• Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

Sunday Worship for August 29, 2021


The Holy Eucharist

14th Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 17B, Track 2)

August 29, 2021


Watch the Livestream at www.Facebook.com/StMattSav/Live/

Sunday, August 29, at 9:30 a.m. (or anytime afterward)



The Holy Eucharist: Rite II


The Word of God



Hymn #423: Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise

[Verses 1-4]


1 Immortal, invisible, God only wise,

in light inaccessible hid from our eyes,

most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,

almighty, victorious, thy great Name we praise.


2 Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light,

nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;

thy justice like mountains high soaring above

thy clouds, which are fountains of goodness and love.


3 To all life thou givest, to both great and small;

in all life thou livest, the true life of all;

we blossom and flourish, like leaves on the tree,

then wither and perish; but nought changeth thee.


4 Thou reignest in glory, thou rulest in light,

thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight;

all laud we would render: O help us to see

'tis only the splendor of light hideth thee.


Words: Walter Chalmers Smith, alt., Public Domain.

Music: St. Denio, Welsh hymn; adapt. John Roberts; harm. The English Hymnal (1906), alt., Public Domain.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #84444. All rights reserved.



Opening Sentences

[BCP, p. 355]


Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

And blessed be God's kingdom, now and forever. Amen.



The Collect for Purity

[BCP, p. 355]


Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.



Hymn S-280: Glory to God (Gloria in Excelsis)

[BCP, p. 356]


Glory to God in the highest,

and peace to his people on earth.


Lord God, heavenly King,

almighty God and Father,

we worship you, we give you thanks,

we praise you for your glory.


Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,

Lord God, Lamb of God,

you take away the sin of the world:

have mercy on us;

you are seated at the right hand of the Father:

receive our prayer.


For you alone are the Holy One,

you alone are the Lord,

you alone are the Most High,

Jesus Christ,

with the Holy Spirit,

in the glory of God the Father. Amen.


Words: Public Domain.

Music: Robert Powell, © 1985 Church Publishing, Inc.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #77081. All rights reserved.



The Collect of the Day

[BCP, p. 357, 233]

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Let us pray:


Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.


A Reading from the Book of Deuteronomy (4:1-2, 6-9)

Moses said: So now, Israel, give heed to the statutes and ordinances that I am teaching you to observe, so that you may live to enter and occupy the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. You must neither add anything to what I command you nor take away anything from it, but keep the commandments of the Lord your God with which I am charging you. ...


You must observe them diligently, for this will show your wisdom and discernment to the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and discerning people!” For what other great nation has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is whenever we call to him? And what other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just as this entire law that I am setting before you today?


But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.


Psalm 15

[BCP, p. 599]

Read responsively by half-verse (at the asterisk).

1 Lord, who may dwell in your tabernacle? * who may abide upon your holy hill?


2 Whoever leads a blameless life and does what is right, * who speaks the truth from his heart.


3 There is no guile upon his tongue; he does no evil to his friend; * he does not heap contempt upon his neighbor.


4 In his sight the wicked is rejected, * but he honors those who fear the Lord.


5 He has sworn to do no wrong * and does not take back his word.


6 He does not give his money in hope of gain, * nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.


7 Whoever does these things * shall never be overthrown.



A Reading from the Letter of St. James (1:17-27)

Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.


You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God's righteousness. Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.


But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act-they will be blessed in their doing.


If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.


The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.



The People stand for the reading of the Gospel.

The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ According to St. Mark (7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23)

Glory to you, Lord Christ.

When the Pharisees and some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around him, they noticed that some of his disciples were eating with defiled hands, that is, without washing them. (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they thoroughly wash their hands, thus observing the tradition of the elders; and they do not eat anything from the market unless they wash it; and there are also many other traditions that they observe, the washing of cups, pots, and bronze kettles.) So the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” He said to them, “Isaiah prophesied rightly about you hypocrites, as it is written,


‘This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me;

in vain do they worship me, teaching human precepts as doctrines.’


You abandon the commandment of God and hold to human tradition.” ...


Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.” ... For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Christ.



The Sermon

"Order of Importance” by Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda


For the last two weeks, a group of us have been meeting over Zoom to discuss a 2018 book by Bishop Barbara C. Harris, called Hallelujah, Anyhow!: A Memoir. Bishop Harris is famous for being the first woman and first Black woman ever to be consecrated as a Bishop in the worldwide Anglican Communion. She served for many years as the Bishop Suffragan (assisting Bishop) in the Dioceses of Massachusetts and Washington (D.C.). Bishop Harris lived from 1930-2020 so she saw a great many social changes in both the church and wider American society.


