Saint Joseph’s Episcopal Church, aka “the little church with the big red doors”, is located on Main Street between Ninth and Iredell Streets in Durham, NC, across from Duke University’s East Campus. Our community life is rooted in the sacraments, daily prayer, study of the Scriptures, and fellowship with members, friends and neighbors inside and outside our walls. Following the example of our patron Saint Joseph, we want to make our church home a place of warm hospitality grounded in God’s love, and to take that love out into the world.

Announcements for this week

The Day of Pentecost

If you are a newcomer or a visitor — welcome! Please fill out a contact card found in your pew. Let’s get to know one another! St. Joseph’s is a place of worship, prayer, fellowship and study. We normally pray Morning Prayer at 7:30 a.m. and Evening Prayer at 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please join us for prayer and fellowship whenever you can. The “poor plate,” located by the baptismal font at the entrance to the church, funds our fellowship and outreach ministries. Thank you for your gifts!

Collection for St. Joseph’s community in need: We invite you to bring any of the following items and place in the basket at the back of the church…these items are part of the offerings of our life and labor.

Toiletries (men’s and women’s)

Men’s socks

Toilet Paper

Paper Towels

Men’s L/XL shirts


Vicar’s schedule: Karen will be on vacation from May 26th until June 2nd. In the event of a pastoral emergency, please call the Rev. Dn. Sarah Woodard at 919-599-5227 or e-mail sarah.woodard@duke.edu. There will be no Wednesday Eucharist or lectio divina.

We have new St. Joseph’s Community Directories thanks to Bob Odom! Please see Karen for your copy.

We are taking orders for St. Joseph’s t-shirts. Please sign up on the bulletin board in the parish hall, indicating how many and what size t-shirts. Cost is $15 per shirt. Cash in envelopes or checks should be made out to St. Joseph’s “for” t-shirts. Feel free to add extra for those who cannot afford a t-shirt.

There will be a Celebration for New Ministry for the Rev. Stephanie Yancey as Vicar of St. Titus, Durham on Tuesday, June 9th at 7:00 p.m. at St. Titus. The Rt. Rev. Michael Curry will be Celebrant. All are welcome!

The St. Joseph’s vestry will be electing a delegate for diocesan convention (a 3-year term) and an alternate delegate (1-year term) at our June meeting on June 23rd. Any adult confirmed communicant in good standing may serve. If you are interested, please talk with Karen. Diocesan convention generally is the weekend prior to Thanksgiving Day and runs a full day on Friday and until around 3:00 p.m. on Saturday. The costs of convention are paid for the delegate by the church. Christian Pikaart and Fred Hawkins have been serving the last three years. They can also fill you in on what convention is like.

Please remember to mute all communication devices during the service. Bathrooms are available throughout the morning in the parish hall.

Liturgy and Meeting Schedule

Monday, May 25 (Bede the Venerable, Priest and Monk of Jarrow)

Morning Prayer 7:30 a.m.

Evening Prayer 5: 30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 26 (Augustine, First Archbishop of Canterbury)

Morning Prayer 7:30 a.m.

Evening Prayer 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 27 (Bertha and Ethelbert, Queen and King of Keut)

Morning Prayer 7:30 a.m.

Evening Prayer 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 28 (John Calvin, Theologian)

Morning Prayer 7:30 a.m.

Evening Prayer 5:30 p.m.

Friday, May 29 (The First Book of Common Prayer)

Morning Prayer 7:30 a.m.

Evening Prayer 5:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 31 (Trinity Sunday)

Choir Rehearsal 9:00 a.m.

Holy Eucharist 10:30 a.m.

Fellowship Following

Thanks for your help!

Thanks to the 20 people who came to help at our “work party” to help clean the church, rake the garden, spread mulch, pick up trash, plant flowers, organize donated clothes, polish brass, and make palm crosses (and probably a few other things)! The church and grounds look ready for Easter, and spring!

Second Sunday of Lent — Tyler Hambley

“The Way of the Cross”

OT: Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16
Psalm: 22:23-31
Epistle: Romans 4:13-25
Gospel: Mark 8:31-38

“Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

Well… so much for positive, encouraging radio from the Son of God this morning. Poor old Peter! Sometimes, it seems like just when he might have things all figured out, he gets harshly reminded of how far he has yet to go. And, if you’re anything like me this morning, then you probably feel like Peter is not alone in his struggle to understand and follow this Jesus character. As we enter this second full week of Lent, our Holy efforts to give up certain foods, pray a little more, or reboot a new year’s resolution are starting to drag a little thin. Ash Wednesday was neat, albeit a little morbid, but now we’re starting to scratch our heads a little. What is this Lent thing for again? How long does it last? How far do we take this self-denial stuff? Anyway, these are just a few of the thoughts I have, at least. Overall, I like Jesus, and I like thinking Jesus likes me. But besides some nifty spiritual exercises, and trying to be a generally nice person, I’m often confused as to what being a follower of Christ means exactly? Put another way, what difference does Christ make for our lives? I know I’m supposed to say it makes all the difference, but what does that entail? What does that look like? Continue reading

