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Meals on Wheels is April’s Mission Offering

April 9, 2021

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The mission of Meals on Wheels is to prepare and deliver hot nutritious meals to those who are unable to prepare meals for themselves.  

Meals on Wheels serves up to 200 client meals per day of whichit takes many volunteers to prepare, serve, package, and deliver thesemeals. Our numerous volunteers have testified that they thoroughly enjoytheir volunteer hours and find it fulfilling to know they are helping provide alow cost, hot nutritious meal to those in need.

     Despite the COVID-19 Pandemic, Meals on Wheels has remained open and has not missed serving meals to the sick, disabled and elderly in Somerset County.  

     Due to the generosity of our community, Meals on Wheels has been able to charge only $2.00 for a hot meal.  Special provisions are made who are without resources to pay.  Expenses continue to rise and the difference between the cost of preparing the meal and the amount charged can only be made up by contributions. Therefore we ask that you consider giving generously to help underwrite this most vital service to our community.  All contributions are greatly appreciated.  

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Worshipping at St. Paul’s

April 9, 2021

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Here are our worship opportunities for the week ahead:

Gathered Worship in the Sanctuary at 9:30am.  In order to ensure a safe service for all participants, masks will be required while in the building, including during worship.  We will also be practicing social distancing, so please find a row with a bow.   We have begun to phase back in congregational singing as we all continue to remain masked, so please come prepared to worship God through song!   

Online Worship at 9:30am on Facebook and YouTube.

Telephone Worship at 11:00am.

For telephone worshippers: the toll-free conference call number is 1-844-855-4444.  The automated service will then ask for your access code or PIN.  Please enter: 512013#.

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Pastor Matt’s Musing

April 9, 2021

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Dear St. Paul’s Friends & Family,

We are now in the season of Easter, a time when we celebrate with hope the possibilities of new life and God’s overflowing love for all creation.  The events of Good Friday, although a memory, are still very present.  Our Gospel reading for the day bears witness to the trauma of that day, as Thomas has trouble accepting the news that Jesus has been raised from the dead.  And who can blame him?  Like Thomas, most of us are “seeing is believing” type people.  Jesus is not offended or deterred by Thomas’ uncertainty, but invites him to see, touch, and believe.

Jesus also invites us into the unfolding miracle of the resurrection.  We won’t be putting our fingers in Jesus’ scarred palms or side but will have the opportunity to observe new life as we handle the wounds of others.  We will witness the struggles that our neighbors face because of sickness and other health challenges, poverty, depression, and oppression.  We will touch these wounds and our own and learn the same thing that Thomas learned:  that God too is wounded, healed, and resurrected.  We are not alone in our suffering but joined by God and resurrected with Christ.  Easter’s great lesson is that God’s will for us is abundant life.  

Let us live into this divine vision together as we witness Christ at work in our wounded world.  May God bless you on this journey of resurrection!    

Blessings,

Pastor Matt

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Worship Connection for Easter

April 2, 2021

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Traditional Easter Proclamation

Leader:  Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  

All:  Christ is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

Opening Hymn: “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today”

Call to Confession   Adapted from portions of Psalm 118  Rev. J.M. Deal

O give thanks to the Lord, for God is good!

            God’s steadfast love endures forever!

We shall not die, because God’s hand saves!  

            Let us make our confession to God.

Prayer of Confession   Rev. Richard H. Shellenberger

Most Gracious God, who is rich in mercy toward persons seeking spiritual renewal, we acknowledge our halting progress, our half-hearted loyalties, our reluctance to obey your voice.  Too often our eyes are blinded by the sights that dazzle while we miss what you want us to see.  Our fingers become so busy with the trifles they can’t take hold of eternal things; our minds readily fill with little ideas and fail to think your thoughts after you.  The agony of Jesus upon the cross has caught our attention.  Grant that his words of forgiveness may extend benefits to us.  Lead us into greater devotion.  Involve us in more vigorous participation.  Make us eager to press on toward your upward call in Christ Jesus; we pray in his name, amen.

A time for personal reflection and confession.

Words of Assurance   Adapted from Isaiah 25:6-9  Rev. J.M. Deal

On this holy mountain the Lord of hosts will make a great feast for all people.  

            And God will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the

            sheet that is spread over all nations; the Lord will swallow up death forever.  

The Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of all people will be taken away from the earth.  

            On this day, it will be said, ‘Lo, this is our God, he has saved us!”  Let us rejoice that our 

            salvation is from God and we are forgiven!

Passing the Peace

The Gospel Reading

John 20:1-18 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes. But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her. 

Sermon: “I Have Seen the Lord”

Pastoral Prayer  

The Offering

The Prayer of Dedication    Rev. J. M. Deal

May our humble gifts given during this Easter Season be a taste of resurrection to those in need.  May our lives be points of Christ’s light to those who are living in darkness.  And may our very existence be dedicated to you, O God, our Strength and our Redeemer.  Amen.

The Liturgy of Holy Communion 

The Invitation 

Pastor: Beloved in Christ, the Gospel tells us that on the first day of the week, Jesus Christ was raised from death, appeared to Mary Magdalene, on that same day, sat at the  table with two disciples, and was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.  

All: This is the joyful feast of the people of God. Men and women, youth and children, come from the East, West, from North to South and gather at Christ’s table.  