In last week’s chapter, she shared a story about her church when she was a young adult in the 1950s. She grew up in St. Barnabas’ Episcopal Church, a historically Black parish in Philadelphia. At that time, St. Barnabas’, like many Episcopal churches then, did not allow women to serve on Vestry (and, of course, this was years before women were allowed to be ordained deacons, priests, or bishops). She remembers a parish annual meeting when they were holding an election for new members of the Vestry, but couldn’t find enough men to run. She explains that instead of nominating one of the many dedicated, faithful, well-qualified women of the parish, they nominated a young man sitting in the back of the room who “hadn’t been in church for at least eight or ten years” (p. 21). Even as a young woman, Barbara Harris was bold, so she stood up and protested this decision. The rector and vestry ignored her initially, but after a few years of organizing with other church members, they changed the parish charter and women were allowed to serve.


Young Barbara Harris recognized that the Vestry was wrong here because their priorities were out of whack. They were focusing on the rule about gender qualifications for the vestry. Instead, they should have been focusing on a member’s dedication and commitment to the church, her spiritual maturity, her wisdom and insight. They selected an under-qualified male candidate for vestry rather than any of the strong and capable women. This is what happens when we get caught up in following simple rules and lose track of the big picture.


In today’s Gospel reading, several religious leaders confront Jesus about his disciples’ hygiene habits. It might seem like a weird premise from our cultural point of view. But in that time and place, from those Pharisees’ and scribes’ perspective, this was a very relevant conversation. It was a debate about following the Bible and following religious traditions. The religious leaders were concerned that Jesus and his followers were disobeying God’s commandments and modeling bad behavior to the rest of the community. So they challenged Jesus on this point.


Exodus 30:17-21 talks about the importance of priests washing their hands before they approach the altar to make a sacrifice. Over time, this tradition seems to have been extended to many ordinary Jewish people. Mark exaggerates when he says that “all the Jews” follow this practice (7:3), but the point remains that in that time and place, it was expected that Jewish believers would wash before eating.


Jesus responds with an accusation of his own. He calls them hypocrites. He says that they are worshipping in vain, that they are missing the bigger picture, that they have forgotten what is most important in their religious lives. Unfortunately, the way the lectionary has edited this week’s passage, we miss a whole paragraph of Jesus’ argument in verses 9-13. Here, Jesus gives an example of why he is upset at their question.


In verses 9-13, Jesus says the Pharisees and scribes have ignored one of the Ten Commandments: “Honor your father and your mother” (Mark 7:10; cf. Exodus 20:12). They had a tradition called “Corban,” which allowed people to make a special offering to God (i.e., a gift to the temple for use by the religious leaders) instead of giving that money to their elderly parents in times of need. This made money for the religious establishment in exchange for exploiting a vulnerable portion of the population. To Jesus that was a much bigger deal than washing hands before eating.


To use St. James’ words, Jesus accuses the religious leaders of being “hearers of the word and not doers” (James 1:23). They focus on the small laws and traditions that are easier to control and monitor (like washing hands and dishes). But they neglect the “weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith” (Matthew 23:23). They ignore vulnerable people like elderly parents who need their children’s support to survive. They let that slide because it enriches them and their friends, and instead spend their time going around asking people to wash their hands.


To be clear, Jesus is not ignoring or overriding the Law of Moses. He’s not saying the religious leaders are wrong for trying to follow it. Jesus is not even pitting all scripture against all tradition, as if scripture is all good and tradition is all bad. Rather, Jesus says that these Pharisees and scribes are emphasizing the wrong parts of scripture and tradition. They have lost their priorities by focusing on small bits of personal responsibility instead of challenging the rules and the systems that make it easier to do the wrong thing.


This is not a problem simply for Jewish leaders 2000 years ago. It’s a problem we deal with too. It’s much easier to vote for the man on the vestry ballot than it is to challenge the leaders to change the rules and let women run. It’s much easier to pray for people who are poor and hungry (faith) than it is to find a way to feed them (mercy). That’s why we provide opportunities to volunteer to serve with our friends at Emmaus House downtown. And it’s easier to do that work of mercy than it is to strive for real justice, to find ways to break systemic cycles of homelessness and poverty. That’s why we work together with our partners in JUST (Justice Unites Savannah Together) to advocate for policy changes in our local governments.


