You are on page 1of 12


Paul's Episcopal Church

Lansing Michigan

St. Paul's News

The Prime Directive
June, 2009
By The Very Rev. Dr. Gordon F. Weller
n the television series “Star Trek” and movies that followed, there
I was a rule known as Star Fleet General Order #1 called “The Prime
Directive.” It was the guiding principal for all the exploration done by
Volume 34, Issue 6

the Starship Enterprise and any other ship operating on behalf of The
United Federation of Planets. Inside this issue:

The Rev. Dr. Gordon Weller With this short introduction, I am sure many of you remember what that
Calendar 12
“Directive” was. For those who don’t, the law stated that there was to
be no interference with the internal affairs of other civilizations discovered in the universe. As the Prayer List 7
prime directive, it governed every thought and action of Captain Kirk and his crew as they went
“where no man had gone before.” Treasurer’s
As we complete the season of Easter, having heard all the resurrection stories and the Gospels’
admonitions about how to behave in response to God’s greatest gift, it is easy to become confused Upcoming
as to what to do. Matthew 28:19-20 says “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptiz- Activities
ing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to
obey everything that I have commanded you.” Mark 16:16 says, “Go into all the world and pro-
claim the good news to the whole creation.”
(Continued on page 10)

Standing in the Tragic Gap
By Martie Repaskey and Millie Ericson Hours

embers of St. Paul’s Prayer Group have been moved and inspired by lessons learned in the
M current issue of “Weavings,” a bimonthly collection of articles related to spirituality, which we
have used as our “textbook” throughout this year. Last month, we read an article by Parker Palmer
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
in which he discussed the experience of standing in the “tragic gap.” He describes the gap as a
place of tension, between what is and what could and should or will be, or the interval between Office closed Fridays
the reality of a given situation and an alternative reality we know to be possible because we have thru
already experienced it. The tragic gap is so named because it is “inevitable, inexorable, inescap- September 4, 2009
This concept resonated with many of us, as we were able to review many times in our own lives
when we have faced this experience. Parker states that to live in this world we must learn how to
stand in the gap with faith and hope. When finding ourselves in the gap, we are faced with alter-
native responses—either caving in to the tyranny of the primitive brain (fight or flight) or “holding
life’s tensions in the responsive heart, where we may encounter social and cultural creativity.”
Parker asserts that when the primitive brain predominates, “humility, compassion, forgiveness, and
the vision of a beloved community or relationship do not stand a chance.” He states that the de-
struction that occurs causes humans to forget that their first calling is to love one another.
In another article, in the same journal, we learned about one man who stood in the gap for many
(Continued on page 10)
Page 2
St. Paul's News
Activities at a Glance
Ongoing Activities • Mission/Outreach, resumes in September
• St. Aelred’s Guild, resumes in September • Mid-Week Eucharist, Tuesdays, noon
• Book Cart, resumes in September
This Month at St. Paul’s and Elsewhere
• B&PW, Tuesday, June 9, 6 PM at the home of
Debby Pierce • Committee Leaders’ Training, Sat., June 6,
• ECW, Monday, June 15, 6:30 PM at the home of 9-11:30 AM
Lyn Zynda • Special Parish Meeting, Sun., June 7, after 10 AM
• Family Night Dinner, resumes in September • Sunday Eucharist & Picnic in the Park, Sun., June 14
• 4 Fs, resumes in September • Vacation Bible School, June 15-19
• St. Paul’s Library, open every Sunday Looking Ahead
• Prayer Group, resumes in September
• 2009 Youth Mission Trip, July 26-31
• Men’s Breakfast, resumes in September

All Parish Meeting Thank you, Thank you. . .

