Rector's Message Monday 23 March 2020
MESSIAH UPDATE MESSAGE FROM THE RECTOR
Monday morning . . . and so another strange, unprecedented week begins . . .
I do hope this message finds you and your family keeping well, staying healthy, and following the precautions advised by the CDC and other public health agencies.
I am finding it somewhat incongruous and inconsistent that, in the midst of an early and beautiful and warm spring season, we are being forced to confront and cope with such uncertain and unsettling times. And yet, as the snowdrops, crocus and daffodils once again send forth leaves and blossoms, and the redbud trees and forsythia bushes burst forth once more, I am heartened by the fact that God's marvelous Creation continues on as planned and designed. The spring flowers and trees' buds and infant leaves remind me that God has never forsaken his people and will not forget or abandon us in the midst of this troubling COVID-19 season.
While church services had originally been cancelled through the end of March, it looks increasingly likely that we will be apart from one another until sometime after Easter. It saddens me to realize that we may not be able to gather together as a faith community for Palm Sunday, Holy Week and Easter morning celebrations. Like you, I cannot predict when we will gather again, but from the news and directives being circulated throughout the many Episcopal dioceses, it may be longer than many of us once hoped and anticipated.
I hope you and your family have found that gathering for the reading of Morning Prayer, the weekly lessons, and sermon posted on the church website has been an enjoyable time to gather intimately and begin your week in prayer and meditation. I know Deb and I find this time to be quietly comforting as we sit next to one another on the couch and share this time together each Sunday morning - a rare treat for us as a couple since we are usually physically separated as we worship.
Options are currently being considered as to how we might celebrate the upcoming important Sundays in ways that remind us we are still a community of believers, even though physically separated. I am consulting with the diocese and discussing with other clergy the various ways that might be considered, so please stay tuned for more information and resources in the days and weeks ahead.
Please make it a point to consult the church website (messiahgwynedd.org) on a regular basis. There you will find the latest updates, worship resources, a weekly sermon and Lenten reflection, and other important information.
In the name of our savior Jesus Christ,
and our God who wants only health and wholeness for his children,
I send you blessings, peace and grace in these uncertain and anxious times.
Photo Credit: February 2018 Celebrating the Eucharist in the ruins of the Byzantine Emmaus-Nicopolis church
DINE & DONATE OPPORTUNITY TODAY & TOMORROW
Monday & Tuesday, 23 & 24 March
Even in the midst of a pandemic, you still gotta eat! Why not satisfy your hunger and benefit your parish at the same time!
ANTHONY'S COAL FIRED PIZZA
(in the shopping center at the corner of DeKalb PIke & Skippack Pike)
960 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA
With eat-in dining being curtailed, you can still take part through using the delivery or pick-up options. Anthony's menu can be accessed online. Then simply call in your order - 610-275-2625 - and tell them that you are participating in the Church of the Messiah fundraiser. This will ensure that the parish receives the 20% donation from your order.
Pick-up can be done by going into the restaurant or the staff will deliver your order curb-side.
Delivery is done through DoorDash and UberEats.
PLEASE REMEMBER YOUR PLEDGE
While Sunday church services and parish events are suspended, the bills still arrive and must be paid. We will be most grateful if you would remember to drop off your church pledge during the office hours listed above, or send your payment to: Church of the Messiah, 1001 DeKalb Pike, Lower Gwynedd, PA 19002-1941.
Thank you to those of you who have submitted your pledge! We are most grateful!
WHY ARE THERE CARS IN THE PARKING LOT?
A concerned parishioner contacted me inquiring why there were cars in the church lot when all church services and events have been cancelled.
Thank you for asking: While Messiah activities have been suspended, some other important activities that use our parish facilities are still ongoing. These include counseling sessions for the Good Samaritan Counseling Center, as well as AA, AlAnon and AlATeen meetings. For the individuals who rely on these meetings to maintain sobriety and mental health, these are too important to cancel and the Bishop has encouraged parishes to continue to allow these groups to meet. We are pleased to continue to offer these important services here at Messiah.
MORE EVENT CANCELLATIONS
The following parish-sponsored events have been cancelled:
LifeLine Screening, originally scheduled for April 1st
Red Cross Blood Mobile, originally scheduled for April 6th*
*Please note: Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the nation's blood supply has been severely depleted. If you are able to donate blood, please contact the Red Cross directly to make arrangements to give.
A PRAYER FROM THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER
O God, your never-failing providence sets in order all things both in heaven and on earth: Put away from us all hurtful things, and give us those things which are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
WORDS OF COMFORT & PRAISE FROM THE PSALMS
May God be merciful to us and bless us, *
show us the light of his countenance and come to us.
Let your ways be known upon earth, *
your saving health among all nations.
Let your peoples praise you, O God; *
let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, *
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide all the nations upon earth.
Let the people praise you, O God; *
let all the peoples praise you.
The earth has brought forth her increase; *
may God, our own God, give us his blessing.
May God give us his blessing, *
and may all the ends of the earth stand in awe of him.
Psalm 67, Book of Common Prayer