Sermons

October 2022 Sermons

October 2, 2022:  This is World Communion Sunday. While not part of the campaign, I think we can lean into what is to come in the next few weeks. When faced with feeding 5,000 people, not including the women and children, the disciples shirk at the thought of how that might be done. There is nothing among them but five loaves and two fish. They come from a young boy who might not even be included on the count. Yet when the one who doesn’t count entrusts what he has to Jesus, miracles happen. . . and enough is enough! Rev. Elbert Dulworth preaches.

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September 2022 Sermons

September 25, 2022:  We know that enthusiasm is contagious. When we’re around someone who is enthusiastic, we feel more energized and excited. Real, passionate enthusiasm… that’s Linus in the peanut patch… enthusiastically waiting for, hoping for the Great Pumpkin to appear. When there is no appearance (it’s only Snoopy), Linus holds out hope for “next time”, when he will once again invite friends to wait with him for hope to be realized. Our gospel text from Luke is the story of friends who hold out hope to one who needs a healing from Jesus. Hope realized. Are we the friends who offer not only the hope of restoration, but also willing to lead the way to Jesus?  Rev. Judy May preaches.

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September 18, 2022:  Lucy invites Charlie Brown to kick the football each year and then consistently thwarts his efforts. Yet, we keep rooting for him as he steps up to the ball once more. Charlie Brown never forgets his purpose is to kick that ball no matter how many times Lucy takes it away. What’s God’s purpose for us? Who do we let swipe it away? How might we reclaim our purpose?  Rev. Elbert Dulworth preaches.

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September 11, 2022:  Searching for Security with Linus – All is well until the storms brew up while we’re at sea. What happens in those moments when our security and our ship is rocking? How do we deal with our fear and anxiety? Rev. Elbert Dulworth preaches.

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September 4, 2022:  Joseph was a dreamer. So was Snoopy. What happens when our dreams are interrupted? How might we start dreaming again when our dreams have been stalled for a time? Rev. Rick Kress preaches.

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August 2022 Sermons

August 28, 2022:  Joel is a prophet who helps the people of God to rediscover hope after years of plague. How might we help one another to start dreaming again as we live into the future that God has for us together? What dreams is God planting among us? How might we participate in building them in one another? Rev. Elbert Dulworth preaches.

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August 21, 2022:  Many times, throughout the gospels we hear the disciples ask and try to clarify what are the rules? The Hebrew scriptures give us this clear directive that Jesus puts into practice throughout his life “to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.” How might these three directives give clarity to living our faith today? Rev. Dr. April Gutierrez preaches.

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August 14, 2022:  Summer means baseball! We’re throwing out the first pitch today on the “Majoring in the Minors Series” for August. The prophet Hosea wrote some of the most moving verses in scripture when he described the yearning God has for us to make our home in God.We’ll consider what it means to have a home field advantage— in a relationship with God— when we understand the tender love God has expressed to us in Jesus. Be sure to wear your baseball bling! Rev. Rick Kress preaches.

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August 7, 2022:  When Jonah is sent to Ninevah, he avoids it at all cost. He doesn’t see anything of anyone worth redeeming there. When God eventually convinces him to go, the Ninevites do as he had feared: they repent and God is merciful. Where are the Ninevahs of today? What are the places and who are the people that we think are so far estranged from God? How might we discover God among the Ninevites? Or to whom might we be Ninevites? What might God be trying to speak to us? Better, yet, how might we discover God’s heart for the Ninevites and for us? Rev. Elbert Dulworth preaches.

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July 2022 Sermons

July 31, 2022:  Prophet Margins: What Do You See? This week we begin our sermon series, “Majoring in the Minors” taking a look at some of the lesser known prophets and enjoying baseball season! In a few weeks our church family will gather for a game together at Jimmy John’s field and ALL ARE WELCOME so please be sure to get your tickets and bring a friend! For the next five weeks we will take a look at Jonah, Hosea, Joel and this week one of my favorite prophets, Amos.  Rev. Dr. April Gutierrez preaches.

