St Pauls FallHow long is Lydia staying with us?

The question is asked many times every week. And the answer is:

As long as it takes.

We are in an important in-between time — a time of working, praying, and waiting. As much as we might like to know when it will be over, this is a process that can’t — and shouldn’t — be rushed.

And as long as we are moving forward, Lydia is committed to journeying with us.

Let’s review the process so far, and get everybody caught up on where we are now.

First came the Missional Assessment Process, or MAP. Late in 2015 a team of Saint Paulites worked with an ECMN consultant to assess Saint Paul’s strengths and interests, and to look at the neighborhood around the church. The question was asked: Where is God already at work in our neighborhood, and how can Saint Paul’s be involved in God’s work? From the MAP, priorities were set, and the parish profile was shaped.

Step 2 was the Discover Process, in which a second team of Saint Paulites drafted the parish profile and a description of the kind of leadership Saint Paul’s is looking for in its next rector. This information was posted on national search sites, and applications began to come into the bishop’s office. A search committee was formed at Saint Paul’s.

In Step 3, Bishop Prior and Canon Karen Olson are reviewing applications, and forwarding on to our search committee the candidates that seem to be good matches for us. The search committee is diligently interviewing and reviewing. The bishop continues to send more applications our way. The process continues, and will continue, until the right person is found.

In the meantime we continue our work of praying, waiting, and being the church. The vestry and staff continue to work at strengthening the infrastructure, both physically with the building and support systems, and spiritually through worship, faith formation, community life, etc. — while at the same me taking our leap of faith to become engaged in the neighborhood, and to take risks for the sake of God’s work in and through us.

Please continue to pray for Saint Paul’s, for the search committee, and for the person God will send to be our next rector.

The following prayer was found on the website of Christ Episcopal Church, Cedar Park, Texas, from their rector search in 2014. It is offered here with gratitude to the anonymous author:

Lord, we ask you to guide the members of our Search Committee in their selection of candidates for our new spiritual leader. Give them wisdom and insight into the qualities of leadership needed to best serve our precious church.

Encourage the spirit of the person who will become our priest to accept with joy your choice for him/her to lead us as we move forward as a faith-filled church.

Give us all a sense of happy anticipation as we await the one we know will be the right one according to your plan for us. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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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