THE RECTOR'S MESSAGE Thursday, 28 May 2020

Included in today's update: A Message from Father Keith, This Saturday Food Donation Day, Sponsor a VBS Child, Quarantine Cookbook, June Dine & Donate, VOTE this coming Tuesday, and more!

FROM THE RECTOR

Seventh Week in Easter Season

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Dear Friends:

Have you jumbled your days in ways that have you feeling a bit out of sorts? I certainly have. I know of no other time in my life when my first thought upon waking is: "What day is this?" Without a set routine, or appointments and meetings and other points to mark my days, when one day seems more or less like the day before, or the day before that, or the day before that one, I find that I easily lose track of just what day I am waking up to. Never has my first act been to reach for my watch or my phone on the bedside table to check the day of the week - but now, it often is.

In conversation with others, I know this issue is not unique to me, for many others have said that they also have difficulty distinguishing one day from another as a result of these unusual times. Perhaps this narrowed focus on the day, new mindset, and morning routine is what attracted me to the following prayer this past week. It comes from the Saint Augustine's Prayer Book, a collection of prayers published by The Order of the Holy Cross, a Benedictine Anglican community monastery in West Park, NY:

Just For Today

Lord, for tomorrow and its needs,

I do not pray;

Keep me, my God, from stain of sin

Just for today.

Let me both diligently work,

And duly pray.

Let me be kind in word and deed,

Just for today.

Let me be slow to do my will,

Prompt to obey;

Help me to sacrifice myself

Just for to-day.

And if to-day my tide of life

Should ebb away,

Give me thy Sacraments divine,

Sweet Lord, to-day.

So for tomorrow and its needs

I do not pray,

But keep me, guide me, love me, Lord,

Just for today.

Amen.

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.

- Keith

THIS SATURDAY!!!!

9:00am - 1:00pm

MESSIAH JOINS AREA CHURCHES TO HOST

COMMUNITY FOOD DONATION DAY

Your help is needed to help others! Most likely, you are fortunate enough to have three healthy meals a day. But everyone is not so fortunate. Right now, there are many individuals and families in your town and in towns close by who don’t know where their next meal will come from. And now, because of conditions associated with COVID-19, there are many more people facing this reality.

The food supply in local food cupboards is dwindling and needs to be replenished so that people in need can have nutritious food during this challenging time. Five churches in the North Wales/Gwynedd community - Gwynedd Friends, Sanctuary United Methodist, St. Peter's Lutheran, St. Rose of Lima, Church of the Messiah - are joining together to help alleviate this situation by hosting Community Food Donation Days.

We are asking you, your neighbors, and your friends to participate by donating non-perishable food items, paper products and cleaning/sanitizing products. Bring your donations to Messiah on Saturday, May 30th, between 9:00am and 1:00pm. No need to leave your car - YOM (Youth of Messiah) volunteers will receive your donations at the main doors of the Parish House; then they will work to organize, package and deliver your donations to local food cupboards: Manna on Main Street, Inter-Faith Housing Alliance, and Mattie N. Dixon Community Cupboard.

Items Most Needed:

  • Peanut Butter & Jelly

  • Canned Proteins (Chicken, Salmon, SPAM, Beef Stew, Ham, Sardines, Tuna)

  • Canned or Dried Fruits & Vegetables

  • Cereal, Oatmeal, Granola Bars

  • Whole Grain Pasta & Pasta Sauce

  • Rice, Quinoa, Beans (dried/canned)

  • Coffee/Tea, Juice, Condiments

  • Baking Ingredients (Flour, Oil, Sugar)

  • Toilet Paper, Paper Towels, Tissues

  • Cleaning Products, Sanitizing Wipes

  • Dish and Laundry Detergent

CHURCH SCHOOL & VBS UPDATE

While the Church School program year has ended, Messiah's Church School Director, Tiffany Reichley is busy planning for next month's Vacation Bible School. While there are modifications necessary this year, we are quite excited by the prospect of putting together a memorable experience for our younger parishioners. This year, rather than gathering at the church each evening, we have been forced to think "outside the box". So, we will be hosting and new way of doing Bible School - V.B.S. in a B.O.X.

