18 November 2021

Dear Friends,

Recently, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Milwaukee has begun producing The Apostle as an online offering that’s continually being updated rather than issuing a paper newsletter on a monthly basis. As a service to those who don’t use e-mail, we’ve printed the current stories that are published online at https://news.stpaulsmilwaukee.org, and offer them to you here. If you have questions or concerns, or want to cancel your subscription to this paper version, please call Lynne at St. Paul’s at 414-276-6277. Blessings and best wishes from St. Paul’s!

Thrift Store Pop Up Sale Coming Dec. 4

Cross your fingers that we can follow our July Pop Up Sale for the Thrift Shop with a December one!

We hope to have the sale Saturday, December 4, 2021 from 10 to 1pm in the Great Hall. We will follow the Milwaukee key indicators and make our decision on Sunday Nov 28th whether we can go ahead. Safety for volunteers and shoppers is our primary concern.

We will have jewelry, purses, shoes, Christmas items, beautiful household items … you all donated them! Come support our Outreach fund and have some shopping fun. We will not have any clothing, just a few coats. We are NOT taking donations. Hope to see you there. Contact Pat Ruttum or Chris Krueger for questions.

December Adult Forum Schedule Released

December 5: The Gospel of Luke

From the Nativity scene to the Good Samaritan to the Penitent Thief, the Gospel of Luke has heavily influenced our popular conceptions of Jesus’ life. Adding to its mystique is the fact that it has several parables and events not featured in the other Synoptic Gospels. This presentation will explore how the Gospel came about, as well as what lessons can be gleaned from it.

December 12: Popular Christmas Carols

One of the most popular Christmas traditions is listening to, and signing, carols. Many times, we hear them without considering the stories behind them. This presentation will look at the origins of several popular Christmas carols, as well as what they say about our faith.

December 19: The 12 Days of Christmas

When most people think of Christmas, they think it is only a day. Still, Christmas is a season, which contains several important feast days. This presentation will look at the feast days within the Christmas season, as well as their spiritual significance

Celebrating Deacon Sheila

Please join us Sunday afternoon, December 5 at 4 p.m. for Evening Prayer and music, officiated by Deacon Sheila Scott. Sheila will be concluding her ministry at St. Paul’s at the end of 2021, and we’re planning a joyful celebration of her ministry, including some surprises. Bishop Lee will be with us, as will several of Sheila’s diaconal colleagues.

Don’t miss this opportunity to thank Deacon Sheila for her extraordinary service at St. Paul’s, and send her off to her native Transylvania with our prayers and gratitude.

Nashotah House Lessons & Carols, Dec. 9

You’re invited to Nashotah House!

On December 9th at 5 pm we will celebrate our Anglican musical tradition with the annual Service of Lessons and Carols.  Based upon the original Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols intended for Christmas, we anticipate the coming of Our Lord in Advent hymns, anthems, readings and prayers in our beautiful St. Mary’s Chapel.  The Nashotah Choral Scholars, our organ, and the whole community combine to create an inspired liturgy of words and song. The music is drawn from over a thousand years of melodies from chanted plainsong to well-known hymns and new 21st century compositions by Andrew Smith, John Scott, and our Director of Chapel Music, Dr. Geoffrey Williams. Address: 2777 Mission Road, Nashotah WI 53058.

Lessons and Carols: Live and In-Person on Sunday, December 19

After the lovely virtual service that we watched from our homes last year, we will joyfully gather in person in the sanctuary on Sunday, December 19 at 4 p.m. for A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. The service will include choral works by by Bob Chilcot, John Gardiner, John Ireland, Kenneth Leighton, and David Willcock’s stirring organ accompaniments for congregational hymns. An early American carol by William Billings (1746-1800), and a setting of the traditional “I saw three ships”  by our Director of Liturgy and Music, Joseph Kucharski will also be presented. Readings from the Old and New Testaments recounting the story of the birth of Jesus Christ provide the framework for the service. St. Paul’s Choir will be accompanied by our Associate Organist, Tedd King.

