St. Paul’s Church, Sea Cow’s Bay, in the Diocese of the Virgin Islands is a congregation that is small in human resources but with a broad reach. An underpinning belief is that family wellness is an important aspect of Christian charity and a sign of community wellness.
Amid the strenuous impact of COVID-19, members of the Youth Fellowship continue to keep hope alive and have resumed in-person meetings, gathering on the second, third, and fourth Friday of each month.
Youth Fellowship is classified as a safe, sacred space where young people gather and engage in many activities that help to mold them for both the present and the future. The format places youth in the lead, organizing their weekly activities and fundraisers with the support of shadowing leaders.
Since resuming meetings in January, youth have learned or honed the skill of baking and capitalized on it to produce most of the items for a fundraising bake sale.
The Youth are on the move - to God be the glory! Great things He has done and will continue to do in the lives of these awesome youth! Stay posted for more wonderful things.
St. Paul's, Sea Cow's Bay has launched a new outreach ministry. On Saturday, March 6th the congregation delivered soup to 39 people from its newly-launched soup kitchen. Although some of those receiving were members of the congregation, the majority were from the wider community. The outreach is a collaboration between the Bishop's Committee and the ECW. Initially, deliveries will be made on the first and third Saturdays of the month, but it is hoped to increase the number of days as soon as is feasible. Support for the ministry comes from members of the congregation who are invited to make cash or in-kind donations. Members also contribute by purchasing a bowl of soup, the money for which goes into buying supplies. One exciting development is that, since the initiative was posted on the Facebook pages of the church and of its vicar and a member, a small local restaurant has expressed an interest in contributing to the effort.
This latest venture is in addition to a pantry which St. Paul's officially launched late last year to assist persons in the community who are food poor. The pantry formalizes the assistance which the congregation has been giving to a number of individuals and families since the British Virgin Islands was devastated by hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. Their situation has worsened with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in the loss of jobs for some and reduced work hours for others. St. Paul's, SCB is committed to assisting wherever it can as it lives out its mission of welcome, worship, and service.
The Parish Congregation of St. Peter in St. Croix in the Diocese of the Virgin Islands on Monday March 8th, 2021 celebrated its 51st anniversary as a congregation. Founded in the year 1970, the parish began out of a need to engage and to provide spiritual support for persons residing in the central portion of the island. With two churches situated on what may be considered the further eastern and western areas of the island, St. John and St. Paul respectively, and Holy Cross Episcopal in close proximity to St. Paul, many felt that those persons residing between these congregations were somewhat neglected. The late Fr. David Henry, along with a number of concerned Episcopalians and with the assistance of conscientious donors, joined to begin worshiping in borrowed premises until a suitable plot of land was donated which now houses the beautiful structure!
There are many memories that continue to be cherished by the congregation, which stands at about 180 regular members. Unfortunately, due to the current pandemic Covid-19 virus, it was not possible to engage in the type of open activities of celebration that had been envisioned, a repeat of the condition that hampered the 50th anniversary in 2020. However, the resilience and grateful nature of the congregation demanded an observance falling within the protocols and guidelines governing the current situation and a service of Evensong was held in the church building. The Rev. Fr. Alric H. Francis, Sr, conducted the service and, in a brief homily, reminded and challenged the congregation on both the church’s Mission Statement, and Theme.
Mission Statement: "St. Peter Episcopal Church exists to experience the fullness of God's love and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. We pledge to support individuals of all ages in their relationship with God through ministries of worship, Christian education, youth and adult programs, fellowship, and community outreach!"
Theme: “Moving from maintenance to Mission!”
Members were encouraged to live out the mission statement with an evangelical purpose and approach and to find creative ways of communicating with the community at large, especially during the time of restrictions we are experiencing. In addition, there was a call to pay special focus to people, especially the unchurched, the seniors, and youth, thus avoiding paying too much attention to maintaining the physical buildings and neglecting our mission to the masses.
