Taking a PAGE from Page Pelphrey’s Devotional

Taking a PAGE from Page Pelphrey’s Devotional

Parishioner from Christ Church, Guilford has been selected to write the February entries for Forward Movement

Page Pelphrey, originally from Greensboro, North Carolina, now a parishioner from Christ Church, Guilford, has been selected to write the February entries for Forward Movement, a devotional booklet they publish called Forward Day by Day. Page has a beautiful backstory that led her to take the leap and submit her writings to Forward Movement.

Page is a self-proclaimed Pre-cradle Episcopalian, “All 4 of my grandparents were Episcopalian…they went to the same church. My parents met at church.” She can remember the Forward Day by Day publication as long as she can remember. Her maternal grandmother, also named Page, was an avid reader of the Forward Movement; so much so that it was part of her morning routine, paired with coffee of course!

“My grandfather would bring her coffee… She started her morning with the Forward Day by Day and her Bible.”

Page began reading the publication herself six years before submitting her writing samples. What’s powerful about Page’s story is that her submission was a leap of faith.


“What if they don’t like it?” she thought.

With witting as a hobby and not being formally trained as a writer, the teacher of 25 years, drummed up the courage to submit her devotional writings that she wrote 2-3 years ago. So what gave her that push you’re probably thinking?

“Timing, and you hear that still small voice, that nudge, I think when things don’t go away, when that small voice, when you listen, and it doesn’t go away, and it doesn’t change, it’s time to act on it.”


The inspiration we’d like you to gain from this story is to trust in yourself. God gifted all of us with intuition and speaks to us through our thoughts. You may be feeling hesitant to make a change or embark on a new direction. The path less traveled is a bumpy one but it is so full of promise once you decide to forge it. An unknown path means endless opportunity. If Page decided to leave her devotional writings in her drafts folder, we would never have the opportunity to gain insight from her talent as a now published writer. So Take the Leap, you never know where God is trying to lead you.

“Pray, pray, pray. Follow and listen for that voice. The voice isn’t going to tell you to do anything illegal. Follow your intuition. For me, for me, it’s that still small voice of God. Just let your heart and your gut lead you. You have to get over the fear of rejection, that’s the one thing that stopped me a lot of times. If they say no thankyou, know that something else is coming along.” -Page Pelphrey



Reflection: Puri(fire)

February 2nd is the Feast of The Presentation of Our Lord

Previously, we discussed the conversion of St. Paul, the Apostle who was blind, not just of sight, but blind of heart. After regaining his sight, he was able to look at people he held bias against differently than before. From this story we learned what it means when our faith lacks love. When we hold space for love within our faith, we can see God in others.

This week as we venture into February we reflect on the presentation of baby Jesus, when Mary and Joseph took him to the temple. Luke 2:22 narrates the purification ceremony, required by the law of Moses, that takes place 40 days after a 1st born son is brought into the world.

During this ceremony a burnt offering occurs: a symbolic representation of commitment & surrender to God. A burnt offering, which translates to “ascent” or “stairway” in Hebrew (olah), is a way to atone for sin and show appreciation for the Lord.

Much like the burnt offerings given during the purification ceremony at the temple, this is a time when we offer ourselves to the Lord and surrender to His refining fire; creating in us a pure and clean heart, removing any impurities that blind us, similarly to Saul. There may be periods of discomfort as God purifies us from within to gain clearer sight but let this process encourage us, as it is his overriding commitment to grow us closer to Him.

The Presentation of Our Lord poses a larger theme about ascending to love through God’s light of revelation, Jesus Christ. As our hearts and minds become illuminated by the purifying light of Christ on this day, let it further reveal the significance of acting in harmony as God’s creation, not only within ourselves, but also with others around us. When we activate the spirit of unified love, we enter an expansion that reflects spiritual growth.

When we give unconditional love to our siblings in Christ and compassion to ourselves, it creates a cycle of love that flows back to us, allowing us to truly see the light, God’s grace, and the love of Christ, in everyone. The only way we can truly be siblings in Christ is to love like Christ which will bring about a new way of belonging.

The Season of Refinement is about showing up and making a conscious effort to grow our hearts in the light of Christ and expand our experiences to a boundless loving mindset so we may present ourselves to God in a way that Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the temple. Consider your community and what needs to be tested by refiners’ fire to look more like God’s Kingdom.


You have a deep knowing that when you pray, meditate, or simply sit in stillness that you open a channel of connection to God, where loving energy and information flows to you and through you.

Meditate on these Affirmations for Balance:

“I am calling in Harmony as God Refines me:”

“Purify my Body.”

“Purify my Heart.”

“Purify my Mind.”

“Purify my Spirit.”


Reflection: From Saul to Paul

January 25th is The Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul.

Paul the Apostle

Before Saint Paul was the Apostle, he was Saul of Tarsus, a persecutor of those who followed and believed in Jesus Christ.

When he set out to find and persecute Christians in Damascus, a bright light blinded him, which was the risen Jesus himself. After that moment his heart was forever changed and he became Paul the Apostle.

Similar to Saint Paul the Apostle, we’ve all experienced having a change of heart, which is part of God’s refining process. For gold to become pure, it must be tested in fire. Much like the bright light of Jesus that blinded Saul, there will be fires sent to test the genuineness of our faith.

This encounter is significant because it reveals to us how Jesus has the power to create in us a sincere change of heart.


We Encourage you to explore The Conversion of Saint Paul and discover ways in which your heart has changed and can still be changed in a season of refinement.

