Eucharistic Visitors

Some members of the congregation are unable to attend regular worship services due to illness, age, or an incapacitating condition. 

Lay Eucharistic Visitors take the consecrated elements of the Eucharist out to these people and offer support for this most sacred of our rituals. They also provide a welcome connection to the larger church community for those who cannot attend services.

Training is required. Contact Father Chuck for more information.

Lectors and Eucharistic Ministers

Lectors read the Old and New Testament lessons as well as the Prayers of the People during regular services, and special readings as needed. 

A strong, articulate voice is the only requirement.

Training is offered as needed. Volunteers are scheduled on a monthly basis.

Contact:   Kristi Champagne or Debbie Apollonio

Eucharist Ministers administer the Chalice during regular services and at special services as needed. Licensing from the diocese is required, and training is provided.

Volunteers Needed: We need volunteers to serve as Lectors and Eucharistic Ministers for all Sunday services. Our most urgent need is for Eucharistic Ministers at both the 7:45 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. Sunday services.

If you are interested in pursuing either or both of these ministries, training is available at St. Paul’s by arrangement. Contact Kristi Champagne.

Children's Ministry

Every Sunday at the 10:30 service, just before Communion we see the young ones cheerfully and comfortably filing into the nave of the church to join the Eucharist. They have been downstairs in the basement level having their own private service of sorts called Godly Play.

This new form of Sunday School was introduced to St. Paul’s in 2009 with the arrival of our current Children’s Ministry Director, Lindsay Knight, who has allowed God’s work to be pour into all of her heart, mind and soul. Prior to this, there was a period of time where no SundaySchool took place due to the lack of children present. She says, “When I came here, there wasn’t much for children. I knew I would be a mother someday and I wanted my kids to be able to have something.” That vision was the result of a single act of love, and it inspired and motivated Lindsay in a way that ultimately encompassed all of God’s children. The faithful leaders, teachers and volunteers have cultivated the program, and the Children’s Ministry has expanded substantially in recent years. God’s work proliferated!

So what exactly goes on in Godly Play? The young parishioners gather together to listen to a Story; Sacred Stories from the Old and New Testament, Jesus’ Parables, Saint Stories or Focal Stories during the Advent and Lent seasons. At the end of each storytelling, the groups collectively ponder “Wondering” questions.

Children are natural contemplatives. They often point out things they already know from deep within their hearts or experience joy in a place of wondering and are equally delighted when they come to their “A-ha” moments. They have time to come back to these stories again and again by using the same Story materials and manipulatives (simple objects used in Godly Play) during their “Work Time”; they bring to life whichever pieces of the stories that have brought the most meaning to them at that time. Then, they gather to prepare the “Feast” where they communally give thanks and share some plain crackers and a small glass of water. Lastly, they end with an intimate closing prayer and blessing and are sent out into the world as they continue to shine their God given light.

When the class is told that it’s time to clean up, signaling the arrival of the closing, they always respond with, “Aww, already?” Isn’t this wonderful? The children at St. Paul’s are excited about Sunday School. They love Godly Play and take pride in owning their own space in being part of the greater Body of Christ, but it doesn’t end here. This body also extends beyond the youngsters; Godly Play teachers.

St. Paul’s has a dedicated group of about twenty teachers who are vital to this ministry. Genie Koenker shares, “I think it’s very important for especially the preschool-age to hear these stories that I think are the foundation of our faith. They should hear these stories over and over again.” Another seasoned Godly Play teacher, Linda Tiffany said, “I love telling Bible stories to the children and help them grow in their Faith.”

Moreover, it is appropriately called “Children’s Ministry” because the children are the ones who are truly ministering to the teachers and to the rest of us. This is evident from Ann Edmonds testimony: “For me, it has shifted my own spirituality because I’ve gotten to go into the story surrounded by children and their questions. It’s a really Sacred Space in my life and another unexpected gift. And when I work with the other teachers, I also get to see another perspective of the story. I certainly think it’s important for the Church because kids bring their parents to church.”

The Children’s Ministry also comprises of: the Nursery for our nestlings, the fun Fall Festival and the popular Vacation Bible School which both overlap into Community Outreach, and Parent’s Night Out where children spend social time together.

