Saint Paul's Episcopal Church


Thomas and A Street - Altus, Oklahoma

Priest's Reflections

Dear Parish Family,
It is hard to believe that we are fast approaching the end of the church year, but when you look at the church calendar, Advent will indeed begin on Sunday, November 29th. During the month of November we will be given several specific opportunities to very intentionally give thanks for the many blessings in our lives. The first is All Saints Sunday, which is the first Sunday in November. It is a celebration that dates back to 837 when Pope Gregory IV ordered a church wide observance of a commemoration of martyrs who died in groups or whose names were unknown. After the Church of England broke from Rome, it continued to celebrate All Saints Day with the New Testament understanding of the term "saints" meaning all believers. It is the day we set aside to remember and give thanks for all those "saints", or believers, who have passed on to greater life. It is that special time when we remember those who have inspired us, taught us, and guided us to live into our faith. This year during the Sunday service we will remember by name those who have played such an important part in our lives. You will need to submit the names of those whom you wish to be remembered to me by email no later than this next Wednesday, October 28th. For your convenience you may submit those names today by placing the names on the yellow legal pad on the round table in the narthex.

On the fourth Thursday of November we celebrate "Thanksgiving Day." It is the tradition that traces its origins back to a 1621 celebration at Plymouth in Massachusetts. The 1621 celebration was prompted by a good harvest which could only have happened when Wampanoag Native Americans helped the Pilgrims by providing them seeds for planting and teaching them how to fish. Without the Wampanoag Tribe's help the Pilgrims would have most likely starved to death. Individual states took it upon themselves to set aside a special day each year to give thanks until Abraham Lincoln, by Presidential Proclamation in 1863, made the last Thursday of November a national day of thanksgiving. In 1941 franklin D. Roosevelt made Thanksgiving a national holiday and set the date as the final Thursday in November. Thanksgiving Day has a rich history of reminding us to remember all the blessings we have been given and that our achievements were achieved not only by our own hard work, but also by the help, support and love of others.
One question we should ask ourselves is this: How do we tangibly, individually and as a community, give thanks for the many blessings we have enjoyed in our lives? I think the answer is simply---We Give Back.---We strive to be good stewards with our lives following in the steps of the saints of old by inspiring, teaching, and guiding others in the faith and also sharing our resources so that others may thrive as well, and continue to have this beautiful place to worship. So, each of you will be receiving a letter in the coming weeks asking for your commitment of time, treasure, and talent to support St. Paul's during the coming year. Then on Sunday, November 29th, we will have our annual Commitment Ingathering. On that day each family and individual will bring to the altar their Commitment Card and place it in the alms basin. At that time our offerings will be blessed and offered to the Glory of God.

St. Paul's is a special place because each of you, and we have been greatly blessed by God, this place, and each other. I ask that you prayerfully consider the abundance that God has bestowed upon you when determining your commitment.

Your Vestry is also looking at the possibility of providing Thanksgiving Food Baskets for some families in need.

In early December, as is our tradition, you will also receive information (sizes, and 'wish lists') for a family we will "adopt" for Christmas.

On Sunday, December 13th, our new Bishop, The Rt. Rev. Poulson Reed, will be with us to preach and celebrate The Eucharist. Please mark your calendar to be present on this very special day. Additional information on special activities on that day will be forthcoming in the future.
As the second surge of the Covid Virus appears to be upon us, I urge each of us to remain vigilant in our safety measures. If you have not already done so---get your flu shot. I know we are all tired of wearing a mask---wear it anyway. Continue to wash your hands incessantly---it really makes a difference. Avoid large gatherings of people---be safe even at family gatherings. Maintain proper social distancing---be a good neighbor----and someday we will be able to touch and hug one another again.

You all remain in prayers, Blessings always,

Mother Suzanne

Some Episcopal Chest Thumping
I am an Episcopalian because a friend invited me to church. I am because 6 centuries of music is so beautiful it brings tears to my eyes. I am because we are a body of believers who can say we are truly sorry and we humbly repent. I am because we have women behind the altar and men on altar guild. I am because all are welcome to the table of the feast that fills my heart. I am an Episcopalian because this is where I found my life, and because this is where God blessed me just the way I needed to be blessed. (Kendall Lockerman)










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