You are welcome here!
St. Paul’s is a lively gathering of God’s people around the Gospel-centered promise of grace, a “Reconciling in Christ” congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in NW Washington, DC.
Join us in these weeks of Epiphany time for our celebration of God’s becoming manifest in the world, our worship and service in the name of Christ.
We are located between Ellicott & Everett Streets NW, between Murch Elementary School and the Fire Station.
The Discipline of Abundant Discipleship
A mailing is being sent today to all St. Paul members that reports 2018 giving and includes a letter and response card for every member and household to indicate intentions for giving in the present year.
It is an exciting time to be the church these days as St. Paul's begins to envision its future and the leadership it needs to engage the world with the gospel mission. And a strong St Paul's Church is an important component of that.
I wrote last week to you about my intentions in giving and that giving represents the majority of Maria's and my tithe (10% of income). I do so because it is part of my discipline to decide what I shall give and to whom each year. And it helps me meet that goal as a disciple of Christ. I invite you to join Mike Charlton and our council members and all leaders who will make such a decision and indicate that on the card that comes to you. And then to return it to the church via mail or dropping it in the offering plate.
Our recent annual meeting discussion about the fact that income hasn't been keeping up with the expenses of current mission and ministry were healthy and helpful. Members were not aware of the decrease in regular giving. This often happens in times of major capital campaigns and projects. The people of St. Paul's want to know more about the financial life undergirding our shared ministries, and that is a great thing.
We also pledge to the congregation more frequent and clear communication about our financial life. This is also the discipline of discipleship. This congregation achieves some remarkable ministries. We experience outstanding worship & music, fellowship, education and service ministries - in many venues and directions. We support the mission of the ELCA and Metro DC Synod, hunger relief, disaster relief, shelter for homeless, and more. St. Paul's is blessed with deep sense of discipleship, of following Christ. Now we seek to increase our discipline in giving of those abundant blessings God has entrusted to us.
Thank you for your witness, commitment and strong faith in the present and future ministry and mission of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, here in NW Washington, DC.
John R. Spangler, Interim Pastor
St. Paul's Congregation Meets, Elects Leaders and
The congregation of St. Paul's English Lutheran Church met in its 176th year for its annual meeting Sunday January 27th, engaged in a lengthy discussion about finances and conducted elections of leaders for the new year.
Treasurer Rod Larson provided an overview of the 2018 year, responding to numerous questions about the capital campaign for the HVAC system, other capital improvements, and regular giving. One key observation was that actual giving for 2018 ($463,423) fell approximately $200,000 short of planned giving. Giving to the ELCA wider ministries (benevolence) was $31,497 short of the congregation's commitment of $69,500. Several capital expenditures, including payments to reduce the principal on the HVAC loan ($364,712), a new sanctuary sound system ($80,259), roof repairs to the education wing ($43,000), and 2018 investment losses ($40,254), resulted in significant reductions in the value of St. Paul's dedicated funds.
Several commenters indicated that this pattern and scope of deficits needed to be better understood by St. Paul's members. "Members spoke to the issues in healthy ways," said Pastor Spangler, Interim Pastor. "This was the kind of conversation that is important after a major focus on big projects, the 175th anniversary and farewell to Pastor Tom." Mike Charlton, Stewardship chair, noted that only 38 of 210 giving units in the congregation made pledges in 2018, although many more members gave generously. Mike expressed hope that many more will fill out giving "intention" cards for the new year. Those cards and statements of giving were placed in the mail January 30th. In an Epiphany temple talk, Mike asked members and friends to consider increasing their giving this year by at least $300. He asked members to indicate their giving targets by returning their intention card to the Church. This information will greatly help the Council plan appropriately.
The congregation adopted a 2019 budget of $887,309, 6.5% lower than 2018, but still roughly $150,000 more than the total income received in 2018.
There was a general consensus that the congregation accomplishes a lot of great work, reaches out in support of the world's needs, and should celebrate its excellent ministries. And, at the same time, St. Paul's needs more transparency and more interpretation of its finances. "We are working on a better format for reporting on our finances" said Larson, "so that it is easier to understand the sources of income, the use of dedicated funds, the cost of maintaining the Church and the costs of the Church's ministries."
