Congregation Close-up: St. Paul, Salem

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St. Paul’s believes in building community and making a joyful noise! We have a vibrant children and youth choir program, including vocal choirs and bells. Beginning last September, weekly rehearsals for the children’s choirs started to include Christian Formation time with our parish clergy–which recently featured dry penne pasta (representing Ezekiel’s vision of dry bones), and an adventure going to places around the world that are holy to a variety of religious traditions (looking at images placed around our building) ending with a tour of the St. Paul’s sacristy. The children and youth are the church now, and they have grown in relationship and enthusiasm this year. They even came up with the biddings for our Eastertide Prayers of the People–which were powerful and inspiring for the entire congregation. We are praying that the leaders of the world make good choices for all of their people, “even those who aren’t as successful,” for ducks in classrooms, and that God will “help us to give food to people who only have sleeping bags.”

This year our Coffee Class after the 10am service has included conversations about history, exploring the perspectives of Native Americans, Rural Evangelical Christians in Alaska, Muslim-Christian history and religious traditions. These classes have given participants a chance to share personal experiences and look through different lenses. All topics related to Native American history, including a visit last year from leaders of Grand Ronde, have gathered a wide number of participants. In May, we were blessed by a visit from Mending Wings, a Native America youth ministry from Yakima, Washington. The youth told their stories through drama, dance and drumming. It was moving and joyful! Many people said it was powerful to not only hear about the history but to begin to be in relationship with the people who have such a different experience of life.

Visit the St. Paul website.

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