Thank you very much for visiting our website.

If you live in or around Waterloo, or are visiting this beautiful part of the Finger Lakes, we hope that you will join us for Sunday Worship at 9:30am.  We are a very friendly parish and welcome all visitors and everyone who is considering joining our parish community.  Those at all stages of their faith journey are welcome, including those who are thinking of starting a faith journey.

All are welcome at God’s altar.  All persons, including children of all ages, are welcome at the altar for Holy Communion.

Families are encouraged to visit.  Although we do not have a Sunday School program at this time, we have a family area in the back of our church building with games and activities for children.  Parents are welcome to bring games and activities to the pews or are welcome to take their children to the family area during the service if their children  need a break.  We LOVE to hear the sounds of infants, toddlers, and children – they add so much to our worship!

As you will see on this website, our parish is a vibrant community.  Not only do we worship together, we have many social and service events together.  The Women of St. Paul’s, the Men’s Association, and the Social Club meet monthly.  Many parish members serve during our worship services as part of the Altar Guild, the ushers, the lay readers, and the parish musicians.

Most importantly, we are a parish that celebrates with each other during times of joy and supports each other during times of sadness or anxiety.  We strive to be the type of community of which Jesus would be proud!

Our Priest

Latest Sermons (click on the title to hear the sermon)

Notes from our Priest

Thanksgiving Blessings

Toward the end of this month we celebrate Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving this year is a few days before the first Sunday of Advent.  Historically, Advent has been a time of personal exploration in preparation for the joyousness of Christmas.  Perhaps the best way to prepare for this preparation is to take some time to express thanks and gratitude to God for life and the world in which we and our loved ones live.  I found a few Thanksgiving prayers at www.al.com that I thought might be helpful for this:

A Jewish blessing: We thank you, Lord our God, you – who gives food to all, who heals the flesh of all, creates wonders in this world, who forged mankind in great wisdom and who gives refuge beneath the shadow of his wings.  God, from your wisdom grant us wisdom, from your love grant us love, from your understanding grant us understanding. Feed us when we are hungry, give us strength when we are weak, raise us up when we are bent over, set us free when we are enslaved.  Just as our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were blessed in all, from all, with all – may the Lord bless all of us together with a complete blessing: of peace, of strength – with the blessing of being thankful.

A Baptist blessing:  O God of all things, on this special day of giving thanks we are even more reminded of the many blessings which come from you – blessings of comfort, blessings of healing, blessings of family, blessings of riches, blessings of your love. Hear us this day and every day, as we offer to you, our humble yet grateful hearts in thanksgiving for you.  Prompt us, O Lord, to be your hands, your feet and your outstretched arms today as we strive to do good by sharing our diversity of wealth among those who may be less fortunate. Times are difficult and we know that in helping others, we are being obedient to your command of loving our neighbor.  We thank you, loving God. We acknowledge that all good things come from you. Help us to never take for granted your gifts, your love, or the life we have through knowing your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. For it is in his name that we offer this prayer to you.

A Catholic blessing:  Father, we join all creation, in heaven and on Earth, in praising you, our mighty God.  You made man and woman in your own likeness and set them over your wonderful creation.  You gave them a destiny, when you brought them out of bondage to a land of freedom, as they carried with them the promise that all would be blest and free.  What the prophets pledged was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, your Son and our Lord.  It has come to pass in every generation, as it happened to our parents, who came to this land as if out of the desert into a place of promise and hope.  It happened to those pilgrims and Native Americans who gathered in thanksgiving on that first Thanksgiving Day for the bounty of this land.  And it happens to us still, as you call us to a vision of peace.  And so on this Thanksgiving Day, with hearts full of love, we give thanks for all the blessings we have received this past year.  We offer this prayer of praise and thanksgiving through our Lord, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns forever and ever.

And from our Book of Common Prayer:  Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us. We thank you for the splendor of the whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of love. We thank you for the blessing of family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds us on every side. We thank you for setting us at tasks which demand our best efforts, and for leading us to accomplishments which satisfy and delight us. We thank you also for those disappointments and failures that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on you alone. Above all, we thank you for your Son Jesus Christ; for the truth of his Word and the example of his life; for his steadfast obedience, by which he overcame temptation; for his dying, through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom. Grant us the gift of your Spirit, that we may know him and make him known; and through him, at all times and in all places, may give thanks to you in all things.