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July 24, 2022:  Celebrating God’s Greatness – What a delight to see all of our lovely VBS-ers back in the building in-person this week as we Celebrate God’s Greatness! I love this beautiful passage from Psalm 145 that reminds us to dwell on the glory of God and to wonder at the actions of God. Pull up a chair and marvel at the beauty of creation in the outdoor service surrounded by the smell of fresh flowers, hearing the water in the fountain and gathering with the saints in the Garden of Hope. You are welcome here and God is glorious, indeed! Rev. Dr. April Gutierrez preaches.

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July 17, 2022:  Make Love Real!  The Great Commandments call us to love God and love our neighbor. The two go hand in hand. One cannot happen without the other. What does it look like when we live and love like Jesus?  Rev. Elbert Dulworth preaches.

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July 10, 2022:  God’s Got This! When God called Abram to enter a new land, it had to be a little scary. Following the resurrection, even the disciples had a little doubt. Even still, Jesus gives them and us the Great Commission; empowering us with the reminder that we are never alone. As we step out into a new world in new days, God is with us. We are called and empowered to thrive!  Rev. Elbert Dulworth preaches.

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July 3, 2022:  One of the things that people often do at the dinner table is tell stories…not just for something to do while eating, but because stories are important parts of the communion, the fellowship and remembrance. When we eat together at the Lord’s table we are engaged in storytelling. This Sunday we will share in Sunday Dinner and hear Jesus tell us the wonderful “I Am” story that he is the Bread of Life. All are invited to Sunday Dinner this week, whether online, outdoors, or in the Sanctuary. Rev. Judy May preaches.

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June 2022 Sermons

June 26, 2022:  This Sunday is a day of transition… a day of “in between”… in between Rev. Eardley and Rev. Dulworth. Today’s Old Testament text speaks of this very experience…the transition between Elijah and Elisha. While we won’t see chariots and horses or fire, or persons taken up into heaven, we can hear Elijah’s call to take up the mantle of faith that God has laid before us. Like Elisha, we can pick up the mantle, share fully in the vision of God’s beloved community, led by the Spirit. All are invited! Rev. Judy May preaches.

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June 19, 2022:  “You are all God’s children through faith in Christ Jesus.” These words from the Apostle Paul encourage and challenge us to be who we are. Over the last nine years, I’ve had the privilege of being your senior pastor and experiencing the children of God known as St. Paul’s UMC. As you have inspired people to live and love like Jesus, you have shown yourselves to be children of God, and for that I am ever grateful. I look forward to sharing in one worship service together as we give thanks to God for the ministry that we have shared together here at St. Paul’s UMC. Rev. David Eardley preaches his last sermon at St. Paul’s.

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June 12, 2022:  As we celebrate the Class of 2022, we recognize the power of knowledge and education. It is truly a gift from God. In this Sunday’s Gospel passage, Jesus speaks of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Truth. As we learn and grow, may the Spirit of Truth guide us as we pursue knowledge and craft values which will honor God and God’s way. As we do so, we create opportunities for the world to see the beloved community alive in us through our commitment to truth, grace, and love. Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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June 5, 2022:  Imagine your life as a book. In that way, different phases of your life can become chapters. Key life events are marked by transitions into and beyond each phase—or chapter. How can God help you begin, continue, or end a chapter of your life? As Jesus’s followers learned on Pentecost, the power of Jesus’s resurrection makes new chapters possible—and they can be beautiful. What is your next chapter in life with God?  Rev. Rick Kress preaches.

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May 2022 Sermons

May 29, 2022:  Representative John Lewis coined the phrase, “Good Trouble” and demonstrated what this phrase means with his life. Lewis was a civil rights leader who had a clear desire for transformation in our country casting a vision for a more racially just society. John’s gospel this morning is an invitation to participate in casting a vision and co-creating with God the kin-dom we long for. What does the kin-dom look like in Rochester? Who can we partner with as we seek to be more kin-dom focused on our living, working, and worship? Rev. Dr. April Gutierrez preaches.

