For Sunday, August 15, 2021

Revised COVID Protocol for Indoor Worship

Due to the recent spike in COVID cases in our area, Bishop Susan has issued this appeal to all clergy in our diocese.

Dear Clergy,

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Susan Brown Snook, Bishop
The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego

Jesus commands us to love our neighbors, which includes doing what we can to keep them and ourselves safe in a public health crisis. With regret, due to the spike in Covid cases in our area, I am asking you to reinstate mask-wearing for all (except while reading or preaching) for indoor worship in our diocese.

I have so enjoyed our brief respite from most restrictions in worship. Like all of you, I hoped and prayed that the drop in Covid cases we saw earlier in the summer would prove to be the end of the pandemic. Sadly, the choice of many people in our area to remain unvaccinated is allowing the pandemic to continue. Given the fact that children and some people with health conditions cannot yet be vaccinated, and that even vaccinated adults can catch breakthrough cases (albeit with far better outcomes than unvaccinated people), it seems that the responsible thing to do is keep ourselves safe with masking during indoor worship. I am saddened by the need to tighten restrictions once more, but this message comes after review of the concerning news of a Covid spike, and after discussion with members of our Public Health Task Force.

I ask you to join me in prayer that the current growth in cases is short-lived, and I ask you to urge your members to be vaccinated, for the sake of public health in our community. I hope we can remove the masking requirement soon. But for now, I believe that Jesus’ command to love our neighbor compels us to do what we can to protect our neighbors and our community from this disease. I am grateful to all of you for your leadership in this trying time.

In Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Susan Brown Snook, Bishop
The Episcopal Diocese of San Diego

Coffee/Social Hour Hospitality is Back

coffee hour

As of Sunday, August 8, regular coffee hour hospitality has been reinstated in the Parish Hall following our weekly 10:30 AM Sunday Services.  For those wishing to sponsor refreshments for a specific Sunday, please call or stop by the Parish Office to sign up.  (You can also find the hospitality sign-up book in the Narthex on Sunday mornings.)

We recommend keeping the food offerings simple – cookies, small pastries, donuts, fresh fruit – to lessen the burden on the host(s) and helpers.  Of course, on occasion, a more elaborate array of refreshments may be appropriate for an important celebration.  Cecilia Melero, Assistant Sexton, is available to provide support, but, as always, room setup and cleanup will be the responsibility of those hosting.

All our procedures and protocols will be subject to any CDC guidelines and mandates that Bishop Susan may put into place, depending on prevailing COVID conditions.

September Book Club

The next Book Club meeting will be held Tuesday, September 7, 2021, at 1:00 PM, via Zoom.  Meeting access information will follow later. For September, Book Club has selected The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. In this novel Nora Seed finds herself faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one. But she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what life would be like if she made different choices at points of her life.

New members are always welcome at Book Club. For more information contact Alan Zimmerman at alanzimmerman@icloud.com.

A note from Fred Ross and the Parish Life Committee . . .

Our small group potlucks known as “Circle Suppers” will begin again in October, with new groups being formed in September.  We have several new members wishing to join this Season.  If you’re interested, please send an email to fredeross@comcast.net so we can add your name to the roster.  The new groups will gather in the parish hall later in September (TBD) to plan the Season and pick a date for the first potluck supper.

Thanks!
Fred

Let’s Talk About “Circle Suppers”

By Nancy Antonius

High on the list of favorite activities sponsored by the Parish Life Ministry are the ever-popular “Circle Suppers.” For those of you who aren’t familiar with what they’re all about, here’s a “nutshell” description:

“Circle Suppers” are gatherings of small groups of parishioners (10-12) who meet monthly to socialize – usually while sharing a meal – to get to know each other better.  These “Suppers” are typically held in members’ homes or local restaurants – but can happen anywhere that’s comfortable and conducive to relaxed conversation.  The goal is to nurture friendships and have fun.   It’s that simple.

Each “Circle Supper” is hosted by a member of the group, on a rotational basis.  There are no rules that dictate how to structure the gatherings and the host has the freedom to be as creative as the situation calls for.  Many of the suppers are organized using a potluck format.  The host generally provides the main course and liquid refreshments, and the other members of the group volunteer to bring appetizers, side dishes, and desserts.  If you can’t host in your home, not a problem.  Organize your gathering at a favorite restaurant where everyone can participate “Dutch treat.”  Or plan a group outing to an interesting local destination.  You can also offer to co-host an event with another member who may have the space to accommodate your group but would like to partner with someone who can help with the arrangements.

Active “Circle Supper” members are “scrambled” and reassigned into new groups every September to provide opportunities to meet new people.  So, if you are interested in becoming a group member for the upcoming Season, now is the time to sign up.  Please contact Fred Ross at fredeross@comcast.net by Wednesday, September 1.  Fred will also be happy to answer any questions you may have about the “Suppers.”  (He’s the expert!)  Remember.  All are welcome – including part time desert dwellers as well as year-round residents.  The groups are all about fun and fellowship.  I have met wonderful people who I never would have known, had I not joined “Circle Suppers.”

I say, “Give it a try!  What have you got to lose?”

Nancy

Altar flower sponsorships

Fresh flowers at the altar honor God and add to the beauty of our worship.  We invite you to consider sponsoring altar flowers to recognize or honor special people and events.

You can reserve your sponsorship Sunday(s) by calling the Parish Office (760.320.7488).  Or you can stop by the office and browse through the Flower Sponsor Register to see which weeks are available.  (The Register is also accessible in the Narthex on Sunday mornings.)  A donation of $85 for each sponsorship is suggested.

Weekly Bible Sharing

With the Rev. Canon Eric H. F. Law

Thursday, August 19th
12:00 p.m.

