• Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

Sunday Worship for September 12, 2021


The Holy Eucharist

16th Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 19B, Track 2)

September 12, 2021


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

Sunday, September 12, at 9:30 a.m. (or anytime afterward)





The Holy Eucharist: Rite II


The Word of God



Hymn #675: Take Up Your Cross, the Savior Said

[Verses 1-2, 4-5]


1 Take up your cross, the Savior said,

If you would my disciple be;

Take up your cross with willing heart,

And humbly follow after me.


2 Take up your cross, let not its weight

Fill your weak spirit with alarm;

His strength shall bear your spirit up,

And brace your heart and nerve your arm.


4 Take up your cross, then, in his strength,

And calmly ev'ry danger brave;

It guides you to a better home

And leads to vict'ry o'er the grave.


5 Take up your cross, and follow Christ,

Nor think till death to lay it down;

For only those who bear the cross

May hope to wear the glorious crown.


Words: Charles William Everest, alt., Public Domain.

Music: Bourbon, melody att. Freeman Lewis, Public Domain.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #84170. 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:


O God, because without you we are not able to please you, mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


A Reading from the Book of Isaiah (50:4-9a)

The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher,

that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.

Morning by morning he wakens-- wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.

The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward.

I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;

I did not hide my face from insult and spitting.

The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced;

therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame; he who vindicates me is near.

Who will contend with me? Let us stand up together.

Who are my adversaries? Let them confront me.

It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty?

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.


Psalm 116:1-8

[BCP, p. 759]

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

1 I love the Lord, because he has heard the voice of my supplication, * because he has inclined his ear to me whenever I called upon him.

2 The cords of death entangled me; the grip of the grave took hold of me; * I came to grief and sorrow.

3 Then I called upon the Name of the Lord: * "O Lord, I pray you, save my life."

4 Gracious is the Lord and righteous; * our God is full of compassion.

5 The Lord watches over the innocent; * I was brought very low, and he helped me.

6 Turn again to your rest, O my soul, * for the Lord has treated you well.

7 For you have rescued my life from death, * my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling.

8 I will walk in the presence of the Lord * in the land of the living.



A Reading from the Letter of St. James (3:1-12)

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.


How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue-- a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.


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 (8:27-38)

Glory to you, Lord Christ.

Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they answered him, “John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” He asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Messiah.” And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him.


Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”


He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Christ.



The Sermon

“St. Sebastian, St. Edmund, and the Foolishness of the Cross” by Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda


Whenever we hear Jesus talk about taking up crosses and following him, we are very quick to soften the meaning of these words. It’s pretty obviously a metaphor, but if we think about all the metaphorical ways of taking up our cross, without considering the literal meaning, we can miss the point Jesus makes.


I recently started watching a TV series on Netflix called The Last Kingdom (2015-). It’s a historical fiction series set in early medieval England, in the 9th century. Part of what is interesting about it to me is that it intersects with real life historical figures and events in a part of English history that I wasn’t too familiar with. For instance, King Alfred the Great, who is remembered as a saint in The Episcopal Church each year on October 26, is a main character. Even though it features saints, kings, monks, nuns, and priests, it is R-rated, somewhat trashy entertainment, with all kinds violence, gore, and sex (similar in style to Game of Thrones, but based on some real historical events). The violence in particular is meant to be realistic and help you understand just how brutal and dangerous the world was in that time and place.


The central conflicts of the first couple seasons are about the Catholic kingdom of Wessex, led by the pious King Alfred, resisting the attacks of Vikings from Denmark, who follow indigenous Norse religions. These Danes worship Odin, Thor, and other Norse gods and goddesses who are now popular in Marvel movies. The two sides often fight against one another, but play by different sets of morals and codes of honor. Neither side displays much value for human life or respect for the opposing religious beliefs, but the show depicts more gruesome violence by the pagan Danes against the Christian Saxons. (It certainly goes both ways, and the Christians are not always the heroes, which is also realistic and interesting.)


In one very moving scene in Season 1, Episode 2, we witness the martyrdom of King Edmund of East Anglia (now southeastern England) in 869. He is another real-life Christian saint who is said to have been killed by the Danes while trying to convince them to be baptized and convert to Christianity. In the show’s version of the incident, the Danish generals have already defeated the Anglian army, ransacked the town, and killed or captured most of the civilians. King Edmund is being tortured in a church, hung up on a cross by ropes as a way to mock his Christian faith. The Danes do not respect or understand why Christians would worship a crucified God, a God who would die, who would be on the losing end of human violence. They think Christians are weak because their god is weak.


The church they were standing in was named after St. Sebastian, and the Danish warriors asked the King to explain the icon of Sebastian, another martyr. (I have used a similar icon as the cover photo for our worship program blog post today.) Sebastian was a 3rd century Roman soldier who became a Christian and then was sentenced to death by the Emperor. They tried to kill him by shooting him with many arrows. The arrows hit him but he did not die. God saved him. But then the Romans clubbed him to death and he died shortly thereafter. King Edmund tells this story hoping that it will persuade the Danes, that they will see the power of God to save Sebastian from death.



