In the 1960s winds of change swept the church as well as society. City population declined sharply, including that of Minneapolis. With it went the membership of  inner-city churches. Civil rights and peace movements weighed on everyone’s consciences.

Ancient languages of the church came under criticism, as new biblical translations and archeological discoveries opened new horizons of faithful understanding for many church people. A study for revision of the hymnal and prayer book began in 1967. 1970 led to introduction of a new prayer book for trial use. More than a decade of work toward changes in the hymnal was proposed at the 1982 General Convention.

St. Paul’s did not use the trial prayer book immediately. Responding to demands in 1968 of young parishioners, the Rev. Steinberg agreed to a new service with a contemporary-style liturgy. With guidance of a lay committee, a series of liturgies was prepared for use in the service. Also, a number of special programs were provided in the main service, including a jazz mass.

The contemporary service eventually became a firm fixture. Both new and old members attended. Some were regulars, others attended some weeks, and others attended the traditional service. Guitars and other string instruments accompanied singing of upbeat contemporary songs. A small booklet was assembled of these songs, and was also used at our Camp Lawton. Two services were provided: one at 9:00 am in the small dining room, and a later one in the Undercroft — primarily for families.

The nature of the liturgy was a continuing struggle for many. New prayer books were in trial use for more than eight years. The revised book was officially adopted at General Convention in Denver in 1979. Rite One liturgy provided language alternatives closer to the old 1928 model, but many found the 1928 book a better expression of their faith and inspiration for daily living. It remained a difficult issue in the church and for some in Saint Paul’s, as the parish entered its second century.

There are still a few of us around who were a part of the contemporary services, if you are interested in hearing about them. We also have some of the song books that were used. St. Paul’s Parish has much history!!

Senior Warden Message – COVID-19 Update

“Church is not cancelled; it has changed.” This was the message shared in the bulletin and in the opening message of our first online Eucharist. In these challenging times of COVID-19 we need to find new ways to connect, new ways to gather, and new ways to replenish our spirit.

Last Sunday’s online liturgy and a new Wednesday night online Compline, which will start next week, are just two ways we have started to adjust to what will be our new temporary normal. Besides our services going online, we are also sending notes, making calls, and having time together on various social media platforms. Keeping connected is so important to our Saint Paul’s community. We are all in this together supporting each other. God is making his presence known in all these wonderful interactions.

Two weeks ago, when we suspended our in-church services and closed the doors of the church, we hoped to reopen our doors April 1. Unfortunately, with the Stay-at-Home orders from Governor Walz and recommendations from Bishop Prior, we continue to be closed to holding any kind of in-person or public gatherings. The current recommendation from the Bishop is through mid-May. Although disappointing, this is necessary to keep all of us and our neighbors healthy. Please understand that the church will be locked and closed to all church-related activities.

Governor Walz and recommendations from Bishop Prior, we continue to be closed to holding any kind of in-person or public gatherings. The current recommendation from the Bishop is through mid-May. Although disappointing, this is necessary to keep all of us and our neighbors healthy. Please understand that the church will be locked and closed to all church-related activities.

Earlier this month we formed a COVID-19 response team. This team, made up of staff and Vestry members, is supporting and helping us live into this new temporary normal. This group will continue to watch for new ways for us to keep connected. They will watch for guidance from Episcopal Church of Minnesota (ECMN), the Minnesota Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO). I am so proud of the work they are doing and the amazing amount of love and care they have for our members.

Continue to watch for updates in your email, on Saint Paul’s Facebook page, or on our website. And don’t forget you too can help us keep connected – use our Realm online directory to reach out to your church family.

Stay healthy and know that God is with us, Beth

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