St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church Ridgefield, CT 203.438.3789

June 11, 2019

Belonging with Purpose- “The Gift of the Holy Spirit”

For most people, the Holy Spirit is “out there.”  The fact that The Spirit is beyond comprehension makes it feel inaccessible.  Perhaps that’s the problem- that we attempt to make it fit within our mental constructs.  The Spirit refuses to “fit” anywhere.  Jesus says in John 3:7-9 “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

On Trinity Sunday (the Sunday after Pentecost- June 16 this year), we’ll focus on the Holy Spirit through hearing a sermon written by The Rev. Pauli Murray entitled “The Gift of the Holy Spirit.”    Pauli Murray was the first African-American woman ordained an Episcopal priest in 1977.  Prior to becoming a priest she was a lawyer and social activist.  She became the first African American to receive a Doctor of Juridical Science degree from Yale Law School in 1965.  It was her arrest with a friend for sitting in the whites-only section of a bus in Virginia in 1940 that led to her becoming a civil rights lawyer.  She fought both racial and gender discrimination.  One of her lifelong friendships was with the First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. [1]

You can hear Rev. Murray’s sermon “The Gift of the Holy Spirit,” which was first preached at Trinity Episcopal Church in Washington, DC on May 29, 1977, preached again on Trinity Sunday- June 16, 2019 during our 9am worship.  We are blessed that Kimberly Wilson, a believer, will come and give voice to Rev. Murray’s written words.  In this sermon “Murray defines the Holy Spirit’s gift as a transformative force in our lives.  The transformation is not instantaneous, but is a continuous process that requires ‘struggle and sacrifice.’  Murray emphasizes that the Spirit ‘works through humanity individually and socially.”[2] 

We are invited to commune with the One God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  And it is the gift of the Holy Spirit which draws us into that communion.  Within that communion, we experience our belonging.


[1] Paulimurrayfoundation.com, June 8, 2019

[2] Bettye Collier-Thomas, Daughters of Thunder: Black Women Preachers and Their Sermons, 1850-1979 (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1998), 227.

*Belonging with Purpose is a weekly news update of how our purpose is being reflected through the collective and individual lives of St. Stephen’s.  If you have a story or experience that you believe illustrates our Vision and Mission, please send it to Ginny Fitzpatrick, gfitzpatrick@ststephens-ridgefield.org  The staff works together to create a schedule for highlighting our ministry as St. Stephen’s Church.

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