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  • Writer's pictureFr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

Sunday Worship for September 19, 2021

The Holy Eucharist

17th Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 20B, Track 2)

September 19, 2021

Watch the Livestream at

Sunday, September 19, at 9:30 a.m. (or anytime afterward)

The Holy Eucharist: Rite II

The Word of God

Hymn #390: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

[Verses 1-4]

1 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!

O my soul, praise him, for he is thy health and salvation;

join the great throng, psaltery, organ, and song,

sounding in glad adoration.

2 Praise to the Lord, over all things he gloriously reigneth,

borne as on eagle wings, safely his saints he sustaineth;

hast thou not seen, how all thou neediest hath been

granted in what he ordaineth?

3 Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy way and defend thee;

surely his goodness and mercy shall ever attend thee;

ponder anew what the Almighty can do

who with his love doth befriend thee.

4 Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore him!

All that hath life and breath come now with praises before him!

Let the Amen sound from his people again:

gladly forever adore him!

Words: Joachim Neander; tr. Hymnal 1940, alt., Public Domain.

Music: Lobe den Herren, melody from Erneuerten Gesandbuch, 1665; harm. The Chorale Book for England (1863), Public Domain.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #50039. 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, 234]

The Lord be with you.

And also with you.

Let us pray:

Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, while we are placed among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; 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 Jeremiah (11:18-20)

It was the Lord who made it known to me, and I knew; then you showed me their evil deeds.

But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter.

And I did not know it was against me that they devised schemes, saying,

"Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name will no longer be remembered!"

But you, O Lord of hosts, who judge righteously, who try the heart and the mind,

let me see your retribution upon them, for to you I have committed my cause.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

Psalm 54

[BCP, p. 659]

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

1 Save me, O God, by your Name; * in your might, defend my cause.

2 Hear my prayer, O God; * give ear to the words of my mouth.

3 For the arrogant have risen up against me, and the ruthless have sought my life, * those who have no regard for God.

4 Behold, God is my helper; * it is the Lord who sustains my life.

5 Render evil to those who spy on me; * in your faithfulness, destroy them.

6 I will offer you a freewill sacrifice * and praise your Name, O Lord, for it is good.

7 For you have rescued me from every trouble, * and my eye has seen the ruin of my foes.

A Reading from the Letter of St. James (3:13-4:3, 7-8a)

Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth. Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.

Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.

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 (9:30-37)

Glory to you, Lord Christ.

Jesus and his disciples passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.

Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”

The Gospel of the Lord.

Praise to you, Lord Christ.

The Sermon

“True Greatness With The Last” by Fr. Guillermo A. Arboleda

Once again in this week’s Gospel story, we are faced with the question of what makes someone great. Last week, we reflected on stories about saints and martyrs who were killed for their commitment to a loving, compassionate God who would rather die for others than kill. We saw how easy it is for people to equate “greatness” with “better than you,” and therefore spread hatred, violence, and domination. This week, we reflect on similar themes.

Jesus’ twelve apostles were arguing along the road about who was the greatest among them. After the disciples postured back and forth, trying to prove their own special worth, Jesus confronted them. “Whoever wants to be first must be last and servant of all” (Mark 9:35). You don’t achieve greatness by clawing or cheating your way to the top. You achieve greatness in God’s eyes by loving all, by placing others ahead of yourself, by honoring both the great and the small. This humble path is the way to greatness, even though it is so often the road less traveled.

Why does this principle matter? Should Christians all become doormats who let everyone walk all over them? Should we just lay down and accept all the horrible things people might do to take advantage of someone who is so humble and meek? Not quite.

The Gospel of Jesus calls us to be humble, but it is precisely in that humility that we are principled. We have moral and theological convictions that lead us to speak and act in love. In that humble, generous, listening posture, we choose to make no peace with oppression. Christians must not stand by while others choose to dominate, defame, and harm people. We must be humble enough to honor those who are humiliated. Jesus commands us to be voices for the voiceless, defenders of the weak, and allies of the lowly.

But to be honest, this has not always been the church’s posture. So often in Christian history, churches have sided with the powerful and privileged. Christians have defended violent oppressors and silenced the oppressed. Christians have tried to be first instead of listening to those who are last. We have failed to be great when we have failed to honor those who the world treats as less-than.

