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PREPARING FOR SUNDAY WORSHIP Saturday, 12 December 2020

Included in today's update: A Message from the Rector, Birthdays this Week, Sue Phillips Retirement, Parish Roof Replacement Appeal, Christmas Giving Opportunities, Stewardship Budget Update, Creative Angels Recipes, Liturgy For Tomorrow's Worship...


Saturday,12 December 2020

Dear Friends:

"Come, Lord Jesus, come!" is one of the most recognizable and oft-used phrases or mantras of the Advent season. But what or who is it that we expect to come among us? Even 2,000 years of Christian thought and prayer has not found a succinct answer to that question.

George Herbert (3 April 1593–1 March 1633) was a Welsh-born poet, orator, and priest of the Church of England. He was born into an artistic and wealthy family and largely raised in England. His poetry is associated with the writings of the metaphysical poets, and he is recognized as "one of the foremost British devotional lyricists." One of his poems, a favorite of mine, seeks, if not to answer the question, at least to add more understanding, put more "meat on the bones," so to speak. Ralph Vaughan Williams, a famous and prolific church musician, adapted the words into a hymn (#487).

I offer it to you here as a meditation on this blessed season of anticipation and preparation for the One to Come. May you find Herbert's words helpful in preparing room for the coming of your Savior this Christmas!

Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life:

Such a Way, as gives us breath;

Such a Truth, as ends all strife;

Such a Life, as killeth death.

Come, my Light, my Feast, my Strength:

Such a Light, as shows a feast;

Such a Feast, as mends in length;

Such a Strength, as makes his guest.

Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart:

Such a Joy, as none can move;

Such a Love, as none can part;

Such a Heart, as joys in love.

Blessings! Peace! Grace! And Love!

- Keith


O God, our times are in your hands: Look with favor, we pray, on these your servants as they begin another year. Grant that they may grow in wisdom and grace, and strengthen their trust in your goodness all the days of their life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

  • Walter Unangst

  • Barbara Haley

  • Nicholas Poulin

  • Christine Bennett

  • Brian Martin

  • Jack Wertz

  • Bill Palen


Our longtime Parish Administrator, Sue Phillips, has announced her retirement, effective the end of this month. She will be greatly missed! And while we are happy for her as she anticipates and enters this new chapter of her life, she leaves large shoes to fill and Messiah will certainly feel her loss – not least of which will be the Rector! After the holidays have passed, the vestry is planning a special time to honor Sue’s contributions to the parish and express our appreciation for her time among us. Be on the lookout for more details to follow . . .


In periods of heavy rain, quite a bit of water now enters the Parish Hall, even making its way into the basement rooms, damaging floors, walls and ceilings along the way. Inspection of the roof shows that spot repair is no longer possible; the entire roof now needs replacement. As any homeowner can attest, repairs like these rarely come as a total surprise, but never at an opportune time. And yet, the project demands that a way be found to accomplish it. Cost for the project totals $125,000.00. Following advice from the investment committee, the vestry has unanimously endorsed a financial plan consisting of:

  • withdrawing $40,000.00 from the endowment;

  • a $50,000.00 loan from the diocese at only 2% interest for 5 years;

  • and an appeal to fund the remaining $35,000.00 from members of the congregation. To date, we have raised $32,500.00 toward this goal. WOW!! In just two weeks!! THANK YOU!! Funds raised above the $35K goal will ease the needs imposed by the endowment withdrawal and diocesan loan.

We are asking you and your household to prayerfully consider a financial donation to meet this important need. We are hoping to raise this amount in a timely manner so that work can begin soon, before any further damage is done to the interior spaces of the building.

  • If making a donation by check: Please make check payable to: Church of the Messiah; include Roof Replacement on memo line of your check.

  • You can also make your donation electronically using TitheLy: Go to the church website:; click the DONATE button; in the “TO” field, scroll down and choose: Roof Replacement.

  • If you are unable to make a donation at the current time, but wish to make a pledge for future giving, please complete and return the form enclosed in the parish mailing or notify the Church Office (

Thank you for whatever assistance you can give toward this important parish project!


  • Holiday Turkey and Ham Donations: Again this year, we will be collecting turkeys and hams to be given to our neighbors in need through local food cupboards. If you would like to give a turkey or ham to grace the holiday table of a family in need, please bring it to the Church Office. These will be delivered to local food cupboards in Lansdale and Ambler until Christmas.

  • Youth of Messiah Collecting New Sweatpants: Advocates for Homeless & Those in Need (AHTN) is a Bucks County interfaith non-profit that serves the homeless and those in need by providing access to emergency shelter, food and other life-sustaining services. They are in desperate need of new sweatpants in all sizes to be distributed to homeless women and men who live in tent camps in the woods throughout the county. Collection bins are located outside the Rector’s office.


