Latest Sermon :
- Posted on 21 Oct 2016

Thank you very much for visiting our website.  We are working to enhance our website so that visitors can learn more about our parish and our many parish and community activities.

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 – that is a stage also).

All are welcome at God’s altar.  All baptized 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!

Our Priest

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

Notes from our Priest

Boiler Blues

As most of you know, the 40-or-so-year-old boiler that heated our church building and our offices stopped working in early April.  While it was quite cold during the next few weeks, it was not nearly as cold as it had been a couple months earlier – which was a blessing.  For the past month or so, we have been having our regular Sunday worship service in St.  John’s Chapel.  A few thoughts on all this:

  •   I have enjoyed our Sunday worship services in St.  John’s Chapel very much.  I am physically closer to the rest of the parish members and can hear the whole congregation sing and pray.  I do not have to fiddle with the wireless microphone – which can drive me batty at times.  My sermons feel more like conversations than lectures delivered from on high.
  •   We have been packed in fairly tightly most weeks, and have even had people sitting out in the hallway.  I get to brag to my colleagues that our Sunday services are so full that people are now sitting in the hall!  I know that members of the parish who rarely see each other much on a Sunday get to spend our whole worship service sitting together – I like that very much.
  •   The ushers, the musicians, and the lay readers have all be terrific at adapting to our new space and figuring out how to do their job well in surroundings that are not very familiar.
  •   I think that many people have come to appreciate the beauty of the surroundings in our chapel.
  •   Our change of location has emphasized to me that it is what we do, when we worship together, rather than where we are, that matters the most.

In the middle of May, I expect that we will be back in our main church building for Sunday worship.  Perhaps somewhat ironically, the new boiler will be installed and working just about when we usually shut the boilers down for the summer.

Absence can make the heart grow fonder.  I hope that we all will have a new appreciation for the wonderful environment that our church building provides for our worship together.  Be sure to look around at all the beauty in our church building – beauty on a large scale (just sit back and take it all in at once) and beauty on a small scale (take the time to appreciate the well cared for detail throughout the building).

St. Paul’s is beautiful in many, many ways.

Go with God.
Fr.  Haugaard

We Need a Five-year Plan

This parish has so many strengths.  Our main strength is the active participation that every member of this parish has in its ministries.  From our worship services, to our community-service activities, to our care of our buildings, to our fund-raising activities, to our caring for each other, every member of this parish is actively involved.  I frequently brag to my friends and to others in our Diocese about all that we accomplish together.  I hope that each member of this parish takes as much pride as I do in all that we accomplish.

In order for us to continue to move forward as a parish, and in order for each of us to move forward in the development of our faith, in our involvement in the unfolding Kingdom of God, and in our active involvement in our village, region, state, nation, and world, the parish of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church needs to develop a five-year plan – a plan that describes in some detail the ways that we will continue to grow the size of our parish, the ways that individually and as a parish we will continue to grow in our faith, and the ways that we will continue to serve others in our families and communities.

Without such a plan, we risk standing still in a changing world.  And, there is no quicker path to becoming irrelevant in a changing world than standing still.

When life is going well, as it is going in our parish now, the greatest and most problematic temptation is to avoid the time-consuming and challenging task of thinking about the future and creating plans to go forward with confidence and purpose into that future.  A principal challenge for our parish now is to avoid that temptation, to acknowledge the strengths that we have today, and to plan how to use those strengths as we move forward into the future.

The leadership for making these plans must come from the Vestry – from our elected leaders.  But input into these plans must come from every member of our parish.  Just as we all now participate in our current ministries, we must all now participate in the development of a five-year plan that looks toward our future.  And, once this plan is developed, we will all need to participate actively in bringing it to fruition.  This is not a process that any of us can leave to others; rather, it is a process that will require us all – each and every one of us – to prayerfully engage actively.

Creating a five-year plan will challenge us on many levels.  I know that each member of this parish has met challenges in his or her personal life, in family life, and in our individual lives of faith.  I am asking every member of this parish to energize the personal qualities that have allowed us to meet challenges in the past as we work to meet the challenge of creating our parish’s five-year plan.

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!

How Are You Doing This Lent?

