submitted by The Rev. Lindsay Hardin Freeman The Rev. Leonard Freeman

On the first Sunday in Lent at Saint Paul’s (March 5), we participate in a masterpiece, The Great Litany, crafted by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556). The litany is traditionally read or sung in Episcopal congregations on the first Sunday of Lent, and is only service that remains in its original form from the First Book of Common Prayer (1549).

The pleas in the litany were more than just words for Thomas Cranmer. A brilliant editor, scholar, and theologian, he was a man caught in the crossfires of his time, as Reforma on ideals clashed with the precepts of the Roman Catholic Church.

Cranmer believed in the king’s sovereignty in all matters, both civil and religious. That belief led to his appointment by King Henry VIII as Archbishop of Canterbury, where he was instrumental in reforming the worship and doctrine of the Church of England. The architect of The Book of Common Prayer, Cranmer worked diligently to integrate reform into the life and worship of the English people.

Tried for treason and imprisoned during the reign on Roman Catholic Queen Mary (aka Bloody Mary), he recanted many of his religious beliefs in the infamous Tower of London. Led to the pulpit of St. Mary’s Church in Oxford on March 21, 1556, Cranmer stood before the congregation, poised to recant publicly. But he would not sink to that task. Instead, he renounced his earlier recantations and proclaimed his love for Christ.

Yanked from the pulpit and ed to the stake, he thrust his right hand into the Thames, saying, “This hand hath offended” — for with it, he had penned the denial of his beliefs.

Out of the ashes was born a saint.

Despite differences in me and place, Cranmer’s deep sense of human frailty and holy grace speaks to the underlying cares, concerns, and aspira ons of our hearts, and to the sources of wisdom, guidance and strength for our steps along our pilgrim path.

May we remember his great witness for Christ as we say together the words of the Great Litany.


NOTE: The Great Litany can be found on page 148 of the Book of Common Prayer

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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