To date, 120 pledges have been received, totaling $360,240.00. This significantly trails last year’s totals of 160 pledges, totaling $457,305.00.

There are at least 38 households who pledged last year that we have yet to hear from. The vestry asks that you please complete and return your pledge card asap in order for the 2021 parish operating budget to be prepared. If you have not returned your completed card, please do so asap. If you did not receive a pledge card, have misplaced or need a new pledge card, please contact the church office in the coming week.

With this large gap in pledges of nearly $100,000.00, coupled with the recent decision by Kids Unlimited, the day care that rented our downstairs since 2003, to close their operation, this presents a terrific hardship for Messiah to maintain programs and staff in the coming year.


If you currently use weekly offering envelopes for your pledge, you will again receive envelopes for the coming year. HOWEVER: If you currently use envelopes and do not want them for 2021, or if you did not use envelopes this year but want them for next year, we need to hear from you! Please contact the bookkeeper Sarah Patram; or the church office. Thanks!


We are collecting recipes and craft ideas to pass along during this unusual times we find ourselves in. Please submit your recipes and craft instructions to Barbara Stevenson ( and we will publish one with each edition of the parish email. Thank you!

During this time, a nice warm meal that’s easy to prepare is just the thing! Try this stew! It’s a family favorite.


  • 3lbs well-trimmed beef round, cut into cubes

  • 1/2 cup seasoned flour (1/2cup all purpose flour, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper)

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

  • 2 large onions, cut into wedges

  • 4 medium carrots, cut up

  • 1 1/4 lb small red potatoes, quartered

  • 3 pieces celery, cut up

  • 4 cups beef broth

  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste

  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

  1. Coat meat by placing in a large plastic food storage bag with seasoned flour. Toss til meat is coated.

  2. Brown meat in hot oil. Reduce heat until meat is cooked through. Remove meat to another plate and set aside.

  3. Drain drippings until 1 Tbsp of dripping remains. Add onions, carrots, potatoes and celery to pot. Cook 5 min., stirring until lightly browned.

  4. Add broth, tomato paste and mustard, stirring until mixed together. Bring to a boil.

  5. Return browned meat to pot. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for at least one hour.

  6. Enjoy!


Marsha Althouse has been spending her extra time quilting. Please see the picture attached of an example of her work. If you have any quilting questions, be sure to contact Marsha!


Third Sunday of Advent

13 December 2020

The bulletin for the Sunday service, as well as a text of the sermon, is posted on the church website ( This is the same bulletin used in church, so all the responses are provided, along with the weekly lessons, announcements and weekly parish schedule. We hope you will find this to be a more complete resource for participating in the service from home.



Each week, the text of the Sunday sermon is posted to the website. Feel free to print it out if you find that helpful. And perhaps you might also print a copy and send to someone who doesn't have computer access. This would be greatly appreciated and provide a way for these parishioners to also stay connected.


Please remember that we will not hold in-person worship for the rest of the year, including the Christmas services, through at least January 3rd. But a number of options are available to you for joining in and participating. And even on those Sundays when we will not be gathering in-person, the service will be available online.

  • A link to the service will be posted on the church website:

  • In addition to the Messiah online worship postings, Bishop Gutierrez will continue to post weekly services on the diocesan website: And for the four Sundays in Advent, Bishop Gutierrez will be broadcast on CBS at 5:30a.m.; and at 6:00a.m. on Christmas morning.

  • Weekly mailings of the liturgy, readings and sermon will continue to be sent to homebound parishioners without computer access. Should you wish to be added or removed from this list, please contact the church office: 215-699-9204.

I have already had inquiries asking what this means for Christmas services here at Messiah. Truthfully, I don't yet know. In the week of December 14th, the Bishop will issue updated directives based on the COVID situation at that time and we will have new information to make appropriate decisions at that point. Please know that the staff and I will be preparing for a variety of circumstances and possibilities and will publish the Christmas service schedule as soon as finalized. I ask for you understanding and flexibility.


For the four Sundays in Advent, Bishop Gutierrez will be broadcast at 5:30a.m.; and at 6:00a.m. on Christmas morning.



Thank you to all of you who have dropped off or sent in your pledge over the past several weeks! Your faithfulness has allowed us to stay current with payroll and bill payment. We know how difficult it can be to remember your pledge when not attending church services, but we need your ongoing support. Please remember to submit this month's pledge. Thank you! Looking for an easy way to ensure that your weekly or monthly pledge is received regularly? Check out on-line giving using, an on-line giving platform recommended by the Diocese of Pennsylvania. Simply visit the parish website (, click on the DONATE button, and follow the prompts. And if the COVID-19 situation has resulted in unemployment or reduced income for your household and you feel the need to adjust your pledge, we understand; please let us know so we can both assist in some way as well as make adjustments to the church budget.

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