Meditate on these Affirmations for a Renewed Heart and Spirit:
“Burn me Beautiful.”
“Burn me Lovely.”
“Burn me Righteous.”
“Burn me Holy.”


Paul the Apostle

A reflection from the Rev. Dr. Linda Spiers

What would make people say “yes” to an ECCT commitment that has taken one and a half years of intensive work that often felt like a fulltime job? I believe that folks, with the help of God, were encouraged to offer their gifts for the Bishop Transition Committee (BTC) in many and varied ways.

Witness Stones at St. Pauls, Wallingford

Adapted from the Sermon at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Wallingford, CT

By Amy Foster

“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

On a sunny Sunday in June that serendipitously fell on Juneteenth, a day we had slated to honor the legacy of two former enslaved people in our own church by installing two Witness Stones, our lectionary felt like a gift from the heavens. As always, there were moments throughout the service in which we were reminded of our Christian mission to love others as ourselves, but Paul’s Letter to the Galatians seemed penned almost particularly for the day at hand. In it, Paul argues that we need to break down barriers and distinctions, recognizing, as he says in chapter 6, verse 2 of the letter that God shows no partiality. (Paul wrote the letter to the Galatians because some of them were listening to a group that was trying to limit and exclude certain types of people from the Christian movement in the first century.) Throughout the writing, Paul is adamant that because we are all equal in the eyes of God, we need to treat each other that way as well. Paul argues for inclusivity and love of neighbor (every neighbor!)—in this letter he reiterates Jesus’ Great Commandment to love our neighbor as ourselves.

This emphasis on inclusivity is behind much of the work of the Resolution 7 Task Force here at St. Paul’s. This task force was put together to carry out the ECCT resolution in 2020 that stated, among other things, that each parish would “take steps to research and document historic complicity in racism in their parish and communities.” In doing our research, with the help of both the Wallingford Historic Preservation Trust and the Witness Stones Project, our goal has been to be more inclusive in understanding a fuller picture of our history as a parish.

We have learned through our work that there were at the very least about a dozen people enslaved by members of our parish, including by one of our rectors. We are taking steps to lift up the lives and labors of those enslaved people, to include them as an important part of the story of our community.

When we first started our research, Grace and Esau, whom we honor today, were our first discoveries because, in fact, they are actually named in the published St. Paul’s history that has been in use for decades! Grace and Esau were enslaved by Titus and Mary Brockett who were significant benefactors of the church in the mid-1700s. Mary outlived her husband Titus, and upon her death in 1777 she granted freedom to Grace. We can presume that Esau already had been freed by that point, as both Grace and Esau were granted a dwelling, some property, a cow, a bed, pots, and more, all of which would revert back to St. Paul’s upon their death. Based on property records found in the Wallingford Town Hall by The Witness Stones Project, we discovered that Esau became a small businessman, buying and trading a number of properties. Grace worked as a spinner and weaver, and she farmed alongside Esau. From census records we can determine that Grace died sometime after 1830 and Esau after 1840.

This is about all we know about these two individuals, and so I wonder about all that we don’t know. What were their lives really like? Were they able to get an education? Even when they were emancipated, what was it like for them to live in Wallingford—where were they welcome, and from where were they excluded? Were they ever allowed inside the church building—a building whose funding was partly made possible by their own labors? And what about their names? Were they given by their parents or by their enslavers? In fact, did they even have the opportunity to get to know their parents?

We will likely never fully know what the lives of Grace and Esau were like, but the parts of their stories that we do know help us understand just a bit more fully the story of our past. By learning more about everyone who contributed to our community, whether directly or indirectly, we develop a more inclusive and complete understanding of who we are. And, even more importantly, by recognizing and acknowledging injustices, whether past or present, we will be motivated to continue to work for a world in which all human beings are treated with dignity and justice. We know there is work to be done. We see it in the national news every day. We see it right here in our own town in the hateful and racist graffiti that was recently painted on our Vietnam War memorial. And we see it in the continued systemic inequities in so many parts of everyday life. Let us pray that our work with the Witness Stones Project and our continued learning will spur us to strive for a world in which there is no partiality so that we can someday live out the vision of unity expressed by Paul…so that, in all of our beautiful difference, we can be one.

Links for more information:

https://www.myrecordjournal.com/News/Wallingford/Wallingford-News/Wallingford-Juneteenth.html

https://witnessstonesproject.org/

All are welcome to join a workshop to learn more about Grace and Esau and about the history of slavery in Connecticut presented by the Witness Stones Project at St. Paul’s Wallingford (65 N. Main St., Wallingford, CT) on November 6 at 4:00 pm. The presentation will be followed by a prayer service. For more information contact the church at 203-269-5050.

Visibly Christian in the Public Square

I didn’t want anyone to dismiss me as being performative. Posting publicly on social media is always a bit of a gamble, after all. It felt like a risk to post a photo of me wearing my collar and holding a handmade cardboard sign at a rally in New Haven.

General Convention Day Three

The third day of legislation is complete in Baltimore at The 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church. Listen to the Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens, the Rev. Canon Ranjit K. Mathews, and Ms. June Aziz as they update us on some of the important work being accomplished at GenCon and the connections (and re-connections) made in Baltimore.

General Convention Day Two

The second full day of legislation is complete in Baltimore at The 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church. Listen to the Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, the Rev. Tracy Johnson Russell, and Ms. Elizabeth Rousseau as they give a mid day update and reflections.

Resolutions & Updates noted in the reflection:

The Rev. Gay Jennings Sermon to the 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church