Do We Have Your Current Photo?

Chances are we don’t. And as a recent newcomer myself who’s terrible at remembering names, I can tell you that a current photo directory is really helpful! You can help by sending us your favorite portrait or even just a suitable selfie. Individual photos are strongly preferred over group/family photos, and the photo quality doesn’t need to be excellent as long as we can see and make our your face.

Send your favorite pic of yourself and of members of your household to Lynne Fields or Lane Hensley by email. If you don’t have a digital photo, bring it to the parish office or give it to the clergy on Sunday morning, making sure that you’ve put it in an envelope that’s clearly labeled with your name. If you have no photo at all, ask the Interim Rector to take a quick pic of you after church. It’s fast and easy! Remember, I’m terrible at remembering names, so the odds that I won’t recognize who’s in what photo are very high. If you are asking the Interim Rector to take your photo, please write down your name so he can figure it out later. Once we have enough photos, we’ll have a helpful addition to our parish directory, and that, in turn, will be of great use to newcomers, including our next Rector.

Upcoming Concerts at St. Paul’s

The Milwaukee Chamber Choir, directed by Dr. J. Mark Baker, will present its first concert at St. Paul’s as Artists in Residence on Sunday, November 7th, at 2:30 p.m. A freewill offering will be accepted. Plan to attend and provide a special St. Paul’s welcome to these gifted musicians.

The Early Music Now concert “Italia Mia: Music of Renaissance Venezia”on Saturday, November 13th, at 5 p.m. will feature the Parthenia Viol Consort and soprano Sherezade Panthaki performing canzonas, dances, and madrigals by composers including Monteverdi, Gabrieli, Willaert, and Gesualdo. Tickets are available at www.earlymusicnow,org. The Florentine Opera holiday program “Florentine Presents: Classics and Carols” on Tuesday, December 14th, at 7:30 p.m. will include timeless Christmas music from around the world. Tickets are available at www.florentineopera.org.

Help Us Flower the Church for Christmas

Christmas is coming! Please consider making a generous to the parish’s flower fund so we can offer a beautiful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day service that delights the congregation and honors the birth of Our Lord.

To ensure that your memorial and thanksgiving designations are recorded in the Christmas worship bulletins, please make sure we receive your gift and your designations no later than Friday, Dec. 17.

Download, complete, and print the donation form now!

All Saints’ Lessons & Carols, Nov. 28

Usher in the upcoming Advent season by attending All Saints’ Cathedral‘s annual service of Lessons and Carols Sunday, November 28 at 4 p.m.! Presented by the Cathedral Choir in partnership with vocal ensemble Aperi Animam, this sensory liturgy of preparation is filled with prophetic imagery in music and scriptural texts, sure to enrich your spiritual journey toward Christmas.

The lessons progress from God’s promise of salvation in the book of Genesis to the Baptism of Christ by John the Baptist in Mark’s gospel. Carols and hymns are offered in response to each reading, comforting us along the liturgical journey.

The event is free to the public, though donations are encouraged to support the mission and ministries of All Saints’. Give here—be sure to select “Lessons and Carols” from the drop-down menu.

Smart Giving

If you are age 70½ or older and required to take Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) from a traditional IRA, a smart way to give is through a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD). With a traditional IRA (QCD’s don’t apply to other types), you can make a direct gift to Saint Paul’s, up to $100,000. Your gift counts towards your RMD and reduces your taxable income. Contact your IRA Administrator for the information they require to make the direct distribution payment to the church. They’ll need this information:

  • St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (a 501(c)(3) organization)
  • Permanent Address: 914 E Knapp St, Milwaukee, WI 53202-2825
  • Taxpayer ID: 39-0807049

Book Group Selections for November and December

St. Paul’s Book Group will meet twice more this year — at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 9, and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 14, in the Community Room.

The books:

November 9: Freeing Jesus: Rediscovering Jesus as Friend, Teacher, Savior, Lord, Way, and Presence, by Diana Butler Bass

December 14: The First Christmas: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Birth, by Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan. For more information about the Book Group, please contact Sandra Halgerson at shalgerson@hotmail.com.