Re-elected to the Congregation Council for second terms were Beth Van Hanswyk, Jane Cramer and Tina Schendt. In addition, Laura Denardis was elected to serve her first term on the Council. Lynn Adkins was returned to the role of Secretary and Rod Larson as Treasurer. Jay Guerber was elected as a Trustee.
In other actions, the congregation:
All are invited to Reunion's free breakfast event on Wednesday February 20!
St Paul's members Barbara Moore and Rebecca Stelle are board members of Reunion, an interfaith community supporting men and women coming home from incarceration. Becca and Barbara would love to share information about this ministry with the people of St. Paul's. Breakfast is at 8AM at Clyde's in Gallery Place. Please RSVP to Lutheran Table Host Liz Rihani . Learn more about the event here.
A New Member Orientation Session
We invite all those visitors and friends who would like to know more about becoming a member of St. Paul's to meet with the Pastor Wed. March 13th, at 5:30pm. The one hour session will explore the Lutheran tradition and St. Paul's ministries - concluding in time for the simple soup and bread supper at 6:30pm.
If you are interested in joining St. Paul's or if you have any questions, please email Pastor Spangler.
Calling all youth of St. Paul's! Looking for a service project? Think about joining the Empty Bowl Soup Project's luncheon on February 24th to help serve the soup and beverages. The project will benefit St. Paul's Food Pantry in feeding the hungry. The sign-up sheet is located in the portico. Be a part of this event and at the same time "serve the Lord with gladness." Contact Deaconess Cassie with questions at email@example.com or the church office.
Empty Soup Bowl Project
Luncheon - Soups Needed
We are in need of soups to be served at the "Souper Bowl Sunday" luncheon on February 24th If you are unable to participate and would like to contribute in some way a kettle of soup would be appreciated. The sign-up sheet also has places to contribute bread and a basic green salad. Contact Deaconess Cassie with questions.
February 17, 2019
The Prayer Shawl Ministry will gather on February 17th at 10:00 am in the dining room adjacent to the lower auditorium. This will be the first meeting since the holidays and it will be a wonderful opportunity to catch up and begin a new year of service. If anyone is interested in joining the group please take a few minutes to sit in and see the various areas that the ministry serves. Contact Deaconess Cassie with questions.
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner March 5th
Please mark your calendars for Tuesday, March 5th for a Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner from 6:00-7:30 p.m. in the Dining Room and lower Fellowship Hall.
What is Shrove Tuesday, you ask? Generally speaking, it's a preparation day for Lent, but you'll have to come to the dinner to find out the whole story! We'll have pancakes, sausage, fresh fruit, and plenty of Lutheran coffee to wash it all down. There will also be some surprises and fun trivia for the kids!
Suggested donation is $5 per person.
We are also looking for 4-5 adults to help with preparing the food for the dinner. If you can help, please let Lisa know.
Hope to see you there!
Learn how to create more joy and intimacy in your marriage by attending a Lutheran Marriage Encounter Weekend! The 2019 Northeast US spring Weekends are: April 5-7, 2019 at the lovely Country Inn & Suites just off of Hwy 99 in State College, PA and April 26-28, 2019 at the newly-remodeled Heritage Hotel Lancaster in Lancaster, PA. For more information, please go to their website.
We are looking to the future with excitement for continuing our ministry caring for the homeless in D.C. We hope to work with our partners from Friendship Place, a leading provider of housing services for the homeless, to implement a new peer model for St. Paul's Shelter. The peer model focuses on personal empowerment to facilitate connecting people to permanent housing effectively and efficiently, and is a best practice model in transitional housing. We are looking for members of the congregation to serve on an advisory board to help lead this important ministry. No experience is needed, just a strong desire to ensure our shelter is a welcoming and supportive transitional space for our residents. If you are interested, please contact Beth Van Hanswyk or Kate Belinski .
Parents of College Students:
Please make sure that the church office has your son's or daughter's college address so we can reach out to them periodically.
If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Wackler.