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May 22, 2022:  “We will come and make our home among them.” These are Jesus’ words about himself and the Holy Spirit. Even now, we are never alone, as God promises to be with us. Through the presence of the Holy Spirit, God is with us, in each breath and heartbeat. There is truly no separation. Let’s take some time to ponder and give praise for such a reality in our lives: the God of the Universe is present with us in our daily lives. May this be an encouragement as you live and love like Jesus!  Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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May 15, 2022:  We like answers more than questions, don’t we? Especially answers that confirm our biases. Many times, however, the value is more in the questions than the answers. You can’t Google God, so what are your options? Let’s explore that through the book of questions, Ecclesiastes.  Rev. Rick Kress preaches.

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May 8, 2022:  On Mother’s Day we celebrate the power and presence of a mother’s love in our lives. In this week’s Gospel reading, we are reminded of the power and presence of Jesus’ love in our lives. It is a love that surrounds us now and lasts for eternity. Join us as we give thanks to God for the power of encouraging love in our lives.  Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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May 1, 2022:  This Sunday we celebrate the Confirmation of youth at St. Paul’s who have been preparing since last fall to become members of the church. We are all invited to remember our baptism with gratitude, to notice the Holy Spirit present with us as we reflect on God’s call for each of us personally and as a people. What does it mean to be a follower of Christ? Rev. Dr. April Gutierrez preaches.

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April 2022 Sermons

April 24, 2022:  On this second Sunday of Easter, we encounter the beautiful story of the second appearance of Jesus to his disciples, still locked in the upper room, still locked in fear. The writer of the fourth gospel tells us that Jesus did many other signs in their presence, but it was the physical appearance to Thomas that led to the blessing for us, those who have not seen and yet come to believe. How can we put our trust in reality yet unseen? Are we willing to make a life-changing choice? Rev. Judy May preaches.

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April 17, 2022:  “Get used to different.” This is one of my favorite lines from the online series, “The Chosen,” and nothing says that more than the resurrection of Jesus Christ! Join us as we celebrate Easter! Through scripture, music, message, prayer, and community, we will gather to worship and praise the Risen Christ. I look forward to celebrating with you this most amazing Good News: The Lord is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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April 10, 2022:  This Palm Sunday, we begin Holy Week, following Jesus through his last week of life beginning with a parade, actually two parades. One is the parade we hear in the gospel of Jesus coming in on a colt, the other is the parade the emperor is participating in on the other side of town that is elaborate, a demonstration of power, wealth, and dominance. Yet, the parade we ponder every year, is of a Savior whose power is demonstrated through love, relationships and compassion. As we listen to the familiar story, seeing the visible sign of a donkey on St. Paul’s lawn this week, how might we get our hearts and minds ready for the mystery of Easter?  Rev. April Gutierrez preaches.

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April 3, 2022:  Our God is an abundant God. Our God is a generous God. How do we reveal God’s abundance and God’s generosity in our lives? What are the ways that our neighbors see God’s abundance pouring through our daily lives? Join us Sunday as we ponder these questions and seek inspiration from the scriptures. Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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March 2022 Sermons

March 27, 2022: On the fourth Sunday in Lent the Apostle Paul offers each of us a title for our job description as followers of Christ. He says we are “authorized agents”. We are ambassadors who speak the powerful message of reconciliation. How did this happen? Why us? How does this make any difference? Paul has the answers to help us understand our baptismal vocation. Come and join your fellow “agents” as we worship “the One who makes all things new.” And then, let’s get to work!  Rev. Judy May preaches.

