Feast of the Ascension 2023
St Paul's, Key West and neighboring St Peter's, Key West, located four blocks further south, are the southernmost Episcopal outposts in the United States.
The histories of these congregations are intertwined and complex. St Paul's began in 1832, and St Peter's was begun in 1875 by a group of Black Bahamian folks who came out of St Paul's. Over the last 150 years, the congregations have sometimes worked and worshipped and fellowshipped together and sometimes have not.
In the last couple of months, St Peter's and St Paul's have been issuing invitations to one another to renew old ties and reconnect the people of both congregations. St Paul's invited St Peter's to spend Holy Week with us because they wouldn't have supply clergy for those services. St Peter's invited St Paul's altar guild to come train their new altar guild and St Paul's Saturday morning volunteers to help them sort all their vestments, altar linens, and "holy hardware" (chalices, patens, pyxes, cruets, etc). Together we practiced keeping the treasures and letting go of all that no longer serves. It has been a joyful time of getting to know one another and working alongside each other.
On Pentecost Sunday, May 28, St Peter's and St Paul's are going to celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit in power to stay and the birthday of the Church together in one combined Eucharist at 10am. Please wear all the red you can muster!
The festivities will begin at St Paul's. Please plan to arrive before 10am (by 9:45am if possible) to deliver your contributions to the Pentecost potluck brunch to the St Paul's parish hall and then assemble in the St Paul's parking lot.
Starting at 10am, people from both congregations and any guests will process the four blocks from St Paul's to St Peter's. Those who can walk are invited to do so, and those who cannot, or prefer not to walk, are encouraged to use bikes, trikes, mopeds, golf carts, or carpool.
If you're not sure where you're going, fear not. Bruce our verger, Jeff our thurifer, and other altar personnel will lead the way followed by the St Paul's choir and Tim and the Reverend Dr Joseph Krasinski who will preach and preside that day.
The joyful service will take place in the beautiful historic nave of St Peter's. Senior warden of St Peter's, Calvin Allen, and the St Peter's vestry and people look forward to hosting the Eucharist. After the dismissal, everyone will make their way back to St Paul's parish hall to enjoy a festive brunch together. (The St Peter's parish hall has a brand new roof, but the rest of it is still undergoing repair.)
Five Sundays later, on July 2, St Peter's and St Paul's will again worship together in one combined Eucharist at 10am. On that day, the procession will step (and roll) off from St Peter's and head to St Paul's. On that day we will celebrate together the shared feast day of our patrons, Sts Peter and Paul. Their feast is June 29, and we will transfer it to this Sunday nearest to it. Longtime St Peter's and St Paul's folks say they used to celebrate together in this way back in the day. What a blessing to be part of reviving these traditions and restoring relationships down here at the end of the road. Thanks be to God!