For a wonderful comprehensive overview about Children’s Ministry, please CLICK HERE.

For more information about Godly Play or serving as a teacher (training provided), contact Lindsay Knight: Lindsay@stpaulsbellingham.org, 360-749-3308.

Whenever we witness and treasure the little ones as a part of God’s Kingdom, we ourselves find great cheer and comfort within our own hearts and we give Thanks and Praise.

St. Paul's Guild

St. Paul’s Guild is approaching 60 years of service to St. Paul’s Church. When organized, the guild chose the church gardens as its main focus. Once the Columbarium was established, that center garden area was dedicated as the Memorial Garden and St. Paul’s Guild chose to maintain that beloved area.

As guild members, we share “generations” of friendships and memories from making plum puddings, cone wreaths, soup lunches for the Holiday Faires, and digging, weeding and shoveling compost in the garden all in an effort to be the “garden stewards”.

Many amenities such as the altar, stone benches, bird bath, sprinkler

system, etc. are from the generosities of parishioners, extended families and friends.

St. Paul’s Guild continues to direct its service and monies to caring for the Memorial Garden and like all

gardens, plants/shrubs need replacing, soils/compost need replenishing and sprinkler systems need repairing.

If you wish to help support this effort, DONATIONS may be made to: ST. PAUL’S MEMORIAL GARDEN FUND in memory of, or in honor of a loved one, friend, special occasion, or “just because!”

Thank you for your consideration and support. —

St. Paul’s GuildSt. Paul’s Guild shares the joy of Christian fellowship through worshipping and working together.  Meetings are held on the first Sunday of each month when members gather for corporate worship and then go out to breakfast. 

Throughout the year the guild maintains the Memorial Garden and helps wherever needed in  support of parish events.

Contact:  Phyllis Bargelt

Coffee Hour Crew

Serving up hospitality with heart each Sunday!

by Kate Brigham, Vestry Member

Here at St. Paul’s, Coffee Hour is like the unofficial 8th sacramental rite. It has been the traditional add-on to worship service throughout the ages where people gather to share food and fellowship. In fact, the Early Church’s Eucharist probably looked a lot like Coffee Hour.

In this day and age, we live in a nation, a world, where so much has become “Global”. It is common for extended family members to live on opposite ends of the country or even in the world.  Also, there is a kind of compartmentalization of our modern society’s structure; children go to their academic institutions 5 days a week, adults go to work for 8 hours a day (or more) and the elderly spend extensive periods of time alone or with each other. When we gather together at St. Paul’s, we become a kind of clan or extended family of our own and Coffee Hour is one of the few places where people of all ages and diverse life situations can mingle, have conversation and make connections. It is a place where regardless of our political background, income or past history, we can get along amiably on a personal level.

A lot happens there; intergenerational interactions take place, there is networking that extends outside the church walls, we check in on our friends weekly to make sure they are doing okay, people share stories, laugh and make plans. Moreover, it is a place where we welcome newcomers.

When we see new faces, we can simply introduce ourselves and ask what brought them to St. Paul’s? During our worship service, we acknowledge God’s grace to us. We give thanks and praise as we received the holy food through the Eucharist. At Coffee Hour, we have the opportunity to extend and share what we have been given by means of our hospitality which is the simplest form of spreading the gospel. In other words, we can walk the talk.” Coffee Hour can be the pivotal point of a newcomer’s entry into the church. When newcomers visit St. Paul’s, they are often looking for a connection to Christ and to the church community. When they come to Coffee Hour, they get a feel of our congregation’s hospitality and decipher if they are welcome or not.

Sharing food is the most basic form of community, as often represented so many of the stories of Jesus. Another member says that he loves the feeling of the hustle and bustle in the kitchen. “There’s something about the energy working in there [kitchen]. Even though I’m refilling the coffee pots and washing dishes, it just feels good.” One does not have to climb a mountain top or trek out into the wilderness of solitude to experience the Spirit! God’s Spirit is alive within us wherever go, with every cup washed and cookie served.“I’m not a very social person by nature but when I help in this practical way, I can be useful. I love seeing people enjoying themselves and the refreshments help bring them together.” There are currently about 60 members who volunteer with the Coffee Hour Ministry. They are grouped into 2-3 people teams and serve approximately 3 times a year.  In fun teamwork fashion, they provide food, prepare, serve and clean up. One Coffee Hour Volunteer said, "What is also unique about this ministry is that it is one of the few places where the entire family can serve in together. Children can serve alongside their parents in a kind of apprenticeship. They can push the trolley carts and transfer food to the serving table, load the dishracks and work the heavy-duty dishwasher." This ministry also invites individuals who don't bring food, like students, to sign up to help set up & clean up like Jacob Duquette. He volunteered in order to get to know members of the parish and he's a great help. Food purchases are not required to serve in this important ministry and reimbursements are available as well.

