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.
Families are encouraged to visit.  On the first Sunday of each month during the school year  is our Program for Children and Teens.  Children of all ages join our program leader, Sophie Ritter, a junior at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, during the first half of our service.  They then join the rest of the congregation for Holy Communion.  All children and teens are welcome,  and should meet in our church building at the beginning of our 9:30am service.
On other Sundays, we have a family area in the back of our church building with games and activities for younger 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 can be proud!

Jeff_about

Our Priest

Reverend Dr. Jeffrey Haugaard

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
101 E. Williams St.
Waterloo, NY 13165
(315) 539-3897

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

Notes from our Priest

We Must Reunite All Immigrant Families; We Must Never Forcibly Separate Immigrant Children From Their Families Again

As I write this note to all of you, we are one day away from the time that the court-ordered reunification of all immigrant children forcibly separated from their parents over the past several months must be completed. It seems unlikely that the federal government will meet this deadline. A recent court order has stopped our government from deporting parents who have been forcibly separated from their children – apparently a hundred or so of these deportations have already occurred. How those parents are ever to be reunited with their children remains a mystery.

The forcible separation of immigrant families was stopped by President Trump several weeks ago. Estimates of the number of children who were separated from their families before this range from 2000 to 5000 (the government will not tell us the number, and so estimates range widely). About 150 of these children are under the age of five. We are not told where the children are being kept, although it is clear that some of them are being kept in cells in detention camps.

Jesus taught about God and the emerging Kingdom of God during his earthly ministry. He lived a life that gives us the best example we have about who God is and what God’s hopes for humanity are. Jesus spent little time on public policy. Rather, he spent almost all of his time focused on the lives of individuals; teaching them and bringing them to physical, spiritual, and social health. Through his life, Jesus showed the concern that God has for each individual human.

God also showed this concern to the Nation of Israel through the prophets, over thousands of years. As Abraham Heschel says in his book The Prophets, “The sorts of crimes and even the amount of delinquency that fill the prophets of Israel with dismay do not go beyond that which we regard as normal…To us a single act of injustice – cheating in business, exploitation of the poor – is slight; to the prophets, a disaster. To us injustice is injurious to the welfare of the people; to the prophets it is a deathblow to existence: to us, an episode; to them, a catastrophe, a threat to the world” (p. 4).

One of the strengths of St. Paul’s parish is that, although we may disagree on public policy at times, we are all able to come together to worship and thank the God who is concerned for every human being – the God who sees injustice to any Child of God as a disaster. We may have disagreements about our nation’s immigration policy. However, we gather together at the altar rail each week for our communal Eucharistic meal, and thank the God who makes our meal possible and who hopes that every human can be gathered together after his or her earthly life into an eternal life in God’s presence.

As is true for many of us, I see the many sides to our nation’s debate on immigration. I understand that thoughtful people differ on the direction that our nation’s policy should take. I remain astounded at the complete inability of members of Congress to even begin to do anything about our nation’s immigration policy.

As is also true for us, I believe, my heart breaks when I think of that 3-year-old taken from her mother’s arms and placed in foster care many states away; I weep when I think of that 7-year-old taken from the side of his father and sleeping in a cell in a detention camp hundreds of miles away. Jesus weeps about this also. And God notices: “The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Surely I will never forget any of their deeds” (Amos 8:7).

What we have come to know about God, through the life of Jesus and through Scripture, tells us that God grieves for those individual Children of God – toddlers, children, adolescents, adults – separated at our border. We must reunite all these families. We must never separate families like this again.

Go with God,
Fr. Haugaard

Seeing God’s Work (and, thus, God) in Our Community

Some days we can go about our lives with our heads down – forging ahead – and never take the time to look up and appreciate God’s creation. In the same way, we can spend an entire day or week and never notice God’s Spirit at work in the world around us. Our lives are impoverished a bit when we do this.

We all struggle in our lives – some much more than others. By seeing the majesty of God’s creation and by seeing God’s Spirit at work in our lives and in our community, we can balance these struggles a bit. Struggles are easier to deal with when we look up and see the beauty around us. Coping with the selfishness of much of society can be easier when we look up and see the generousness of God’s Spirit working in the world.

I hope that each of us can make a specific effort each day to look up, see and appreciate, and rejoice in the beauty of the world around us. I hope that each of us will make a specific effort each day to look around us for signs of God’s Spirit working in the world. If you do this, jot a note or take a picture – and put the note or picture in the collection plate by the Narthex of our church. I will take some time each week during our Sunday service to share these with others.

Here is mine: I was riding my bike along Miller Road last Monday, about noon. I was looking around and noticed that the corn was just starting to peek up out of the soil in a field on my left. It must have been one of the first fields planted this year. Then I looked higher and saw the moon – yes, the moon. It was about 1/3 full. It seemed magical. There I was – this little spec in the universe – still able to use my muscles to bike after 66 years. Next to me was this little field with life just beginning. And there in the distance was part of the rest of the universe. Small; local; universal.

I have had others share pictures of the Mission of Miracles to show God’s Spirit working in the world. Someone else told me about seeing a small child helping a smaller child who had fallen in the street. I see a wonderful example of God’s Spirit at work every time I attend one of our parish’s free community breakfasts.