Go with God,
Fr. Haugaard

Our Parish Priorities

I am very pleased to include a copy of our parish’s priorities for the next several years in this issue of The Epistle.

We worked diligently for the past five months to create these priorities.  The process began with a Vestry retreat at my home last May, where we established a set of five priorities.  We distributed the initial draft of the priorities to parish members and had a parish meeting to discuss them in July.  Based on feedback from that meeting, we significantly altered one of the priorities and clarified the others.  After several rounds of feedback from members of the Vestry on the next draft of the priorities, in August the Vestry voted to submit the priorities to the parish, by mail, and ask for further comments.  Based on those comments, which included no substantial changes to any of the priorities, the Vestry voted to adopt the priorities at its meeting in September.

I am pleased that we have adopted these priorities with a unanimous vote of the Vestry and with no voiced objection from any member of the parish.  I believe that they will provide us with significant direction as we work to make parish life more meaningful for our members, proclaim the Gospel in our community, and further the work that God calls us to do.

 

Parish Priorities

Bringing Others to God

We have a long tradition of actively welcoming all members of our community and those visiting our community to our worship services.  Further, we have a longstanding tradition of accepting individuals, couples, and families where they are in their faith journeys and helping them develop a closer relationship with God.  We believe that St. Paul’s parish promotes and enhances peoples’ relationships with God through our liturgies, our preaching and other forms of teaching, our service to others, and our supportive relationships with each other.

We understand that several issues can make it difficult for some people to begin or continue their faith journeys, including: (a) the busy schedules of many individuals and families, (b) the difficulties presented when children’s activities (e.g., sports) are scheduled during times when most church services are held, and (c) the anxiety that people can experience when they consider attending services at a new parish (e.g., whether they will be welcomed, whether they will be able to follow the service).

We take seriously our baptismal vow to “proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ.”   We believe that encouraging individuals, couples, and families to join St. Paul’s parish is an important way that we can “proclaim by word and example.”

Therefore, we establish as a priority of St. Paul’s parish to increase our parish membership.  We hope to accomplish this by: (a) expanding our efforts to make those in our community aware of St. Paul’s, our beliefs, and our practices; (b) continuing to create a welcoming environment for all who attend our services; (c) exploring additions to the times and places of our current services, and (d) developing strategies to reduce the anxiety that some people may experience as they consider attending services at St. Paul’s for the first time.

Enhancing the Experiences of Our Elderly Parish Members

We take pride in the fact that several members of our parish family are elderly and have been part of our parish family for decades.  During their decades of membership, these women and men have contributed to St. Paul’s in many and varied ways.  We cherish these members and are grateful for all they have contributed to our parish life and to the lives of other parish members.

Therefore, we establish as a priority of St. Paul’s parish to honor these men and women and keep them as active members of our parish.  We hope to accomplish this by reaching out to them and reminding them of the important place they have in our parish; taking the sacraments to them in their residences if they are unable to attend services; and creating opportunities for them to continue an active role in parish activities, as they are able.

Increasing the Use of Our Church Buildings

St. Paul’s has a strong tradition of serving our community and we believe that making our buildings available to community groups is one way that we do this.  In addition, we strive to be good stewards of our parish’s financial resources and believe that funds contributed by community groups toward the maintenance of our buildings can supplement parish funds.

Currently, four groups use our parish hall for meetings: the Boy Scouts and the Cub Scouts (Troop 74 and Pack 74) meet weekly except during the summer, the Finger Lakes Family Network meets every-other week throughout the year, and the Concerned Citizens Committee of Seneca County meets monthly and uses the kitchen and dining room for occasional fundraising dinners.

Therefore, we establish as a priority of St. Paul’s parish to increase the number of community groups using our parish hall for meetings and to explore whether it would be appropriate to make our church building available to other religious groups for services.

Helping Others Understand Who We Are as Episcopalians

We are proud of being a parish in the Diocese of Central New York, the Episcopal Church of the United States, and the Worldwide Anglican Communion.  We believe that Episcopalians share many basic Christian values and beliefs with those in other denominations.  In addition, over the course of several centuries, the theology, liturgical practices, and community involvement of the Episcopal Church have developed in specific and sometimes unique ways.

We believe that the Episcopal Church and St. Paul’s parish are well suited for meeting the faith-journey needs of those who share our interests in scripture, tradition, and thoughtfulness.  Further, we believe that helping others understand the values, beliefs, traditions, and practices of the Episcopal Church and St. Paul’s will encourage them to visit our parish.

