Fwd: Morning Prayer 2/14

Please join us for Morning Prayer this Sunday at 10 am. The Zoom link and bulletin are attached.
Join Zoom Meeting us04web.zoom.us/j/7563871538?pwd=OEdOVjh4cmpIanV4WmV1YWpReXRBQT09

Janine Tarace
Clerk of the Vestry St. Anne’s Episcopal Church 179 E. Main St. Washingtonville, N.Y. 10992 845-496-3691

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Fwd: Morning Prayer 2/7/21

Please join us for Morning Prayer this Sunday at 10 am. The Zoom link and bulletin are attached.
Join Zoom Meeting us04web.zoom.us/j/7563871538?pwd=OEdOVjh4cmpIanV4WmV1YWpReXRBQT09
Janine Tarace
Clerk of the Vestry St. Anne’s Episcopal Church 179 E. Main St. Washingtonville, N.Y. 10992 845-496-3691

Merger Announcement Letter to St. Paul’s Congregation

The leadership of St. Anne’s and St. Paul’s working together with Bishop Dietsche has proceeded diligently and creatively to form a unique plan going forward whereby we will not only share clergy, but we will also merge the congregations in our worship. We will initially be sharing Mother Claire Lofgren who is St. Anne’s current priest-in-charge. This plan has
been unanimously and enthusiastically approved by both vestries. This is a two phase program.
Phase 1: Both congregations are currently doing Zoom Morning Prayer services together at 10am each Sunday with Mother Claire. As the Covid vaccine is disseminated early this year, we hope to return to in-person services perhaps sometime in the March to May quarter. At that time we will have three Eucharist services celebrated by Mother Claire and one Morning Prayer service led by lay leadership each month. Every week we will alternate the church building that will be in use—so two services would be held at St. Paul’s and two at St. Anne’s each month. Both buildings are in
excellent condition, and St. Anne’s is even handicapped accessible and has their own parking lot. Both churches are on Rt. 94 and only 9 miles apart.

How will this affect St. Paul’s financially? In the year 2020 salaries and clergy benefits at St. Paul’s made up 74% of our total expenses. Our new venture with St. Anne’s in this phase will reduce those expenses by 60%. That is a huge savings. And because of all the new renovations made in the last few years at St. Paul’s, we should only need funds for routine
maintenance and utilities. The leadership of St. Paul’s over the years has been very frugal (as evidenced by the amount of sweat equity invested in all our renovations) and has been a good steward of our pledge monies.
In addition to the financial benefits of our merger with St. Anne’s, there are more important advantages. Each church on any given Sunday could potentially have twice as many people in the pews. This is a real asset in attracting new congregants. From my many contacts with St. Anne’s, I can personally attest that they are really a great group of people. They are highly motivated and very talented. The merging of two congregations into one Christian community provides the opportunity to release more energy and creativity into our mission as a church. Also the spreading of the work
among more people offers greater efficiencies. And by keeping both churches open, the Episcopal Church also maintains a larger footprint in the county, which offers the opportunity for greater community outreach and recruitment. St. Paul’s also benefits by gaining an organist to replace Reilly. All of this offers us an exciting way forward and something to be
thankful for.

Phase 2: Under Bishop Dietsche’s leadership he has encouraged both congregations to take a longer view. To really grow as a joint congregation, we need a full time priest. To enable this to happen, the sale of one of the churches may be necessary. The proceeds of that sale could then be used as an endowment from which a full time clergy could be paid. A possible phase 3 has also been envisioned. There have already been discussions between a Spanish speaking parish in Newburg and St. Anne’s. If St. Anne’s and St. Paul’s find a bilingual full time priest, a third merger is possible.

