by Marcus Halley, Rector-Elect

Rev Marcus Halley, Rector

The Reverend Marcus Halley, Rector

Coming into a new community is never an easy task. There is always a playful dance that occurs both as the community figures out how to incorporate the new person and as the new person figures out how they fit into an established system. The dance involves discovery of relationships, mutuality, sensitivity, and grace. I have entered many “new” communities over the past few years and each time I marvel at the dance I wonder deeply about what God might be saying in it.

I wonder if God is inviting us to the divine dance that is part of God’s very nature. The Orthodox Christians have a way of understanding the nature of the Holy Trinity that they call the perichoresis or “rotation.” The three persons of the Trinity — Father, Son, and Spirit — rotate in around one another in an endless, fluid movement each both entering space and making space for the others — giving and receiving divine hospitality and grace. They dance. I have always found the imagery beautiful as I have imagined it, particularly when I remember that, because God created us for love’s sake, we have been invited to enter that dance with God.

In just a few weeks we will dance across the threshold of Lent into the festival of the Great Fifty Days of Easter, where we will celebrate Jesus Christ dancing across the threshold of death and life and destroying it altogether. It is a time for thanksgiving and rejoicing. It is a time for merry-making and music. It is a time for newness and celebration. It is a time for dancing.

I am so thrilled to be entering this community as we enter this new season together, to discover new relationships, to hear and see where and how God is present in this community, and to join that dance started here in. Coming into a community is never an easy task, but I am so grateful for the dance partners I have already met, for the dance steps I am already learning, and for the new dances we will discover together.

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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