By The Very Rev. Dr. Gordon F. Weller By Kathleen Johnson, Office Manager
n Sunday, June 7, immediately following the 10 would like to thank everyone at St. Paul’s for
O a.m. service, we will hold an All Parish meeting to
discuss the shortfall in the budget. At the January An-
I all their prayers and thoughtfulness during my
recent medical leave. I truly appreciate all the
nual Meeting, a motion was made to “ask the Vestry to cards, flowers, gifts, meals (I love A Catered Af-
consider the problem and report back to the parish (by faire!), and phone calls that I received. I would
May 31) with some solutions.” By now you should have especially like to thank all the wonderful parishion-
received a report from the Vestry with some thoughts ers, ECW, and B&PW for taking over the office
about how we might solve the problem. Please make duties while I was away. A special thank you to
every effort to be in attendance on June 7. Libby Richardson, Debby Pierce, and Chris Strukel
for making sure everything was organized and
taken care of. And, of course, a BIG THANK YOU
Graduation Sunday to “my boys” (Gordon, Ron, Steve, Bill, and Doug)
who did everything possible to make sure I didn’t
By The Very Rev. Dr. Gordon F. Weller worry about the office and could recuperate
peacefully. I’ve truly been blessed with a wonder-
n Sunday, June 7, at the 10 a.m. service, St. Paul’s
O will again celebrate the accomplishments of many
who are involved in academic pursuits and celebrate
ful St. Paul’s family. I appreciate and thank all of
graduation. Because we wish to acknowledge everyone,
please notify the parish office if anyone in your family
is graduating this spring.

Calendar B&PW
By The Very Rev. Dr. Gordon F. Weller By Libby Richardson
une is when we begin to place the activities of our he last meeting of B&PW for the 2008-09
J various Guilds, Committees and activities on the cal-
endar for the upcoming September through August pe-
T year will be a bar-be-cue, June 9 at 6 p.m. at
the home of Debby Pierce. The main course is
riod. If you are involved with or in charge of any parish Pulled Pork and each member is asked to bring an
group, please be sure you calendar events are turned appropriate dish to pass. For additional informa-
into the parish office as soon as possible. tion please call Debby or myself.

June 2009
Page 3
St. Paul's News
Staff Vacations
By The Very Rev. Dr. Gordon F. Weller
hroughout June, July and August, the staff will be taking well deserved
T vacations at various times. Be assured that even if several are on vaca-
tion at the same time, the pastoral responsibilities of the parish will be main-
tained. If you have a need or situation to report or discuss, please be diligent
in trying to contact us. We will try to leave appropriate reminders on our
voicemails, etc. but may be out of contact for periods of time. Please be sure
you actually talk to someone rather than just leaving a message. If you cannot contact one of the clergy, con-
sider contacting one of the Wardens: Martie Repaskey, Senior Warden, or Stephanie Van Koevering, Jr.

Annual Sunday Service and Picnic in the Park

By Millie Ericson, Vestry Member
ith a red, white and blue theme to honor Flag Day, the Annual Sunday Service and Picnic in the Park will
W take place on Sunday, June 14, beginning with Eucharist at 10 a.m. The location this year is Hawk Island
Park, 1601 Cavanaugh St. (between Pennsylvania and Aurelius) in Lansing. Parishioners are invited to join in the
festivities of the day by wearing flag colors!
Hawk Island offers many activities for all ages, including swimming, fishing, a paved trail for walking or biking,
a splash pad, sand volleyball and a community-built playground. No dogs are allowed in the park but the
Soldan’s Dog Park is available nearby.
Sign up is available by the Merrifield Room to bring one of the following: potato salad, baked beans, salad,
veggies, fruit dish, chips, dessert. The church will provide hot dogs, hamburgers, drinks and picnic ware. A map
to the park and a coupon for parking are available with the sign-up sheet. Donations will be collected at the
picnic to cover the parking fee and offset the cost of hot dogs, etc.
The 10 a.m. service will take place at the Park, in lieu of a service at the church. The 8 a.m. service will be at
the church as usual.

St. Paul’s News Available On Line

By Lyn Zynda, Layout Editor
he June issue of SPN will be the last to be mailed out Parish-wide. Beginning in September the newsletter
T will be available at our new and improved web site, We are taking this step for a
variety of reasons: production and paper costs, staff time to prepare and mail, and the negative impact print-
ing the newsletter has on the environment to name a few.
For me this is an exciting evolution. Currently we struggle to gather the articles (it’s deadline, people, not sug-
gested deadline) edit, layout the issue, and proofread in an effort to get the issue in your hands before the first
of the month. This causes lots and lots of stress for everyone involved, especially Christine Caswell, our editor,
and myself. An additional bonus for being online is the ability to use color in each issue and hyperlinks to addi-
tional information and related sites.
There is still the option of requesting a mailed, hard copy of each issue for those in the parish who aren’t con-
nected to the internet and copies will be available in the tract rack in the Cloister. If you still would like a copy
of St. Paul’s News sent, please call Kathleen Johnson at 517-482-9454.