The Vestry and congregation give thanks to God for his unfailing love, blessings, and guidance, and pledge to trust Him for continued sustenance in the years ahead.
Attending the service were four (4) of the original members whose pictures appear below.
The Rev Richard Easterling (second from the left above) had been in Florence for less than a month when he attended a noteworthy televised event. On the chilly evening of January 17th in the Florence Baptistery the signing ceremony for the Council of Christian Churches of Florence occurred. Two representatives from each of 10 Florentine churches were present. The signatory churches were as follows: Roman Catholic, Apostolic, Baptist, Church of England, Episcopal, Lutheran, Greek Orthodox, Romanian Orthodox, Swiss Reformed and Waldensian/Methodist.
For this ceremony, in Covid times, the signatories were seated. Well- spaced out, on a front row, with their fellow-representatves behind them.
A table was placed centrally at the front and signatories were called up, one at a time, by Marco Bontempi, Secretary of Ecumenismo di Firenze, to sign on behalf of their church. Then, in turn, each church gave a short reading, either biblical or literary, in Italian. Those whose language was not primarily Italian read in 2 languages. As this event took place a day before the start of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which this year has the theme from John 15 of God's love to us and our love for others, I read George Herbert 's "Love Bade me Welcome "in both English and an Italian translation.
The video of this event will be shown during the last meeting of the Week of Prayer at the La Pira Centre. Because of the pandemic however, it was decided to show videos of meetings on-line during the week. Our contribution will be shown on Thursday 21st. (Contributed by Maria Makepeace)
This article is from the January 26, 2021 newsletter of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe. The whole issue of the newsletter was focused on ecumenical events around Europe. Read the whole issue >
Bishop of the Virgin Islands, The Rt. Rev. E. Ambrose Gumbs, D.D., has announced his retirement effective May 31, 2021. The announcement, which was made by letter on December 31st , was originally to be delivered at the Annual Diocesan Convention which was postponed from July because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is expected that a Provisional Bishop will be identified to oversee the diocese until the election of a new diocesan.
Bishop Gumbs was consecrated as the fifth bishop of the Virgin Islands on June 11, 2005, after serving seventeen years as a priest.
Meanwhile, The Rev. Canon Sandye Wilson has joined the diocese to serve as Interim Priest-in-Charge of the Cathedral Church of All Saints. She succeeds The Rev. Hayden Crawford, whose term ended at the end of December.
Several organisations of St. Paul's Church, Sea Cow's Bay, in the Diocese of the Virgin Islands, came together over the Christmas Season to provide assistance to a number of individuals and families. Operating under the banner of the Helping Hands Project, members of the Junior Club and the Episcopal Church Women prepared and delivered bags of food items, toiletries, and fresh fruit to 35 senior citizens from the congregation and the wider community. Additionally, five families were presented with boxes of similar items, as well as with clothing for their children. These presentations were part of the ongoing support which St. Paul's provides to several families in the community, an outreach which was started in the immediate aftermath of hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 and continues as these same families are impacted by loss of jobs and income as a result of COVID-19. Many of the items were donated by the St. Paul's congregation during an Advent campaign, while several members of the community who learned of the effort contributed items and cash.
IGLESIA EPISCOPAL DE CUBA
EXCMA. MARÍA GRISELDA DELGADO DEL CARPIO
(PDF for download) La Habana, 19 de Marzo del 2020
San José, Carpintero y Padre de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo
Desde la oficina de la Obispa:
¡Invocamos la paz en el Espíritu!
Estamos viviendo días de gran preocupación y creciente ansiedad, días en los que la fragilidad humana y la vulnerabilidad de la supuesta seguridad en la tecnología se ven socavadas en todo el mundo por el Coronavirus (COVID-19), que doblega: TODAS LAS REALIDADES MAS SIGINIFICATIVAS DE NUESTRA COTIDIANIDAD COMO LA SALUD… la economía, el trabajo, los viajes, el turismo, el deporte e incluso el culto, y su contagio también limita en gran medida la libertad de espacio y de movimiento.