Fourth Sunday after the Epiphany — Tyler Hambley

“The Haunting, Holy One of God”

OT: Deuteronomy 18:15-20
Psalm: 111
Epistle: 1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Gospel: Mark 1:21-28

I’ll never forget watching the movie, The Exorcist, late one evening while in high school. There’s nothing quite like a Hollywood take on demon-possession to keep you up all night clutching your pillowcase. For me, just the thought of a person’s agency – their ability to act on their own – being taken over by an unseen force is enough to send chills down my spine.

Likewise, I’m not sure there’s anything I’d rather avoid in a sermon than what we find in our gospel reading this morning – a man possessed by an unclean spirit. Of course, the safe thing to do here would be to leave this demon-possessed man at the arms-length distance of the text. After all, his role in the story alone is important, albeit in a negative sense: he ironically reveals the true identity of Jesus as “the Holy One of God” when no one else knew quite what to do with this new teacher of authority. Yes, we could stop there and let this afflicted man be, but what refuses to stay hidden in this text is the stark contrast of this unclean spirit challenging Jesus – not just anywhere – but right in the middle of the synagogue on the Sabbath day.

Two reactions are immediate for me concerning this encounter: Continue reading

Third Sunday after the Epiphany — Rev. Karen Barfield

Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Mark 1:14-20

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our Strength and our Redeemer. Amen.

In the early 1980s a young couple in New England decided to give up the “rat race” of modern life. 

So they began to look at what they could do. 

For a year, they researched the world, examining the places best suited for raising a family away from society’s pollutants. A place where they could get a new start. A place that would be free from the economic rat race, where their children could get a quality education, where they all could develop to their full potential in a healthy environment. 

Finally they found and they left in January of 1982 for a small, isolated island chain off the coast of Argentina: the Falkland Islands. And, of course, in April of 1982 – [three months later], the Falkland’s War began. (On Freedom and Call — The Jonah Complex)

We so want security.
We so want to avoid danger.

This avoidance seems to be human nature,
and yet security so often is elusive.

In the words of Helen Keller: “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

This morning’s Old Testament reading begins this way:
“The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time….”

That presumes a first time.

So let us refresh our memories: The book of Jonah begins this way… Continue reading

Baptism of Our Lord — Rev. Karen Barfield

Mark 1:4-11

An epiphany
is a moment of Divine revelation
in which the nature of God is manifested.

Did you know that can occur at any time, in any place…
the manifestation of the nature of God?

This morning we hear that hordes of people from Jerusalem and the whole Judean countryside were flocking to the Jordan River to see John the Baptizer.

The vision I have in my head is more that of a herd of animals running willy-nilly across the hills rather than the neat, orderly procession of a colony of ants.

There seems to be an urgency as Mark tells his story.


Why were all these people flocking to see and hear John?

John was proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Not many people seem to take much notice any more of the man preaching on the street corner, holding up a sign saying, “Repent. The end is coming.” In fact, most people cross the street to avoid walking by him.

“Repent. Confess your sins.”

Now, there’s a sure-fire way to get people to run the other direction. Continue reading

Second Sunday after Christmas — Rev. Karen Barfield

Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-19a
Matthew 2:1-15, 19-23

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, our Strength and our Redeemer. Amen.

“Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?”

What a curious question to come from a group of star-gazers from far away Persia!

And what an irritant to King Herod’s quest for unabated power!

“Where is the child…for we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” (Mt 2:2)

The story, as told, is remarkable in many ways….

These magi, these “wise men,” have not only taken notice of some grand event in the heavens but they have traveled great distances to find this “child who has been born king of the Jews.”

They took notice of cosmic events and somehow understood the meaning enough to uproot themselves and undertake what must have been perilous travel.

In order for them to understand the significance of the event, they had apparently not only studied the stars but were also well aware of the cultures around them, knowing the history of the people of Israel and what was foretold of the coming of the Messiah.

These “wise men” were well in tune with their whole environment: their cosmos, their earthly cultural history and their interior yearnings.

So, when they saw the brilliance of the heavenly lights, they knew – or in the words of Paul “the eyes of [their] hearts [were] enlightened” – and they took off on a journey in search of the Christ-child.

When the wise men arrived at Herod’s court seeking direction to find the Christ-child, Herod was taken aback.

What star?


But, I am king. Continue reading

First Sunday after Christmas — Rev. Karen Barfield

Luke 2:22-40

In the name of the one, holy and living God:
creator, redeemer and sanctifying spirit. Amen.

