At his Annual Address at the Diocesan Convention last fall, Bishop Provenzano asked every parish to join him in a Covenant of Prayer. He wrote in part:
“We as a community know the power of prayer. And therefore, we know that possibly the most effective way to change the tenor and combativeness of the world in which we live is to spend significant time in prayer—quiet, peaceful, deep, restorative prayer. No cell phones, no computers, no TV or newspapers. Just each of us and Jesus as a way to help change the world that God has given into our care. Prayer—where it’s just you dancing with the Trinity in the solitude of a place and time, where you look at God and God looks back at you.
One would never think of going on a journey without the food and water necessary to sustain the journey. We normally don’t leave the house for work without having had some sleep, some breakfast, that first cup of coffee or tea or juice? So why would we expect to journey throughout our day, our lives, without prayer? What I am asking is simple but significantly transformative. I believe that, by God’s grace, our prayer will strengthen each of us, and provide a faithful witness in the face of hollow distractions. The power and depth of our prayer will change each of us and our relationship to the Holy Trinity, the people whom we love, and all those who we interact with in our daily lives. And this in turn can change how those people interact with people in their daily lives, and on and on. In this way, our Covenant of Prayer will sustain us as together we share the peace and serenity of God that passes all understanding and give witness to the cause of Jesus Christ in the world.
The Bishop’s Covenant of Prayer is simply this: one hour of prayer each day, one day of prayer each month, and eight days of prayer each year. When stated as a summary in this way, the proposal looks overwhelming, and indeed, our first reaction may be just that: I can’t possible do this. But when broken down into manageable parts, it is surprisingly, and perhaps shockingly, easy. And it can be accomplished is a way that actually opens up your schedule and provides closure to your daily responsibilities, not to mention bringing you peace and drawing you closer to God.
There are myriad ways of fulfilling this Covenant, ways which can be adapted to your work and family schedules, and I offer here only a few suggestions. Morning Prayer, about 30 minutes, is offered Monday through Thursday at 7:30 am in the Lady Chapel. The Church is open every Saturday from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm for prayer and meditation. But you do not need to come to St. Paul’s: any place where you have the opportunity and time to quiet your mind will do. The Book of Common Prayer has multiple resources for prayer, and it is easy to use (and if you do need some help, don’t hesitate to ask). Daily prayer can be easily broken up into three or four short periods per day, as is done in monastic communities. Pages 136 through 140 of the Prayer Book provide a section of Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families, and you can tailor these devotions for your personal use. Another option is to pray the Psalms, morning and night. The Psalter in the Prayer Book is already divided into sections for just this purpose. You might want to start with 15 minutes a day, perhaps as part of your Lenten Discipline (that’s an unambiguous hint, by the way), and then increase the time as the year goes on. Prayer is always efficacious and beneficial, whether it’s an hour a day or 15 minutes, and I have no doubt that Bishop Provenzano would rather you sit with God in prayer for any amount of time rather than do nothing.
The Bishop has asked the clergy to provide resources to help our congregations with this Covenant, and to that end, I am putting together an informal prayer manual of sorts, which will be available on the back table in the church. It will not be exhaustive but might provide you a place to start if you need help. You can always set up an appointment with me, and we can work together to find a routine which works for you. Additionally, each month St. Paul’s will host a day of guided prayer. These will generally be scheduled on Saturdays, from 10:00 am to 1:00, beginning in February and continuing through November.
Blessings to us all as we enter into this Covenant of Prayer with our Bishop, with St. Paul’s, and with God. God is waiting to hear from you. See you Sunday.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
A Prayer of Self-Dedication from The Book of Common Prayer:
Almighty and Eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated to you; and then use us, we pray you, as you will, and always to your glory and the welfare of your people; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Sunday, January 28, immediately after the 11:00 am mass
The agenda includes the presentation of the 2018 budget and the election of a Junior Warden for a full two-year term and two vestry members to full three-year terms. The list of the members in good standing who have seat, voice, and vote at the Annual Meeting is posted on the bulletin board in the Parish Hall. Please check to see that your name is there. If you believe the list is in error, please contact Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the church office. The Agenda for the meeting will be printed on the back of the bulletin. Child care is provided until 1:00. Parents may bring their children in for Communion and then return them to the Sunday School room for the Annual Meeting.