But when the Danes hear about Sebastian’s martyrdom, they don’t believe it. They want King Edmund to prove his God’s power so they seek to recreate the scene. They mockingly offer to get baptized and become Christians if they shoot King Edmund with arrows and God spares the king’s life. Obviously, King Edmund dies from the arrow wounds and they feel vindicated that Christianity is wrong.


What I found so moving about this scene is that it lays bare for us a truth about Christianity that we often ignore: That following Jesus, the Crucified One, is absolutely nuts. It’s absurd. It doesn’t make any worldly sense. People like the Danish Vikings who didn’t grow up around this religion thought it was complete nonsense. They could see very plainly that “the message about the cross is foolishness,” to borrow St. Paul’s words (1 Corinthians 1:18).


If you could insert yourself into that scene at St. Sebastian’s Church, who would you rather be? The tortured Christian king being shot at with arrows or the victorious warrior Danes who laugh at his foolish religion? Ultimately, even the 9th century English Christians in this show don’t want to lose. They wage terribly violent, vengeful wars because they would rather live by the sword than carry the cross of Jesus.


That’s the same thing running through the disciples’ minds in our Gospel reading today. Jesus tells them that he “must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8:31). They think that Jesus has lost it. Why should they believe that God will allow them to suffer, that somehow suffering can bring about good, that God’s grace and favor can be revealed in anything other than victory or pleasure? So Peter rebukes Jesus and tells him to stop. Jesus has to rebuke him back, calling him “Satan,” because he is “setting [his] mind not on divine things but on human things” (8:32-33).


Even though we are very familiar with these words of Jesus, we cannot forget just how troubling they are supposed to be: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34). Whether we’re talking about the 1st century, the 9th century, or the 21st century, Christians would rather brush past scripture like this. In each of these eras, there have been preachers of some kind of prosperity gospel, a message about strength, victory, health, and wealth. It’s simpler to believe that “winning” the game of life, having nice things, is proof of God’s blessing.


I obviously want those good things for all of us, but the Christian story isn’t really about that. God’s blessing does not always look like money and power; if anything, it usually doesn’t look like that. The true Gospel is about a love that is so strong it is willing to suffer for the good of others. Elsewhere St. Paul writes, “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong … so that no one might boast in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:27, 29). My hope and prayer is that we don’t have to suffer, but we cannot lose sight of the fact that Jesus calls us to carry the cross as we build each other up. So let us not shy away from weakness or foolishness if they are born of love. Let us be fools for Christ who are willing to love no matter the consequences, no matter who laughs or mocks, because Jesus teaches that sacrificial love is the path to life. Amen.


Bibliography

  • Butchard, Stephen, writer. The Last Kingdom. Season 1, episode 2, “Episode 2.” Directed by Nick Murphy. Aired 17 October 2015, BBC America, distributed by Netflix. Carnival Film and Television.



LEV #144: Where He Leads Me

[Verses 1-4]


1 I can hear my Savior calling,

I can hear my Savior calling,

I can hear my Savior calling,

“Take thy cross and follow, follow me.”


REFRAIN:

Where He leads me I will follow,

Where He leads me I will follow,

Where He leads me I will follow,

I’ll go with Him, with Him all the way.


2 I’ll go with Him through the garden,

I’ll go with Him through the garden,

I’ll go with Him through the garden,

I’ll go with Him, with Him all the way. [REFRAIN]


3 I’ll go with Him through the judgement,

I’ll go with Him through the judgement,

I’ll go with Him through the judgement,

I’ll go with Him, with Him all the way. [REFRAIN]


4 He will give me grace and glory,

He will give me grace and glory,

He will give me grace and glory,

And go with me, with me all the way. [REFRAIN]


Words: E. W. Blandy, Public Domain.

Music: John S. Norris, Public Domain.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #95088. 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: Susan Arena, Martha Avery, Christine Brown, Jacqueline Bryant, Lazola Cope, Federico Foster, Loretta Harmond, Marva Harris, Whitney Kennedy, George Layne, Sada Maxwell, Craig Maxwell, Helen Scroggins, Monica Gray Williams; 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 Fr. Charles Hoskins (9/14) and Lavinea Kennedy (9/14), on their birthdays; for Marquez "Q" & Teresa [Blue] Clemons (9/14) 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.

“Walk in love as Christ loved us and gave himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God.” [Ephesians 5:2; see BCP, p. 376]

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




LEV #140: Lord, I Want You To Touch Me

[Verses 1-2]


REFRAIN: Lord, I want you to touch me, Touch me with Thy holy love. Lord, come down and touch me. Come down from heaven above. Lord, reach out and touch me, Reach out and touch me within, Lord, let the goodness touch me, Thy touch will cleanse me from sin.