Week after week, our incredibly devoted Coffee Hour leader Linda Ward, solely oversees this entire operation and it is no easy task. She coordinates volunteers into teams, organizes multiple schedules and manages countless details in order for each Coffee Hour to run as smoothly as possible. She’s marvelous! A big THANK YOU LINDA!! And a big thank you to all who participate with this ministry!

Our congregation has grown and both Coffee Hour services are in need of more hands, especially after the 9am service. Anyone who is interested can join. As many of us have seen, the refreshments can range from coffee and a few simple plates of cookies (thanks be to God), to a whole spread of rolls, deli meats, veggie platters and treats. Even dropping off a plate of brownies or box of crackers would be appreciated. Whatever one can supply is a blessing for they are all provisions from God. Through our hospitality of food, conversation and welcoming spirit at Coffee Hour, we can demonstrate God’s love with each other and any newcomer who seeks a community in Christ.

laward360@gmail.com, Contact: Linda Ward,

Coffee Hour volunteers include: Amber Nichols, Cathie Oberg , Charlotte Hoel, Dorothy Murphy, Dottie Nichols, Gloria Mapes, Holly Telfer, Isabel Blanco, Jackie Whitmore, Jacob Duquette, Jacob Duquette, Janet Sharp, Joi Weaver, Kamira Rea, Steve, Kate & Elliott Brigham, Kathy Mintz, Kay Reddell, Kim KJ Byford, Kirsten Barron, Laurel Cook, Laurie Parrish, Linda Hardy, Linda Pierce, Linda & Fred Tiffany, Linda Ward, Lisa Hamstreet, Lisa Potter, Lucy Eggerth, Marilyn Mastor, Mary Summerfield & Mike O’Neal, Norma & Peter Sherwood, Pam & Doug Bulthuis, Pat & Don Smith, Pat & Ron Weitnauer, Randi & George Sanders, Robin, Ian & Patrick O’Callaghan, Sally Schoenberg, Sheila Randall,  Shirley Susich, Sue & Jim Johnstone, Sue Warren, Teresa Flodin, Tina & Christian Schoepe, Wendy& Chris Johnson.

We are always looking for new members of this ministry! Volunteers may sign up for a monthly rotation and are sometimes asked to help on special occasions.

Greeters & Welcoming Team

These outgoing and dedicated individuals are St. Paul’s front line in our ministry of hospitality, welcoming visitors and offering assistance and information.  At Coffee Hour, greeters staff the table, providing newcomers with the ways to be incorporated into the community.  Volunteers usually serve on a monthly rotation at each of the main Sunday services, and are available for special events.

The Welcome Team extends from the first greeting a visitor receives to the time the newcomer is  incorporated as a member of the congregation.  Volunteers serve in a variety of ways as a welcoming team, calling newcomers and shepherding them through the first few months.

Contact:  Kathy Mintz

Contact: Colin Christy

Ushers

Usher Ministry

Colin Christie, Rob Vollkommer, John Muder, Walt Hardy

Colin Christie, Rob Vollkommer, John Muder, Walt Hardy

St. Paul’s is a place where a wide and diverse group of people worship and seek fellowship with one another. We always strive be welcoming and inclusive. Imagine coming to a new church, you walk through the doors, wonder what in the world to do next and then while battling feelings of uncertainty, you bravely make your way to a random place to sit hoping it’s okay. Now, imagine something different. As you walk through the doors, you are greeted by someone in a welcoming manner, who graciously leads you through unknown territory to a safe place to sit. A bulletin is handed to you which steadily guides you through the service. This kind of hospitality communicates the genuine quality of the face of Christ and is one of the many attributes of our Ushers Ministry at St. Paul’s.

