From the Deacon's Desk
I found this article online recently and it expresses how I feel about the presence of St. Paul's here in Chester:
Many of you are a part of downtown parishes of The Episcopal Church. We were directly connected with the early history of many American cities, and unlike many churches that head for the suburbs, we typically remain downtown and expand with new parishes outward from those city centers.
This statement is an antique one. It's from a Presbyterian minister at First Presbyterian Church, Nashville in 1914 (now Downtown Presbyterian Church). It's rather poetic in some of its references. Here it is:
"We are a Downtown Church. Some regard this as a handicap. I look upon it as an asset. Give me a church where life is densest, and human need is greatest – not a church in some sequestered sylvan retreat, not a temple in some lonely solitude far removed from the walks of life and attended only by the children of privilege and leisure, but give me a church whose doorstep is on the pavement, against whose walls beat and lap the tides of labor, whose hymns mingle with the rattle of cars and the groans of traffic, (and we at St. Paul's might add the roar of planes overhead and the sounds of emergency vehicles) whose seats are within easy reach of men falling under heavy burdens, and whose altars are hallowed by the publican’s prayer. God grant that this old church on the busiest corner of town may increasingly be this kind of church!”
His church is still there: now offering regular meals to the homeless and food to those who attend Sunday services who may have nothing to eat. There is also a rainbow flag outside.
Downtown ministries are tough. They always have been. Thank God we stayed!
Posted in Episcopalians on Facebook group by Daniel Pigg, Professor of English, University of Tennessee July 1, 2019
We are in a time of transition here at St. Paul's. We are seeking a new organist and a new priest. Times of transition are difficult. The hardest part of child birth is called transition. When transition is over, there is new life, new opportunities, new people/person to love. Part of the difficulty of transition is that we don't know what will be. There are two things that can help with the fear of the unknown. One is that God has given this church wonderful leadership. The parish vestry are committed to the well being of the parish and its members. And – God is in charge. As the article above describes, we are God's presence in a city where there is great need. And St. Paul's is here and helping to meet those needs with the gifts God has given us to share: resources, facility, and people.
I would ask that you pray this prayer as often as you can:
Almighty God, giver of every good gift: look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a new priest for this parish, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.