June 2009
Page 4
St. Paul's News

Memorial Plaque
By Martie Repaskey, Sr. Warden
he above graphic depicts the proposed bronze plaque for the Memorial Garden. This plaque, which will
T list all interred in the Garden, will be placed below the windows of the Van Atta Room on the east side of
the Garden.
We were hoping to be able to install the plaque in time for the Homecoming, but we now expect the plaque to
be completed sometime in June.

St. Paul’s Youth Group Can Attest Father Byrd’s BBQ is the BEST!
By Barb Heany
n May 3, youth group members and their parents gathered at
O the home of Barb Heany to celebrate a year filled with fun and
accomplishments. And there couldn’t have been a better way to cele-
brate than with Father Byrd’s (a.k.a. Baby Byrd’s Q) World Class
barbeque ribs. Grilled and smoked to perfection, Father Byrd’s BBQ
ribs were everything they were hailed to be and more!
Blessed with a beautiful day, the group was able to enjoy various
outdoor games and activities and to make plans for their work week-
end at Michi-Lu-Ca Camp at Stoney Lake in May and the Youth
Works Mission trip to Cario, Illinois in July.
From outreach projects to fun group outings, it has indeed been a
year to celebrate and be proud of. A special thank you to Father
Byrd for all you have done for us! And your ribs are mighty good,

June 2009
Page 5
St. Paul's News
St. Paul’s Leaders Greet Archbishop
Desmond Tutu
By Stephanie Van Koevering, Vestry Member
lergy and lay leaders from St. Paul's were among
C those who participated in an intimate gathering with
Archbishop Desmond Tutu on May 7.
The event, which included Bishop Wendell Gibbs and ap-
proximately 30 to 40 Episcopal leaders from around the
Lansing area, offered an opportunity to hear Archbishop
Tutu's perspectives on the future of the worldwide church.
Fr. Gordon Weller, Archbishop Desmond Tuto and
"When you consider the things we face together as a Bishop Wendell Gibbs
global communion, poverty, AIDS, suffering, it is a shame
that we should focus so intently on the issues that divide us," Tutu said. He went on to express his belief that the
church will survive these challenges and continue to make a difference.
Archbishop Tutu also exhorted the young people in attendance to act with purpose and vigor in all areas of
their lives. "Go and do," Tutu said. "God is relying on you."
Event details and photographs can be accessed by visiting

Calling All Committee Leaders our activities, timelines and expectations for the future.
Please plan to join members of the Vestry in the Merri-
By Stephanie Van Koevering, Jr. Warden field Room on Saturday, June 6 from 9 - 11:30 a.m.
for a training/work session. Please RSVP to the parish
t. Paul's is blessed to have an abundance of coun-
S selors to provide guidance and direction to the
parish. As we prepare to embark on the 161st year of
office by May 29. If you are unable to attend for
some reason, please plan to send an alternate from
your committee. This will help ensure full representation
St. Paul's, we wish to pause and reflect on where our
and rich discussion at the event and beyond.
united journey in faith is taking us.
At the event, we will coordinate committee calendars,
This year, St. Paul's committee leaders are being in-
work on committee and parish action plans, and share
vited to help develop strengthened plans for the fu-
some thoughts about effective committee and church
ture. The Vestry is preparing to embark on a long-term
governance. This promises to be a collaborative, hands
planning effort and is offering practical suggestions
-on learning event that kicks off some meaningful think-
and training in the development of committee-level
ing about the ongoing life of St. Paul's. 
strategies. This will allow us all to better coordinate

Thanks to Stephanie in the Interim

By Christine Caswell, Editor
yn Zynda and I wish to thank Stephanie Van Koevering for jumping in last month to do the layout for the
L St. Paul’s News. As most of you know, our beloved layout editor, Lyn, lost her husband, Andy, in April, so
she had other matters to attend to. I was going to try to do the layout myself (without the appropriate soft-
ware), but Stephanie (who has lots of software and creativity) volunteered to help me, and it was greatly ap-
preciated. Lyn is back for the this last issue of the 2008-2009 SPN year, but we both wanted to acknowledge
Stephanie’s contribution and thank her for helping us through a difficult time.

