Church News from St. Paul ’s: St. Paul’s Annual Meeting – January 21st Members of St. Paul’s churches gathered for worship and our Annual Meeting following our worship service. The annual meeting approved the budget for the coming year and elects new officers for the church vestry. Officers of the vestry can serve up to two consecutive three-year terms. Then, they take a year off before becoming eligible to serve again. At the Annual Meeting, the congregation thanked Kira Hubner for serving on the vestry for the past six years. She served three years as the Senior Warden. The congregation commended her for the myriad actives which occurred in that time frame. She coordinated with a stained glass company for a review and inspection of the windows to ensure they are in good condition.

In addition to serving on the vestry, Kira is a regular leader for our Tuesday Afternoon Bible Explorers program. Kira was actively involved in the 200th Diocesan Anniversary Celebration activities which included collecting 39 pounds of pull tabs and planting 200 bulbs at the church. The Annual meeting also commended Mella Davies our Bicentennial Missioner who ensured the 200 pairs of socks we collected reached a homeless shelter and the 200 x 10 pill bottles from our community reached the Diocesan medical mission of churches in Beliz.

St. Paul’s Youth Activities The Youth (6th-12th grades) and the “Bible Explorers (5th and younger) have been busy, even in the extreme cold in January. The Bible Explorers participated in our annual “ugly prayer book” contest. Each year we go on a scavenger hunt in the church to locate the “ugliest” prater boos – the ones with the covers falling off and pages looking worn and torn. Rev.Mary L. Staley is showing the youth how to identify all the prayer books which are more than 40 years old! Most of the oldest books were finalists in the ugly book contest. The youth of the churches looked at more than 110 prayers books and found the winners which were retired from active use. New books will be ordered to replace the older ones.

The Churches Bible Explorers focused on two stories from 1st Kings where the commander of the Israelite Army learns about following directions. The monthly “Dinner Day” where youth come to the church for lunch was January 24th. Our bell choir continues on Thursday at noon with lunch provided to the participants.

Our Churches Youth Group for older members met with the youth from several other nearby churches in late December. The group will gather at Kalahari Feb 2-3 with dozens of youth as well as several hundred adults for the Diocesan Convocation The youth will attend one workshop discussing the Beloved Community, continue to work on plans for the two mission trips being offered and (of course) enjoy the water park. St. Paul’s holds a conversation about racial understanding St. Paul’s invited people from Put-in-Bay to join in the churches conversation about Racial Understanding and Reconciliation on Sunday, January 7th. This was the first conversation leading us toward awareness and skills that help us identify and undo racism. Additional conversations will take place on the Sundays in Lent at 4 p.m. in St. Paul’s Undercroft.

The conversation was guided by Shaunte Rouse from Akron, Amy Huston and Rev. Mary L. Staley who are all part of the Diocese of Ohio’s Commission for Racial Understanding (CRU). The mission of the CRU is to work for healing and transformation in ourselves,
our churches, and society. The commission offers a number of opportunities for Episcopalians and their friends to gather together to have a conversation about Racial Reconciliation. Shaunte Rouse is a higher education professional in Academic Advising and a Ph.D. student in Cultural Foundations at Kent State University. Her academic interest is in rethinking cultural, social, institutional, and systemic inequalities that influenced historic educational policy. Shaunte has a passion for facilitating intergroup dialogue and a love of providing spaces for all voices to be heard. Her visit to Put-in-Bay is a step in her spiritual commitment to growing Beloved Communities

St. Paul’s sign proclaims “All Are Welcome” on our sign in front of the church. We invite all island residents and visitors to join us for a dialogue which is inspired by the Episcopal Church’s program called “Becoming the Beloved Community. Several of the church’s members will attend a weekend conference at Kalahari on Feb 2-3 where Heidi Kim, the Episcopal Churches Staff Officer for Racial Reconciliation, will lead us in exploring Becoming Beloved Community, the Episcopal Church’s long-term commitment to racial healing, reconciliation, and justice. Becoming Beloved Community represents not so much a set of programs as a journey, a set of interrelated commitments around which we as Episcopalians may organize our many efforts to respond to racial injustice and grow a community of reconcilers, justice makers, and healers.