Good Morning and Welcome to St. Mary’s Church!

St. Mary’s Summertime Parish Picnic, NEXT WEEK, July 31. We will celebrate at 10:00 am in Marcus Garvey Park, have a picnic and finish the day at 2:00 pm with the Ecclesia Service. Come join us. There will be a regular service at 8:00 am.

Farewell and Godspeed to our interns Ciara Conway, Dawn Bailey, Nick McBurney, Naja Muhammad and Christopher Robinson as they finish this year in the New York Intern Program and go out into the world to serve. May God bless you always!

The Vestry will meet today following the 10:00 am service. And yes, we’d love to have you join us!

Cook off and flea market: August 6th 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, rain or shine: come to taste the food by our great cooks and to sell (or find) some incredible bargains!

Spirit and Strife Peer Trauma Support Group. If you are a trauma survivor, please join St. Mary’s in a new ministry to co-create a safe, loving, faith-inspired space in which to develop strategies for resilience and recovery. Meeting: Saturdays , 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. See Lysander Puccio for more information.

The Episcopal Church Women: The ECW will meet next week, July 17th. The Ecw Prayer Committee meets on the second Sunday following the 10:00 am service Please see Celia Braxton for further information.

St. Mary’s Summer Camp is in the house! until Aug. 4, 2011: Now open for REGISTRATION: call the Church Office at (212) 864-4013 to register. Registration forms are available on the back table. Keep praying for the Summer Camp Program and the director, Ms. Deborah Snyder.

Eccelsia: Marcus Garvey Park: Sundays at 2:00 pm. St. Mary’s is the lead congregation on the first Sunday each month. Also: St. Mary’s Homeless Street Outreach: Saturdays, 12:00 noon preparation and 2:00 pm Street Outreach. Please let us know if you can help and keep the Homeless Street Outreach in your prayers.

Movies at St. Mary’s: 6:00 pm on Fridays. Come for the fellowship, the popcorn and the FUN!! Also, we need volunteers to help. Thanks!! July 29: “Food, Inc.” (find out where your food REALLY comes from; PG). Also: Teen Jam, August 5th: “Sparkle” (singing Harlem Sisters make it big and find trouble; PG), Teen Jam after the movie until 9:30 pm.

Summertime Blues: please don’t let it happen to St. Mary’s Church! If you are going to be away this summer, please make your pledge payments in advance, if you can, so that we can stay financially healthy as we seek to carry out God’s mission throughout all the year. Thank you so much (in advance!)

Preaching schedule: July 31: Parish Picnic; August 7: Rev. Kooperkamp

Reflections on today’s scripture readings: Prepared by Arthur Cash

First Reading: Genesis 29: 15 – 28
The story of how Jacob’s uncle Laban pulled a double trick on him. He got an extra seven years of labor from Jacob, and he fooled him into marrying both his daughters when Jacob loved and asked for only one. These are not nice people. Both Abraham and Isaac passed off their attractive wives and sisters so as guilt-trip the powerful people who fall for them, thereby making themselves rich. Jacob under the direction of his mother takes both the birthright and the patriarchal blessing from his older brother. Jacob and his wives by trickery and magic steal Laban’s livestock. Rachael steals her father’s household gods. Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery. The two forgiving and generous members of the family turn out to be those who were most grievously tricked, Esau and Joseph. Yet God did not make Esau or Joseph the patriarch. The patriarch is the trickster Jacob.

Second Reading: Romans 8: 26 – 39
I was right two Sundays back when I said that Paul was implying predestination. Here he says it outright. Some are predestined “to be conformed to the image of his son.” God’s purpose in doing so? So that Christ, the “firstborn” from death, will be followed by a large family of brothers and sisters reborn from death. Those brothers and sisters predestined to eternal life are perfectly passive in this life. They are piled with blessing upon blessing, not one of which is earned. Do not forget the context of the final sentence of our reading. Nothing, says Paul, can separate “ us” from the love of God, but “us” means those who are predestined to receive all these unearned blessing.

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