One day Saint Francis and Brother Leo were walking down the road. Noticing that Leo was depressed, Francis turned and asked: ‘Leo, do you know what it means to be pure of heart?’

‘Of course. It means to have no sins, faults or weaknesses to reproach myself for.’

‘Ah,’ said Francis, ‘now I understand why you’re sad. We will always have something to reproach ourselves for.’

‘Right,’ said Leo. ‘That’s why I despair of ever arriving at purity of heart.’

‘Leo, listen carefully to me. Don’t be so preoccupied with the purity of your heart. Turn and look at Jesus. Admire him. Rejoice that he is what he is – your Brother, your Friend, your Lord and Savior. That, little brother, is what it means to be pure of heart. And once you’ve turned to Jesus, don’t turn back and look at yourself. Don’t wonder where you stand with him.

‘The sadness of not being perfect, the discovery that you really are sinful, is a feeling much too human, even borders on idolatry. Focus your vision outside yourself on the beauty, graciousness and compassion of Jesus Christ. The pure of heart praise him from sunrise to sundown. Even when they feel broken, feeble, distracted, insecure and uncertain, they are able to release it into his peace. A heart like that is stripped and filled – stripped of self and filled with the fullness of God. It is enough that Jesus is Lord.’

After a long pause, Leo said, ‘Still, Francis, the Lord demands our effort and fidelity.’

‘No doubt about that,’ replied Francis. ‘But holiness is not a personal achievement. It’s an emptiness you discover in yourself. Instead of resenting it, you accept it and it becomes the free space where the Lord can create anew. To cry out, ‘You alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord,’ that is what it means to be pure of heart. And it doesn’t come by your Herculean efforts and threadbare resolutions.’

‘Then how?’ asked Leo.

‘Simply hoard nothing of yourself; sweep the house clean. Sweep out even the attic, even the nagging painful consciousness of your past. Accept being shipwrecked. Renounce everything that is heavy, even the weight of your sins. See only the compassion, the infinite patience, and the tender love of Christ. Jesus is Lord. That suffices. Your guilt and reproach disappear into the nothingness of non-attention. You are no longer aware of yourself, like the sparrow aloft and free in the azure sky. Even the desire for holiness is transformed into a pure and simple desire for Jesus.’” (Brennan Manning, “Shipwreck at the Stable” in Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas, pp 196–198.)

A pure and simple desire for Jesus… the Messiah… such was the desire of Simeon. Continue reading

Christmas Eve — Rev. Karen Barfield

Isaiah 9:2-7
Luke 2:1-20

In the name of the one, holy and living God:
who was, and is, and is to come. Amen.

Tonight we gather to celebrate that things heavenly
and things earthly
are joined together.

In the midst of the hubbub surrounding the registration of “all the world,” in the town of Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to deliver her child.

Since the inn was full already and (there’s no stopping labor once it begins), Mary and Joseph found a home for their newborn baby in a stable…a cave really.

A place out of the elements
but nevertheless desolate…
a bit dark and dank, smelling quite distinctly of animal.

Next we hear there are shepherds out in the fields, trying to get a little shut-eye under the twinkling of the stars, when suddenly they mistake an angel of the Lord for a flash of lightning.

They are frozen in the grip of sheer terror.

“Do not be afraid….
I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:
to you is born this day…a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”

And suddenly the whole sky fills with the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

On this night things heavenly
and things earthly
have joined together. Continue reading

Second Sunday of Advent — Tyler Hambley


OT: Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm: 85:1-2, 8-13
Epistle: 2 Peter 3:8-15a
Gospel: Mark 1:1-8

I. Introduction – It’s an E267 kind of life.

“E267 at window number 3…”

“E267 at window number 3…”

“Last call for E267.”

Now at this point, I was growing a little impatient. “Should I call it out myself,” I asked? “No one’s gonna hear their number in this god-forsaken place.” My wife, Crystal, and I were sitting with some friends of ours in Durham’s social security office. We serve as our friends’ representative payees, and together we’d all sat in this same waiting room on numerous occasions usually to iron out some lost piece of information.

Now, if you’ve ever been to the Social Security office, you’ll know that waiting in line there makes a trip to the DMV seem like a visit to the amusement park. The woman we were with, one of our friends, said it best, “Watching water boil would be better than sitting here all day.”

Indeed, 40-50 people pack the tiny room waiting patiently for their number to be called from one of the five service windows. Usually, that number appears on a large monitor at the front of the room just in case someone didn’t hear the last announcement. On this particular occasion, however, the number being called – E267 – was not showing up on screen.

“That’s it! I’m calling out numbers myself,” I said.

“Shhh,” Crystal replied. “You need to be more patient! It’s Advent after all; this is the season for learning how to wait.”

“Yes dear,” I said, “but somebody’s got to ‘cry out in the wilderness.’” Continue reading