St. Paul's United Methodist Church
Thursday, January 27, 2022



We invite you to worship with us each Sunday!
You will be warmly welcomed as you experience
the love and the grace of God through our
Sunday worship services and teaching.





The Church will be postponing in-person worship for the remaining month of January. The decision was based on the findings of increasing rates of the new virus variant, Omicron. The high infection rate and hospitalizations has caused much concern for the safety of our Church and community. An 8:30 a.m. live-streamed worship experience will be provided starting January 9th.

This service can be watched at 8:30 a.m. and anytime thereafter. Additionally, the assembling of any groups or meetings will also be suspended during the month of January. All of these matters will be revisited for the month of February.

Stay safe.

Thank you for your ongoing support.


Pastor Kevin; Steve Johnson & Cathy Blanco, Co-Chair Leadership


The service will be livestreamed and will be

made available via internet on YouTube



The folks of St. Paul’s offer worship in which we honor tradition, are challenged with the Christian journey, celebrate the Word and share our stories in the intimate setting that is St. Paul's Church. Parents are encouraged to bring their children to worship for the Children’s Celebration at each service. If you and your family are searching for meaningful worship and discipleship, join us for these opportunities to explore your faith. St. Paul’s is a spiritual home for people of all ages and backgrounds and for families, traditional and non-traditional, where creativity and passion for the Gospel flourish and we are bound by the love of God that draws us together.
 Pastor's Letter
 January 19, 2022

Dear Congregants of St. Paul’s UMC,

        Happy New Year! I pray this Winter newsletter finds you in good spirits. My daily prayer is for the safety and well-being of you and your family during this extended pandemic.  

        The Advent and Christmas season at St. Paul’s UMC, Odessa, DE, was absolutely amazing. The Advent season began with “Hanging of the Green.” “Hanging of the Green” was a special seasonal ceremony that consisted of various families and individuals adorning the Church sanctuary with symbolic greenery as they recited scripture and liturgical readings. Various presentations from the choir, musicians, and hand bell choir added to the beauty of the service. The Christmas Carol Hymn Sing, organized by Music Director Amy Brown, set the mood for Advent and Christmas celebrations.

        The first weekend in December was a full weekend for our Church that began with the choir and hand bell choir performing at “Christmas in Odessa.”  Amy Brown and I presented organ music at the Old St. Paul’s Church on High Street. Various members also volunteered at the Zoar Church, and it was opened for tours. Ellie Leuliette organized the lovely decorations there. The Trustees of St. Paul’s UMC volunteered their time to prepare and open our Church for the annual Christmas in Odessa Tour.

        During this season, Music Director, Amy Brown and Minister of Music, Duane Dillard provided an array of beautiful music that brought meaning and purpose to every worship experience.

        Barbara Lynn Manlove and the Worship Arts Committee led the way to beautify the sanctuary for the season and in beautifying and decorating the church and grounds for Christmas. Charlotte Miller supplied the stunning Nativity Scene Silhouette for our outside display.

        Homecoming Sunday was a blast. Former Pastor, Rev. Cheryl Taylor Jensen, who served as our guest preacher, was also inducted as Pastor Emeritus. A reception followed the service with fellowship and great food.

         A special Fall Charge Conference, held in December, affirmed Adriene Dillard as a declared candidate for the ministry. Additionally, Melissa Brooks was affirmed as a Lay Servant. Minister Samuel Harrell continues to serve as a certified Ministry Candidate. Pastor Nancee Bleistine, our very own, is serving as an appointed pastor of Ebenezer UMC in Delaware City, DE. 

         I remain intentional about connectional ministry. Connectional ministry is pastoral ministry. My serving as a board member on the Wilmington UMC Urban Ministry, the Neighborhood House, and the Delaware State University/Wesley Campus Ministry have provided me a sense of continued purpose, service, and outreach.