We are looking for people interested in volunteering for this very important church function. It consists of a two member team that works on Sundays after church or Monday for about 1 or 2 hours collecting, counting and recording the offering. The teams are assigned a month at a time, usually 3 or 4 months a year (depending on how many teams we have). Sundays can be switched with other teams. Training and written instructions are provided. Please contact Paula Stewart 410-956-7117 or the church office to volunteer.
Are you or someone you know looking for an enriching, life-giving summer job experience? Our 2019 summer staff application is now live! Spend the summer with us building your leadership skills, connecting with children and youth, and developing your faith. Full-time and part-time positions available. Click HERE for more info.
Are you ready for summer camp 2019?! Our brochure is now available online. Take a look at the programs offered for 2019, including a brand-new "Extended Stay" program for senior high youth! Online registration for all programs begins January 1st. Click HERE for more info.
This Sunday at St. Paul's will feature a guest preacher, the Rev. Dr. Maria E. Erling, Professor of Modern Church History, teaches church history and global mission at United Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg and Philadelphia. She is married to Interim Pastor Spangler and worships often here at St. Paul's. Her previous calls in ministry included Trinity Lutheran Church, Worcester, MA and as New England Synod staff specialist in urban ministry. She holds degrees from Augustana College, Rock Island, IL, Yale Divinity School, and Harvard University. "You won't want to miss her message," said Pastor Spangler, who added that she is the better preacher of the two.
And don't forget! The church nursery is available every Sunday 10:30 am--12:30 pm (or until the last child gets picked up). Let us give you a break when you need it!
Year- end statements of giving were mailed to households on January 30th. In that same envelope was a letter from stewardship chair Mike Charlton along with an intention card to be returned to the Treasurer indicating your intentions for giving to the church in 2019. To date, 46 households have responded. Please take the time to return your card!
Discernment Begins around Table Talks
Calling a new pastor begins with a discernment process. Thanks to a great Transition Team, St. Paul's begins its journey with an exploration of the congregation that we are, and a vision of what we want to be in the future. It is a forward looking process, but one that begins with a healthy self-understanding. It is a deliberate process, unhurried enough to get it right, allowing thoughts and visions to come to the fore. I have already heard good reflections among you. It is important that we capture all voices and visions. So it is time to sign up, show up, and listen and talk! This is how the Holy Spirit is working among us. First event is this Sunday after the 11am worship.
This SUNDAY, February 17th Provide Input on St Paul's Future!
Please save the date and mark your calendars to join us at one of several Table Talks in February and March (the first one is THIS SUNDAY!) to discuss St. Paul's transition to a new pastor.
During these Table Talks, the transition team will lead discussions focused on: (1) the core ministries of St. Paul's, (2) our vision for the future of our church, (3) important qualities we'd like our next pastor to have, and (4) what important information pastoral candidates and the call committee should know during the selection process. This data will be used to create a profile that the call committee will employ to select candidates for St. Paul's.
Dates are below. You can sign up to attend in several ways: (1) online here: (2) via the Sunday insert, or (3) by calling the church office at 202.966.5489!
Table Talks - Input for St. Paul's Future
Please sign up for one session to attend. Childcare will be provided during all sessions. If you are unable to attend any of the scheduled sessions please speak to a member of the Transition Team so we can find another time to get your feedback.
Our Transition Committee members are eager to hear from everyone in the Congregation about your thoughts and ideas about the ministries of St. Paul's and what we should be looking for in a new pastor. Contact information for the committee members is below:
God was made visible in Christ, and so Jesus occupies a critical center of our faith. But who was Jesus? Mirror, model, Metaphor, mystery? Jesus has become known to us from many angles of vision: as rabbi, as king, liberator, lamb of God, prince of peace, and more. On Wednesday evenings this Lent, we will explore these and other angles of vision through a simple supper, a little learning time in the context of evening prayer, and the sacrament. Join us for seeing Jesus through the lens of words and images.
Beginning Wednesday, March 13th, we will meet in the Dining Room at St. Paul's at 6:30 pm for fellowship time and a meal, followed by Holden Evening Prayer in the Chancel at 7:30 pm. Volunteers are needed to provide part of the meal--to sign up for specific weeks, please click on the link to Sign Up Genius.