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March 20, 2022:  Most of the time we’re pretty sure that we didn’t deserve the bad thing that happened to us. It’s not fair, we often say. But what’s our rationale when it happens to someone else? Are we as quick to profess their innocence or their supposed guilt? Sometimes it’s a little too easy to play God with other people’s lives. Join us as Jesus invites his listeners to wrestle with these very same questions. Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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March 13, 2022:  As Jesus’s popularity grew, he made a decision to leave the crowds in Galilee to face opposition in Jerusalem. Despite warnings of plots to kill him and temptations to play it safe, Jesus went to Jerusalem, where he was executed. Was Jesus naïve or just plain stubborn? What Jesus did, and the price he paid, was because of love. Leading up to Easter, have we learned from his example and how our lives can reflect his example of costly love?  Rev. Rick Kress preaches.

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March 6, 2022:  T.S. Eliot once wrote, “The last act is the greatest treason. To do the right deed for the wrong reason.” Join us to see how Jesus addresses this very real issue during his temptation in the wilderness.   Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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February 2022 Sermons

February 27, 2022:   Live Worship Service – In Luke’s gospel we encounter a Jesus who seeks time of prayer and reflection as he begins to deepen his ministry by moving toward Jerusalem where he will encounter a parade, an arrest, a trial, an election and an execution. He knows these things are coming. There is no denying it. He’d come too far to turn back. Yet, he begins this moment with what modern culture calls a “glow up” with a changed face and illuminated clothes. I’m looking forward to considering with you the “peace before the storm” among three disciples, one of whom isn’t quite getting it.   Rev. B. Kevin Smalls preaches.

Following the worship service, Rev. Dr. Smalls and Dr. Jennifer Hahm lead a discussion about Critical Race Theory. Rev. Dr. Smalls, Dr. Hahm and our pastor, Rev. April Gutierrez, serve on the Anti-Bias Anti-Racism (ABAR) committee with Bishop David Bard through the Michigan Conference.

February 27, 2022:  There are moments that take our breath away. There are moments when heaven spills into our reality. There are moments that we simply can’t explain. Join us as we encounter Jesus’ disciples experiencing such a moment. In the midst of the holy, sometimes there simply aren’t words to say…   Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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February 20, 2022:  We continue this Sunday with The Sermon on the Plain…and Jesus offers words that go down hard! “My goodness, Jesus, who wants to love an enemy? Isn’t the Gospel supposed to be GOOD NEWS? What’s with this radical notion that goes against our inclinations, our desires, our will?” And Jesus responds, “I say to you that LISTEN…” Come hear the challenge to us listeners as Jesus responds with a call to live in a way contrary to the way of the world in the first and twenty first century. Are we listening? What shall we who are listening do? How shall we “be” in this increasingly polarized world?  Rev. Judy May preaches.

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February 13, 2022:  Sometimes God’s kingdom is described as the upside down kingdom, where it seems that God’s priorities are the opposite of the world around us. Join us as we listen, sometimes uncomfortably, to Jesus’ words about having God’s priorities. Let’s learn together about the path of discipleship and seeing our lives through God’s eyes.  Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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February 6, 2022:  There are times when Jesus seems almost too much. His love, grace, and peace seem better suited for someone more deserving. Surely, he can’t mean me, can he? If you’ve ever felt this way about Jesus, then you’re not alone. Join us as we meet Peter in such a moment and hear Jesus reply to him.   Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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January 2022 Sermons

January 30, 2022:  The truth will set you free, but first, it’s going to hurt a whole lot. This statement applies to Jesus’ words in his hometown synagogue. The townspeople want a different Jesus than the one standing in their midst. Aren’t we like that sometimes too? The Jesus we want is not always the Jesus we really need. Join us as we wrestle with making Jesus into our own images.  Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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January 23, 2022:  We’re in Jesus’ synagogue in Nazareth, and he has just read Isaiah’s prophecy about the work of the Messiah. There are times when words are more than word, when they speak of a truth far greater than themselves. Along with the synagogue worshippers we find ourselves in a very sacred moment: The Word of God is among us. What was once written is now reality. Rev.David Eardley preaches.

