STATEMENT OF CALL
St. Paul’s is a Christian community where people are met and accepted without judgment for who they are and are adopted into a loving and caring family. Our faith provides a framework within which we explore, honor and celebrate the presence of God in daily experiences, especially in the crises, conflicts and transitions of life, and are thereby equipped to live fully in an increasingly complex and changing world. We believe we are called to center our life in Jesus Christ through a regular discipline of Eucharistic worship, scripture study and prayer. We believe our faith leads us to fulfill our mission, which is to share ourselves and our resources with each other, our community and the world. We believe we are called to discover and affirm our spiritual gifts and be responsible and committed ministers of these gifts in the name of Jesus Christ.
A PLACE TO BELONG
Parishioners love St. Paul's because there are so many ways to belong to the community. Some find a place in the choir, teaching church school and youth activities, helping with the church fair, joining the vestry or the altar guild, or being a lay Eucharistic minister. There are so many ways to find a place to belong.
There's a sense of peace when you're surrounded by everyone . . .
Sundays at St. Paul’s Church begin with an 8 a.m. Eucharist. This service is a Eucharist enhanced with music. We sing the Sanctus, the Doxology and a closing hymn, each accompanied by organ or piano. We also enjoy a soloist singing during communion.
The 10:15 a.m. service is also a Eucharist which is celebrated with our choir during the fall, winter and spring. Elements of this service include several hymns and a moment with the children following the sermon.
During the summer months, from mid-June through early September, we celebrate one Eucharist either in the main church or in St. Anna’s Chapel. This service begins at 9 a.m. and includes elements of music. Occasionally when our priest is away one of our Lay Eucharistic Ministers leads a service of Morning Prayer.
Periodically during the non-summer months we combine the 8 and 10:15 into a single service at 9 a.m. These Sundays are special days in the life of the parish, including a homecoming picnic in September, ingathering Sunday celebrating the gifts of stewardship, the Annual Meeting and others as an occasion arises.
Normally, there is an opportunity for healing prayers with laying-on of hands with a member of our healing team.
We celebrate Holy Eucharist using Rite II Services from the Book of Common Prayer, the New Zealand Prayer Book and other sources from around the world. All of our services benefit from the spiritual leadership of our priest and dedicated laity including the Altar Guild, Lectors, Lay Eucharist Ministers, Eucharist Visitors, ushers, greeters, acolytes and child care providers.
Eucharist and worship . . . the core of our community
Each Sunday during the non-summer months, an adult forum is held in the library between the two Sunday services. The forum is led by either the clergy or a lay person and focuses on topics important to our life in Christ’s world. Occasionally, visitors from other churches or from the Diocese join us to provide leadership in the forum.
Each Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. a Lay Eucharistic Minister leads a service of Evening Prayer. This service allows a few minutes of calm and prayer in the midst of a busy week.
On the first Thursday of each month a Contemplative Prayer Circle meets to focus on a simple prayer practice that allows us to be at rest, at ease with ourselves within the present moment and in stillness.
On the fourth Wednesday of each month a Holy Eucharist is celebrated at 11 a.m. This service welcomes anyone, but particularly invites those unable to participate in Sunday services.
St. Paul’s partners with St. James Church in Amesbury to offer a Cherub Church, initiated by St. Paul's, for the 3-5 year age group. The rector and lay volunteers provided a time for these young children and their parents to meet together for some worship activity, some focused playtime and some refreshments.
Blessing of the Animals, held on or near the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, invites all God's creatures great and small to join their humans for a Sunday service and to receive a blessing.
Ingathering Sunday marks the celebration of our financial commitments for the coming year. For the past few years we have focused our stewardship campaign on how the spirit is calling us to give back to God. Each individual places their commitment card on the altar as we conclude the service.
Christmas Eve begins with a Family Service at 4 p.m. This service includes a children’s pageant as we welcome the newborn Christ child into the world. The 9 p.m. service features a period of music led by the choir followed by festive Eucharist. A Festival of Lessons and Carols is held on the Sunday following Christmas.
Ash Wednesday - traditional services are offered in the morning and the evening. On occasion our rector has gone to the train station to deliver ashes to those who cannot get to church.
Holy Week observances begin with Palm Sunday. On this day the people congregate in the Narthex or the parish hall for the blessing and distribution of palms, then process to their pews for the service. Holy Week observances continue on Maundy Thursday with a supper of bread and soup, a ritual foot washing and a Eucharist. Parishioners respond to the Gospel invitation to watch by keeping vigil through the night. Two somber Good Friday services commemorate the crucifixion of Christ. The Easter Vigil is a collaboration among several churches in our Deanery celebrating the new light in the world. The location rotates among the participating churches. The culmination of Holy Week are the festival services on Easter as we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord.
A PLACE FOR MUSIC
Sacred & Secular
The Sacred music ministry at St. Paul’s is the responsibility of the Director of Music and is an essential part of the liturgy. The director plays the organ and piano for the Sunday 10:15 a.m. worship service as well as Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Christmas, weddings and funerals. The music director also plays the Sanctus, a communion song, closing hymn, and postlude for the Sunday 8 a.m. service. Working with a music committee, which includes the rector, the director incorporates hymns, psalms, service music, anthems and the like into each worship service according to the scripture readings and themes for the day, season or some special celebration.
The music repertoire spans many centuries, languages and musical forms, ranging from traditional classical to music by contemporary composers. The music at St. Paul’s is chosen to enhance the worship experience, but also to engage and inspire the congregation.
Our Children and Youth Program Coordinator provides guidance and encouragement to the Sunday School teaching team and coordinates joint events for St. Paul’s and St. James’ youth. The coordinator also leads a two week/half day summer program for children, focusing on nature and ecology.
Nursery care is provided each week from 10 a.m. to noon for infants and toddlers. St Paul’s has also hosted a cherub church service twice each month on Tuesday afternoons for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and their parents.
Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) is an approach to the religious formation of children ages 3 to 12. It is rooted in scripture, liturgy and the educational principles of Maria Montessori. St. Paul’s offers the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd in Level I (for children aged 3 to 6 years), Level II (for children aged 6 to 9 years), and Level III (for children aged 10 to 12 years). Our CGS program is staffed by three trained catechists and a group of parish volunteers.
An integral part of Christian education at St Paul’s is an invitation to participate in outreach ministries. Children prepare Christmas stockings for Among Friends guests during our St Nicholas celebration, bake pies for Among Friends, participate in beach cleanups, and decorate mite boxes for use in Lenten devotions.
Newburyport is a pretty waterside city in the northeast corner of the state. It can easily be described as quaint, quintessential New England, historic, charming and beautiful. Since the arrival of its first settlers in the 1630s until today, there are clues to every decade of its history reflected in the architecture of the homes, shops and public buildings. There was much going on here in colonial times including participating in the planning of the American Revolution and the first tea party to protest against the British taxes. This is also the birthplace of the US Coast Guard.
We have been blessed to have a joyful worship experience at St Paul’s and expect to continue to be inspired by beautiful music and challenging sermons.
To grow we must be a spirit-filled congregation with confidence to invite others to join in. We hope for a rector who has both inspirational sermons and a sense of humor. We seek a rector who wants get to know each of us, one with a sense of imagination and one who can communicate effectively with young children. We are inspired by our lovely historic building and plan to continue having concerts and historic tours to showcase our deep history.
We see the potential to expand involvement at St. Paul's including:
- More adult education;
- Continued Bible study;
- Social justice initiatives;
- Greater participation by our children;
- Occasional organized workdays;
- Mission trips, and strengthening connections with global partners; and
- Our new global mission program, Food for the Poor.
Photos by James Reid