La cercanía de nuestra Iglesia Episcopal como comunidad eclesial, está llamada a expresarse en una palabra de aliento, comprensión, consuelo, y aquellos gestos de solidaridad que desde donde nos encontremos estamos llamados a realizar. Por eso nuestro pensamiento y oración deben estar dirigidos a los países más afectados, a los que sufren el contagio de la COVID-19, a las víctimas y sus familias, así como a todos los trabajadores de la salud, que se comprometen en la primera línea de batalla para detener el contagio, y evitar el riesgo para la salud pública y el creciente temor que esta epidemia en expansión está generando.
Encomendamos también el trabajo de todas las estructuras y organizaciones sanitarias nacionales e internacionales, para que sigan ofreciendo la asistencia necesaria a las personas y poblaciones, y así pongan en práctica todas las medidas indispensables para encontrar una solución a la nueva epidemia. En esta ocasión, palpamos la solidaridad de los jefes de estado con los países más afectados, donando productos médicos y sanitarios y ayuda financiera.
Esperamos que todos puedan continuar con esta obra de ayuda, porque ante una emergencia como esta muchas naciones, especialmente las que tienen sistemas sanitarios débiles, se verán desbordadas por los efectos del virus y quizás no podrán hacer frente a las demandas de cura y proximidad a sus naciones.
Este momento de gran necesidad, nos invita a fortalecer la solidaridad, valor que necesita ser encarnado. Para cada persona, creyente o no creyente, es un tiempo propicio para comprender el valor de la fraternidad, de estar unidos unos a otros de manera indisoluble; un tiempo en el que, en el horizonte de la fe, el valor de la solidaridad, que brota del amor sacrificado por los demás, “nos ayuda a ver al “otro” -persona, pueblo o Nación- no como un instrumento cualquiera sino como nuestro “semejante”, un “auxilio” (cf. Gn 2,18.20). Pensemos en el vecino, el compañero de oficina, el amigo de la escuela, pero sobre todo en los médicos y enfermeros que se arriesgan a la contaminación e infección para salvar a los enfermos. Estos trabajadores viven y nos muestran el significado del misterio de la Pascua: entrega y servicio.
Oremos en este tiempo de cuaresma a Dios Padre para que aumente nuestra fe, la enfermedad no conoce límites ni color de piel; habla en cambio, el mismo idioma. Cultivemos la “Sabiduría del Corazón”: que es una “actitud infundida por el Espíritu Santo” en aquellos que saben abrirse al sufrimiento de sus hermanos y hermanas y reconocer en ellos la imagen de Dios. Así, podemos afirmar, como Job, “Era yo los ojos del ciego, y del cojo los pies” (Jb 29:15).
De esta manera podremos servir a los que sufren, acompañarlos de la mejor manera posible y ser solidarios con los necesitados sin juzgarlos.
Teniendo en cuenta las circunstancias de la situación epidemiológica a nivel mundial, y de la que nuestro país no está exento, la oficina Diocesana en estos próximos quince días sólo estará disponible en momentos puntuales que requieran nuestro servicio. Toda actividad o reunión quedan suspendidas hasta próximo aviso.
Los espacios de celebración litúrgica según los lugares y circunstancias, los Arcedianos responsablemente valoren la posibilidad de recesar por este espacio de tiempo.
Estén atentos a las próximas medidas que se adopten y que se darán conocer en el tiempo debido.
Es necesario adoptar medidas de seguridad para el bien común. Es tiempo de dar un SI por la vida, no exponerla o jugar a perderla.
Con la certeza de que Dios cuida de nosotros, continuemos unidos en la oración y el deseo de bien de nuestro corazón para con nuestro pueblo y el mundo.