Join via Zoom: Click here to join meeting.

Or, join by phone: (669) 900-6833
Meeting ID: 841 2829 0982

Prayers of the Church

For the Anglican Communion, and for the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev. and Rt. Hon Justin Welby; for the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, The Most Rev. Dr. Thabo Cecil Makgoba, Archbishop of Cape Town, Primate.

For the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, The Rt. Rev. George R. Sumner, Bishop.

For the Diocese of San Diego, The Rt. Rev. Dr. Susan Brown Snook, Bishop; for the Clergy and people of Good Samaritan, San Diego; for the faculty and students of the EDSD School for Ministry as they prepare for the fall semester.

For those commended to our prayers:  Tim Overdurf, Ted, Suzanne Zada, Erich Rasimus, Eliott Kahn, Shirley Gilchrist, Pat Lutgen, Brian Nealy; pray for all those affected by COVID-19: heal those who are suffering, comfort those who grieve, and strengthen those who are caring for others; pray for all those for whom no prayers have been said.

For those who have died: Jerry McCleery, Ralph Villani, Jeff Adair, Christopher Telles, Florence Whaley.

In Memoriam . . . Longtime parishioner Jerry McCleery passed away August 11, in Palm Springs.  Rest eternal grant to him, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine upon him.  Today’s Altar flowers are given by Claire McCleery, in loving memory of Jerry.

For those with birthdays: August 15: Thomas Amestoy, Teri Whitmer, Dick Taylor, Ryan Hackney, George Piccardi; August 16: Chris Butler; August 18: Forrest Irons; August 19: Robert Oakes; August 20: Larry Stralow, Sandra Shaw; August 21: Doug Thompson.

For those celebrating anniversaries: August 15: Tom Baxley & Chuck Coursey; August 17: Marie & Wayne Berkner; August 20: Lou Armentrout & Mick Welch, Joe Lopez & Jeff Johnson.

Send us your Prayer Requests via email — You may request prayers, “For those commended to our prayers” or “For those who have died,” by sending requests to announcements@stpaulsps.org

For this Sunday’s Lectionary readings Click Here. From the calendar, select August 15th.

Daughters of the King Prayer List Requests

St. Paul’s Order of the Daughters of the King chapter maintains a confidential prayer list, praying daily for our families, friends, congregation, and the world. If you would like to ask the Daughters to pray for you or someone else, email your requests to dokstpaulsps@gmail.com.  Confidentiality of this list means that names on our list are not shared beyond our chapter members and Chaplain.

Questions? Contact Patty Kiker, 214.497.3034

Parish Office Summer Hours

The Parish Office is now open for business as usual and observing regular summer office hours:

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
9:00 AM – 11:30 AM; 1:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Friday
9:00 AM – 11:30 AM

Episcopal News Service

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Compassionate Care Task Force

Our diocesan task force on compassionate care for victims of clergy sexual misconduct seeks to connect with those who have experienced misconduct. If you have reported clergy sexual misconduct and have information about the reporting or post-reporting experience that could be helpful to their work, please refer to the task force members, all of whom are listed on the diocesan website: Task-Force. Information on how to report misconduct is available here.

Report clergy misconduct

As part of our ongoing commitment to creating a safe haven for everyone, our diocese trains people in the prevention of misconduct and encourages all to report misconduct. All reported incidences are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly and confidentially. If you believe you have experienced misconduct of any kind, please contact John Seitman, 858-793-4555 or Equilla Luke, 760-583-0485.

Bullying Behavior Not Welcome Here

At St. Paul in the Desert we welcome all worshipers to a place that is free of violence and bullying.

Physical, verbal or emotional violence against others or against oneself is not acceptable because of our understanding of what it means to follow Jesus.  Please let Jesus’ command to love your neighbor as yourself be your guide.

“It Gets Better” is a series of video messages to encourage Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or Transgender youth and let them know that they are loved as they are.

“A Blessing for Those Who Are Bullied” was written by the Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, a Bishop of the Episcopal Church.

It is not enough to say “NO” to bullies. It is important to stand up for people and to provide resources for those who have been the targets.

Fraud Email Alert

A recurring threat to churches is email-based impersonation scams targeting key personnel. The scheme involves cybercriminals mimicking clergy or other staff through the use of phishing emails. Criminals typically pose as personnel in positions of authority and ask victims to perform money transfers, pay invoices, or to send the attacker sensitive data. Scammers will often manipulate the “from” email address and name so that it appears to be coming from someone you know.

Churches and dioceses across The Episcopal Church and across other denominations have been a target of these email impersonation attacks. Scammers use a free email account (such as Gmail) and register it with an impersonated name. They then send an email to an unsuspecting recipient asking for immediate help in order to get a task done (such as purchasing a gift card or wiring money). Attention to detail can be a lot of help in combating cases of impersonation. Users should check sender details carefully. Any suspicious email message should be investigated before replying. Also, proper attention should be given to the message content, including attachments and URLs.

While there is no way to stop these scams, you can minimize risk by taking these steps:

  • Check the return email address. If the address doesn’t match the name of the sender, be wary.
  • Never open attachments from unknown sources.
  • Be wary of generically addressed emails like “Dear Friend” or Dear Customer.”
  • If there are links in the email, hover over them without clicking on them. This will show where the link will actually take you.
  • Be wary of email with grammatical or spelling errors in the text.
  • Check the address at the bottom of the email. If it says ”Pastor Jim” and Jim never goes by “Pastor,” it’s fake.

Finally, if after all these steps it looks safe and the sender is asking for money or access to secure data, call the person directly to get verification.

Your best defense for this is to simply delete the email; do not click on any links or reply to the sender.

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