As part of the liturgy on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, the priest says to the congregation: “I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Church, to the observance of a holy Lent, by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word.” As we prepare for our yearly remembrance of Jesus’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection, we are asked to spend some time prayerfully examining our lives and starting down new paths (which is what repenting is) if our examination shows that we are on paths leading in wrong directions. We are also asked to spend some extra time in prayer and in reading and thinking about Scripture.

You are probably reading this message early in March, which is part-way through Lent. I am wondering how you are doing with all this. And, since I will be reading this message in the Epistle about three weeks after I am writing it, I will be asking myself the same question: How are you doing this Lent?

One of my favorite parables is the story that Jesus tells of workers in a vineyard. Some are hired early in the morning for an agreed-upon wage. Later that day, the owner of the vineyard hires some more workers, and then even later in the afternoon hires some more. All are paid the same wage. Those who have been working all day object to being paid the same as those who worked only part of the day. The owner responds that everyone is getting the wage that they were promised.

The principal point of this parable is that God is eager to have people in God’s vineyard, and is not terribly concerned about when they arrive. The goal is for them to get there at some point.

If you find that your Lent has not yet been punctuated by self-examination, repentance where it is needed, and prayer, it is certainly not too late to start. If you got off to a good start at the beginning of Lent but have found that the everyday concerns of life have pushed aside the time that you have for self-examination, repentance where it is needed, and prayer, there is certainly time to return to what you were doing earlier in Lent.

If you have not made it to the vineyard of Lent yet, or if you have taken a break in the middle of workday in the vineyard of Lent, know that God will be delighted for you to start to work or return to work when you can. God’s patience and forgiveness is beyond our understanding. Perhaps it is time to get down to work.

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.

January 2016: Braving Another Fingerlakes Winter

Winter has taken on a whole new meaning for me this year. As many of you know, for the past nine years I have been living in a small faculty apartment on the SUNY Albany campus. I was the Director of The Honors College there, and lived in the same dormitory as the freshman and sophomore honors students. While my living situation presented many challenges (for example, most of my students didn’t even think about going to bed until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning), it did mean that I never had to worry about shoveling snow, driving to work in freezing rain, or dealing with ice dams on my roof. Suddenly, all that is in play again.

It seems to me that living life has many parallels with living through a Fingerlakes winter. On the one hand, some preparation for troubling times is important. What to do if an ice storm causes the electricity to go off for three days? (Does that happen in Waterloo? Do I need to buy a generator?) What to do if a family member loses a job? On the other hand, too much worry and preparation can be paralyzing. We can miss so much of the beauty of life if we spend too much time worrying about what might happen. We can miss the beauty of the quietly falling snow if we are worrying about our car getting plowed in. We can miss the joy of seeing our granddaughter dressed up for the prom if we are worried about her getting into a car accident on her way home.

Of course, it is impossible to know how much preparation/concern/worry is “just right.” But I think that we often can feel it when our preparation/concern/worrying is starting to be too much. What to do when it becomes too much?

Jesus tells us in many ways not to worry too much. God is watching over all, Jesus tells us: God even watches over the birds and the flowers, so God surely will be watching over every person. Every person. Even me. Even you.

We would have to be able to understand the mind of God to understand why small and large disasters happen to all of us, and to understand why they seem to occur more often in some people’s lives. We cannot understand why a winter avalanche kills one group of hikers and leaves another group untouched. We cannot understand why cancer invades the life of one family but not another. Jesus offers no explanation for all this in the Gospels, except to say – clearly and forcefully – that accidents and illnesses are NOT some form of God’s punishment or some sign that one person is not prized equally as another person by God.

As we try to “weather” another Fingerlakes winter – and as we work our way through our life – all we can do is trust that God is our companion always. Through good times and struggles, God is with us and caring for us. We cannot find in our faith a reason for our struggles or the struggles of others, but we can find in our faith the sure belief that God is with us through them. As we feel our wheels start to slide from underneath us on an icy road – as we feel our confidence and hope start to slide from underneath us as we cope with a personal or family crisis – we can rely on God’s companionship.

And, God is the companion for each one of us. Not just us Episcopalians; not just us Christians. Every person is a child of God and every person has God as a companion during each step of his or her life.

Go with God,

Fr. Haugaard