DID YOU KNOW is a weekly feature in observance of St. Paul's 175th Anniversary.
DID YOU KNOW that two men who had an incredible shared experience reconnected by coincidence at St. Paul's Lutheran Church?
This reunion story was shared by Jane Cramer. Close to forty years ago, long before Jane was a member of St. Paul's, her parents were visiting from Pennsylvania, and they came to St. Paul's for a worship service. Her father, John Cramer, recognized Wilbur Sharpe who had been a St. Paul's parishioner since 1969.
Mr. Cramer and Mr. Sharpe had known each other during World War II, and it was a reunion of two Kriegies. That is the nickname of the prisoners held in Oflag 64, a World War II German prisoner-of-war camp for American officers located at Szubin in Nazi-occupied Poland. They were both Army officers captured on February 14, 1943 in the North Africa Campaign in Tunisia and transferred to Poland. Mr. Cramer and Mr. Sharpe spent more than 19 months in Oflag 64 as prisoners #1489 and #1573 respectively. As the Russian Army approached in January 1945, all the men capable of walking were marched out of Oflag 64 toward prisoner-of-war camps in Germany. That group marched through snow and bitter cold for almost two months, covering nearly 400 miles.
Mr. Cramer and Mr. Sharpe rarely spoke to their families of their POW experiences which had taken an enormous toll physically on them. Mr. Cramer was forced out of the camp, eventually picked up by friendly forces, and sent to Paris for rest and recuperation before returning to the United States. From an interview that Mr. Sharpe gave to the Washington Post in 2009, his liberation was quite the adventure. He and two fellow prisoners stayed back in a barn on the eighth day of the march and were captured three days later by the Russian Army. After two months with the Russian Army, they commandeered a jeep, and wound up in Odessa where Mr. Sharpe caught a boat to Port Said in Egypt.
Jane, whose father died in 2009, reconnected in July 2018 with now 96 year-old Mr. Sharpe and his daughter, Cindy Sharpe Burgess who was married at St. Paul's in 1970. They attended a gathering of the Oflag 64 Association, a long-standing American group comprised of Kriegies and their families. Cindy Burgess is the founder of a Polish-American Foundation seeking to build a commemorative museum at the site of Oflag 64 in Szubin.
If you are interested in learning more, Jane would be happy to talk with you about her father's experiences. A July 28, 2018 Washington Post article, "Americans, Poles Meet in Va. To Plan How to Save a Nearly Forgotten Nazi POW Camp" also provides information about Mr. Sharpe.
Sunday, April 15th, 2018, marked the actual 175th Anniversary of St. Paul's English Lutheran Church. While St. Paul's first service was actually on January 8, 1843, the complete organization of the church was not until April 15th 1843 when the first church council was elected. We had a wonderful celebration to commemorate the special day!
The day began with a festival worship service at which Bishop Graham brought greetings and presided. A brass quartet joined us and all of the choirs (the Bell Choir, Youth Choir and Adult Choir) contributed lovely music to mark the day. The congregation read Psalm 46 in unison, just as was done at St. Paul's Semi-Centennial in 1893.
Following worship, St. Paul's hosted a celebratory luncheon and program. Thomas L. Bowen of DC Mayor's Office of Religious Affairs presented a congratulatory letter from Mayor Muriel Bowser to Pastor Omholt and then led us in Grace.
There was a delicious buffet luncheon and while people were eating there was a video of the construction of the present day church accompanied by music of David Hearn playing the first organ. During dessert, we had a good old fashioned hymn sing!
Following the meal we heard comments from 2 of our Trustees (June Ericsson and David Cox) and then there was a surprise visit from Pastor J.G. Butler who served at ST. Paul's from 1849-1873! He was portrayed by Dwayne Starlin, a professional impersonator and delivered parts of Rev. Butler's famous sermon from the day following President Lincoln's Assassination and answered questions from the audience.
There was also a display highlighting St. Paul's through its 175 years in the baptistry and a new brief history of St. Paul's was available. This display will be evolving throughout the year. If anyone would like to help out with the display, please contact Joy Belew in the church office.