P: This table is for all who wish to know the presence of Christ and to share in the community of God’s people. 

The Communion Prayer 

We give thanks, God of majesty and mercy, for calling forth the creation and raising us from dust by the breath of your being.  We bless you for the beauty and bounty of the earth and for the vision of the day when sharing by all will mean scarcity for none.  We remember the covenant you made with your people Israel, and we give you thanks for all our ancestors in faith. We rejoice that you call us to reconciliation with you and all people everywhere and that you remain faithful to your covenant, even when we are faithless. 

We rejoice that you call the entire human family to this table of sacrifice and victory. We come in remembrance and celebration of the gift of Jesus Christ, whom you sent, in the fullness of time, to be the good news. Born of Mary, our sister in faith, Christ lived among us to reveal the mystery of your Word, to suffer and die on the cross for us, to be raised from death on the third day, and then to live in Glory!  We bless you, gracious God, for the presence of the Holy Spirit in the church you have gathered.  With your sons and daughters of faith in all places and times, we praise you with joy.   

Sanctus  (Call and Response) 

We remember that on the night of betrayal and desertion, and on the eve of death, Jesus gathered the disciples for the feast of the Passover. 

Jesus took bread, and after giving thanks to you, broke it, and gave it to the disciples, saying: “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 

In the same way also the cup, after supper saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood.  Do this in remembrance of me.” 

Therefore, we proclaim the mystery of our faith.  

Christ has died, Christ is risen. Christ will come again. 

Eternal God, we unite in this covenant of faith, recalling Christ’s suffering and death, rejoicing in Christ’s resurrection, and awaiting Christ’s return in victory. 

We spread your table with these gifts of the earth of our labor. We present to you our very lives, committed to your service on behalf of all people. We ask you to send your Holy Spirit on this bread and wine, on our gifts, and on us. Strengthen our universal church that it may be the champion of peace and justice in all the world. Restore the earth with your grace that is able to make all things new. 

Be present with us as we share this meal, and throughout our lives, that we may know you as the Holy One, who with Christ and the Holy Spirit, lives forever.  Amen. 

The Prayer of Our Savior(unison): 

Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.  Amen. 

The Breaking of Bread and Pouring Wine 

The bread which we break is the communion of the body of Christ.  The cup of blessing which we bless is the communion of the blood of Christ. 

The Call to Supper 

The gifts of God for the people of God.  Come, for all things are ready. 

The Sharing of the Elements 

P: Take and eat, this is the body of Christ, broken for you. 

All: Amen! 

P: Take and drink, this is the cup of the new covenant, poured out for you. 

All: Amen! 

*The Prayer of Thanksgiving   

Almighty God, we give you thanks for the gift of our Savior’s presence in the simplicity and splendor of this holy meal.  Unite us with all who are fed by Christ’s body and blood that we may faithfully proclaim the good news of your love that your universal church may be a rainbow of hope in an uncertain world; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer.  Amen 

Closing Hymn:  “Christ Is Alive”  Sheet Music Resource

Benediction

“Go forth into the world to serve God with gladness; be of good courage; hold fast to that which is good; render to no one evil for evil; strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak; help the afflicted; honor all people; love and serve God, rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

And may the blessing of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit remain with you forever.  Amen.

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Psalm 23: Our Guide Through Lent

March 12, 2021

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Thank you for joining our weekly at home prayer vigil. Please take a look at this week’s vigil reading using the link below. We give thanks to our friends at Unionville United Methodist Church in Beaver County, PA for sharing with us these devotionals. 

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A New Way To Give

March 27, 2020

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The current COVID-19/Corona Virus pandemic has forced many individuals, businesses, and organizations to rethink how to accomplish day-to-day functions.  The church is no different.  

St. Paul’s continues to do vital ministry:

  • Reaching out to the homebound & lonely
  • Caring for the sick
  • Comforting the dying & their families
  • Working with the Somerset Area School District, Meals on Wheels, Somerset Area Ministries, and other agencies to ensure our most vulnerable community members are fed everyday
  • Online children’s programming
  • Online fellowship events
  • Live-streaming and videos of worship services on Facebook & YouTube
  • Launching a COVID-19 community mission fund to assist those in need because of social distancing, job loss, and illness
  • Honoring our monthly mission partners

A number of our members and friends have asked for an online way to give, so we are pleased to offer this service through tithe.ly.  You can make a gift by accessing our website (see the “Give” button on the homepage or the button below), www.stpaulsuccsomerset.org.  You may also download the free tithe.ly app to your smartphone or tablet and customize it to meet your needs.  Although the service is free to the church, credit card and transaction fees are assessed to each gift, so when making an online contribution through tithe.ly, please consider using the bank funds transfer feature, which has the lowest fee of one percent per transaction.  For your convenience, you may also select the reoccurring gift option if you would like to make regular gifts to the church.  If you have any questions or need assistance using this service, please do not hesitate to contact Cindy, our financial secretary.  And as always, we still accept and appreciate your mail-in contributions!

We value your continued thoughts and prayers during these challenging times.  On behalf of the staff, and lay leadership of our church, we wish you good health and strength as we encounter each day together.  Relying on God and one another, we will get through this!

Blessings,

Pastor Matt

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