St. Paul's United Methodist Church
Wednesday, October 27, 2021



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.





St. Paul’s UMC In-Person Worship 

Sundays at 8:30 AM with Praise Team


St. Paul’s UMC In-Person Worship 

Sundays at 11 AM with Choir


Beginning Sunday, October 3rd, wearing masks inside the church will be optional. Social distancing and hand washing will be continued. Separate masked and non-masked areas will be available. The most vulnerable are encouraged to wear masks, social distance and/or take advantage of virtual options. Church leadership will continue to monitor the situation to ensure safety. Thank you for your ongoing support and patience. 


The services will also be livestreamed and will be

made available via internet on YouTube



Outside Grove Service at 4 PM 

Service will include music, a message and communion


Saturday Historical Prayer Walk at 9 AM

Each walk will include a tour of a historical landmark or building


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
 September 28, 2021

Greetings Church Family,

I pray this Fall quarterly letter finds you well. Our church is off to a great start with our 8:30 AM contemporary service, 11:00 AM traditional service, and the 4:00 PM Grove service. Many of our congregants continue to take advantage of our virtual worship services which will continue to be offered at 8:30 AM and 11:00 AM. Each service will have its own varied liturgy and songs. The Saturday 9:00 AM Prayer walks have resumed and will continue throughout October. 

This Fall St. Paul's will celebrate its church anniversary. Former Pastor, Rev. Cheryl Jenson will be our special guest. On October 31st, St. Paul's will celebrate a 12-noon retirement party for Rev. Karin Tunnell in the Grove. Rev. Tunnell will also participate in the 11:00 AM baptismal service.

A special book club on race relations will be offered on Monday evenings, starting on October 18th (7:00 pm). This zoom book club will be in collaboration with Richardson Park UMC, and the Rock Hall Charge. The Fall Small Groups include: Adult Bible Study, Children's Bible Study, United Methodist Men's Bible Study (On Par with God), Thursday Morning Prayer Group, TOPS, Saturday Prayer Walk, Grief Share (with Danese Collins, and the Greeting Card Ministry. Janice Thompson has taken off running as the new Family Life coordinator. She, along with Tracy Walls-Pulling recently provided an orientation for the children and youth of St. Paul's UMC. I, along with other presenters, will lead the 10:00 AM Adult Sunday morning study. A separate zoom account has been created so that both Sunday schools can operate at the same time: 10:00 AM thru 10:45 AM.

A Halloween drive-by will take place Sunday, October 31st, 1:00 pm-3:00 pm. A Thanksgiving Eve service is scheduled for Wednesday, November 24th at 7:00 PM. And, last but not least, a Fall pledge drive is slated for November of 2021. 

Starting in October, I will offer monthly worship experiences to the residents at Marydale Retirement Community, Broad Meadow, and Meadowcrest: more information to follow.

I plan to resume the mid-week blast by the end of the month and in a few months, I plan to resume the mid-week noon service for Advent and Lent.

Mask wearing has become a growing topic of discussion among our church community. Our previous mask-wearing policy is based solely on the safety of the elderly, children, and the most vulnerable. As Christ’s church, we have an obligation and responsibility to promote safety and wellness. Starting Sunday, October 3rd, wearing a mask at St. Paul's UMC church services and events will be optional. This difficult decision was based on a majority vote that took place at the most recent Church Leadership Meeting. Social distancing and hand washing will be continually practiced. This decision may change based on changes enforced by the governor's office. Mask and non-mask wearers will be separated by several rows. The most vulnerable are encouraged to continue social distancing, mask-wearing, and taking advantage of virtual options. Church leadership will continue to monitor the situation as a way of ensuring safety. Thank you for your ongoing support and patience on this matter.  Please pray for the safety of the entire world as we continue to get vaccinated.  The experts have proven that vaccinations save lives.

This has been a very stressful and difficult time for all places of worship, and we've all done our best to manage things despite setbacks. I will continue to work tirelessly to provide meaningful worship and ministry experiences. During the last several months, Rev. Sam Harrell, Rev. Ryan Scott, Rev. Patti Ravilious, and Adrienne Dillard have assisted me at the pulpit. All these preachers have been prayerfully selected by the Holy Spirit’s intercession. Rev. Patti and Adrienne, who preached the last two Sundays in August allowed me to take two weeks' vacation. Rev. Ryan and Rev. Sam rotated on the third Sundays. None of our preachers are strangers. They all share their time, talents, and treasures. During our last charge conference, Pastor Sam became a declared candidate for the ministry. He recently completed a conference group mentoring class and nurturing wholeness training. He completed all requirements towards certified candidacy as a minister within the United Methodist Church. His most recent sermon is being submitted for his October 20th interview with the District Committee On Ministry. We wish him the best. Rev. Patti is a retired UMC pastor. She joined St. Paul's UMC under Rev. Karin and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Deaf Ministry. On this past fourth Sunday in September, she along with the ASL family participated in a special Sunday celebrating the Deaf community and I have also assisted her in her recent Deaf Awareness Research towards her Ph.D.

My Fall/Winter preaching schedule is as follows: On the second Sundays, I will preach at 8:30 AM, 11:00 AM, and 4:00 PM.  On the third Sunday, I will preach at 11:00 AM, and 4:00 PM. Pastor Sam, who needs preaching opportunities as he strives to become a local pastor, will preach on alternate 11:00 AM services on the third Sunday. On the fourth Sundays, I will preach for the 8:30 AM, 11:00 AM, and 4:00 PM. On the fifth Sundays, I will preach at 11:00 AM and 4:00 PM. Rev. Patti and Rev. Nancee will graciously continue to fill in as needed and requested: presently for the 8:30 and 11:00 AM services. I lead the Adult Sunday School and on Thursday mornings, I participate in the Thursday morning prayer circle. As mentioned previously, I lead the Saturday morning prayer walks throughout Odessa. I encourage you to support and encourage our preaching rotation. Over the years, St. Paul’s has supported and nurtured several local laity for pastoral ministry. They all received their training and experience through this process. I’ve been intentional about making sure the pulpit presence is diverse in gender, race, and culture. I realize this may make some feel uncomfortable but one day we will see and witness the beauty and glory of God's diverse kingdom. Therefore, I am asking everyone to be open-minded as I continue to lead the church in a new direction.

I realize these are difficult times and parishioners have various reasons why they may not be engaged in corporate worship, however, I believe this is a call and opportunity for the church to strive to connect with those outside its four walls. We are not alone. Many surrounding churches are having some of the same struggles. Let's allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in helping turn those challenges into opportunities to bring all humanity into a loving relationship with Jesus Christ.

In closing, I thank the tech crew, church administrator, musicians, choir, praise team, ushers, bell ringers, liturgists, mission workers, gardeners, and many other volunteers. Lastly, as your Pastor, I need your continued prayers and support as we journey through these uncharted waters. Please know I am sharing this with you so that the St. Paul's family can have a better understanding of why things are done the way they are.

Stay blessed,

Pastor Kevin Benjamin