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This Week at St. Paul's
St. Paul's United Methodist Church  •  7740 Lackman, Lenexa KS  66217  •  913-268-9551
In this issue:
• Message from Pastor Lora
• Worship this Week
• New! Coffee & Connections starts this Sunday 
• Ronelle Neperud retirement & card shower
• Reminder from your re-entry task force
• Upper Room Devotionals 
• Small groups
• Youth ServingKC registration open
• Summer fun for Kids
• Serve by Singing! (virtually)
• Faith and Democracy
• Serve from Home

Message from Pastor Lora

July 17, 2020
I was interviewed last week by the Micah Corps, the Great Plains Conference young adult social justice interns, for a podcast they are doing over the summer. They feature different pastors and lay people across the conference who are passionate about justice work. I think they wanted to hear from me more about the work of UMCNext and LGBTQ+ inclusion in the church. That makes sense.

But I found myself answering their conversations about justice with anti-racism work far more than with LGBTQ+ inclusion, and I’ve found myself so curious about it. Maybe it is because I do the work of LGBTQ+ inclusion every day already and it’s just part of who I am. I can’t go into a room without sexual orientation being a part of my world, so justice for LGBTQ+ people is always on my mind. Sure, it could also probably be internalized homophobia and the complexity that those questions of queer justice bring in a denominational setting…

But I think more than that it is that the work of anti-racism is becoming such a spiritual practice in my life that it is my focus and on my mind intentionally more regularly than it has been. While this has been a passion of mine before this summer, my whiteness is always going to allow me to turn on and off my consciousness of racism. To keep anti-racism and racial justice at the front of my mind is what will keep me from sliding back into a place of apathy.

So I talked to these young adults about anti-racism and why it mattered for our faith—something that you all have heard me preach many times. But I also found myself telling them about our church. They asked what all we have done in the work of anti-racism. I told them about how more than 60 of you have signed up for an anti-racism small group. I told them about the more than 60 others (some overlap) of you who have a Black Lives Matter sign in your yard now. We talked about Serve Team allocating some of their quarterly funds to support the KC Community Bail Fund. I told them about conversations we’ve had on Church Council, Staff Parish Relations, and among staff. I shared about community organizations that individuals have partnered with like More2 and the Pray on Troost event. I told them about worship and the sermon series we’ve done and are doing right now.

Their response: Oh wow.

I’m glad they responded that way. Because it helped me to pause and see that we are off to a good start in this phase of our anti-racism work at St. Paul’s. Do we have work to do? Absolutely. But today I’m giving God so much thanks for what is happening in our church. I’ve heard from so many of you that you really feel God calling you to do something more in your own anti-racism journey. The faithfulness to those callings is showing up in your conversations with neighbors, your ears opened on Sunday mornings, your readings, and reflections.

Thank you for saying yes to this work. Like me, St. Paul’s is often pegged to be asked about our LGBTQ+ inclusion. And rightfully so. But I’m glad for this anti-racism pivot to focus our attention toward God’s Kingdom in a new (different?) way. God is calling us forward…

“See” You Sunday as we talk about “Quindaro, Ecclesiastes, and When Change is Intersectional,”

Pastor Lora
Check out Pastor Lora's invitation to our current sermon series!

Sunday, July 19

10:00am Livestream on Facebook
“Quindaro, Ecclesiastes, and When Change is Intersectional”

We know things happen and you can't always participate in the livestream. But you can watch later on St. Paul's YouTube channel! Here's a link to last week's service in case you missed it.
Online Worship Guide

Presence Worship

Presence is a neurodiverse worship community. We welcome and celebrate the different ways in which we all interact with God, each other, and our environment.

Presence small group worship meets on Wednesday evenings at 7:30 p.m., currently on Zoom; contact Mike Marcus for the link. Advance notice of the discussion question for the week is available by request. Contact Pastor Mike Marcus for more information.
Coffee & Connection

Do you miss seeing faces and chatting in the lobby with your church community before worship on Sundays at St. Paul's? Join Love Council for Coffee and Connections - a virtual, come-and-go opportunity to gather together, even though we're apart. Invite a friend and join us any time after 9am this Sunday via Zoom!

Coffee and Connection Zoom link
Meeting ID: 893 3022 6401
Password: SPUMC

Ronelle Neperud

Special announcement from Ronelle Neperud

(Note: Ronelle first made this announcement in worship on 7/12/20) I'm making an announcement today that is both bitter and sweet. It is bitter because we have not been together in our sanctuary since March 8 and it is sweet because we have spent a lot of years together in this sanctuary.

You have asked a lot of questions of me over the years, but two that come up most frequently have been – “Where do you get all of your energy” and “do you think you will ever retire?” You asked because I keep having birthdays and I’m still here and I have another birthday on August 15!

To answer the first question. I decided a long time ago that God just simply installed an extra battery in my soul and my body! And about retirement?

After considerable discernment, prayer and conversation with family, I have decided I will retire on August 14 and enter yet another phase of my adult life.

To say the least, it was a very difficult decision to make because we all know how much I love my job of welcoming, connecting and engaging people in ministry as the ConneXions Ministry Coordinator and the Data base administer – an odd, but essential combination. I have been filled with a sense of purpose that no one would ever dream of in a lifetime and I am continuously blessed with your support, love and trust!