Every child in the congregation, as well as all other children - ages three through sixth grade - who choose to be included, will receive a package containing all the materials needed to engage in this year's VBS, The Rocky Railway. Each day - June 29th through July 3rd - families can log onto the parish website to join in listening to the day's Bible lesson, singing a song together, and hearing more about the day's theme. Then the whole family can enjoy making a craft, perhaps doing a science experiment, or other fun activity, all the while learning more about Jesus and God's love for us.

As stated already, every child in the Messiah congregation will automatically be enrolled and receive a V.B.S. B.O.X. And if you have grandchildren, neighbors, or know of other children who would like to participate, we will publish how to register them so they can also participate. Stay tuned . . .

SPONSOR A VBS CHILD

If you would like to sponsor one of the children participating in this year's Vacation Bible School, you can easily do so. A box of craft supplies and other items that will be packed into each child's V.B.S. in a B.O.X. kit costs just $20.00. Your sponsorship check should be made payable to Church of the Messiah, with VBS in the memo line. The children of Messiah thank you for your support and encouragement!

FOOD ASSISTANCE IN GUATEMALA

While the needs are great here in our own communities and nation, the effects of the worldwide pandemic are also being experienced by our sisters and brothers across the globe, particularly in developing countries. Several of your fellow Messiah parishioners accompanied me to Guatemala in late January, where we worked for a week in two villages building stoves and installing water purification systems, greatly improving the health and welfare of many families. And of course, our companion parish of St. Alban's is located in Antigua, Guatemala. The economic and social quarantine and curfews mandated by COVID-19 have been especially hard as most people live on day-to-day wages, and many people are prevented from working or lost their jobs.

While other mission teams have had to cancel their trips due to the viral pandemic, the team at Adventures in Mission/Guatemala, the organization that hosted our Messiah team continue to do what they can to minister to the poorest villagers in that country. Angela and Miguel, a young married couple who served as our mission team coordinators, are making and distributing food packages to the people of Jocotenango, located near Finca Fikladelfia, the coffee plantation we toured on our last day before returning stateside.

What is included in a care package: staples such as beans, rice, and oil; fresh fruits and vegetables; toilet paper (when available) and other health needs.

How the package distribution works: families in need of food hang a white flag outside their door. Angela and Miguel go door-to-door, distributing as many care packages as they can until their day's supply is finished.

How much does it cost: "Adopting" a family and supplying a week of food costs about $20.00.

If you feel called to assist in this important ministry: Please send your contribution to my attention here at the church office. Make your check payable to: Rector's Discretionary Fund. These funds will then be sent to Adventures in Mission/Guatemala to support Angela and Miguel in their project to feed the poorest of the poor in Guatemala.

AND SPEAKING OF FOOD . . .

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN COOKING OR BAKING?

WILL YOU SHARE YOUR RECIPES, PLEASE?

News reports have carried several stories about how, with restaurants being closed or reduced to carry-out only, and with more time available to many of us, lots of us have been cooking meals at home or (re)discovering the joys of baking. I have even heard that the country has baked ourselves into a shortage of flour, sugar and other baking needs! And the empty grocery shelves and rationing bears this out.

I'm sure lots of old favorites and comfort foods have been prepared in most of our homes, as well as some experimenting with new recipes and new techniques you have long wanted to try your hand at. That got Barbara Stevenson and me thinking: What about collecting all those old and new recipes into a Messiah edition of a "Quarantine CookBook"?

We would love to include at least one recipe from every Messiah household! Send your recipes to either: Barbara Stevenson - bebstevenson@yahoo.com; or to me - rector@messiahgwynedd.org. We will then work to organize your submissions, and make the cookbook available to all of you.

AND STILL SPEAKING OF FOOD . . .

DINE & DONATE FUNDRAISING CONTINUES

On three midweek evenings - Tuesday-Thursday, June 9th, 10th and 11th - the Greene Turtle restaurant will be sponsoring a "Funds for Friends" event benefiting Church of the Messiah. Place an order for curbside pickup or delivery - either by phone or online - then present the flyer posted on the church website when you receive your food, and the parish will receive 20% of your sale.

