PREPARING FOR SUNDAY WORSHIP Saturday, 14 November 2020

Updated: Nov 21, 2020

Included in today's update: Rector's Message, Birthdays this Week, Stewardship Campaign, Rector's Advent Book Group, Volunteers Still Needed for Sunday Ushers & Video Team New Creative Angels, Music Videos, Holiday Food Donations, Yoga Continues, Liturgy For Tomorrow's Worship...


Saturday, 14 November 2020

Dear Friends:

As COVID cases locally and across the nation surge, setting new records for diagnosed infections, hospitalizations and deaths, we will continue to keep an eye on the situation and comply with guidelines from the CDC, state officials, and the Diocese of Pennsylvania. We are hoping not to have to close down once again, should circumstances dictate that to be best for the continued health and safety of all, I will not hesitate to do so. I ask for your flexibility, understanding and support as we all attempt to navigate these unprecedented and confusing times.

Please use you best judgment when deciding whether to attend Sunday morning in-person worship services, and know that we understand and support your personal decision, whether joining here in church or staying home and participating online or by phone.

Should you determine that your best decision is to stay home, a number of options are available to you for joining in and participating:

  • The service will be live-streamed on YouTube at 9:30am.

  • For those without computer access, an audio-only option is available by phone. At 9:30am, simply dial 609-663-5164 to listen to the service live.

  • At the conclusion of worship, 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:

  • 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. 

Finally, I implore you wear a mask whenever you are out of your house, maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet, and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer repeatedly throughout the day.

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.

  • Valerie Carr

  • Charles Macek

  • Chase Repine

  • Nicole DiBonaventura

  • Matthew Higgins

  • Tyler Evangelisto

  • Abigail Rusnak

  • Dan Rusnak


The vestry asks that you please complete and return your pledge card by November 8th 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 in the mail, please contact the church office. If you have misplaced or need a new pledge card, they are available in the narthex. Thank you!


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!


It is that time of year again, when the Outreach Committee is busy coordinating the annual gift giving program for Laurel House and Interfaith Housing Ambler. The procedure is a bit different this year – isn’t everything!! Rather than taking a tag from the Christmas tree in the narthex as in past years, this year you are encouraged to use this link:

    There you will find a list of requested gifts, then merely click on an item or items to sign up.

    Please bring your gift to church and leave it under the tree in the narthex. All UNWRAPPED gifts and gift cards are due back in the church narthex by SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6TH. Be sure to AFFIX A TAG with the family number and the recipient’s age and sex on your gift (in certain cases, there may be only a family number to apply). This is very important to ensure that the right gift is matched with the right recipient.

    If you have any questions, or need help signing up, please contact Diana Mulroy at 267-481-6091, or



The Church’s liturgical season of Advent begins on the Sunday following Thanksgiving, November 29th, just four short weeks away. This season of four Sundays leading up to Christmas are intended as a time of preparation. As expectant parents prepare a nursery for the anticipated birth of their child, so the Christian faithful are encouraged to prepare a space in our hearts to receive the newborn Jesus. But that can be a difficult expectation to fulfill. As The Rev. Russell Levenson, a seminary classmate of mine, writes in his book, Preparing Room – an advent companion:

    “Ah, how full the modern heart is today. There are so many ways to cram it full with e-mail, text messages, faxes, television, and satellite radio. Filling it even more are our worries and frets, bills and debts, health and hopes; need I go on? In hearts so full, it is sometimes difficult to place yet one more thing, thought, or feeling.

 I invite you to set aside some time on four Tuesday evenings to join with me and other parishioners as we intentionally clear away some of the clutter in our hearts and prepare just a bit of room for the birth of the King of the Universe, Jesus Christ. We will be using Rev. Levenson’s book of scripture, meditations and prayers as our guide. As the book cover states:

    “Preparing Room reminds us that the pieces of the beginning of the Christian story come together not from one set of hands, but from many. The Gospel of Mark makes no mention of the events leading up to and surrounding the birth of Jesus. John, for the most part, points back to Genesis. Most of the historical pieces come to us from Matthew and Luke. The scriptures together are the key to telling the story of the season. Levenson’s daily meditations help us to step more deeply into the Advent story and find its meaning and impact for their own lives.

We will begin on Tuesday evening, November 24th, at 7:00 via ZOOM, for the first 90 minute session; then continue on the first three Tuesday evenings in December (12/1st, 8th & 15th). Fr. Levenson’s book is available through Amazon and Church Publishing Incorporated for $16.95. You are welcome to order it yourself, or I will be happy to order it for you and you may pick it up in the church office or on Sunday morning ahead of the class. Please indicate your wish to join me in these sessions by contacting me at; and please indicate if you wish me to order a book for you. Your ZOOM invitation will be sent on the Monday preceding each class.

    As we prepare to begin another Advent, another church year, I quote Rev. Levenson: “And now, my friend, I invite you to open your heart, to make room for the God of us all. Let us begin, at the beginning!



If you are a reader of the daily devotional, copies covering the months of November through January have arrived and are available in the church office and the narthex.