However, moving to another life phase for me will provide opportunity for another fortunate person who can bring their heart and soul to the work of hospitality and possibility to this robust congregation called St. Paul’s!

Please know, it is indeed exciting for me to be at this juncture of my life where I am ready and open for whatever lies ahead in my rich and meaningful future.

I remind you that God loves us and God awaits our work for God’s kingdom. Peace and blessings to each of you.

Showering Ronelle

from Pam Mettner

As those of you who joined us for Sunday morning service on July 12 know, Ronelle will be retiring on August 14. Ronelle has been so much more than her role on St. Paul's staff for the past nine years; she has become a dear and trusted friend. We have come to know her in many ways, especially in her own description as “the Energizer Bunny!”

Ronelle is passionate about connecting people, about serving others and about social justice issues. In this time of social separation we would like to say goodbye to Ronelle with a card shower. We suggest that you include a note telling about a service project or action you have taken to honor her. Perhaps you and your family would like to pick up trash in your neighborhood or help older neighbors with shopping or yard work. Perhaps you will take an action coming out of the antiracism studies and conversations we will be having at St. Paul’s in the next several weeks. I know many of you have your own special passions for justice and could share those with Ronelle as we wish her well in her retirement and next steps in her life. We are so grateful for her joy, grace, spirit and leadership. To quote her from Sunday, “God awaits our work for God’s kingdom.”

Cards and notes can be sent to Ronelle care of St. Paul’s UMC, 7740 Lackman Road, Lenexa, KS 66217.

Reminder from your Re-Entry Task Force

Please remember to check in with the re-entry team before planning any official St. Paul’s in-person gathering so that we can be together in the safest way possible.

Groups meeting outdoors or offsite may submit a request via this form. Groups meeting at the church will be limited to 15 or fewer, social distancing is required, masks are strongly encouraged, and there will be access to the restroom. Group leaders will get step by step information on the full policy by completing the form. You’ll also want to contact Jackson Thomas to get your event on the calendar.  

Thank you for caring for one another as we continue to Love, Seek, and Serve together!

Pastoral Care

If you have need of pastoral care (going to the hospital, a death or injury in your family, a prayer request) please email Pastor Sandra. For emergencies, you can reach Pastor Sandra by phone at 913-579-1298.
Virtual coffee with a pastor

Virtual Coffee with a Pastor

St. Paul's folks, we miss you! If you want to check in with one of the pastors, we now have virtual coffee times. If you want prayer or just want to talk with a pastor, click the link below, pick a time with one of us, and we will schedule a zoom.
Schedule coffee and virtual chat with a pastor
Upper Room devotionals

Upper Room Devotionals

The Upper Room is providing the July/August 2020 issue of The Upper Room magazine for download at no cost to their standing order partners and subscribers. As a constituent of St. Paul's, you may download the issue at this link.

Adults: Small Groups & Resources

The current schedule of antiracism and other small groups is here. If you don't see something that works for you, contact Pastor Sandra and we'll dream up something new! You can also check out our list of anti-racism resources here, and request a Black Lives Matter yard sign here.
Find a small group and join us!
Contact Sandra Cox, Pastor of Faith Formation Contact Sandra Cox, Pastor of Faith Formation

Youth: Middle School/High School

Check out the summer schedule for youth and join us any time! Contact Allison for Zoom links.

On July 27 we begin a week of ServingKC via Zoom. Register now or contact Allison to find out more.

Get the schedule of classes, small groups, and activities
St. Paul's Youth Facebook Group St. Paul's Youth Facebook Group
Contact Allison Marcus, Director of Student Ministries Contact Allison Marcus, Director of Student Ministries

Kids' Connection: PreK - Grade 6

Our children's ministry program is designed to connect families to the church, so that together we can partner to build a foundation of faith for our children. We want your child to know that God loves them no matter what and that Jesus will be their best friend forever! Check out what's new and get involved, we love seeing you!
Kids’ Connection & KIDS 456
Join us for story time and our weekly Bible lesson on Wednesday evenings at 6:45 pm! This setting will be ideal for our younger kiddos. KIDS456 will be right after that, using the same Zoom link, at 7 pm. If your child will be in 4th grade in the fall, they are welcome to start participating in KIDS456.
Let's get together on Zoom!
Get your Parent Guide, All Hands on Deck, & Video
Kids' Connection Facebook Group Kids' Connection Facebook Group
Contact Jamie Turk, Director of Family & Children's Ministries Contact Jamie Turk, Director of Family & Children's Ministries

Sing with Us!

We would love for you to participate in our virtual choir, forming now! Check out the video and contact Jackson to get started.

Faith and Democracy

As United Methodists we “hold governments responsible for the protection of the rights of the people to free and fair elections” believing that “the form and the leaders of all governments should be determined by exercise of the right to vote guaranteed to all adult citizens.” (2016 Book of Discipline, ¶164A) With that in mind, please note these dates for upcoming opportunities to put faith in action.
Important 2020 Kansas Election Voting Dates
Tuesday, July 28 - Deadline for voters to apply for advance ballots to be mailed for the Primary Election.
Monday, August 3 - 12:00 pm deadline to cast advance ballots in person at your county election office.
Tuesday, August 4 (Primary Election) - Advance ballots must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received in the county election office no later than three days after the election.  Advance ballots may be hand-delivered to the county election office or to any polling place within the county by close of polls.  
Serve from home projects
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