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.