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 church and place it in the cooler located at the back of the sanctuary. These will be collected and delivered to local food cupboards in Lansdale and Ambler.  Thank you for your generosity!



One hundred bags and boxes of food, hygiene and cleaning supplies were collected here at Messiah. These were combined with the donations collected at the other local churches, bringing the total to more than 675 boxes and bags of non-perishable food and supplies for local food cupboards! This will provide more than 50,000 meals for our neighbors in need! Messiah’s donations were delivered to the Mattie N. Dixon Food Cupboard in Ambler and they were most grateful to receive the goods and replenish their shelves. Thank you to everyone who contributed! And to the YOM members and leaders who sorted and packed and delivered the donations!


SUNDAY USHER CORPS: We are in desperate need for volunteers to serve as Sunday morning ushers! Due to some retirements (after lengthy times of service), some unfortunate deaths, and some reluctance at this time to serve for in-person services, the corps has been severely depleted. This places a great strain on our ability to staff this important Sunday morning ministry. BTW: This ministry is not a “males-only” opportunity! We are an equal opportunity ministry! Perhaps you and your spouse, or you and your teenager, or you and your friends would like to serve together. If you are interested in serving or wish more information, please contact Ed Steinbauer (; 215-661-9956).

SUNDAY MORNING VIDEO TEAM: Members of the congregation are volunteering to film the Sunday morning for live-streaming, then posting it to the Messiah website for viewing later in the day or week. These online services have become a vital lifeline for many of our parishioners who are homebound or reluctant to attend in-person services. If you are interested or have questions, please speak with or contact the Rector. Training and assistance is provided.  


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!

Nothing is more satisfying and tummy filling than a favorite casserole on  a chilly fall or winter evening. Our beloved priest, Keith, and his family love this chicken casserole with the accompanying biscuits. Enjoy!


  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken

  • 1 ½ cups cooked brown rice

  • 1 small bag frozen peas

  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts (optional, gives some added crunch)

  • 2 Tbsp butter

  • 3 cloves minced garlic

  • 1 cup diced celery

  • 2 Tbsp sliced green onions

  • 6.5 oz can sliced mushrooms, drained

  • 3 Tbsp flour

  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • Buttered breadcrumbs

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

  2. In a large bowl, mix the chicken, rice, peas (and water chestnuts, if using).

  3. Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add celery, green onions and mushrooms. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, coating vegetables with butter. Add flour, stirring, to coat vegetables. Add the broth and cook, stirring, until thickened and smooth.

  4. Combine the vegetables with the chicken and rice mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. Transfer to 9x13 pan. Top with breadcrumbs.

  6. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes.


  • ½ cup butter, melted

  • 2 ½ cups flour

  • 4 tsp baking powder

  • 6 tsp white sugar

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 ¾ cups buttermilk

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

  2. Melt butter; pour into 8x8 baking pan.

  3. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a bowl. Add buttermilk and stir until combined.

  4. Pour into baking pan and spread over melted butter.

  5. Use a bench scraper or knife to cut dough into 9 equal pieces.

  6. Bake 20-25 minutes, until biscuit tops start to brown.



Classes, led by Diana Mulroy, are held outdoors when weather permits and in the Parish Hall when necessary. Each session costs $10, and all proceeds benefit local social service agencies usually supported through Belfry Bargains funds. In the month of September, almost $900 was raised and distributed to Laurel House, Interfaith Housing, Manna on Main Street, and Community Cupboard. Classes are appropriate for all levels - beginners, as well as more advanced participants. Use this link to sign up:


Invitations to view musical videos have been received from two musical groups with ties to Church of the Messiah.

  • The first comes from Alan Segal, husband of The Rev. Joy Segal, a former Assistant here at Messiah: I hope that you, your families and friends remain well in these very serious times. We wanted to present our music to you and your friends as a respite to staying at home and keeping safe. The Jazz Sanctuary realized that live streaming to Facebook without the musicians wearing masks or keeping socially distant sent the wrong signal to the public. Since we could not perform in public as we usually did and we wanted to follow the rules of prevention a decision was made to make videos – The Jazz Sanctuary Live – and replicate as much as possible the live Jazz & Joe feeling. And so we produced videos, 1:15 in length and did no post engineering. As in a live presentation there are errors and glitches in the videos, they are not perfect, nor were they intended to be perfect. The response has been wonderful with well over 450 “hits” for the first video. I invite you to get a cup of coffee, have a snack close at hand settle in your favorite chair and experience The Jazz Sanctuary Live: the link:

  • The second comes from Messiah’s former Music Director, Rick Rosen, and features his men’s acapella choral group, Cordus Mundi: To all my friends at Messiah: Hi! Cordus Mundi has just released a video of "You Do Not Walk Alone" from our November, 2018 concert. We invite you to check it out -


15 November 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.


Bishop Gutierrez continues to broadcast Sunday morning Eucharist services. Each week, the Bishop or another cleric from around the diocese will preach the sermon. You can watch at 9 a.m. on YouTube and Facebook (@Episcopal PA) and any time afterward on the Diocesan website.


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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