Look up, see the beauty, take a picture or jot a note, and get me the note or picture so that I can share it with others. We will all be richer for it.

God with God,
Fr. Haugaard

Working for a Radical

A few days ago, I was amused at a news story I found on my phone (I am never sure how these things arrive on my phone, but I read them sometimes).  The New York Times had “tweeted” the Declaration of Independence to everyone on their “tweet list” (or whatever it is called) on the 4th of July.  The nature of tweets is that they must be quite short – so it took a few thousand tweets to send the entire Declaration of Independence.  Each tweet was just a sentence or two from Mr. Jefferson’s wonderful document.  And, the Times did not say that they were sending bits of the Declaration of Independence – they just sent them out.

Many people wrote back outraged comments.  “How can you be sending out such radical ideas!” many people responded angrily.  Just think: our country was founded on ideas that some people believe are too radical to be “tweeted” today.  Imagine how radical those ideas were 240 years ago!

Those of us who call ourselves Christians – those who try to follow Jesus and his teachings – are following someone who was a magnificent radical 2000 years ago.   Many of Jesus’s teachings remain radical in our own day.

As patriotic Americans, we follow in the footsteps of men and women willing to “pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor” for amazingly radical ideas such as “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”

As faithful Christians, we follow in the footsteps of a man who saw a child of God in every person – even those marginalized in his culture: “For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7.8).  We follow a man who gave each person the love that a child of God deserves: “I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5.44).  We follow a man who said that greatness was not measured by wealth or possessions, but by how much one served others: “whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant” (Mark 10.43).

Being so far removed from the days that Jesus lived on earth – and being so far removed from the revolutionary days of 1776 – it can be easy to forget that we follow in the footsteps of radicals: radicals willing to sacrifice all for what they knew was important.

As we look around the world today, and as we look in our own country and even our own community, we can see the spread of anger, disrespect, and hatred.  Jesus asks that we not add to this anger, disrespect, and hatred by being angry at those who are angry with us, hating those who hate us, and being disrespectful to those who treat us with disrespect.  It can be very hard to do this.

Can you think of one or two people for whom you have little respect, then struggle to see them as children of God (just as you are), and then try to find it in yourself to think of them differently?  Can you think of one or two people with whom you are angry, then struggle to see them as children of God (just as you are), and then find a way in yourself to be less angry at them?  If you can, then you will help create a world with less disrespect and with less anger.  You have the power to do this: to help make this world a bit more like the world that God wants it to be.

Go with God,
Fr. Haugaard

Praying for the President?

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

One of the strengths of the Episcopal Church is that it shies away from telling people what they should think on most matters – expecting that, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, people will prayerfully make decisions on their own.  One result of this expectation is that controversies – big and small – crop up regularly in the Episcopal Church.  Some find these controversies troubling and exasperating, others find them exciting and energizing.

A recent controversy is whether the Episcopal Church, parishes in the Episcopal Church, and individual Episcopalians should pray for Donald Trump.  Perhaps this is not unexpected, given the very strong opinions about him held by his supporters and those who do not support him.

A recent article by the Dean of the Berkeley Episcopal Seminary discusses how this controversy has affected the national church (there was significant debate about whether the Washington National Cathedral should host the traditional prayer service the day before President Trump’s inauguration) and individual parishes (some have decided not to include President Trump in their prayers).

At St. Paul’s, we usually rotate through the six forms of the Prayers of the People found in the Book of Common Prayer for our Sunday worship.  None of the forms pray for the President by name, although Form I has a specific prayer for “the President,” Form III includes a prayer “for all who govern and hold authority,” and Form V prays “for those in positions of public trust.”  Even when we use the form that names the presidential office specifically or generally, my practice has been to not include President Trump by name.  This is consistent with my previous practice of not including President Obama by name.

Should we pray, collectively or individually, for President Trump, even if he is not included in our Prayers of the People.  My reading of Scripture suggests that Jesus’s strong and unequivocal answer is “yes.”  Jesus challenges us to pray for everyone, just as Jesus challenges us to love everyone.  Each of us is a child of God and is loved by God – even those with whom we disagree strongly.  Consequently, each person deserves our prayers and love.

Jesus frequently challenges us to do things that are right but difficult.  Jesus lived his life that way and asks that we try to do the same.

While discussing the controversy about the inaugural prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral, our Presiding Bishop said of his work in the Civil Rights Movement: “We prayed for leaders who were often lukewarm or even opposed to our very civil rights.  We got on our knees in church and prayed for them, and then we got up off our knees and we marched on Washington.  Following the way of Jesus, we prayed and protested at the same time.  We prayed for our leaders who were fighting for our civil rights, we prayed for those with whom we disagreed, and we even prayed for those who hated us.  And we did so following Jesus, whose way is the way of unselfish, sacrificial love.  And that way is the way that can set us all free” (Berkeley at Yale, Vol. 8, No. 2, 2017).

Let us pray that President Trump, and each human, will be open to that wonderful experience of God’s love, and will be guided by that love to do what is right.  It is what we hope for ourselves; it is what we should hope for all others.

Go with God,
Fr. Haugaard