June 2009
Page 6
St. Paul's News
Rich in Heritage and Spirit! The children were in charge of the whole service: they
greeted everyone at the doors, helped the ushers, led
By Nancy Sheldon us in the Morning Prayer service, sang beautifully, bur-
ied a Time Capsule, and prepared and served a birth-
he year 2009 began with the acknowledgment day party for our 160th during the coffee hour. It was
T that we were 160 years old! That certainly was a
reason for celebrating, not just during the month of
a busy, happy day and we all gave thanks in our
hearts for the wonderful children in our church and
May, but throughout the year with a variety of mes- their teachers who guide them so caringly and ably!
sages. Each week, Jean Shawver has put a historical
On Mission and Outreach Sunday, we considered our
fact in the bulletin for us to think about, and our ban-
role of mission in the Greater Lansing area by recog-
ners (made by Mike Young) proclaim our pride in our
nizing the senior wardens from All Saints Episcopal
heritage to all who pass by. There will be other occa-
Church and St. Michael’s Episcopal Church. St. Kathe-
sions, as the year continues, to
rine’s Episcopal (to whom we
remind us of our past that we
sent lay readers 125 years
hope everyone will enjoy. ago when they were still a
However, the month of May private chapel and had no
was truly special. The after- priest) was unable to be
glow from the services will there due to a very special
sustain us for quite a while. celebration it was having on
Each Sunday celebrated a that same Sunday. Another
part of St. Paul’s which has important mission has been
significant importance to us our relationship to the state
all and for which we are capitol. Lt. Governor John
grateful. As different as each Cherry was present to talk
Sunday service turned out to about the importance of that
be, God’s love was abun- relationship. Deacon Bill Fine-
dantly felt as we worshiped out gave an interesting hom-
together. Our choirs were ily about the history of the
magnificent in their perform- Leslee Fisher and Kathy Wilson Banwell, two of the first outreach to which St. Paul’s
female acolytes at St. Paul’s has been committed and the
ances as well as the selections
Dr. Lange chose each week. vision that our Mission & Out-
Having former parishioner Doug Austin accompany reach Committee has for its continuance.
the choirs for the several pieces he has composed
Homecoming Weekend saw people from near and far
throughout the years especially for St. Paul’s was a
who gathered their families to celebrate our 160
real treat. There were many new faces and there were
years of service and fellowship during four special
old friends whom we hadn’t seen in a long time. Each
events: (1) a confirmation service Saturday morning at
Sunday brought special gifts. St. Paul’s with the Rt. Rev. Wendell Gibbs, Jr., our
Music and Worship Sunday was celebrated by two of Bishop, for our members as well as all the Capitol
our former women priests, the Rev. Carol Spangen- Area Deanery Episcopal churches; (2) a fun-filled eve-
berg, a former assistant, and the Rev. Monique Elli- ning, beginning with a delicious Homecoming dinner;
son, a former curate. In addition, two women from the (3) moving to the Methodist Church to watch
first class that allowed female acolytes in 1972 were “Godspell,” presented by our high school choir; (4)
“guest” acolytes to help us commemorate the role of and lastly, Homecoming Sunday, a memorable service
women in the Episcopal Church. They were Kathy Wil- with former rectors participating, as well as recogniz-
son Banwell and Leslee Fisher. There were many ing former senior wardens, and those who, throughout
smiles and the tapping of feet as the choir sang a gos- our history, have served in the armed forces.
pel mass throughout the service…a wonderful way to
I want to thank a terrific Advisory Committee who
begin our celebration! worked so hard for more than a year planning this
Our Children’s Sunday (on Mother’s Day), beautifully celebration: Pam Irwin, co-chair, Ellie Doersam, Sue
organized by Father Ron and Barb Heany, brought LeDuc, Martie Repaskey, Susan Henderson, Dorothy
joy, hope and grateful hearts as they processed in with (Continued on page 8)
their Sunday school teachers, all waving 160th flags!

June 2009
Choirs News
St. Paul' Page 7

Did You Know?