The above plans are dependent on our love of God and our commitment to the people of God, our churches. As a congregation, St. Paul’s will need to continue their pledges from 2020 to 2021. The importance of this cannot be
overstated. Under phase 1 of this plan if we each increase our pledges 5 or 10%, we may be able to operate without a deficit for the first time in many years. Each vestry needs to continue providing new vision, leadership skills, and listening skills to the congregations they serve. Mother Claire has indicated a willingness to postpone her much deserved retirement for our benefit. And we are dependent on the support and approvals of Canon Perris and Bishop Dietsche. Let us not overlook the new organist we will also gain from St. Anne’s, a talented musician, Paul Davis. We are all
dependent on each other for good things to happen. So let us spread the love. This is an exciting undertaking with unimagined possibilities.

Blessings over Food at Easter

These blessings are appropriate for use by households at the principal meal on Easter Day:

Over Wine

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, creator of the fruit of the vine: Grant that we who share this wine, which gladdens our hearts, may share for ever the new life of the true Vine, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Over Bread

Blessed are you, O Lord our God; you bring forth bread from the earth and make the risen Lord to be for us the Bread of life: Grant that we who daily seek the bread which sustains our bodies may also hunger for the food of everlasting life, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Over Lamb

Stir up our memory, O Lord, as we eat this Easter lamb that, remembering Israel of old, who in obedience to your command ate the Paschal lamb and was delivered from the bondage of slavery, we, your new Israel, may rejoice in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the true Lamb who has delivered us from the bondage of sin and death, and who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Over Eggs

O Lord our God, in celebration of the Paschal feast we have prepared these eggs from your creation: Grant that they may be to us a sign of the new life and immortality promised to those who follow your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Over Other Foods

Blessed are you, O Lord our God; you have given us the risen Savior to be the Shepherd of your people: Lead us, by him, to springs of living waters, and feed us with the food that endures to eternal life; where with you, O Father, and with the Holy Spirit, he lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Sunday Service Information

We are approaching Palm Sunday this weekend, a day in our Church when we have a tangible connection to a procession that happened almost 2000 years ago. People waved palms and threw them in the path that Jesus was on, heading into Jerusalem to begin His way to the Cross. We’re used to having a blessed palm to hold, and this year is no different.  We will have blessed palms in a container at the front of the church on Saturday.  Please drive by at your convenience and take a palm frond to be able to hold on Sunday morning when we open our online service with music for “All glory, laud, and honor to thee, Redeemer, King!”

Our Palm Sunday worship online will begin at 9:30 am on Google Hangouts, and will be available via your computer, iPad or phone.  If you need help with this, please email or call me. We will have a new code/login each week for security purposes.

The log-in info will be posted on the site 30 minutes prior to service start.

Monday through Friday of Holy Week we will have Morning Prayer at 8 am and Evening Prayer at 7 pm.  These Daily Offices last no more than 30 minutes, probably less. The access codes will be different than for the Sunday service, so if you would like me to provide you with the access information, send me an email at    stpaulschesterny@gmail.com

Maundy Thursday is next Thursday, and there are prayers to be said over the foods in an Agape meal if you are having one. These are posted on the church’s website (thanks to Kerri Haack!)

On Good Friday we will have the formal Good Friday service online with music at noon, in addition to Morning and Evening Prayer.  Holy Saturday‘s Proper Liturgy will be at 9:30 am.  Again, please let me know by email or phone call if you would like the access information.

Easter is in just over a week and we will be celebrating with our “Alleluia’s!” in Morning Prayer online at 9:30 am.

May God bless you all and keep you safe.

In Christ,

Mother Tori

Agape for Maundy Thursday

The following blessings may be said over the food in the evening meal on Maundy Thursday in private homes:

Over Wine

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe. You create the fruit of the vine; and on this night you have refreshed us with the cup of salvation in the Blood of your Son Jesus Christ. Glory to you for ever and ever. Amen.

Over Bread

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe. You bring forth bread from the earth; and on this night you have given us the bread of life in the Body of your Son Jesus Christ. As grain scattered upon the earth is gathered into one loaf, so gather your Church in every place into the kingdom of your Son. To you be glory and power for ever and ever.  Amen.