St. James explains that we fail in this way because of “bitter envy and selfish ambition in [our] hearts” (James 3:14). We want what we don’t have -- the power, fame, and wealth that accompanies earthly greatness. And so we compromise our morals. We excuse bad behavior in the powerful, telling ourselves that it’s worth it to get close enough to influence their decisions. We forget that the allure of power and prestige so easily corrupts the human heart. We end up forgetting that God’s greatness is different from the world’s and so we become last by trying to be first.

Frederick Douglass, the famous 19th-century former-slave turned abolitionist and orator, understood this problem in his own time. He accused American Christians of hypocrisy for their support of slavery, whether active or passive. Many churches of course endorsed slavery and ludicrously tried to argue that it moral in God’s eyes. Many others didn’t preach in favor of slavery, but they didn’t preach against it either. They never addressed the political climate they were in and all the pain and suffering that surrounded them in American society. Douglass called all those Christian leaders evil, borrowing the words of St. James to levy his strong criticism:

“These ministers make religion a cold and flinty-hearted thing, having neither principles of right action, nor bowels of compassion. They strip the love of God of its beauty, and leave the throng of religion a huge, horrible, repulsive form. It is a religion for oppressors, tyrants, man-stealers, and thugs. It is not that “pure and undefiled religion” [James 1:27] which is from above, and which is “first pure, then peaceable, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” [James 3:17]. But a religion which favors the rich against the poor; which exalts the proud above the humble; which divides mankind into two classes, tyrants and slaves; which says to the man in chains, stay there; and to the oppressor, oppress on; it is a religion which may be professed and enjoyed by all the robbers and enslavers of mankind; it makes God a respecter of persons, denies his fatherhood of the race, and tramples in the dust the great truth of the brotherhood of man. All this we affirm to be true of the popular church, and the popular worship of our land and nation — a religion, a church, and a worship which, on the authority of inspired wisdom, we pronounce to be an abomination in the sight of God.”

Chattel slavery may have been abolished over 150 years ago, but suffering and oppression have not gone away in our society. Douglass could rightly levy these same criticisms of the church about many other areas of American life that often go unchallenged. One of the cruelest institutions that remains in the USA today is mass incarceration. The United States has by far the largest jail and prison population of any nation in the world, both in raw numbers and by proportion. There are over 2 million prisoners in our country right now, many of whom live under deplorable, torturous conditions. Many of them serve unduly long sentences for crimes that should not ruin a person’s life. Those in jail, rather than prison, are usually in pre-trial detention, meaning they haven’t even been found guilty before they start getting punished. And of course, the system of laws and law enforcement that produces mass incarceration inordinately harms Black people, Indigenous people, and Hispanic/Latinx people.

This country claims to have a majority Christian population, and our politicians are overwhelmingly Christian. But these same people and politicians often take pride in being “tough on crime” to help them get elected. Very few loudly Christian political figures are outspoken about the countless documented human rights abuses in US jails, prisons, and detention centers. There is no accountability to correct these evils because no one seems to really care about defending the rights and dignity of prisoners. That behavior is not based on a religion that St. James calls, “peaceable, gentle, … full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy” (3:17). That is a religion that is built on “envy and selfish ambition” (3:16), willing to harm others to get ahead socially, economically, and/or politically.

This sermon isn’t going to solve our many societal problems. It’s not going to free prisoners or alleviate their suffering all by itself. But at least we aren’t pretending these problems don’t exist. At least we aren’t patting ourselves on the back for being good American Christians without being willing to face the truth. It is in our willingness to be bold and stick out our necks for oppressed peoples that we achieve greatness in God’s eyes. We become the first by aligning with the last and saying, “God made them too; loves them too; God values every human life.” Amen.


  • Douglass, Frederick. “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” Teaching American History. Speech delivered 5 July 1852. Accessed 16 September 2021.

  • Oget, Margaret Aymer. “Study Notes for James 3.” In The People’s Bible: New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha, edited by Curtiss Paul DeYoung, et al. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2009), 1696.

Hymn #574: Before Thy Throne, O God, We Kneel

[Verses 1-4]

1 Before thy throne, O God, we kneel: give us a conscience quick to feel, a ready mind to understand the meaning of thy chastening hand; whate'er the pain and shame may be, bring us, O Father, nearer thee.