By Jean Shawver

he altar in the Chapel of the Incarnation has special importance

T for those of us who now celebrate the 160th year of St. Paul’s.
The cabinet encloses the original altar from the first church on Wash-
ington Avenue. How thoughtful of those who chose to perpetuate the
founding of our church.

e pray for those who are sick and in need: Cindy Robinson, Richard
W and Aaron Hegmon, Shelley Robinson, Mason Hill, Lois Caswell,
Erik Lindquist, Chance Collins, Barb Hacker, Marjorie Belles, Aleda, Dave,
Kathryn Senko, Barb Powers, Patricia Reno, Skip and Marsha Macholz,
Michael and Gwen Skinner, Edward Such, Judy Jones, Melinda Naumer,
Tom Foltz, Cheryl Ann, Vivian Hawkins, Perce Guilder, Linda, Kaema
Amachree, Bill, Mary Lindquist, Yvette Constan and family, Cris Plyler,
Brian French, Lynne, Donald Clark, and Roland Howes
We pray and remember those in the Military, serving in dangerous areas: Daniel Reno, Michael Benson, and
Steven Johnson
We pray for comfort for the family and friends of: Katherine Pope, Andy Zynda, Ernie Hedburg, Russell
Huber, and Kathryn Chlebo
We pray for all those whose jobs and livelihoods are in jeopardy
We pray for those expecting: Summer (Sleight) and Jake Stevens, Brooke and Ian Broughton, Susie and
Luke Shaefer, Tara and Norman Farhat, Jill and Clif Schneider, Rochelle and Stuart Cullum, Allyson and
Jerry Parker, and Carrie (Kressler) and Charlie Smith
We give thanks for the birth of Elkanah Lagu son of Joseph and Hayat Lagu, and Gavin Theodore Alvarez
daughter of Amanda and Darrick Alvarez and siblings Erikah and Abraham

Going, Going, Gone!

By The Rev. Ronald C. Byrd, Sr.
Sales end soon. There are just a few weeks remaining to get your
youth group fundraiser discount card. Each card sells for $20 and
offers 15 incredible freebies and/or discounts to local area busi-
nesses. Cards can be purchased on Sundays during coffee hour in
the Merrifield room or at anytime from members of St. Paul’s Youth
Group. Please help our youth help others!

June 2009
Page 8
St. Paul'and
s News
Vacation Bible School planning a
“Petting Zoo”
By The Rev. Ronald C. Byrd, Sr. on Friday. We
think this will
rom June 15-19, St. Paul’s will take a few steps be especially
F back into the old west, when pre-school through
6th grade students take “A Wild Ride Through God’s
fun for the
children and
Word.” The wild ride begins each day at 9 a.m. with help increase
Sing and Play Stampede. Through the course of the their aware-
morning, children will experience Wild Bible Adven- ness of St.
tures, Horseplay Games, Chuck Wagon Chow, Cow- Paul’s MDG
poke Crafts, and Chadder’s Wild West Theater. At the initiatives. Now how’s that for a wild ride!
end of every morning children will gather for a show-
To register your child for this awesome Bible-learning
time round-up and dismissal. On Friday, our final day
adventure, please complete a registration form and
together, there will be a carnival for the children and
return it to Fr. Ron’s office mailbox.
their families. If that’s not enough to get our kids’ boots
kicking, maybe our special twist on this year’s program Finally, on Saturday June 13, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.,
will! volunteers, will gather at St. Paul’s to decorate and for
a pre-VBS meeting. For more details, questions or to
In support of St. Paul’s Millennium Development Goals
volunteer please contact Fr. Ron. I look forward to
(MDG)/Mission and Outreach Heifer project, we are
seeing you on the ranch!