Jesus isn’t saying to choose one of the three over the other. He’s just reminding us about the order of importance. Justice and mercy and faith must all come together in our church community. None can stand alone. St. James hits the nail on the head again: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27). So don’t get caught up in all the little rules; instead focus on loving your neighbor, and making the world a kinder place where it’s easier to meet everyone’s basic needs and do the right thing for one another. Amen.


Bibliography

  • Harris, Barbara C., and Kelly Brown Douglas. Hallelujah, Anyhow!: A Memoir. New York: Church Publishing, 2018.



Hymn #660: O Master, Let Me Walk With Thee

[Verses 1-4]


1 O Master, let me walk with thee

in lowly paths of service free;

tell me thy secret; help me bear

the strain of toil, the fret of care.


2 Help me the slow of heart to move

by some clear, winning word of love;

teach me the wayward feet to stay,

and guide them in the homeward way.


3 Teach me thy patience; still with thee

in closer, dearer company,

in work that keeps faith sweet and strong,

in trust that triumphs over wrong,


4 in hope that sends a shining ray

far down the future's broadening way,

in peace that only thou canst give,

with thee, O Master, let me live.


Words: Washington Gladden, Public Domain.

Music: Maryton, Henry Percy Smith, Public Domain.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #97763. All rights reserved.



The Nicene Creed

[BCP, p. 358]


We believe in one God,

the Father, the Almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

of all that is, seen and unseen.


We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,

the only Son of God,

eternally begotten of the Father,

God from God, Light from Light,

true God from true God,

begotten, not made,

of one Being with the Father.

Through him all things were made.

For us and for our salvation

he came down from heaven:

by the power of the Holy Spirit

he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,

and was made man.

For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;

he suffered death and was buried.

On the third day he rose again

in accordance with the Scriptures;

he ascended into heaven

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

and his kingdom will have no end.


We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,

who proceeds from the Father and the Son.

With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.

He has spoken through the Prophets.

We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

We look for the resurrection of the dead,

and the life of the world to come. Amen.


The Prayers of the People

[BCP, p. 392, Form VI]


In peace, we pray to you, Lord God.


Silence.


For all people in their daily life and work;

For our families, friends, and neighbors, and for those who are alone.


For Joseph, our president; Brian, our governor; Van, our mayor; Chester, the chair of our County Commission; Ann, the Superintendent of our Public Schools, and all other civic officials; For this community, the nation, and the world;

For all who work for justice, freedom, and peace.


For the just and proper use of your creation;

For the victims of hunger, fear, injustice, and oppression.


For our neighbors experiencing homelessness, that they may find safety and shelter, and for all who are in danger, sorrow, or any kind of trouble;

For those who minister to the sick, the friendless, and the needy.


For all the churches in Savannah, that we may be one as you are one with the Son, and the Holy Spirit; For the peace and unity of the Church of God;

For all who proclaim the Gospel, and all who seek the Truth.


For Justin, Archbishop of Canterbury; Michael, our Presiding Bishop; Frank, our Bishop; Guillermo our Priest; and for all bishops and other ministers;

For all who serve God in his Church.


For the special needs and concerns of this congregation, especially for our Day Care’s staff, students, and families, and for those on our Parish Prayer List: Martha Avery, Ronald Baynes, Christine Brown, Jacqueline Bryant, Loretta Harmond, Marva Harris, Whitney Kennedy, Craig Maxwell, Sada Maxwell, Gordon Moore, Willie Mae Robinson, Helen Scroggins, Paulette Sibert, Nia Simmons, Gon Trimble, and Leonard Villabona; and those we remember now…


Silence. The People may add their own petitions.

Hear us, Lord;

For your mercy is great.


We thank you, Lord, for all the blessings of this life; for all visitors to this parish; for Margo Jackson (8/30), Jason Carrington (8/31), Caroline Banks (9/3), and Leonard Law, Jr. (9/3), on their birthdays; for Fr. DeWayne & Keshia Cope (9/2) on their wedding anniversary; and for any other thanksgivings we remember now.


Silence. The People may add their own thanksgivings.


We will exalt you, O God our King;

And praise your Name for ever and ever.


We pray for all who have died, that they may have a place in your eternal kingdom, especially those we remember now...


Silence. The People may add their own petitions.


Lord, let your loving-kindness be upon them;

Who put their trust in you.


We pray to you also for the forgiveness of our sins.


Silence may be kept.