Therefore, we establish as a priority of St. Paul’s parish to inform those living in Waterloo and surrounding communities about the values, beliefs, traditions, and practices of the Episcopal Church and our parish.

Being Attuned to the Changing Faith Needs of Our Community and Diocese

We recognize that the population of our region has decreased over the past several decades and that a smaller percentage of the people living here are active members of a faith community than were active members in years past.  We appreciate that our obligations and commitments are not only to St. Paul’s parish but also to our Diocese, the Church, and to the faith needs and interests of those living in our local communities.

Therefore, we establish as a priority of St. Paul’s parish to recognize the possible need to merge resources with other parishes in our Diocese in the future.  While we do not currently foresee this need, we express our willingness to explore it if future events suggest that it would be wise to do so.

 

This is an exciting time for our parish.  I hope that you will join in the excitement as we move forward together.

Go with God,
Fr. Haugaard

John Chrysostom’s Easter Sermon

Hello Everyone,

I hope that you are enjoying this wonderful season of Easter.  Below I have copied parts of the famous Easter sermon delivered by John Chrysostom around the year 400.  John Chrysostom is justifiably famous for his moving sermons.  In this Easter sermon he emphasizes that all of us – each and every one of us – should take joy in all that God has provided to us through the Resurrection of his son, Jesus.  All of us are equal, in the most fundamental way, as children of God.  So all of us benefit from the life, death, and Resurrection of The Son.  Let us all rejoice!

Go with God,

Father Haugaard

Are there any who are devout lovers of God? Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival!
Are there any who are grateful servants? Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!
Are there any weary with fasting? Let them now receive their wages!

If any have toiled from the first hour, let them receive their due reward;
If any have come after the third hour, let him with gratitude join in the Feast!
And he that arrived after the sixth hour, let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss.
And if any delayed until the ninth hour, let him not hesitate; but let him come too.
And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour, let him not be afraid by reason of his delay.
For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first.  He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, as well as to him that toiled from the first.

First and last alike receive your reward; rich and poor, rejoice together!
Sober and slothful, celebrate the day!
You that have kept the fast, and you that have not, rejoice today for the Table is richly laden!

Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one.
Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith. Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!
Let no one grieve at his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave.
Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free. He has destroyed it by enduring it.  He destroyed Hell when He descended into it. He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh.

Hell took a body, and discovered God.  It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.

O death, where is thy sting? O Hell, where is thy victory?

Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!

Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead; for Christ having risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!

Keeping Warm this Winter

Here we are in the midst of another Fingerlakes Winter. As I write this (in early January), I am not sure if, in February, we are experiencing a winter like we had in 2015 or if it is like it was this past Christmas (65 degrees when I left my house on Christmas Eve morning). But, let’s assume that it is cold outside, icicles are forming, and driving to or from church often involves some windshield scraping.

I do not have any advice for keeping your house warm during these cold months (although maybe NYSEG does), but I do have some suggestions for keeping your heart warm.

–When buying groceries, smile at the person at the cash register. If he or she asks “How are you?” say “I’m fine, thanks for asking, and how are you today?” Listen to the response. Look the person in the eye. Nod. As you get ready to leave, say something like, “I hope that you have a good day.” Look the person in the eye again. Consider smiling.

–If you regularly drive by a school crossing guard in the morning, make an extra cup of coffee one day, put it in a paper cup, pull your car over (not in the cross walk), and hand it to that very cold crossing guard. Smile. Say something like, “I thought that you might like this.” Look the person in the eye. Wave as you get back in your car.

–If you are flying somewhere this winter, stop at the newsstand in the airport and buy two or three bags of peanut M&Ms (they are much better than the plain ones). As you get on the plane, give them to the flight attendant at the front. Say something like, “I know how hard you folks work; I hope that you like these; please share them with the other flight attendants.” Smile. Oh, and before that, smile and say “thank you” to at least one of those TSA folks – they have a very hard job.

–If you have a neighbor or a friend who does not go to church, consider asking him or her to come with you one Sunday. Say something like, “I’ll even buy the coffee on the way home.” This is a tough one but be courageous.

–Send a note to an old friend who you haven’t heard from in a while. Just a short note. Say that you miss him or her. Smile when you put it in the mail.

Jesus warms our hearts in many small ways and if we are careful we can feel that happening. Jesus depends on us to warm the hearts of others – people we love, people we know, and people who are strangers. My guess is that, as you warm the hearts of others, you will warm your own.