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January 16, 2022:  In John’s Gospel Jesus’ first miracle takes place at a wedding reception. There’s a whole lot more party left to go, but they’re already out of wine. No one is sure what to do, but Jesus’ mother has an idea. Join us as we discover how life with Jesus is no longer ordinary.  Rev.David Eardley preaches.

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January 9, 2022: We celebrate the Baptism of the Lord as we reaffirm our baptismal vows. We cherish this story of Jesus when John baptized him, the heavens opened, the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove, and God said, “You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.” It was the beginning of the ministry of Jesus. In our baptism and reaffirmation, we, too, are named, claimed as God’s beloved and marked to carry the love, joy, peace and hope to all we meet. As our liturgy proclaims, we acknowledge what God has done and is doing for us, as we reaffirm our commitment to Christ’s holy church. Come, remember your baptism, and be thankful! Please have a small bowl of water to remember your baptism and be thankful. Rev. Judy May preaches.

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January 2, 2022:  The first couple of weeks when a child is a newborn are brief and sacred. Many limit who will see the child in these early days of life, to hold tenderly in care the precious child and allow space to grow into the new role as a parent. Yet, Mary and Joseph receive guests, the shepherds, who prophesy and proclaim, “God is faithful!” The shepherds represent the common people, leading ordinary lives yet journeying to praise God and celebrate the birth of Jesus. As we move into a new year, how might you look for the Christ child in the ordinary moments? And how might you glorify God with renewed hope of God among us?   Rev. April Gutierrez preaches.

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December 2021 Sermons

December 26, 2021: It’s the day after Christmas…we are exhausted…will there really be worship, you ask? Of course! It’s Sunday… and it’s Christmastide… and we don’t stop offering our thanksgiving for the gift of the Christ Child the day after receiving it. However, with the lectionary gospel passage from Luke, we find Mary and Joseph searching for the adolescent Jesus, whom they thought was with them as they journeyed back to Nazareth after celebrating Passover in Jerusalem. They expected to find Jesus among their family members and friends, but that was not the case; and upon the discovery, they retraced their steps to find him in the Temple, answering the call of God on his life….beginning to claim his ministry. As we prepare to move into a new year, where will our search for Jesus lead us? Where have we expected to find him, only to discover our search needs to go deeper? Come worship and study at St. Paul’s, as together we find Jesus, and, like Jesus, feel at home in his Father’s house.  Rev. Judy May preaches.

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December 24, 2021: This year we will offer a pre-recorded traditional Christmas Eve service on Facebook. Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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December 23, 2021:  Join us for a joy-filled service for families celebrating the journey of Mary and Joseph searching for a safe place for the birth of Jesus. Featuring posada (meaning “the inn”) play and Mariachi music. Rev. April Gutierrez preaches.

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December 19, 2021: All Music Sunday is always such special worship service at our church. Here we experience the joy of anticipating Jesus’ birth through the wonderful and diverse music ministry within our church. I invite you to be here for a combined worship service in the sanctuary as we draw closer to Bethlehem, closer to Jesus’ birth, through the gift of song and music! Rev. David Eardley preaches.

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December 12, 2021:   “… because Jesus grabbed hold of me.” The Apostle Paul names Jesus’ powerful love for us in these few words. This is a love that reaches out toward the world, even if the world isn’t ready to receive it. This love, this Jesus, captivated the Apostle Paul, and this is the Jesus we’re anticipating as we continue our journey in Advent. Rev. Judy May preaches.

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December 5, 2021:  As the longest day of the year approaches, you may feel the darkness creeping in. In light of the tragic situation in Oxford, the darkness is very real. Jesus knew you’d have difficult times. He also knew that, with God’s help, you can claim joy as we enter the Advent season. Join us this Sunday for a message of hope to buoy your spirits. Rev. Rick Kress preaches.

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