Are You Confirmed?

Confirmation is an optional but useful rite of passages during which adults affirm the covenant that their godparents made on their behalf at baptism. It’s a way to take ownership and responsibility of your relation with Christ and the church. And at the core, it’s when our bishop invokes the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to empower us for ministry.

Are you confirmed? You don’t have to be — the old Prayer Book rule that you needed to be confirmed in order to receive Holy Communion is long gone. Should you be? That’s between you and God. But many people find it a helpful and healthy way to mark their attachment to this branch of the Body of Christ, and signal our intentions to live under the reign of Jesus. So it’s a great idea!

Under the canons of the Episcopal Church, however, you need to be confirmed before you’re eligible for serving on a Vestry, or pursuing ordination. And for that reason, we strongly encourage everyone who isn’t confirmed to take the plunge and receive the laying on of hands and the Holy Spirit from Bishop Lee. Our next scheduled visitation from Bishop Lee is Palm Sunday, April10, 2022, that that’s your next chance.

What do you have to do? Well, you need to let us know in advance, so we can complete some paperwork, and help prepare you for Confirmation. We’ll offer a series of gatherings after the new year and ahead of the bishop’s visitation to help prepare you spiritually and intellectually for Confirmation, though they’re not required. All that’s required is a discerning heart and a desire to serve and follow Jesus.

Already confirmed outside of the Episcopal Church? Depending on where and how, The Episcopal Church may already recognize your Confirmation. In that case, we’d be pleased to have you participate in the service of Reception, in which the bishop acknowledges and recognizes your existing Confirmation and welcomes you into the Episcopal Church.

Already confirmed, but want a booster? Those wanting to renew their baptismal vows and re-affirm their commitment to Christ also an participate, and have their confirmation renewed at the same service with Reaffirmation.

Whether you’re being confirmed, received, or re-affirmed, the process and the service are the same except for the words the bishop prays when he lays hands on your head.

Be Wary of Car Break-Ins

The down side of a centrally located urban parish is the possibility of falling victim to crime. On Sunday, Nov. 7, while worship was in progress, a car parked in our lot suffered a broken window. The thief removed a bag, found nothing of value inside, and left it on the ground.

The Interim Rector and Wardens are discussing a couple of options that may help, including hiring an on-site parking lot security guard for Sunday mornings and major evening events, and upgrading our existing camera system. These measures will help, but they won’t end the problem. Here’s what you can do to mitigate the possibility of break-in: Make sure your car is locked, and that all items are stored out of view. Even something as simple as a cord extending from your cigarette lighter may signal a thief that you have an electronic device charging in your car. And a thief doesn’t know that the bag in your car is empty until they break your window to snatch it, so keep all items out of sight.

If your car is broken into or otherwise tampered with, please let the parish office know, and call the Milwaukee Police Department at 414-933-4444. while you’re still at the church.

Additional car theft and break-in prevention tips are offered by CNET and the Milwaukee Police Department.

Message from the Wardens

We at St. Paul’s have much to be thankful for this November, even as we continue to contend with the challenges of congregational life under COVID-19.

Recently, congregational singing was reintroduced in the Sunday service, and it has been a joy to lift our voices in unison to sing beloved hymns. Also, after the dismay of learning a month before that our members would no longer be able to park in the Lincoln School lot, Interim Rector Lane Hensley reached out to the pastor at Mix Church, the Rev. Jake Wirth, to share our need for Sunday parking. Lane was met with openness and an offer to share the lot with our members.

Additionally, our calendar of music events took off in October, with a marvelous piano concert on October 10th by Kathy Thome in celebration of her 80th birthday, followed by a remarkable performance on October 15th by the Organized Rhythm duo. Thanks to Kathy for sharing her musical gifts with us, and to Tedd King and Joe Kucharski for bringing Organized Rhythm to St. Paul’s.