Currently, we have about eight ushers who usually serve the church on a monthly rotation or part-time. However, it is not surprising to find some individuals serving weekly. On a typical Sunday worship service, an usher welcomes visitors and congregation members, hands out service bulletins, takes up the collection, guides people during communion and straightens up after the service. This is a ministry that calls for a friendly and helpful demeanor and keeps you on your feet.

John Muder, serving over 12 years, lead this ministry. He says, “I do this ministry because I feel an obligation (giving back), I like to meet the people as they come in and take care of the congregation during the service. I know when someone is new or a regular attender. We [ushers] are also a good source of information if anyone has questions, we make sure to help anyone with special needs and we keep vigilant about the building’s security during the service.” Wow, our St. Paul’s Ushers are like shepherds looking after the flock and keeping them safe! They are a dynamic group of parishioners who last but not least, as John puts it, “have fun at it!”

Among these great eight is Kevin Fazio. He was asked to fill-in for an usher who couldn’t make it one Sunday, and has now been ushering for decades. He simply and beautifully states, “I have a gift to share. It blesses me and it blesses others.” Whenever we gather together to praise and worship, these familiar faces that greet us are a comfort because in their work of hospitality, they are performing the most basic act of acknowledging the presence of another human being; acknowledging another one of God’s children.

The Ushers Ministry make an essential difference in how we can open our arms and our hearts to serve one another. “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”

Anyone, male or female, young or old, is welcome to join. If interested in serving as an Usher, or just giving it a try, contact John Muder, mudjhn@gmail.com

Contact:  Fr. Chuck Whitmore or John Muder  

Flower Guild

Easter 2015

The Flower Guild is a volunteer organization whose primary purpose is to arrange flowers and greenery for the altars in accordance with the church liturgical calendar. On most Sundays, rotating teams of two members arrange and care for the flowers on the High Altar and the St. Mary Altar.

We welcome new members. The only requirements are an enjoyment of flower arranging, good energy, an ability to lift and carry about 20 pounds, a willingness to clean up messes and a good sense of humor! Our schedules are mostly flexible.

No experience? Don't worry. We offer trainings and workshops several times a year. We work in teams of two and rotate every 5 or 6 weeks. Each team is responsible for a week of procuring the flowers, arranging, watering and removing.

Christmas and Easter. On the days before Easter and Christmas, the entire Flower Guild works together to gather, prepare and decorate the Nave for these high Holy days.

Christmas Eve at Saint Paul's

Christmas Eve at Saint Paul's

Advent & Lent. In accordance with the tradition of the Episcopal Church, neither the High Altar nor the St. Mary Altar is flowered during Advent and Lent, with the exception of Rose Sunday. During Advent, greenery is used.

Memorial Donations. Celebrating the life and memory of a loved one with a memorial gift for altar flowers is a long-honored tradition at st. Paul's . You may also wish to commemorate a birthduy, a baptism, the recovery from illness, an answered prayer or a special anniversary with a gift of altar flowers. Funding for the work of the Flower Guild comes entirely from the generosity of parishioners through gifts given at Christmas, Easter and memorials throughout the year.

Funerals and Weddings. For special services such as weddings and funerals, please contact the church office. The Guild will coordinate with the florist of your choice for these services.

Contact Susan McDermott

Our Founder Bev Zacharias who led the flower guild for over 25 years. She began by growing many of the flowers in her own gardens. Bev has recently retired from the guild, but we remember and honor her commitment to this vital and inspiring ministry.

Our Founder Bev Zacharias who led the flower guild for over 25 years. She began by growing many of the flowers in her own gardens. Bev has recently retired from the guild, but we remember and honor her commitment to this vital and inspiring ministry.


Ministry in the Spotlight:

Flower Guild

by Kate Brigham

Decorating with flowers has been a long and steady custom that dates back to ancient times. Why do we love flowers? For the same reason why we love the brilliant stars, the breathtaking sunsets or sunrises, the magnificent mountains or the soothing oceans; because flowers reflect the true understanding of God’s beauty and perfection and mostly because within the fragility of flowers exists a here-and-now that says, “I love you”.