En el amor de Cristo Jesús,
+ María Griselda Delgado del Carpio
CALLE 6 No. 273, VEDADO, HABANA, CUBA
OFICINA: (53 7) 832-1120 firstname.lastname@example.org
RESIDENCIA: (53 7) 833-8003
FAX: (53 7) 834 3293
A number of exciting activities marked the patronal celebration for St. Paul's, Sea Cow's Bay. Among them was the presentation of the St. Paul Commendation Star Award, the highest honour which the mission congregation can bestow on lay persons. The recipients are brother and sister, Varrisse Hodge and Beverly Hodge Smith, who have both served St. Paul's for more than 40 years, including as members of the Bishop's Committee and as Senior Warden. Beverly is the current Senior Warden and has worked tirelessly to get the church building, hall, and vicarage repaired after they were damaged by hurricanes Irma and Maria. In the days immediately after Irma, the two siblings took the initiative to lead efforts to recover some of the furniture, vestments, and books which had been blown outside and to do what was necessary to reduce further damage from the persistent rain. Beverly was such a constant presence in the aftermath of the hurricanes that vicar, Rev. Sandra Walters Malone, nicknamed her "Paula".
The awards were presented by Diocesan Bishop, The Rt. Rev. E. Ambrose Gumbs during a service to close a week of celebrations. During the service, the congregation also made its annual presentation to the Family Support Network and to the Adina Donovan Home for the Elderly. (The congregation was recently recognized for 30 years of support to the FSN, a non-profit agency which supports persons affected by domestic violence or who are otherwise in need of assistance.) During the service, the bishop commended the congregation for its outreach, noting that it was doing far more than its size would suggest. Manager of the Adina Donovan Home for the Elderly, Mrs. Ritzia Turnbull-Smith, described St. Paul's as a "small congregation with a big heart", while FSN representative, Mrs. Wendy Charles, expressed the agency's appreciation for the many years of faithful support. The bishop also used the opportunity to commission members of the Bishop's Committee and Convention Delegates and Alternates.
The week-long celebration began with a Prayer Breakfast, which was started four years ago and has become an annual tradition. This year's speaker was Bishop Dr. David Bryan of the Church of God of Prophecy. Using the theme, "Draw Near: Be Doers of the Word", he focused on the epistle of James, reminding those attending that it is not enough attend church, but that members have a responsibility to deepen their relationship with God and to allow that to shape their response to the world around them.
Another highlight of the week-long celebration was the bishop's blessing of a villa which was gifted to the congregation to be used as a vicarage and which was damaged by hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. The three bedroom, three bathroom house, which overlooks beautiful Long Bay beach will be rented.
Giving to the Least Among Us.
The St. Croix Deanery and St. John’s Episcopal Church in the Diocese of the Virgin Islands are collaborating to host a “WE CARE” FAIR on Monday, March 2nd. Described as a Personal Care Event for the Homeless. the fair will be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Christiansted. Homeless persons will be invited to have a clean shower, clothes and pampering, and will be referred as appropriate for further services from partnering agencies. Each church in the deanery is being asked to collect gently worn men's and women's clothing, trial size toiletries, and hair care products. Donations should be delivered to St. John’s Episcopal Church on Saturday, February 22, 2020 between 11am and 1pm. Food items are also being collected so that meals can be served.
The St. Paul's Junior Club is this year celebrating its 70th anniversary. The group was founded in October 1950 by Licensed Lay Minister, Mrs. Valerie O. Thomas, as a way to engage the youth in her congregation and the wider community by teaching them about the tenets of Christianity and essential life skills. Members, who meet weekly, number about 20 and are led by Ms. Elvera Smith, Mrs. Sybil Hodge, Mrs. Michelle Todman-Smith, and Ms. Darlene Maduro. One meeting each month is dedicated to visiting the sick and elderly in the community. A celebration is being planned to mark for October to mark this significant milestone.
Junior Club members singing during the monthly Youth Sunday service.