2 Search out our hearts and make us true; help us to give to all their due. From love of pleasure, lust of gold, from sins which make the heart grow cold, wean us and train us with thy rod; teach us to know our faults, O God.

3 For sins of heedless word and deed, for pride ambitious to succeed, for crafty trade and subtle snare to catch the simple unaware, for lives bereft of purpose high, forgive, forgive, O Lord, we cry.

4 Let the fierce fires which burn and try, our inmost spirits purify: consume the ill; purge out the shame; O God, be with us in the flame; a newborn people may we rise, more pure, more true, more nobly wise.

Words: William Boyd Carpenter, alt., Public Domain.

Music: St. Petersburg, Dimitri S. Bortniansky, Public Domain.

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.


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, 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 Edward Vaughn (9/22) and Kevin Harris (9/25), on their birthdays; for Donald & Marilyn Jones (9/25) 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 Federico Foster and 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:; 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]

LEV #97: Ride On, King Jesus

[Verses 1-2]


Ride on, King Jesus,

No man can-a hinder me.

Ride on King Jesus ride on

no man can-a hinder me

1 King Jesus rides a milk-white horse,

No man works like Him,

De river Jord’n He did cross

no man works like Him. Oh [REFRAIN]

2 I know that my redeemer lives,

No man works like Him,

And of His blessing freely gives,

no man works like Him. Oh [REFRAIN]

Words: Traditional, Public Domain.

Music: Negro Spiritual; arr. Hezekiah Brinson, Jr. © 1990 Hezekiah Brinson, Jr.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #87262. 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.

LEV #194: Lead Me, Guide Me

[Verses 1-3]


Lead me, guide me along the way;

For if You lead me, I cannot stray;

Lord, let me walk each day with Thee.

Lead me, O Lord, lead me.

1 I am weak, and I need Thy strength and power

To help me over my weakest hour;

Help me through the darkness Thy face to see,

Lead me, O Lord, lead me. [REFRAIN]

2 Help me tread in the paths of righteousness;

Be my aid when Satan and sin oppress.

I am putting all my trust in Thee,

Lead me, O Lord, lead me. [REFRAIN]

3 I am lost, if you take your hand from me;

I am blind, without Thy Light to see;

Lord, just always let me Thy servant be,

Lead me, O Lord, lead me. [REFRAIN]

Words: Doris M. Akers © 1953 Doris Akers, all rights controlled by Unichappell Music, Inc.

Music: Doris M. Akers © 1953 Doris Akers, all rights controlled by Unichappell Music, Inc; arr. Richard Smallwood.

Reprinted with permission under ONE LICENSE #92251. 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!

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 and the Holy Baptism of Imani Ferguson, Jr. (son of Imani Ferguson, Sr., and Amanda Greene), 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:

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 6 before our next meeting on Wednesday, September 22, 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 or (912) 234-4440.)

E. Vestry Proposes Revised Parish Bylaws: After a lengthy process that began before the pandemic, St. Matthew's Vestry has completed a comprehensive revision of its Parish Bylaws. 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 Bylaws 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 Bylaws 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 Bylaws to Fr. Arboleda at 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.

F. 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 ( 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.

G. 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 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

H. “Trip Around the World” Quilt Raffle ENDS THIS WEEK: 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 Sunday, September 26, 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

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

I. 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 in the name of Christ!

Thanks be to God!

The Parish Prayer List

Prayer List: Susan Arena, Martha Avery, Christine Brown, Jacqueline Bryant, Lazola Cope, Loretta Harmond, Marva Harris, Whitney Kennedy, George Layne, Sada Maxwell, Craig Maxwell, Helen Scroggins, Monica Gray Williams

Birthdays: Edward Vaughn (9/22) and Kevin Harris (9/25)

Wedding Anniversaries: Donald & Marilyn Jones (9/25)

Recent Deaths: Federico Foster (friend of the Blue family)

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

Note: This service is reproduced from The Book of Common Prayer 1979 (BCP), The Hymnal 1982 (Hymn), Lift Every Voice and Sing II: An African American Hymnal (LEV), African American Heritage Hymnal (AAHH) and other sources cited. The Scripture readings are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible.

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