We are also grateful for the All Saints’ Day Evensong on October 31st in the Chapel at Forest Home Cemetery. St. Paul’s Choir sang, and beloved ones’ names were read from the Book of Remembrance.  Shortly, we will all be receiving in the mail the annual stewardship request letter from Lane. We ask you to prayerfully consider your 2022 contribution to St. Paul’s. You will extend the vital life of our ministry to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors in Milwaukee.

Probably Not God Calling

Don’t you hate when someone’s phone rings in church? Don’t you hate what it’s your phone? Did you know you can set your phone to silence itself automatically during church? It’s easy!

On an iPhone, open the Settings app, and choose the Focus option, then Do Not Disturb. From there, you can Add Schedule or Automation, and have your phone go silent every Sunday between 9:30 and 11:30, or any other time you’d rather not get calls.

On an Android phone, download the Polite app from Google Play, and you can do the same thing.

Getting the Band Back Together

From the Diocese of Milwaukee

Leaders from the Episcopal dioceses of Milwaukee, Fond du Lac and Eau Claire have unanimously agreed to pursue reunion. This idea has been talked about since the 1970s. It was agreed that now is the time to explore the option. A reunion would incorporate the three dioceses back to the one from which they were formed. Other paths could be followed, but pursuing reunion first provides clarity of purpose. It is understood doing so now is following opportunity rather than responding to necessity.
This agreement was made during the initial trialogue meeting on September 29, 2021. The trialogue explores how the three Wisconsin dioceses might work together to serve the mission of the Episcopal Church. Conversation focused on congregations, specifically how the diocese might better equip them to share the Gospel and serve Christ in their communities. There was enthusiastic discussion seeking new ideas and dreams of what could be developed for the 21st century and beyond. One participant noted, “whether we want change or not, change is upon us.”
Pursuing reunion will involve a variety of voices to develop a common understanding. The focus is first on describing the ministry, then imagining how to form it in the shape of one diocese. The initial leadership group, selected by each diocesan Executive Council, is planning a second meeting with an outside advisor. Together they will seek the best way to engage lay and ordained members of each diocese in conversation.

The prayers of the Church and its members are asked to support this process.
Media Contact: Matthew P. Payne, mpayne@diofdl.org, (920) 830-8866.

Lay Service Sunday Morning

You may notice each week that various lay people help make St Paul’s a hospitable and engaging place to worship. A lay person is someone who is not ordained to ministry, but is no less a minister in how they serve God and others. We schedule some lay ministries each week to ensure Sunday mornings go smoothly:

· Altar Guild – those who prepare the Lord’s table for Eucharist and maintain sacramental items

· Lectors – those who read scripture during the church service

· Intercessors – those who lead the prayers of the people during the church service

· Ushers – those who greet you at the door and assist guests

· Video Streaming – those who set up and run the livestreaming and sound system

· Coffee Hour – those who host the time of fellowship after the service when conditions permit

If you would like to be part of one or more of the scheduled lay ministries, please contact Terry Zimmer (ztleman@gmail.com or 414-839-9312) to be added to the list. Whether ministry is scheduled or not, St. Paul’s appreciates all who serve among us and who serve in our neighborhood and city

Shhh! Don’t Tell Sheila!

On Sunday afternoon, December 5 at 4 p.m., Deacon Sheila Scott will be officiating Evening Prayer, with congregational song. During the service, we’ll offer thanks for her entire diaconal ministry, and especially for her time at St. Paul’s. Bishop Lee will be with us, and we’ll ask him to offer a blessing over Sheila at the conclusion of the service. We’re inviting all deacons anywhere, not just Milwaukee, to join us. Our goal in that is to make the presence of the deacons very visible to Sheila and to the congregation, and to honor her ministry. The deacons will be invited to lay hands on Sheila as the bishop offers his blessing. RSVPs are not necessary, and vesting space will be available in our Great Hall. Ushers can guide visiting deacons there. Based on current COVID metrics in Milwaukee County (which could change by then), we’re asking everyone to be masked and maintain social distancing. For the same reason, we are not planning a food-and-drink reception.