         Recently, I submitted paperwork for the second phase of ordination as an Elder within The United Methodist Church. In 2018, I was commissioned as a provisional Elder. During this time, I completed Residency in Ministry. This consisted of six weeks of extensive course work throughout a period of two years. In March, I will have my examination interview with the Board of Ordained Ministry. Please keep me in your continued prayers as I prepare.

         During a special-called Church Leadership meeting on January 4, 2022, at 6:30 p.m., the Church majority voted to postpone in-person worship for the remainder of the month of January. The decision was based on the findings of increasing transmission rates of the new virus variant, Omicron. The high infection rate and hospitalizations has caused much concern for the safety of our Church and community. It was agreed that an 8:30 a.m. live-streamed worship experience would be presented starting January 9th. This service can be watched at 8:30 a.m. and anytime thereafter. Additionally, the assembling of any groups or meetings will also be suspended during the month of January. All of these matters will be revisited for the month of February.   

         My appointment to St. Paul’s of Odessa during a national pandemic has been a faith journey. Our expanding virtual ministry provided a meaningful worship experience in a time that prevented many from gathering in-person. Although we were able to return to in-person worship for a short time, we have become more intentional about virtual outreach. This not only enabled St. Paul’s UMC to connect with the outside virtual world but to also provide worship experiences for shut-ins, and our extended deaf community. The Pandemic Task Force, along with the Leadership Team, continues to work tirelessly to ensure the safety of every parishioner. While there was in-person worship, Communion continued to be distributed in individual baggies that hold a wafer and a disposable communion cup. Offerings were being collected in a hands-free manner with pole baskets that go from pew to pew. We take safety seriously and we will continue to surpass CDC and local state guidelines as St. Paul’s UMC continues to monitor updates as they develop. Missions, Outreach, and Service has continued in creative and exciting ways.

         The Neighborhood House, Our Daily Bread and Deep Roots are among the many organizations that have received ongoing support from St. Paul’s UMC throughout the pandemic. Sue Holden and Dawn Buckworth, with your support, provided Christmas gift cards for the needy families of the Neighborhood House community. Yellow Hat offerings continue to support many outreach ministries.

         As I continue to navigate through these uncharted pandemic waters, my St. Paul’s UMC family has continued to be supportive through your prayers, time, talent, and treasure. This has not only kept the Church afloat, but it has allowed us to support the work of the gospel outside the walls of the Church through virtual services, missions, and outreach. One positive aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic is that we are learning many new and different ways of being the Church. Even when it is safe to resume church life as usual, virtual worship will most likely continue. More people are reached as time and distance are no longer factors in who can attend services. Zoom meetings are proving a workable substitute for gathering in person. Pastoral care is continuing to be provided and various measures have been taken to make sure that the most vulnerable of our congregation are checked on. Stewardship is practiced differently, too. More giving is done online. Many individuals and families gave extra money at the end of the year to help us meet the needs of the budget. Many additional pledges have come in to help us fulfill the budget for 2022.

         In closing, I am excited about this season of ministry. Grief Share, led by Rev. Danese and Bob Collins, continues to support grieving families. Although it has been temporarily postponed, it will resume in the Spring with a seven week in-person presentation. The prayer team continues to meet virtually every Thursday morning to pray for the needs of the Church and community. With the leadership of our Family Life Coordinator, Janice Thompson, Sunday school and various virtual activities are provided for our families and youth. The recent Wave Youth Rally was a blessing to many. In the upcoming weeks, Pastor Nancee and her congregation will connect with us for Ash Wednesday. The “On Par with God” (Men’s Bible Study with Hap Bonham) will resume in the Spring. The Spring will also include a Good Friday-Seven Last Words Service, a Saturday Easter Vigil Walk, and the annual Easter Sunrise Service at the Buckworth’s. Depending on the variant numbers, other in-person activities will be announced as time moves on.

         Be encouraged. Please continue to keep each other in prayer. Check in on our most vulnerable congregants, neighbors, family, and friends. Continue to spread the love of Jesus throughout the world and community.

Yours in God,
Pastor Kevin Benjamin