A Sunday of Celebration! by Rev. Charlie Dupree

This Sunday at St. Paul’s, we’ll have a lot to celebrate!

The Feast of All Saints’. We celebrate the Feast of All Saints’ on November 1st. This year it falls on a Sunday, as the occasion on which the church remembers those who have moved into the nearer presence of God. Having run their course on earth, they join with “saints and angels and the whole company of heaven” to embrace God’s gift of eternal freedom where “pain and suffering are no more, neither sighing, but life everlasting.” As we gather around the altar for virtual Eucharist, we will name those persons from the St. Paul’s community who have died since last All Saints. We will also speak the names submitted by you – those whom we love, but see no longer. The practice of lifting up names recalls our connection as a St. Paul’s community, a spiritual community that trusts in God’s eternal, abiding presence.

St. Paul’s 175th Celebration. November also marks the beginning of a year-long celebration of our 175th anniversary as St. Paul’s, Richmond! Even though this year and this milestone look much different than we had imagined, we will celebrate that God has called us to be the Episcopal Church in downtown Richmond. A team of parishioners is planning events for us to mark this milestone. Together we will recall that we have been the hands and heart of Christ for 175 years, and we will rejoice to see how God continues to call us into new contexts, new ministries, and new expressions of service. Join us on Sunday as we kick off the celebration.

Community Giving Campaign. Sunday marks the formal end of our Community Giving Campaign. If you have not yet had a chance to submit your pledge, you can do so HERE. ChurchTogether is our theme and the celebrations that we mark on Sunday remind us, now more than ever, of the importance of being together both in our past and in our future. I once had a seminary professor say “there is no such thing as the individual Christian.” As Christians, we do not exist alone. We are always a community, the body of Christ. And the Church is a way of reminding us that we are together, even though we may not be able to be physically next to each other. Those saints we will name on Sunday relied on that together-ness. Their ministries were known and felt across the city, the country, and the globe. And the church was their “home base.” For 175 years, St. Paul’s has moved ahead together. And, for the next year and the years to come, we depend on each other in ways large and small as we move into and advance God’s Kingdom. We can only do that together. Thank you for the ways that you have supported and continue to support this parish family.

Thank you, the good and faithful people of St. Paul’s, for your spirit of togetherness. You have a lot to celebrate. And God has a lot to celebrate in you.

A Prayer for the Parish (BCP, p. 817)
Almighty and everliving God, ruler of all things in heaven
and earth, hear our prayers for St Paul’s, Richmond. Strengthen
the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent.
Grant us all things necessary for our common life, and bring
us all to be of one heart and mind within your holy Church;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Unity of the Church (BCP, p. 818)
O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Savior,
the Prince of Peace: Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the
great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions; take away
all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us
from godly union and concord; that, as there is but one Body
and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith,
one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all
of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth
and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and
one mouth glorify you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.