Countdown to Mission Trip Brown-Clarke and Fr. Ron will depart from the St.
Paul’s at 6 a.m. on Sunday, July 26 and return to the
By The Rev. Ronald C. Byrd, Sr. church at approximately 7 p.m. on Friday, July 31. The
first part of our week will include engaging younger
t is less than two months before St. Paul’s Youth children through games and activities. The second half
I Group heads off to Cairo, Illinois for a week of min- will be set aside for helping seniors and may include
istry and mission. Our 2009 mission trip is being tasks such as house painting, residential cleaning and
planned and coordinated through an organization some minor home repairs. Evening activities will give
called YouthWorks, which is based out of Minneapolis, our youth insight into the lives of local residents and
Minnesota. For more than 15 years, YouthWorks has culture. Activities might include costume bowling, wor-
provided life-changing, Christ-centered youth mission ship at a local church, a scavenger hunt around Cairo,
opportunities for junior and high school children. Six and perhaps a community Bar-B-Q. Additional infor-
core values influence and stand at the center of Youth- mation may be obtained by visiting YouthWorks’ web-
Works mission trip planning and execution: Youth site at
Minded, Servant Leadership, Relationship Oriented,
The reservation deadline is June 15, and there are
Life Changing, Multi-Denominational and Ministry Fo-
only seven spots remaining. Parents interested in hav-
cused. ing their child participate in this year’s mission trip are
Our youth accompanied by Fr. Weller, Dr. Judith encouraged to pick up a mission trip planning package
from Fr. Ron.

(Continued from page 6)

Marsh, Nancy Berger, Steve Lange, Debby Pierce, Mandy Lawton, Jean Shawver and Janie Wilson.
Others helped throughout the process on a variety of projects: Pat Smith, Mary Luginsland, Stephanie Van
Koevering, Mary Rose Siebold, John Irwin, Max Pierce, Mike Young, Chris Couch, Matt Ferguson, Kirk
Lindquist, Carol Ingells, Barbara Heany, ECW and church Guilds and the staff. Thanks to Gordon Weller, Ron
Byrd, Bill Fineout, and Kathleen Johnson for her extra hours and patience with all of us throughout this process!
Thank you to all of you!

June 2009
Page 9
St. Paul's News
Financial Information as of April 30, 2009
By Julie Young
Ninety-percent of the Thaman bequest, or $136,763.13, was deposited into the Perpetual Fund, with the re-
maining 10 percent going into the Mission and Outreach Fund.
April 30 marks the end of the first third of the year. Pledge income in April was $25,804, bringing the year-to-
date total pledge income to $105,474, almost 34 percent of the budget, so it appears that we are on target
with pledge revenue. Overall revenue is at 34 percent for the year. There was a shortfall in April of $10,633,
making it necessary to withdraw $10,000 from the St. Paul’s Perpetual Fund.

Vestry Highlights
At the May 19th meeting of the Vestry, your Vestry: • Approved the presentation of that plan to the
congregation on June 7
• Had dinner together • Authorized additional employment for Fr. Byrd
• Did devotions with St. Dunstan as our model. (Did through December 2009 (if needed)
you know we have a St. Dunstan's Guild?) • Heard that the plaque for the Memorial Garden
• Approved the minutes from the April 21st meet- will not be ready by the May 31 homecoming.
ing. Will be installed sometime in June
• Received the completed 2007 Audit. Acceptance • Discussed the Action Plan seminar scheduled for
will be at the June meeting. June 6
• Discussed the Recommendations and Implementa- • Discussed the all-parish e-mail list
tion of same. • Discussed the Vestry calling program. It would be
• Approved the withdrawal of an additional appropriate for those who have not completed
$30,000 from the endowment funds as needed. their calling to advertise the General Parish
• Authorized the transfer of $365 from the organ Meeting on June 7
repair fund to the general account. • Reviewed the 160th celebration. So far it has
• Accepted the treasurer's report. been spectacular!
• Received a report from the finance committee • Made plans for Graduation Sunday and the Ves-
about answering our financial shortfall. try sponsored breakfast on June 7
• Discussed the implications of the plan (conduct a • Discussed and began to implement a long-range
Capitol Campaign) planning program for the parish that would en-
• Discussed two major issues associated with our compass program as well as finance
budget shortfall (Diocesan Pledge & Curate's • Received a report in the hiring of a new Sunday
program) nursery attendant
• Passed a "Motion of Intent" to support our finan- • Received Clergy reports
cial commitment in full to the Diocese
• Approved in concept the continuation of the cu-
racy program (although a replacement for Fr.
Byrd may not be available until June 2010)

