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 Sixteenth Sunday after 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!

Vicar’s schedule: Karen’s normal “work days” are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays with a Sabbath on Mondays. In the event of a pastoral emergency, she is available on her cell phone, 919-951-8739.

Join us for a contemplative, Taize-style service of chant, prayer, and silence on Sunday October 5 at 7:30 PM. The service will be held in the upstairs of the parish hall. The Taize-style service will be preceded by an optional potluck dinner at 6:30 and a donation-based Yin yoga class from 5:00-6:15. All are welcome!

Please join us in the church for a Holy Eucharist with prayers for healing on Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. after Vespers.

Sunday Morning Forum is each Sunday from 9 to 10 a.m. We will gather each week to discuss the Christian story we encounter in worship, paying particular attention to how the Sacraments, the Daily Office, Scripture, and the Christian Calendar take up our lives–giving us the lens through which to understand our vocations and our common parish work. This will be a source of both ongoing Christian formation and weekly spiritual/bodily refreshment (i.e. coffee will be available!).

Like to sing? Then join the choir! We will rehearse on Sundays from 9—10:15. All that is required is a sense of pitch, a commitment to the group and a desire to serve God through music. For more information please contact Lyn Francisco, choir director at mariaefrancisco@gmail.com.

Bishop Michael Curry will be our celebrant and homilist on Sunday, November 23. Please talk with Karen if you are interested in baptism, confirmation, reception or reaffirmation of your baptismal vows on that day.

Liturgy and Meeting Schedule

Monday, September 29 (St. Michael and All Angels)

Morning Prayer 7:30 a.m.
Evening Prayer 5:30 p.m.

Tuesday, September 30 (Jerome)

Morning Prayer 7:30 a.m.
Evening Prayer 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, October 1 (Remigius)

Morning Prayer 7:30 a.m.
Evening Prayer 5:30 p.m.
Healing Eucharist 6:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 2

Morning Prayer 7:30 a.m.
Evening Prayer 5:30 p.m.

Friday, October 3 (George Kennedy Allen Bell; John Raleigh Mott)

Morning Prayer 7:30 a.m.
Evening Prayer 5:30 p.m.

Sunday, October 5, the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

Choir Rehearsal 9:00 a.m.
Sunday Morning Forum 9:00 a.m.
Holy Eucharist 10:30 a.m.
Fellowship following
Taize Style Contemplative Service 7:30 p.m.

Sunday Morning Forum 2: Concerning the Service of the Church

Learn more about Sunday Morning Forum.

The Holy Eucharist, the principal act of Christian worship on the Lord’s Day and other major Feasts, and Daily Morning and Evening Prayer, as set forth in this Book, are the regular services appointed for public worship in this Church. BCP p. 13

What is being assumed in this statement?

  • Christian worship is not a “flat” undertaking; the Eucharist is the principal act, the point from which all other worship derives.
  • If someone said they worshiped God in their work or play—say, gardening or building something or playing golf with a friend—is that worship? How might such activities be understood in relation to the Eucharist?
  • Worship is an “act”? But who is/are the agent(s) doing the action? Us? God? Both together? Do you see worship as primarily a passive or active undertaking, or both?
  • It’s expected that the Eucharist be celebrated on the “Lord’s Day” (Sunday) and other major feasts. What is the significance of the “Lord’s Day”? How do the day and the rite reinforce each other?
  • Daily Morning and Evening Prayer, while not the principal act of worship, are included with the Eucharist as the regular services appointed for public worship. How does the Daily Office tie together our Sundays with our weekdays?
  • Worship as described here is assumed to be public. What are the implications of that? Continue reading

Sunday Morning Forum 1: Introduction to SMF

Learn more about Sunday Morning Forum.


General desire for more Christian education, formation, reflection, and nourishment.

6-week trial last spring — some positives; some negatives.

St. Joseph’s: lots of activity; very little breathing space!