ACOLYTE TRAINING (AND RETRAINING)
Saturday, 1/27, 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM
All of the continuing acolytes and anyone interested in joining the Acolytes Guild and serving at the Altar should attend the Acolytes Training/Retraining workshop on Saturday morning, January 27. All parents are invited as well. A pizza party lunch will be provided. The Acolytes Guild is open to all baptized Christians, ages seven and up, who are willing to serve in a spirit of mutually-supportive teamwork and decided devotion. Please contact Sheila Reade if you are interested and have any questions.
NEW MUSIC STAFF AT ST. PAUL’S
Our new Director of Music, Alex Canovas, and our new organist, Nathan Taylor, begin their ministries with us this Sunday, 1/21. Please take time at Coffee Hour to offer them a proper St. Paul’s welcome!
Alex Canovas, Director of Music
Alex Canovas is a vocal artist, conductor, and teacher based in Brooklyn, NY. He currently serves as Director of Music at St. Paul's Carroll Street, Associate Conductor for Choral Chameleon, and Operations Manager for the Empire City Men's Chorus. An upstate New York native, Alex holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Ithaca College, where he studied voice performance and arts administration. He currently lives in Park Slope, and enjoys reading, writing, and making craft-brewed coffee in his spare time.
Nathan Taylor, Organist
Nathan Taylor is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music (M.M.) where he studied organ performance with McNeil Robinson. Additionally, he holds a Bachelor of Arts from Rollins College where he also served as Organist of the Knowles Memorial Chapel (the first student to ever be appointed to the position.) He has performed as soloist as well as accompanist in performances throughout the US, Canada, and Europe including venues such as St. Mary the Virgin (NYC), Central Synagogue (NYC), the Cathedral Church of St. Luke (Orlando), and St Paul’s Cathedral (London).
2018 PLEDGE ENVELOPES
If you have not received your 2018 pledge envelopes or if you have any questions, please see either Sheila Read and Dave Bredthauer at Coffee Hour.
RETURN YOUR PALMS
Ash Wednesday is less than a month away, so it’s time to return the palms you received last year on Palm Sunday so that they can be burned to produce the ashes for Ash Wednesday. Please place them somewhere on the back tables, and they will be gathered up after mass on Sunday.
NEIGHBOR CHURCH CALLS NEW RECTOR
Our neighbor church, Grace Church Brooklyn Heights, has called The Reverend Dr. Allen F. Robinson as its 15th Rector. Fr. Allen is from St. James’ Church (sometimes known as “St. James’ at Lafayette Square”) in Baltimore, Maryland. He will begin work on Monday, March 19 and will celebrate his first services on Palm Sunday, March 25. The full press release is available at http://www.dioceseli.org/media/diocesan-news/the-rev-dr-allen-f-robinson-called-as-15th-rector-of-grace-churc
UPCOMING EVENTS AND NOTICES
Saturday, January 20, 9:30 am–11:30 am: Regular Vestry Meeting in the Library
Sunday, January 21, 11:00 am: High Mass, and the first Sunday of our new Director of Music, Alex Canovas, and our new organist, Nathan Taylor
Saturday, January 27, 10:00 am-12:30 pm: Acolyte Training/Retraining followed by a pizza party
Sunday, January 28, 11:00 am: Solemn High Mass, The Solemnity of the Conversion of St. Paul and our Patronal Feast, followed by the Annual Meeting.
Ash Wednesday, February 14; Ashes will be imposed at all three services.
7:30 am, Low Mass
12:00 (noon), Low Mass
7:30 pm, Sung Mass
THIS COMING SUNDAY
The Third Sunday after the Epiphany
Sunday School: 9:45
Solemn High Mass: 11:00
Sermon: Fr. Griffith
Sunday's Appointed Readings:
Old Testament: Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Psalm Psalm 62:6-14
New Testament: 1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Gospel: Mark 1:14-20
Entrance: “Watchman, tell us of the night,” Aberystwyth, 640
Offertory: “O God our help in ages past,” St. Anne, 680
Communion: “O Jesus, I have promised,” Nyland, 655
Dismissal: “Ye servants of God, your Master proclaim,” Paderborn, 535
St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Clinton & Carroll Streets, Brooklyn.
718-625-4126 • email: email@example.com • Donate
The Rev. Dr. Sean M. Wallace, Interim
Alex Canovas, Music Director
Nathan Taylor, Organist