared to create the best environment possible here at St. Paul’s. After all, it takes the whole church family to make sure our Children and Youth are growing their faith in a safe environment!

As summer begins, we will have many special opportunities, from overnight summer camp at Warren Willis, Confirmation Sundays and Day Camp, Annual Conference and more! I look forward to being with you through all of it as we affirm God’s love here at St. Paul’s UMC!

The Lord is Risen Indeed!

Robert