Are we on the same page? Where have we been? What are we doing? Where are we going? (Individually and collectively) Continue reading

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost — Rev. Dr. David Marshall

A community of grace and truth

(Romans 13:8-14 & Matthew 18:15-20)

Today’s readings from Romans and Matthew both prompt us to reflect on the life of the Church, how we live together within the Body of Christ. In these readings we find two rather different visions of the Church: on the one hand, the Church as a community of grace, of love, acceptance and welcome; on the other hand, the Church as a community of truth-telling, inconvenient truth-telling, and moral challenge. Grace and truth. Acceptance and challenge. How do these come together in the Body of Christ?

Writing to the Christians at Rome, Paul stresses that love is the very heart of the Christian life. God has revealed many commandments to put our life with each other on a just and peaceful basis: no murder; no stealing; no adultery, etc… But, just as Jesus had done, Paul teaches that underlying all these negatives is the positive command: love your neighbor as yourself. What could be simpler or more attractive than this vision of a community of people who love one another? The Church seems a comforting place to be.

But the Church is also a challenging place to be. Continue reading

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost — Rev. Karen Barfield

Exodus 3:1-15
Matthew 16:21-28

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.

It was a day like any other day.

As he lay in a field of grass, he slowly became aware of the pitch blackness shifting to a new day as his closed curtain of eyelids registered a faint light seeping through.

He groggily opened his eyes,
noticing that the sheep were already alert and grazing all around him.

For Moses it was simply another day just like hundreds before this…
living day to day,
tending the sheep of his father-in-law….
mostly peaceful work,
sometimes spiked with moments of danger.

Along the trek that led Moses beyond the wilderness and into the mountains, he came across a bush that was blazing. Continue reading

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost — Rev. Karen Barfield

Psalm 139:1-11, 22-23
Romans 8:12-25
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

In the name of the one, holy and living God:
in whom we live and move and have our being. Amen.

The bearded darnel is a devil of a weed.

Known in biblical terms as “tares,” bearded darnel has no virtues. Its roots surround the roots of good plants, sucking up precious nutrients and scarce water, making it impossible to root it out without damaging the good crop.

And here’s the real kicker…

Above ground, darnel looks identical to wheat, until it bears seed. Those seeds can cause everything from hallucinations to death! (Talitha Arnold in Feasting on the Word, Yr A, Vol 3, p. 260)

So, a farmer sows good seed in his field, tends the field with great care and diligence only to discover when the wheat begins to bear grain that an evil one has come and sown poisonous weeds in his field!

This morning I am here to struggle with you with this text — not to provide any easy answers. Continue reading

Homecoming June 22

Saint Joseph’s will have homecoming Sunday, June 22, with worship at 10:30 a.m. and a festive meal in the parish hall afterward. The Reverend C. Waite Maclin of Portland, Maine, and rector of St. Joseph’s from 1962 to 1965, will return to preach.

Please download an invitation for more information!

Sunday morning forum

Announcing our Sunday Morning Forum! During Easter season, St. Joseph’s will hold informal class gatherings from 9:00 to 9:50am in the parish hall prior to worship. All are invited to participate.

April 27
Inclusion and Accessibility
May 4
Taizé Worship
May 11
Death and Dying
May 18
Faith, Food, and Gardening
May 25
Christian Pilgrimage
June 1
Science and Faith

If you are interested in collaborating with others to help lead one of these discussions, please contact Rev. Karen or Tyler Hambley.

The Presentation of our Lord — Rev. Karen Barfield

Psalm 84
Luke 2:22-40

In the name of the one, holy and living God. Amen.

Here in this holy place
we are safe to rest for a while.
For palpable is the movement of the Holy Spirit among us.

We gather today in the loving embrace of the Triune God:
confident in God’s care of us –
the God who nourishes us out of [Her] goodness,
who leads us like a Shepherd to the true and living waters,
and who teaches us to love through [Her] everlasting love.

Surely it is God who saves us…
we will trust in Him and not be afraid.

How often do we stop long enough to rest for a while in God’s loving embrace, confident in God’s care for us? Continue reading