June 2009
Page 10
St. Paul's News
(Continued from, “Standing in the Tragic Gap,” page 1) years before the Civil War! That this community was
able to remain in faithful communication with one an-
years, witnessing to God’s love. John Woolman was a other until unity was reached is an inspiration, for it
Quaker living in colonial New Jersey who believed seems evident that they continued to love and respect
that slavery was immoral. He urged his fellow Quak- one another despite their differences. It was yet an-
ers to release their slaves and discovered that many other reminder of how decisions can be made in a
were not willing to do so, largely for economic rea- community in a peaceable fashion.
sons. Despite their varying views on this issue, his con-
gregation supported him in true Quaker fashion by We in this faith community of St. Paul’s hold the seeds
taking care of his family while he toured up and down of such discovery in our spiritual journeys! We can
the east coast, carrying his message to Friends. John choose to “fight or flight” over potentially contentious
Woolman stood “in the gap” for over 20 years, con- issues that might result in a divided or embittered
vinced that his belief about the evils of slavery was in community, or we can choose to “stand in the gap”
fact a message from God. Quakers were then, and and seek to achieve a unity of spirit that can yield a
are now, committed to making decisions on issues in- stronger and more unified community. With responsive
volving God’s will by coming to unity rather than by hearts that promote trust in God and in each other,
voting and having majority rule. They consider major- and with an ever-present willingness to listen deeply
ity vote a form of violence against the humanity and to one another through the inspiration of the Holy
integrity of the minority. Consequently, when faced Spirit, we can tackle the challenges which come our
with a divisive matter, Quakers would talk and pray, way, and we can be sure that God’s truth is working
talk and pray, talk and pray, listen to one another, in the process! In Christian communities, how we achieve
then attempt to discern the will of God until they be- our goals is at least as important as the goals we
came united on the position. John Woolman held the choose to achieve.
tension throughout those 20 years, convinced in his If you would like to explore similar prayer-related
heart of the rightness of his position but always mind- topics with us, please feel warmly invited to join the
ful of his faith community. Ultimately, the Quakers be- St. Paul’s Prayer Group, which meets on the first Tues-
came unified, agreeing that slavery was immoral and day of the month at 5:30 p.m. We will resume meet-
an abomination. The Quakers were the first religious ings next September in the choir room. Please join us!
community to free their slaves, and they did so 80

(Continued from “The Prime Directive,” page 1)

Luke 24:47 says that “Repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations,
beginning from Jerusalem.” And John says in chapter 21:30-31, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the
presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to
believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his
I think that as Christians we have a Prime Directive. That directive is “To be God’s Healing Presence in the
World.” In some ways, our first rule is exactly opposite of the Star Fleet command to change nothing. God
has no hands but ours, no eyes and ears but ours, no way to facilitate the changes we all pray for, except
we be present and allow it to happen. In any life situation, personal or social, if merciful action is needed, it
will happen through us.
I offer this because on June 7, we will have a parish meeting where we will consider how we will respond to
the budgetary shortfall that was evident at January’s Annual Meeting. If our only concern is to “survive,” we
will fail to keep our Christian “Prime Directive.” If our only concern is to balance the budget, we will negate
what we have become, a healthy agent of God’s love in the world. Indeed, we need to “take care of busi-
ness” at home, but only in so far as it enables us to take care of business in the world.
To quote another science fiction, other-world series, “May the force be with us!” In my heart, I know He will.

June 2009

Non Profit Org.

Permit 1621

St. Paul's Episcopal Church

Lansing Michigan
218 W. Ottawa
Lansing, MI 48933
Phone: 517-482-9454
Fax: 517-485-8621
Choir Room: 517-482-0369

The St. Paul’s News is a publication of St. Paul’s Episcopal

Church, Lansing Michigan.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Staff
The Very Rev. Dr. Gordon Weller, Rector
The Rev. Ronald C. Byrd, Sr., Curate
Dr. Stephen R. Lange, Minister of Music
The Rev. Deacon William H. Fineout
Ms. Mary Rodeck, Assistant Minister of Music
Ms. Kathleen Johnson, Office Manager

St. Paul’s News Editorial Staff

Christine Caswell, Editor
Lyn Zynda, Acting Editor

If you no longer wish to receive these mailings, please call the church office (517) 482-9454,
any time of the day or night and leave a message to be taken off our mailing list.

Related Interests