Leader and People:

Have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; in your compassion forgive us our sins, known and unknown, things done and left undone; and so uphold us by your Spirit that we may live and serve you in newness of life, to the honor and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Celebrant concludes with an absolution:

Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you all your sins through the grace of Jesus Christ, strengthen you in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit keep you in eternal life. Amen.



The Peace

[BCP, p. 360]


The peace of the Lord be always with you.

And also with you.



The Offertory

[BCP, p. 377]


Giving to St. Matthew's: We know that many people are feeling the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The church is feeling it too. We still need your support to pay our staff, pay our bills, and provide for these online live streams. There are several ways to give, but the simplest are these:

  1. Mail us a check or money order at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 1401 Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd, Savannah, GA 31415; OR

  2. Make a secure online gift to St. Matthew’s and/or automate future gifts at: https://onrealm.org/StMattSav/-/give/now; OR

  3. Text “stmattsav” to 73256 to make a secure online donation through your phone.

NOTE: Donations made online (#2 or #3) through Realm incur a processing fee of about 2.5%. Please consider adding an additional 2.5% to your online gift to cover these costs.

“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and make good your vows to the Most High.”

[Psalm 50:14; see BCP, p. 376]

Give online at: https://onrealm.org/StMattSav/-/give/now



LEV #20: When We All Get to Heaven

[Verses 1-4]


1 Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,

Sing His mercy and His grace;

In the mansion bright and blessed,

He’ll prepare for us a place.


REFRAIN:

When we all get to heaven,

What a day of rejoicing that will be!

When we all see Jesus,

We’ll sing and shout the victory.


2 While we walk the pilgrim pathway,

Clouds will overspread the sky;

But when trav’ling days are over,

Not a shadow, not a sigh. [REFRAIN]


3 Let us then be true and faithful,

Trusting, serving ev’ry day;

Just one glimpse of Him in glory

Will the toils of life repay; [REFRAIN]


4 Onward to the prize before us!

Soon His beauty we’ll behold;

Soon the pearly gates will open;

We shall tread the streets of gold. [REFRAIN]

Words: Eliza Edmunds Hewitt, Public Domain.

Music: Emily Divine Wilson, Public Domain.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #97977. All rights reserved.



Eucharistic Prayer A

[BCP, p. 361]


The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Lift up your hearts.

We lift them to the Lord.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right to give him thanks and praise.


It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and everywhere to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. ...


The Celebrant adds one of the appointed prefaces.


Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven, who forever sing this hymn to proclaim the glory of your Name:


LEV #255:

Holy, holy, holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts

Heaven and earth are filled with your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, of the Lord

Hosanna in the highest, hosanna in the highest!


[Words: Public Domain; Music: Grayson Warren Brown, A Mass for a Soulfoul People © 1979 North American Liturgy Resources. Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #98299. All Rights Reserved.]


The people stand or kneel.


Holy and gracious Father: In your infinite love you made us for yourself, and, when we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death, you, in your mercy, sent Jesus Christ, your only and eternal Son, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to you, the God and Father of all.


He stretched out his arms upon the cross, and offered himself, in obedience to your will, a perfect sacrifice for the whole world.


On the night he was handed over to suffering and death, our Lord Jesus Christ took bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, "Take, eat: This is my Body, which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me."


After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and said, "Drink this, all of you: This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink it, do this for the remembrance of me." Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith:

Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.


We celebrate the memorial of our redemption, O Father, in this sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Recalling his death, resurrection, and ascension, we offer you these gifts. Sanctify them by your Holy Spirit to be for your people the Body and Blood of your Son, the holy food and drink of new and unending life in him. Sanctify us also that we may faithfully receive this holy Sacrament, and serve you in unity, constancy, and peace; and at the last day bring us with all your saints into the joy of your eternal kingdom. All this we ask through your Son Jesus Christ: By him, and with him, and in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit all honor and glory is yours, Almighty Father, now and for ever. AMEN.



The Lord’s Prayer

[BCP, p. 364]


And now, as our Savior Christ has taught us, we are bold to say,

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.



The Fraction Anthem

[BCP, p. 364]


Alleluia! Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us;

Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia!


The Gifts of God for the people of God.



LEV #151: One Bread, One Body

[Verses 1-3]


REFRAIN:

One bread, one body, one Lord of all

One cup of blessing which we bless.

And we, though many, throughout the earth,

We are one body in this one Lord.


1 Gentile or Jew, servant or free,

Woman or man no more.


2 Many the gifts, many the works,

One in the Lord of all.


3 Grain for the fields, scattered and grown,

Gathered to one for all.

