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Dry Desert
St. Paul's Manna Blog

He humbled you by letting you hunger, then by feeding you with manna... in order to make you understand that one does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
(Deuteronomy 8:3)

Well, St. Paul's family, the time has come—albeit a little earlier than I expected. I thought my parental leave would start May 1, but God (and the little one!) seems to have different plans. As of tomorrow, April 15, I'll be on parental leave until the end of August.

The baby isn't here just yet. We'll send out an email announcement when she arrives, so keep an eye out!

While I'm on leave, you're in good hands with our wardens Jen and Mary, our Office Administrator Jenn, and Rev. Mo Lederman.

We'll continue to have Eucharist two or three times a month, celebrated by Rev. Mo, and Morning Prayer on the other Sundays. Rev. Mo is also available for pastoral emergencies, funerals, etc.

And, of course, we'll still have the special occasions we've come to expect at St. Paul's: family Sundays; healing Sundays; the Rite 13 ceremony (May 21); Pentecost (May 28); Senior Sunday (June 11); and summer services alternating between Morning Prayer, Eucharist Rite I, and Eucharist Rite II.

As for me, I won't be checking email while I'm on leave, and I'll archive my emails when I get back. So, if you need a response or action from me, please follow up with me (or just resend your email!) after September 1.

I wish you all a holy Easter season and a happy summer.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Helena

Last weekend our youth in grades 6-12 participated in a Famine Weekend. They spent time fasting, serving their neighbors, and learning about food insecurity in our community and the world. This marks an exciting return to a beloved St. Paul's youth tradition!

Friday night: Fasting and Learning

Starting on Friday night, the participating youth met for a pizza "Last Supper" before fasting for the next 20+ hours. That evening, they played games and learned about hunger-related social safety nets.

They even formed into "families" of 3-4 people and had to meal plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as if they were on SNAP benefits. They went to Dollar Tree to purchase their meals—127 pounds of food—which they donated to Southington Community Services!

Saturday morning: Rise Against Hunger

On Saturday morning, youth helped set up for the Rise Against Hunger event at the Elks Lodge. They then joined many other volunteers from St. Paul's and Gishrei Shalom Jewish Congregation (74 volunteers in total) to rise against hunger!

The volunteers worked for 2 hours to package 12,960 meals. In total, the event also raised $6,540.25 to donate to the Rise Against Hunger organization.

A huge thanks goes out to everyone who volunteered and donated—and especially to Tim Bottone, who worked hard to make the event happen again this year.

Saturday afternoon: Church by the Pond

The youth and their chaperones then returned to St. Paul's to package "blessing bags" for housing- and food-insecure people in Hartford. Each bag contained a to-go meal, a bottle of water, and a package of toiletries. (Thank you to everyone who donated toiletries over the past month!)

They then joined me at Bushnell Park in Hartford to worship at Church by the Pond, a congregation of Christ Church Cathedral. We shared Eucharist on the sidewalk with a few of the parishioners there.

And since it was a dreary day and attendance at the outdoor service was low, the Cathedral volunteers took our leftover blessing bags back to the Cathedral to give out during their Sunday meal service.

Saturday evening: Breaking the Fast

Finally, the participating youth returned to St. Paul's to break their fast with a shared meal of soup and bread.

I want to thank the 11 young people who participated in various parts of the Famine. And a special thanks goes out to the many adults who made this Famine Weekend happen: drivers, chaperones, teachers, soup-makers, and planners—and, of course, Meredith Bandish, who spearheaded the weekend. (And all without a Director of Christian Formation, no less.)

Here's to bringing back the sleepover component next year, too!

Updated: Jan 26

Each year, we gather to elect our lay leaders and to reflect on the year that has gone by. On Sunday, January 29, we'll have a combined worship service at 9am, then adjourn to the Parish Hall for the Annual Meeting.

2022 Annual Report St. Paul's - final Jan 26
Download PDF • 2.32MB

Above is the most recent version of the 2022 Annual Report, which has information about St. Paul's from this past year, including everything you'll need for the meeting.

Note that the J2A class will have cookies for sale at the meeting, raising money for their mission trip this summer: $10/dozen. They take cash, check, or Venmo!

There are a few things you need to do this week before we meet:

1. Make sure you're on the voter roll.

We worked hard to clean up our records so we'd have an up-to-date voter roll this year.

Check out pages 4-5 of the report to make sure your name is on there. It's very possible that we missed you by accident! Please email Rev. Helena (revhelenamartin [at] gmail [dot] com) right away if you need to be added.

2. Review the newly proposed by-laws.

The vestry spent 2022 revising and updating our by-laws, which were last updated in 2013. The proposed by-laws better reflect how we do business in 2023.

Check out pages 15-22 of the report to read the new by-laws. At the meeting, we will vote on whether or not to adopt them.

3. Review the approved 2023 budget.

The budget is approved by the Budget and Finance Committee, then sent to the vestry for approval. We have already approved the 2023 budget. Still, stewarding the money and land that God has given us is a communal effort.

Check out pages 47-50 for the 2023 Approved Budget. Feel free to bring questions about any of the report, including and especially the whole Financials section, to the Annual Meeting.

I'm excited for this opportunity to review 2022 and look forward to 2023, as a community.

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