Welcome to St. Paul's. Please join us at one of our three services on Sundays! Be sure to stay for Coffee Hour after the 10:00 A.M. service, not only is the company great - but our coffee is also wonderful... we serve Fair Trade Coffee! Take some time to look around and please call or email us with any questions you may have.
From the Interim The Rev. Dr. Gale Davis
It is the time of year when I start to think about what my Lenten discipline is going to be. It has become my habit to take something on rather than give something up. But either way, I try to choose something that will mark a permanent change in my life. Which is why “Lent Madness”—which has become a regular Lenten habit for me— is not so much a Lenten discipline as a daily reminder that it is Lent and I need to be mindful of the discipline I have chosen.
I hope you all know about Lent Madness—sponsored by Forward Movement—and the brain child of The Revs. Tim Schenck and Scott Gunn. In the tradition of the March Madness basketball tournament, they line up two sets of saints against each other and then have the “tournament,” daily pitting one saint against another. Each round has its own quirks and knowledge base, and by the time the Golden Halo is put on the ultimate winner, I find I have learned a lot about church history, “saints” and why people “vote” the way they do for certain saints.
I invite you to go on this Lenten journey with me. Just sign up by going to Lent Madness and it will direct you to a website that will tell you how to participate. I have them send me the daily match up starting “Ash Thursday” and each day I learn something new.
As I said, it is not so much of a Lenten discipline for me, as it is a Lenten diversion. It’s a reminder to me that truly the saints are “just folk like me”* and that not only do I meet them “in lanes or at tea”* but every day in so many ways. It helps keep me grounded and appreciative of all the people who touch my life. A good thing to be reminded of in Lent (and all the time!) Happy preparation for Lent! Gale+ * Hymn 293 “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God”
Introduction to Sunday 5:30pm Service, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Natick, MA
Welcome to this simple service of light, word, and table.
Whether this is your first time or your hundredth time; whether you have come with faith, doubt, hope, fear, curiosity, boredom, joy, distraction, grief, love, confusion or exhaustion; whoever you are; whatever brings you here tonight; however you think or feel in this moment, you are welcome here. Please feel free to rest, to observe, and to take part in the service as you wish.
This service is shaped from three ancient Christian patterns of ritual action. We begin with the lighting of lights, thanking God as the day ends for the gift of earthly daylight, and for the gift of God’s Presence, the Everlasting Light. We then proclaim, receive, reflect on, and respond to, the Word of God, living and active in our midst. Finally, we gather around the altar table, and take, bless, break and pour, and share bread and wine, in the name of Jesus, living and dying and rising in love for the world.
Our worship this evening is liturgical worship. The word liturgical has its roots in a Greek word that means “the work of the people.” It actually means work done by a specially assigned group of people for the good of the entire populace; think power company, or sewage system. Early Christians found this completely secular term to be the most appropriate to describe the function and value of their gathering together—what they did together was something they could not do as individuals; and while it did in fact benefit them personally, it was done primarily for the sake of the community, the world, at large; by its nature, their worship reached outside and beyond its own boundaries.
While the basic patterns of action through which we pray tonight are ancient, there is much that is contemporary as well. Many of the prayer texts come from Iona, the ecumenical community in Scotland committed, in their own words, “to searching for new ways to touch the hearts of all. This is not a restless desire for novelty, but a willingness to be caught up in the work of the Holy Spirit.” The music is drawn from a variety of ecumenical sources, and often includes pieces in different languages—another way of expressing our desire to grow, and our solidarity with people of faith across the globe. We venture into unaccompanied singing, and group improvisation with percussion and with humming, as further embodiments of our desire to “show up”—in our plain, authentic, diverse, vulnerable, and exquisite humanity—to ourselves, to one another, and to God.
It is the nature of being alive to grow and change. With this service we are continuing to discern ways to offer an inviting, enriching alternative to the 10AM service that may speak to the longings of local people—current members of Saint Paul’s, and also others seeking a spiritual home.
The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts introduced its current mission statement with these words: We will embrace brave change by reimagining our congregations to better respond to the movement of the Holy Spirit in our time and place; building our relationships to unite as one body in Christ; and engaging our world to reconcile ourselves and all people to one another, and all of Creation to God. May our worship together this evening spark new imaginings, stoke our love for God and for one another, and set us aflame with wisdom, courage, and joy for the next step of our journey on this blessed earth.