Words: 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; 12:4; Galatians 3:28; The Didache 9; © 1978 John B. Foley, S.J., and OCP.

Music: John B. Foley, S.J. © 1978 John B. Foley, S.J., and OCP.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #80673. All rights reserved.



The Post-Communion Prayer

[Enriching our Worship 2 [2000], pp. 56-57]


Let us pray.


For In-Person Worshippers:

Faithful God,

in the wonder of your wisdom and love

you fed your people in the wilderness with the bread of angels,

and you sent Jesus to be the bread of life.

We thank you for feeding us with this bread.

May it strengthen us

that by the power of the Holy Spirit

we may embody your desire

and be renewed for your service

through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.


For Online Worshippers (i.e., Those Receiving Spiritual Communion):

Faithful God,

in the wonder of your wisdom and love

you fed your people in the wilderness with the bread of angels,

and you sent Jesus to be the bread of life.

Though we cannot consume now these gifts of bread [and wine],

we thank you that we have received the sacrament of Christ’s presence,

the forgiveness of sins, and all other benefits of Christ’s passion.

By the power of the Holy Spirit,

may we embody your desire

and be renewed for your service

through Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

The Blessing

[Adapted from Enriching Our Worship 1, p. 71]


Live without fear: your Creator has made you holy, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Go in peace to follow the good road and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.



Parish Announcements


A. Bishop Harris' Hallelujah, Anyhow! Book Study: Thanks to all those who participated in the Christian Education Survey! We reached a consensus to study Hallelujah, Anyhow!: A Memoir by the Right Rev. Barbara C. Harris (1930-2020), the first woman and first Black woman ordained as a bishop in the Anglican Communion.


Please read Chapter 3 before our next meeting on Wednesday, September 1, at 5:30 PM. The Zoom information is featured in the e-Newsletter. For now, you can purchase Bishop Harris' book from Amazon or Church Publishing for about $16. (If you need help ordering the book, you may contact the Office Manager at office@stmattsav.org or (912) 234-4440.)


B. Midyear Giving Statements Available: Thanks to the work of our new Bookkeeper, Ms. Pat Lanchester, we have midyear giving statements available for all people who have contributed financially to St. Matthew's in 2021. These statements reflect all giving from January 1 - July 31, 2021.


Some donors will receive a link to their personalized statement via email, if you ever inputted your email address into Realm, our online accounting software. Everyone who did not pick up their statement at church last Sunday was mailed the statement on Wednesday.


If you notice any discrepancies between your records and ours, please contact Ms. Lanchester at Bookkeeper@StMattSav.org or leave a message for her at (912) 234-4440.


C. Vestry Proposes Revised Parish By-Laws: After a lengthy process that began before the pandemic, St. Matthew's Vestry has completed a comprehensive revision of its Parish By-Laws. Many of the changes are technical and organizational, to help the document flow better, be easier for future leaders of the parish to use, and align more closely with the Canons of the Diocese of Georgia. But some of the more substantial changes include:

  • Reducing the length of time someone must be a member of the parish before they are eligible to serve on Vestry from 3 years to 1 year;

  • Reducing the overall number of standing committees and redefining the responsibilities and duties of each committee;

  • Formally authorizing the Vestry to create "task forces", i.e. temporary committees, which serve a stated short-term purpose and are then dissolved; and

  • Defining the responsibilities and duties of all Vestry and financial officers.

The revisions to the By-laws cannot be finalized until they have been approved by the Vestry twice; the second vote is expected to take place on Tuesday, September 21. This month will be used as a feedback collection period. The complete revised By-Laws will be mailed to all members of the parish. They may also be picked up from the Parish Hall.


Please direct all feedback on the By-Laws to Fr. Arboleda at FrGAA@StMattSav.org. All feedback must come from active members of St. Matthew's Church, so anonymous submissions will not be considered. If the feedback leads to further revisions, the final Vestry vote may be delayed.


D. Baptisms Available this Fall: After a long hiatus due to COVID-19, St. Matthew's is ready to resume performing baptisms and welcoming new members into the household of God. Holy Baptism is available to anyone at any age who has not already been baptized. We would like to hold baptisms on St. Matthew's Day and the 166th Parish Anniversary (Sunday, September 26) and the Eve of All Saints' Day (Sunday, October 31). We are also willing to work around you and your family's schedule to find a day for these celebrations.


