WHO WE ARE
Founded in 1866, St. Paul Lutheran Church is a place where you will always be welcomed. By serving through relationships and love, St. Paul is a place where everyone can grow spiritually.
WHAT WE DO
Our mission is “To know and serve Christ by reaching out in love to all” and we believe in the importance of involving and experiencing God in all areas of your life. There are countless ways to grow in your involvement and your faith at St. Paul; regardless of where you are in your journey, there is a place for you here.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Members and first time guests alike, we invite you to get connected to the community. Whether you're attending service on a Sunday, dropping in on a small group meeting, or stopping by to chat with Pastor Dan, you can anticipate a positive, encouraging experience.
"We love the God we cannot see by loving and serving our neighbor, who we can see."
The Rabbi’s Gift
By M. Scott Peck
There is a story, perhaps a myth. Typical of mythic stories, it has many versions. Also typical, the source of the version I am about to tell is obscure. I cannot remember whether I heard or read it, or where or when. Furthermore, I do not even know the distortions I myself have made in it. All I know for certain is that this version came to me with a title. It is called The Rabbi's Gift.
The story concerns a monastery that had fallen upon hard times. Once a great order, as a result of waves of anti-monastic persecution in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the rise of secularism in the nineteenth, all its branch houses were lost and it had become decimated to the extent that there were only five monks left in the decaying mother house: Abbott and four others, all over 70 in age. Clearly it was a dying order.
In the deep woods surrounding the monastery there was a little hut that a Rabbi from a nearby town occasionally used for a Hermitage. Through their many years of prayer and contemplation the old monks had become a bit psychic, so they could always sense when the rabbi was in his Hermitage. "The Rabbi is in the woods, the Rabbi is in the woods once again," they would whisper to each other. As he agonized over the imminent death of his order, it occurred to the Abbott at one such time to visit the Hermitage and ask the Rabbi if by some possible chance he could offer any advice that might save the monastery.
The Rabbi welcomed the Abbott at his hut. But when the Abbott explained the purpose of his visit, the Rabbi could only commiserate with him. "I know how it is," he explained. "The spirit has gone out of the people. It is the same in my town. Almost no one comes to the synagogue anymore." So the old Abbott and the old Rabbi wept together. Then they read parts of the Torah and quietly spoke of deep things. The time came when the Abbott had to leave. They embraced each other. "It has been a wonderful thing that we should meet after all these years," the Abbott said, "but I have still failed in my purpose for coming here. Is there nothing you can tell me, no piece of advice you can give me that would help me save my dying order?"
"No, I am sorry," the Rabbi responded. "I have no advice to give. The only thing I can tell you is that the Messiah is one of you."
When the Abbott returned to the monastery his fellow monks gathered around him to ask, "well, what did the Rabbi say?"
"He couldn't help," the Abbot answered. "We just wept and read the Torah together. The only thing he did say, just as I was leaving - it was something cryptic - was that the Messiah is one of us. I don't know what he meant. "
In the days and weeks and months that followed, the old monks pondered this and wondered whether there was any possible significance to the Rabbi's words. The Messiah is one of us? Could he possibly have meant one of us monks here at the monastery? If that's the case, which one? Do you suppose he meant the Abbott? Yes, if he meant anyone, he probably meant father Abbott. He has been our leader for more than a generation. On the other hand, he might have meant brother Thomas. Certainly brother Thomas is a holy man. Everyone knows that Thomas is a man of light. Certainly he could not have meant brother Elred! Elred gets crotchety at times. But come to think of it, even though he is a thorn in people's sides, when you look back on it, Elred is virtually always right. Often very right. Maybe the Rabbi did mean brother Elred. But surely not brother Philip. Philip is so passive, a real nobody. But then, almost mysteriously, he has a gift for somehow always being there when you need him. He just magically appears by your side. Maybe Philip is the Messiah. Of course the Rabbi didn't mean me. He couldn't possibly have meant me. I'm just an ordinary person. Yet supposing he did? Suppose I am the Messiah? Oh God, not me. I couldn't be that much for you, could I?
As they contemplated in this manner, the old monks began to treat each other with extraordinary respect on the off chance that one among them might be the Messiah. And on the off, off chance that each monk himself might be the Messiah, they began to treat themselves with extraordinary respect.
Because the forest in which it was situated was beautiful, it so happened that people still occasionally came to visit the monastery to picnic on its tiny lawn, to wander along some of its paths, even now and then to go into the dilapidated chapel to meditate. As they did so, without even being conscious of it, they sensed this aura of extraordinary respect that now began to surround the five old monks and seemed to radiate out from them and permeate the atmosphere of the place. There was something strangely attractive, even compelling, about it. Hardly knowing why, they began to come back to the monastery more frequently to picnic, to play, to pray. They began to bring their friends to show them this special place. And their friends brought their friends.
Then it happened that some of the younger men who came to visit the monastery started to talk more and more with the old monks. After a while one asked if he could join them. Then another. And another. So within a few years the monastery once again became a thriving order and, thanks to the Rabbi's gift, a vibrant center of light and spirituality in the realm.
Rev. Daniel Skillman - Senior Pastor
Corinne Bozin-Grizzell - Director of Christian Education
Dale Hukill - Director of Music Ministry
Richard Shirey - Assistant Organist
Sherrill Crawford - Administrative Assistant
Dean Firing - Administrative Assistant
Lynnette Ozanich - Bookkeeper