Over the Other Foods

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe. You have blessed the earth to bring forth food to satisfy our hunger. Let this food strengthen us in the fast that is before us, that following our Savior in the way of the cross, we may come to the joy of his resurrection. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Sending love and prayers for a safe and contemplative Maundy Thursday

St. Paul’s Sunday Worship

We are not worshipping together in our churches for the time being, out of an abundance of caution and care for each person. However, we are still the Church and we are all still here! We are taking advantage of our many blessings and the most current technology to link us virtually while we are apart physically. The electronic link reminds us that we always are connected by the Holy Spirit to one another and to God eternally. 

We began our online worship on March 22, identifying both successes and things that needed to be tweaked. A grand success was that we worshipped God together using our wonderful Morning Prayer liturgy, and experienced the blessing of being connected to one another! A learning is that we will limit audio sharing to those who are broadcasting, and ask all but the Officiant to turn off their cameras. 

Beginning on March 29, we will expand the Sunday Morning Prayer worship we’ve begun with music as well as readers from both St. John’s in New City and St. Paul’s in Chester. We will alternate each week the church that is providing the readers and intercessor. 

Please join us Sunday mornings at 9:30 a.m. by either computer or phone with the information below.   For technical assistance or sharing an idea, please contact Mother Tori at:   stpaulschesterny@gmail.com or vduncan@stjohnsnewcity.net . 

On the computer:  

Join Hangouts Meet

meet.google.com/ven-awvn-jkx

– OR –

Join by phone

‪+1 929-329-2054 PIN: ‪857 779 420#

Mother Tori

All corporate worship, meetings, and events canceled for two weeks

Dear beloved of God,
The national, regional, and local experience of the coronavirus pandemic is evolving rapidly. Out of an abundance of caution and love for all, we are canceling corporate worship and all meetings and events at the church for two weeks, effective immediately. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and are working on ways to stay connected to God and to one another during this time. 
The church will be open for private prayer Sunday morning from 9 -11 AM. A sheet of suggested prayers will be available. If you come in to pray, please use hand sanitizer as you come into the building and repeat when leaving.
A special service of Morning Prayer will be led by Bishop Dietsche at St. John the Divine tomorrow morning at 11 AM. I encourage all who are able to go online, both to participate as well as to hear our Bishop preach: https://www.stjohndivine.org/calendar/15334/morning-prayer-rite-ii-livestream

We are the Body of Christ during this time, as always. Together we witness to the Love of God and will move through this time by grace.
Please call or text me with any personal needs or concerns, including a desire for Holy Communion from Reserved Sacrament (646-705-2717.)
May you and those you love be blessed!Mother Tori

Gospel Reflection – The Transfiguration

Mother Tori’s reflection on this week’s Gospel for morning prayer: Matthew 17:1-9

1 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3 Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” 8 And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone. 9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” 

Days after Jesus shares with His disciples His imminent suffering, death and resurrection, He takes with Him some of His earliest disciples with whom He has a very close relationship, and ascends a nearby mountain. The ascent of a mountain reminds us of times in Scripture when God has been encountered on a mountain – Abraham taking Isaac as a faithful sacrifice to God as recorded in Genesis 22, Moses on Mt. Sinai encountering God and receiving God’s Covenant with His people (Exodus 24), Elijah encountering God in sheer silence in 1Kings 19, and of course Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5. Mountains represent holy places where God may be encountered. 

When Jesus takes Peter, James, and John with Him up a mountain, we may anticipate that God will be encountered in a profound way. Jesus is transformed right in front of the disciples with radiant light making His face to shine like the sun and His clothes to become a brilliant white.

Then two of the greatest prophets, Moses and Elijah, appear with Him. Moses was a significant prophet and liberator of God’s chosen people with the tradition that he died and was buried by God’s own hands.  Elijah shared the spirit of prophecy with his son, Elisha, and then was carried into heaven in a chariot of fire. When these two great people appear with Jesus we expect that there is a new divine age dawning.  