If you or your child would like to get baptized, please contact Fr. Arboleda by cell phone or email (FrGAA@StMattSav.org). If you would like to be confirmed or received into The Episcopal Church, or if you would like to renew the commitment you made at confirmation, you may do so when Bishop Logue visits St. Matthew's on Sunday, January 16, 2022. Again, reach out to Fr. Arboleda to make a plan for preparing for this next step in your faith journey.


E. Parish Prayer List FIRST CALL FOR SEPTEMBER: In an effort to improve communication about the parish prayer list, the Office Manager and Rector launched a new format for collecting names beginning in August:

  • With the exception of members we know to be chronically sick and/or shut-in, the prayer list will reset every month.

  • If you would like a loved one to be prayed for publicly, please send the request to Office@StMattSav.org and/or FrGAA@StMattSav.org.

  • After one month, each name will be automatically removed from the list unless it is requested again.

This will help ensure that the list is as accurate and succinct as possible. Please begin sending names for September now.


F. T/W/Th Evening Prayer via Zoom: On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, St. Matthew's invites you to pray Evening Prayer over Zoom. The video will continue to stream to Facebook Live at 5:00 PM. Please join the Zoom call by 4:50 PM. Otherwise, watch the prayer service as you have been on Facebook Live.

For security purposes, below is the Meeting ID only; please check your St. Matthew's e-Newsletter for the password (or email FrGAA@StMattSav.org to request it).

Topic: Zoom Evening Prayer

Time: 05:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada) every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday

Join Zoom Meeting: See e-Newsletter


Meeting ID: 991 8577 8541

Passcode: See e-Newsletter


Dial by your location: +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington D.C)

Meeting ID: 991 8577 8541

Passcode: See e-Newsletter


G. “Trip Around the World” Quilt Raffle: The Quilter's Guild, through St. Matthew's ECW, is raffling a "Trip Around the World" Quilt to benefit St. Matthew's Building Renovation Fund. This fund supports major extra-budgetary building improvement projects, such as painting, replacing the sound system, replacing the oven in Toomer-Walker Hall, etc.


This beautiful, jewel-toned quilt measures 103"x90" and will fit a queen-sized bed. This machine-stitched quilt in tones of deep violet amethyst, blue sapphire, green emerald, blue topaz, and green peridot will enhance any bedroom.


The winner will be announced on September 30, 2021. Winners do not need to be present to win. In addition to the grand prize of the "Trip Around the World '' quilt, there will be interim raffles of seasonal quilt-type projects for no additional ticket purchase. Interim winners will still be eligible for the grand prize.


Tickets are $15 each. Please make donations in $15 increments. Tickets may be purchased by:

  1. Mailing a check to St. Matthew's with "Quilt Raffle" in the memo line; OR

  2. Visiting https://onrealm.org/StMattSav/give/quilt

Expect your raffle tickets to be returned to you by mail or email within 5-7 business days of receipt. Direct any questions to office@stmattsav.org.


H. Revised COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for In-Person Worship: On June 21, the Vestry authorized revised COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for in-person worship at St. Matthew's. Changes include:

  • Up to 100 people are now allowed in the church at a time (increased from 70)

  • People may stay in the building for up to 1.5 hours (increased from 1 hour)

  • One-way foot traffic floor arrows are removed and no longer necessary

  • Congregational singing is now allowed

All people in attendance are still required to wear masks that cover the nose and mouth at all times and maintain social distancing in their assigned seating areas. Click here to read the Vestry's June 2021 COVID-19 Safety Guidelines in their entirety.


For now, we will maintain the current worship schedule: one Sunday service at 9:30 AM. We will reevaluate and consider the congregation's feedback in the late summer or early fall, once we have tried this out for a few months. Note that even if you do not feel comfortable attending, in person, we will continue to live-stream services to Facebook permanently.



The Dismissal

[BCP, p. 366]


Let us go forth into the world, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit!

Thanks be to God!





The Parish Prayer List


Prayer List: Martha Avery, Ronald Baynes, Christine Brown, Jacqueline Bryant, Loretta Harmond, Marva Harris, Whitney Kennedy, Craig Maxwell, Sada Maxwell, Gordon Moore, Willie Mae Robinson, Helen Scroggins, Paulette Sibert, Nia Simmons, Gon Trimble, and Leonard Villabona


Birthdays: Margo Jackson (8/30), Jason Carrington (8/31), Caroline Banks (9/3), and Leonard Law, Jr. (9/3)


Wedding Anniversaries: Fr. DeWayne & Keshia Cope (9/2)


Recent Deaths: N/A

May the souls of all the departed rest in peace; and may light perpetual shine upon them. Amen.