Like an artist who paints a splendid portrait, a composer completing a masterpiece or a poet who touches the soul, the Flower Guild beautifies its church. The roots of the St. Paul’s Church Flower Guild started off as an appendage of the Altar Guild many years ago. The “founding mother," Bev Zacharias, brought her passion and experience for liturgical flower arrangements into what has now become one of the church’s beloved ministries for over 25 years. At the encouragement from another member, Susan McDermott joined the Guild in 2009 and currently serves as the chairman. She manages the budget, organizes the scheduling and oversees and helps the group in all their efforts. Susan says, “Flowers sing to me, they sing to my soul.” 

There are 16 members, women and men, who work in teams. Each week, a different 2 person team is responsible for purchasing, prepping, arranging, decorating and adorning the church for Sunday services with gorgeous flower arrangements. In addition to the High Altar and Mary Altar, we often find these floral gems in the Great Hall, the Reception and even in the restrooms. All who have attended services on Christmas or Easter can attest to the stunningly beautiful flowers that embellish the church.

The Flower Guild members do more than arrange flowers though. They are stewards of their guild funds. At Christmas and Easter, a tribute is offered for parishioners to honor their loved ones. Congregation members can give a monetary donation to the Guild where the names of our dearly departed are remembered and published in the bulletin. They also interface with families who have lost loved ones concerning funerals and services.

During the summer months, gardeners generously share and allow us to make use of their seasonal floral abundance. The Guild members are a savvy bunch; they are efficient with their resources, good at reusing existing materials and always keep an economical mind frame on their budget, all the while esteeming their creative freedom for the art of liturgical flower arranging. The flowers are a form of worship and praise in themselves!

Lastly, the arrangements don’t stop serving at the altar. After the services, they are often delivered to places such as Hospice, various retirement communities and the homebound. Susan McDermott explains, “The recipients don’t care if the flowers are not in the best condition. They are just happy to get flowers.”  Perhaps this is because flowers are an expression of comfort and consideration. They make us still and gladden people’s hearts.

When we want to show our Lord God the Almighty our reverence and adulation, and our love and affection, flowers can express what words fall short of. They exemplify and reflect both the fragility and beauty of precious life. Flowers are God’s perfect creation and the Flower Guild is a ministry that helps us to praise, worship and give thanks to the glory of God.
Anyone is welcome to join the Flower Guild and basic training is offered. This work can be challenging in a fun way. Our guild florists have the freedom to allow their spiritual inspirations and inner creativity combined with their love for God and for people to be shown through the expression of flowers.

For more information, contact Chairman Susan McDermott: 360-224-2411, susan.mcdermott44@gmail.com. Members of the Flower Guild include: Susan McDermott, Karen Duddleston, Julia Findley, Sally Gibbs, Tina Loudon, Marilyn Mastor, Alisa McHarness, Susan Sandell, Janet Sharp, Gil Seely, Erica Steele, Martina Schoepe, Sue Stremler, Kay Redell, Adriana Collins. Thank you for your inspiring, beautiful ministry!

Contemplative Prayer Group

The Contemplative prayer group meets once a week on Thursday evenings at 5:30 to experience deep stillness and silent prayer. We explore contemplative and mystical aspects of several Christian traditions, including Audio Divina, Centering Prayer, Chant, Jesus Prayer, Labyrinth Walk, Lectio Divina, Guided Meditation, Audio, and Videos

On the first Thursday of the month, we go to dinner together.

Enter the church by going through the metal fence gate near the garden entry to the church. Go down the ramp on the street side. We meet in the last classroom on the lower level - all the way around to the end of the building. The door will be open, and the candles lit. Please join us.

Contemplative prayer has been called “divine therapy.” Some say it’s integral to Christian maturity.

For more information contact Laurie Parrish, Ed Sugar, or Ron Weitnauer.

Be still ... and know that I am God.


And this, from Kate Brigham, who writes on various missions of the St. Paul's parish community:

As we journey through this season of Lent and prepare for the Mystery of Easter, consider the Contemplative Prayer Group as another instrument to a new way of not just “prayer” but life. The Contemplative prayer group meets once a week on Thursday evenings at 5:30 to experience deep stillness and silent prayer. They explore contemplative and mystical aspects of several Christian traditions that include Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina in a warm and friendly gathering. Their numbers are growing and our group is a form of Outreach as several members attend from outside St. Paul's congregation.