PLEASE NOTE: If you pick up your order curbside, be sure to present a copy of the flyer found on the church website. If you order online, enter the code - FFF - in the special instructions field so that the church receives credit for your sale.

The Greene Turtle is located at 1100 Bethlehem Pike, North Wales; phone: 267-470-4882; thegreeneturtle.com.

FACE MASKS FOR BOTH CHILDREN & ADULTS

Governor Wolf has recommended that all children over the age of two years should wear masks in public, but adult-sized masks are usually too large for children's smaller faces so you may have need for smaller masks to fit your younger children. One of our parishioners, Nancy Sisson, has constructed scaled-down masks and is making a supply of these available to anyone who has need for these smaller masks. We also have a supply of adult-sized masks still available here in the church office. If you are in need of masks, please stop by the church office (9-1, Mon-Thur) or call the Rector (215-699-9204).

Thank you to the many other seamstresses who have kept us supplied. I haven't kept track of how many masks we have distributed, but it has to be at least 100!

PA PRIMARY VOTING INFORMATION

To safeguard both our health and our vote,

the date for the PA primary election has been moved to

THIS TUESDAY, JUNE 2, 2020.

SUNDAY WORSHIP CONTINUES ON THE WEBSITE

Videos of Sunday worship services will continue to be posted to the parish website for the duration of the suspension of church services. Each Saturday, you will receive the psalm and words of the responses and other communal parts of the service, allowing you to fully participate and interact in the worship service.

So get that second cup of coffee, still in your pajamas and bathrobe, and gather together in front of the computer or iPad or other other device . . . Then join with me and other members of Messiah as we worship together virtually, until we can once again worship together in person.

OUR BISHOP RETURNS TO CBS ON SUNDAYS

Bishop Gutierrez returns to CBS / Channel 3 for three Sunday morning services, including The Feast of Pentecost: 5/24, 5/31 and 6/7. You can watch at 5:30 a.m.; or 9 a.m. on YouTube and Facebook.

ARE YOU IN NEED?

OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS?

Many people across our region and in our local community have been financially affected by this pandemic. and we have seen unemployment and furlough numbers climb to heights not seen since the Great Depression a century ago. If you are in need of assistance, or perhaps have a neighbor or friend who could be helped in these unprecedented times, please contact me. Several members of the congregation have been generous and made funds available to assist in meeting these needs through the Rector's Discretionary Fund. All conversations and assistance is confidential. Call or email me if you or someone you know could use some help: 215-699-9204; rector@messiahgwynedd.org.

Another source of assistance is Manna on Main Street. Manna has sent a message to local churches noting that they have been blessed with substantial monetary contributions over the past several weeks, and, as a result, their budget for their financial assistance program has been increased. If you live within the North Penn School District, you are invited to complete a financial assistance application for aid. The application can be found on Manna's website - www.mannonmain.org - under the "Need Help" tab at the top of the page.

PLEASE KEEP YOUR PLEDGE UP TO DATE

Please help Messiah to remain financially solvent and secure through the continued regular payment of your pledge. Payments should be mailed to: Church of the Messiah, 1001 Dekalb Pike, Lower Gwynedd, PA 19002-1941.

Many thanks to all who have submitted pledge payments - and even additional financial donations, or advance payments of pledges. Your faithfulness is greatly appreciated and has been a great help over the past weeks. Thank you!

A PRAYER & PSALM FOR THE WEEK AHEAD

O God, by whom the meek are guided in judgment, and light rises up in darkness for the godly: Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what you would have us to do, that the Spirit of wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in your light we may see light, and in your straight path may not stumble; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

from The Book of Common Prayer

PSALM 126

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,

we were like those who dream.

Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy;

then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”

The Lord has done great things for us,

and we rejoiced.

Restore our fortunes, O Lord,

like the watercourses in the Negeb.

May those who sow in tears

reap with shouts of joy.

Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing,

shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.

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1001 Dekalb Pike

Lower Gwynedd, PA  19002

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