We’re collecting a “purse” (a shared cash gift) to Sheila. You can contribute by sending/leaving a check made out to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, with “Sheila Gift” in the memo, or make your gift online. Important: Gifts to specific people, even when they’re collected by the church, are not tax deductible, and will not appear on your year-end giving statement.

Please sign the Gospel Book in the narthex (the lobby in the back of the church) before or after worship. You can write a note to Sheila anywhere in the book, thanking her for her ministry and sending your love and blessing as she moves to the next phase of her ministry with family in her native Transylvania. The Gospel Book is on a table on the pulpit (west) end of the narthex, and an usher can help you find it if needed.

Note to Visiting Deacons: Deacons are invited to process and to vest in a white stole over cassock/surplice or alb as we observe one of Sheila’s favorite holidays from her childhood, the Romanian celebration of the Feast of St. Nicholas of Myra. Priests and bishops (sorry, Jeff) are asked NOT to vest, to keep our attention on Sheila and her diaconal colleagues. Please plan to arrive early enough to write in her Gospel Book (likely with a short line ahead of you) and to vest.

For more information, contact Lane Hensley
at lane.hensley@stpaulsmilwaukee.org or at (760) 851-4641.

Change In the Air

This month, we we’ll be posting online all our news that normally would be contained in the Apostle. We’re working on a more comprehensive change in the way we deliver information, and to tell you the truth, it’s going to be a little bumpy at first. For a few weeks, I’m going to ask for your patience. You’ll be seeing changes in the email messages we send, too. We are not yet in the promised land. This is not the final destination, and when we have more of the key pieces in place, I’ll write again to tell you more about it. The goal is to give you quick, easy, and accurate access to information without burying you in email messages. And we’ll be making changes to make it easy for you to distinguish new information from things you’ve already read.

We know we have a long way to go, and hope to have things in good order soon.

For right now, know that you can find news and information anytime online at The Apostle Online!

A Season of Generosity

“All shall give as they are able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.” Deuteronomy 16:17

Our God knows something about leading people into the wilderness and having them wait there, wondering whether their dreams will be fulfilled. It’s the story of Moses and those who came after him to lead God’s people. It’s the story of risk and anxiety, hope and despair, miracle and deliverance. And it’s the story of those of us who live in the 21st century church, including St. Paul’s.

Our congregation has seen difficult periods of transition, loss, and rebirth over the last several years, and some have wondered if we’ve lost our sense of where we’re going. But our God is faithful, and calls us not only to survive and thrive, but to lead. St. Paul’s has gifts and passions for the heart of ministry. We can build large and small diverse communities that welcome new friends and grow and form Christians of all ages. We can deepen our knowledge of and relationship to a living God through worship, education, and pastoral care. We can serve the most vulnerable of God’s people through vital and missional outreach at home and around the world. We can provide spiritual, intellectual, and ethical leadership in Milwaukee.

St. Paul’s needs your continued financial support to help to do that. We need to invest basic infrastructure, and realign our efforts toward the two core mission imperatives: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength,” and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

These are difficult economic times for millions of people in our country, and for our own members. Not everyone can increase their giving in the service of a balanced parish budget that equips us for vital mission. But precisely because these times are difficult, those of us who can increase our giving must do so.

Pledge packets are going out shortly, and you should receive yours the week of Nov. 8.

I encourage you to consider prayerfully making a pledge proportional to your income, each as we are able, in support of our shared ministry. Proportional giving means that you pledge an amount that represents a particular percentage of your expected income, and make annual adjustments as you are able. It’s an act of trust in God for you and for us, because it means that your actual giving will vary according to the financial gifts God gives you year after year. Unexpected changes for good or ill would be accompanied by a corresponding change in actual giving.

Giving generously as we are able in times like these is an expression of hope – an act of imagination. Generous giving reflects the certainty that God sustains us in difficult times and that our future is one of abundance and joy. It means our life together is worthy of investment, risk, and nurture. Please return your pledge no later than Reign of Christ (Christ the King) Sunday, November 21. Let’s equip St. Paul’s to thrive and continue in mission for the years ahead.