1 Some folks want treasures of silver and gold, Some want to reign with powers untold; But in my life, all that I can say, Lord, be my guide and have thine own way. [REFRAIN]

2 Teach me to love and teach me to pray, Grant me a light to shine day by day; Just to abide where joys never cease Will be great joy, such comfort and ease. [REFRAIN]

Words: Martha E. Banks, Public Domain.

Music: Martha E. Banks, Public Domain; harm. James A. Jones; special harm. Clara Ward; Harmony used by permission.

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, 407]


Alleluia! Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us;

Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia!


Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world:

Have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world:

Have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world:

Grant us peace.


The Gifts of God for the people of God.



Hymn #168: O Sacred Head, Sore Wounded

[Verses 1-5]


1. O sacred head, sore wounded,

defiled and put to scorn;

O kingly head, surrounded

with mocking crown of thorn:

what sorrow mars thy grandeur?

Can death thy bloom deflower?

O countenance whose splendor

the hosts of heaven adore!


2. Thy beauty, long-desired,

hath vanished from our sight;

thy power is all expired,

and quenched the light of light.

Ah me! for whom thou diest,

hide not so far thy grace:

show me, O Love most highest,

the brightness of thy face.


3. In thy most bitter passion

my heart to share doth cry,

with thee for my salvation

upon the cross to die.

Ah, keep my heart thus moved

to stand thy cross beneath,

to mourn thee, well-beloved,

yet thank thee for thy death.


4. What language shall I borrow

to thank thee, dearest friend,

for this thy dying sorrow,

thy pity without end?

Oh, make me thine for ever!

and should I fainting be,

Lord, let me never,never,

outlive my love for thee.


5. My days are few, O fail not,

with thine immortal power,

to hold me that I quail not

in death's most fearful hour;

that I may fight befriended,

and see in my last strife

to me thine arms extended

upon the cross of life.

Words: Paul Gerhardt; st. 1-3 and 5 tr. Robert Seymour Bridges; st. 4 tr. James Waddell Alexander, alt., Public Domain.

Music: Herzlich tut mich verlangen [Passion Chorale], Hans Leo Hassler; adapt. and harm. Johann Sebastian Bach; Public Domain.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #97250. 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. St. Matthew's A.S.K. Dinner To-Go on 9/25: St. Matthew’s Rector and Vestry present St. Matthew's 4th Annual Anniversary & Stewardship Kickoff (A.S.K.) Dinner and 2nd Annual Dinner To-Go. On Saturday, September 25, we invite all church members to come to the church any time between 12:00 noon and 5:00 PM to pick up one or more Dinners to-go and a Stewardship Goodie Bag. We will carry these items out to your vehicle, so please wear a face covering when you roll your windows down.


This is the launch of our 2022 Giving Campaign. It’s the Vestry’s opportunity to check in with different members and your opportunity to reconsider your commitments to St. Matthew’s in the coming year. Following the trend of many churches, we are updating our language around stewardship and giving to make it more straightforward and easy to understand for people who did not grow up in church. The 2022 Giving Estimate Forms (formerly called "Pledges") are now available electronically. Physical copies will be distributed at the A.S.K. Dinner To-Go. All giving estimates are due by Sunday, November 7, when we will bless them and give thanks for God’s many blessings!


The Online 2022 Giving Estimate: https://tinyurl.com/StMattSav2022


Click here to learn more about how and why to give to St. Matthew's.


B. St. Matthew's Day & 166th Anniversary on 9/26: Join with us as we commemorate our patron saint on the Feast of St. Matthew, the Apostle and Evangelist, and celebrate our 166th Parish Anniversary. We will have a joyful celebration of Holy Communion and Holy Baptism on Sunday, September 26 at 9:30 AM, both in person and online via Facebook. We look forward to seeing you there!


C. Care Packages for Needy Neighbors: As we all continue to struggle during the pandemic, and the neighborhood around St. Matthew's Church has been especially hard-hit. We want to respond to the immediate needs of our neighbors by building care packages we can distribute to anyone who asks for help, especially those experiencing homelessness. You can help support this initiative by donating individual size packages any or all of the following:

  • Gallon-size Zipper Bags

  • Bottled Water

  • Non-perishable snacks

  • Disposable Washcloths

  • Travel size First Aid Kit

  • Travel size Facial Tissue

  • Travel size Toothbrush and Toothpaste

  • Travel size Hand Sanitizer, 2 fl. oz.

  • Travel size Deodorant

  • Canned foods with pull tab

  • Packs of Gum

Thank you for your generosity! If you would like to serve our unhoused neighbors in other ways, Emmaus House is now accepting volunteers to serve breakfast on weekdays from 7:30-9:30 AM. Register today: https://www.unitedministriessavannah.org/volunteer


D. 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 4 before our next meeting on Wednesday, September 8, 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.)


E. 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.


F. 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.


G. 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.


H. 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 4:55 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


I. “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.