Contemplative Prayer is…"the opening of mind and heart, our whole being, to God, the Ultimate Mystery, beyond thoughts, words and emotions.” To read more about what the Episcopal Church says about Contemplative Prayer, visit this link.

Whenever I hear about Contemplative Prayer, it always sounds so spiritual and mysterious and I wondered what it was like. One of the ways to find out, is to simply go to one of the meetings and participate. This is precisely what I did.
 

"Centering Prayer is a method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God's presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself. This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship." -Contemplative Outreach

This group meets in room B22, which is in the basement level and has an additional access door from the outside on the north end of the property. The darkened room was lit with candles and had a serene atmosphere. Each week the group follows a specific structure to their Centering Prayer.

  1. First, a focal topic is shared which varies weekly. This particular evening, I listened to a short description of Terry Waite, an English Humanitarian, and how he survived 5 years of solitary confinement under Hezbolla with the practice of Contemplative Prayer.
  2. Then, we listened to some beautiful calming music, followed by a reading from the Scriptures. These beginning exercises each helped me connect and focus in different ways; visual imagery, auditory, sensory, and cognitive word language.
  3. Then began the first of two silent prayer sessions. The group became so still and quiet. At first, too many thoughts flooded my mind. “Don’t swallow, it will be too loud.” “What do I need to get at the grocery store again?”, “Is that guy falling asleep?” and “Twenty minutes?”. Eventually, I focused my attention properly. I chose: “Be still and know that I am God.” I thought these words slowly, consciously and repeatedly. My mind was beginning to still. Then it became repeated words of, “Be still and know that I am”. Next, it became, “Be still and know”. After some period of time it evolved into, “Be still”. Lastly, it was just “Be”…I felt so connected and calm and then the soft chime went off signaling the end of the first centering prayer. I thought to myself, “Was that really twenty minutes? It felt like everything stood still.”
  4. We all stood up and slowly and mindfully walked in a circular pattern around the chairs and sat back down again.
  5. Another scripture was read and was followed by a second twenty minute Centering Prayer. This time I wanted to pray for two friends. I used the scriptural text along with the names of my friends. Using this method to pray for those I care about was a new experience. It was deeply calming and I felt a peaceful presence encompassing me by the end of the 20 minutes.
  6. At the end of the meeting, as is done at every meeting, the group recited the Lord’s Prayer together in closing.

When we finished, I had the chance to speak to the others. Ron Weitnauer, who takes turns leading the meeting, said, “Contemplative Prayer is a fundamental Christian practice and the key to Christian maturity.“ 

There are approximately 30 total participants with about 15 at any given meeting. Only about 1/3 of the group members are from St. Paul’s. Laurie Parrish, who has been leading this group since 2008 says, “being quiet before God, listening/waiting/opening to God's presence is an integral key to Christian maturity and a whole life.”

Jesuit Father William Johnston who has written much about Contemplative Prayer said:  "Properly understood, contemplation shakes the universe, topples the powers of evil, builds a great society, and opens the doors that lead to eternal life".

In this week’s newsletter, I share my own experience, but each person will have their own unique way of exploring and experiencing this form of communing with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If you have an interest in participating in the Contemplative Prayer Group or have any questions about it, contact Laurie Parrish

St. Paul's Men's Group

The Men's Group meets twice a month either at the church or at Cascade Pizza in Bellingham for fellowship, sharing and a meal. This group is now establishing itself at St. Paul's and defining our overall place in this dynamic congregation. We welcome your input and ideas for service projects, missions and fellowship opportunities.

For more information, contact Ed Sugar.

Mission of St. Paul's Men’s group:

  • We sincerely try to become friends and to avoid anything that alienates or divides.
  • We encourage one another — root word “Courage” — to be better men, better fathers, grandfathers, husbands, better friends, better Christians.
  • We do good. In the church in the community, in the world.
  • We share our stories, offer our capabilities to one another, and share what we consider to be true wisdom.

And so, having chosen our course without guile and with pure purpose, we renew our faith in God and go forward without fear, and with manly hearts.


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