“What’s beyond St. Paul’s?” by Charlene Higbe
What’s beyond St. Paul’s? Everything, and nothing.
In this very strange year that’s just happened, being part of St Paul’s via internet, Zoom, and email is an extraordinary gift. It’s been at least 15 years since my partner Fredrica and I first heard of St. Paul’s through our friend Wally. Over the years we have been welcomed into the community, both when we have visited friends in Norwalk and on special church occasions. We have been deeply moved by ancient liturgy and sacred space lovingly reimagined into the present. Music heard in worship has sustained us long after returning home to Massachusetts. For five years it was a privilege to serve as leaders of the parish retreats in Lenox, where we met and built relationships with parishioners, while “doing things differently” both in how we understand church and how we sing our faith. It was a joy to introduce the hymn “All are Welcome” at one retreat, learn that it made its way into the fabric of worship, and even to hear it referred to last year as “St. Paul’s national anthem.” Being part of the choir this year has been a delightful experience – rehearsal by Zoom is a bizarre concept, but Jake has made it work in creative ways that were both productive and fun. Sermons throughout the years have opened doors to expand our hearts and minds as we reflect on the past and consider what comes next. As the church begins to regather after the pandemic, memories are strong and hope is abundant. What’s beyond St. Paul’s? Nothing. And everything. All are welcome. Love is the way.