Included in today's update: A Message from Father Keith , Liturgy for Sunday 19 April Worship,
Modified Office Hours resume this coming week, and Guatemala Sister Parish & School Update.
FROM THE RECTOR
Saturday in Easter Week, 18 April 2020
No real need to point this out to all of you, but this will have to go down as one of the strangest Holy Week and Easter Week in history - certainly in my lifetime! I do hope that you were able to tune in to the Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday services posted to the parish website (messiahgwynedd.org). Based on some of the statistics reported back to us, more than half of you opened the videos. While it was quite strange celebrating and preaching to empty pews, I managed to look past that (get it?; "look" past that! see what I did there?) . . . anyway, although we were physically separated and apart, there really was a sense of being spiritually united. And for that I give thanks!
Thank you for the many messages of support and thanks I have received over the past week. Your encouragement is much appreciated. And it has led me to a commitment to video a Sunday service with prayers, lessons and sermon. Below you will find the responses and joint parts of the service so you can fully participate.
A quick update: Some days ago, I wrote about the bird's nest that had been constructed within our front door wreath. Well, Deb and I have been keeping a daily vigil - sometimes more than once a day! - and we are pleased to announce that the eggs have now hatched! Four tiny balls of fluff can be seen nestled down in the safety of the nest. Their hungry cries are constant! And Momma is kept quite busy flying off for a few minutes and then returning to feed her hungry brood. It is a wonderful distraction for us, and a greatly appreciated reminder that in the midst of this unprecedented viral crisis, God's ongoing creative powers continue to bring new life. Alleluia!
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, confusing and anxious times.
LITURGY FOR TOMORROW'S WORSHIP
Celebrant: Alleluia! Christ is risen!
Response: The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!
SONG OF PRAISE
Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.
Protect me, O God, for I take refuge in you; *
I have said to the Lord, "You are my Lord, my good above all other."
All my delight is upon the godly that are in the land, *
upon those who are noble among the people.
But those who run after other gods *
shall have their troubles multiplied.
Their libations of blood I will not offer, *
nor take the names of their gods upon my lips.
O Lord, you are my portion and my cup; *
it is you who uphold my lot.
My boundaries enclose a pleasant land; *
indeed, I have a goodly heritage.
I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel; *
my heart teaches me, night after night.
I have set the Lord always before me; *
because he is at my right hand I shall not fall.
My heart , therefore, is glad, and my spirit rejoices; *
my body shall also rest in hope.
For you will not abandon me to the grave, *
nor let your holy one see the Pit.
You will show me the path of life; *
in your presence there is fullness of joy,
and in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth, of all this is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God, begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look of the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
Each petition ends as follows:
Intercessor: Blessed be the risen Christ.
Response: The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!
OFFICE HOURS - THOUGH REDUCED -
RESUME THIS WEEK
After taking some additional time off over the past Easter Week, I will resume my commitment to be in the church office from 9:00-1:00, Monday through Thursday. While the church staff members continue to work from home, this allows me to return phone and email messages. Should you need to reach me for an emergency, please text or call my cell phone: 215-692-2667; or use my personal email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am quite grateful to all church staff for their assistance in maintaining a sense of parish community through:
online publication of weekly Church School lessons and activities by Tiffany;
YOM messages by Dave;
bookkeeping, check writing and pledge recording by Sarah;
Sunday morning ringing of the church bells and recording of seasonal music by Hannah (check the gallery on the website for these postings);
ongoing maintenance by Mike;
and Sue's management of the parish email and other office functions.
Thank you, all! Stay strong, and safe, and healthy!
GUATEMALA SISTER PARISH & SCHOOL UPDATE
On our Adult Mission Trip to Guatemala this past January, the team worshiped with the members of St. Alban's, a newly-formed English-speaking parish in the ancient capital city of Antigua. Upon our return, their pastor, The Rev. Neli Miranda-Lopez, and I have been exploring the possibility of creating a sister parish relationship, mutually supporting the mission and ministry of both Messiah and St. Alban's. We have begun this new relationship in prayer, promising to remember each other's parish in our Sunday Prayers of the People.
On that same Sunday morning, we also met one of the co-founders of a new school for girls' education, The Rev. David Hope-Tringali, a Lutheran deacon also serving at St. Alban's. David and his wife - and new daughter! - have worked for the past ten years to establish a girls' school, and it just opened this past January, the beginning of the Guatemalan school year. I am also in communication with them to determine how we might partner with them in the years to come.
Neli and David both responded to my Easter messages to the parish and school, sending their own messages of Easter joy and their best wishes and blessings to Messiah. They also related that the COVID-19 pandemic has now reached into their country and local community. As a developing country, severely lacking the resources we are blessed to have in this country, it is anticipated that the death rate will be quite high due to overcrowded living conditions that prevent social distancing and poor health and sanitary conditions. As has been done in the US, St. Alban's is suspending church services, and the school is on "lockdown" since many of the students are boarders, and all lack the computers and other resources for classes to be held online.
Please pray for these infant relationships, and stay tuned for more information concerning how you might become involved, as well as details regarding the next - Second Annual! - Adult Mission Trip, when we will return to Guatemala in early 2021.