The disciples experienced the moment of transition to see with their own eyes their Lord standing with the great ones of their tradition. So Peter offered the most hospitality he could imagine – to build tents for them to reside in. These tents also then would serve as places where the other disciples and people of God could come to encounter the holy! While Peter was still presenting his offer to Jesus, the voice of God breaks in from heaven with the same words used at Jesus’ baptism, “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” And then the voice adds, “Listen to Him!” It is really no surprise to us to hear that the disciples were terrified and fell facedown to the ground. 

But Jesus, alone and not glowing radiantly, touches the disciples. A very ordinary and gentle gesture of comfort, assurance, and connection. Jesus is real, non-threatening, and cares deeply about His beloved disciples. He tells them not to cower but to get up. He tells them not to be afraid. 

It’s time to go back down the mountain. But how can Peter, James, and John go back to the regular life happening below? How can they explain what they’ve encountered?  And then Jesus tells them not to tell anyone about what they’ve seen until after Jesus has been raised from the dead.

  • Do we ever go to places where it is likely that we may encounter God?  
  • Have we ever encountered Jesus’ radiance? If so, how has it changed us?
  • What is the new divine age that dawned with Jesus Christ? Where do we fit into that today?
  • What are the tents that we propose making for God today? Why do we want to make them?
  • How can we share with others our experience of knowing God in Holy Communion?

St. Paul’s Focus: John Porvaznik

By Tom Vaillancourt

In a galaxy a long, long time ago (March 1944 to be exact) there was born a young man by the name of John Porvaznik. And we care about this man, not only because he is a vestry member (two times over) of St. Paul’s Church, but because he has lived a life dedicated to his country and to his Christian faith. His father emigrated in 1929 from Slovakia and his mother was born in this country (Johnstown, PA). John was one of 12 children (6 brothers and 5 sisters). Early in life he learned the virtues of humility and hard work. In high school when he wasn’t doing school work, he did heavy manual labor on a nearby dairy farm. He graduated from Warwick High School in June of 1962 with his future wife, Carol. He and his brothers all served in various branches of the military; three, including John became career non-commissioned officers. He enlisted in the Air Force on March 7, 1963 and retired a senior master sergeant on July 1986. He was a Jet Engine Technician with a Top Secret Security Clearance whose skills were put to good use while maintaining Air Force One (Presidential Aircraft) from 1970 to 1981, with a one year break in Thailand from 1974 to 1975. Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan enjoyed the safety and peace of mind that John and fellow maintainers brought to the care of Air Force One.  After retiring from the Air Force he worked at British Aerospace Ltd as a spares and logistics planner. He moved back to Warwick, NY in 1999.

He and his wife Carol, of 54 years, were married on February 3, 1964. Carol, the love of John’s life, died on October 6, 2018. They had two children, Amber and John III. John and Carol began attending St. Paul’s in 2009 at a neighbor’s invitation.  In addition to being on the vestry presently, he has served as an assistant warden. Carol worked for many years as a church secretary at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Warwick.

John’s Christian faith came to a turning point at the age of 18 when his mother died of appendicitis. As a family of 12 children and one father, they faced incredible challenges, which in addition to accelerating their maturity and sense of responsibility, encouraged John into a more serious relationship with his God. It sensitized him for the rest of his life in seeing the hand of God working in and through many of his loved ones, friends, and neighbors.

John has enjoyed travel to England, Scotland, Alaska, Okinawa, and Thailand. He enjoys folk music especially that of Clearance Clearwater Revival. Reading has always been of interest, especially in history, biographies, and geography. He also applies his significant mechanical aptitude to fixing and taking apart anything that isn’t working that way it was meant to.

St. Paul’s congregation has been blessed to have John and Carol Porvaznik as members of their community. They have set exceedingly high examples of Christian discipleship from which all of us can learn. Their openness, charity, and faithfulness have lifted and blessed all of us.

And so the “force” looked back over the journey of this man, John, and how he had invested his time, talents, and money; and thought, yes, this was very, very good.

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