PREPARING FOR SUNDAY WORSHIP Saturday, 19 December 2020

Included in today's update: A Message from the Rector, Birthdays this Week, Special Seasonal Music, Updates about Parish Roof, Stewardship and Budget, Christmas Giving Opportunities, Creative Angels Recipes, Liturgy For Tomorrow's Worship...




FROM THE RECTOR


Saturday,19 December 2020


Dear Friends:


Purify our conscience, Almighty God,

by your daily visitation,

that your Son Jesus Christ,

at his coming,

may find in us a mansion prepared for himself;

who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever. Amen.


The Collect for the Fourth Sunday in Advent is perfectly suited for this time in the Christian year. In the first three weeks of Advent, we have been focusing on the Second Coming of Christ. A part of keeping a faithful Advent is taking inventory of how we have spent the last twelve months. If we are honest, we know that our conscience needs purifying daily. We are not, however, without aid in this matter. God gives us daily, even moment by moment, opportunities to know forgiveness. God has created us, not to be hovels, but to be mansions prepared for the indwelling of the Divine One.

On this final Sunday, we are quite conscious of moving from Advent toward Christmas. Have we prepared Jesus room in our lives? Or will he find our minds and hearts as busy and crowded as he found the inn at Bethlehem? Do we say to him

that, until he comes in power and great glory, we will go on crowding him out? Frankly,

if we do not decide to give him the place of honor, we have really not given him any place at all.

Of course, Christmas will come whether we are ready or not. But for it to come to us in a personal way, for it to have its true meaning in our lives, we must enter in. Some words of Christina Rosetti from "In the Bleak Mid-Winter" (Hymn #112) say it very well:


What can I give him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;

If I were a wise man, I would do my part;

Yet what can I give him? Give him my heart.


Blessings! Peace! Grace! And Love!

- Keith

SPECIAL SEASONAL MUSIC ON THE WEBSITE

There are many joyful and treasured carols and special music associated with the Christmas season and far too few opportunities to sing or hear them. So, Hannah and members of the Messiah choir have set about remedying that situation. Beginning this weekend, be sure to check the Messiah website for Music of the Season, featuring our choir director and a variety of choir members. And if the Christmas Spirit moves you, feel free to join in singing with them!


CHRISTMAS GIVING OPPORTUNITIES

  • 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.

AND A REMINDER . . .

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.


We will, however, have a number of online worship opportunities:

  • Sunday, 20th December - Fourth Sunday in Advent: Advent Lessons & Carols - Scripture and carols trace humanity's salvation history, beginning with the Creation and the Fall, through the proclamations of the prophets, and culminating in the Angels Gabriel's announcement to Mary that she will bear the Son of God

  • Christmas Eve, 24th December - two service offerings:

o Children's Service - a shorter service written especially for children with the

telling of the Nativity story and building of the creche, simple prayers, and

familiar carols

o Traditional Service - featuring music, lessons, prayers and sermon

  • Sunday, 27th December - no worship service this morning

  • Sunday, 3rd January - Second Sunday after Christmas Day: music, lessons, prayers and sermon

On those Sundays when we will not be gathering in-person, services will be available online, on television, and by mail:

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

  • In addition to the Messiah online worship postings, Bishop Gutierrez will continue to post weekly services on the diocesan website: diopa.org. 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.


IMPORTANT!

END OF YEAR PLEDGE STATEMENT

FOR CHARITABLE GIVING ON TAXES

In order to be claimed for 2020 tax purposes, pledges and charitable donations must be postmarked or received in the church office no later than Thursday, December 31st.


BIRTHDAYS IN THE WEEK AHEAD

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.

  • Dick March

  • Nicholas Trigone

  • Jarred Gardner

  • Carol Huston

  • Tabb Champlin

SUE PHILLIPS TO RETIRE

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 . . .

PARISH ROOF REPLACEMENT APPEAL

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 $35,00.00 from members of the congregation. In just three weeks, we have raised $40,120.00 toward this goal! WOW!! THANK YOU!! Funds raised above the stated $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. Work will 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: messiahgwynedd.org; 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 (rector@messiahgwynedd.org).

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

2021 STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN & BUDGET UPDATE

To date, 123 pledges have been received, totaling $363,840.00. This significantly trails last year’s totals of 160 pledges, totaling $457,305.00.

There are at least 35 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 and one will be provided.

With this large gap in pledges of nearly $90,000.00, coupled with the recent decision by Kids Unlimited, the day care that rented our downstairs since 2003, to close their operation, this will present a terrific hardship for Messiah to maintain programs and staff in the coming year.

2021 OFFERING ENVELOPES

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 sarah@messiahgwynedd.org; or the church office. Thanks!

"CREATIVE ANGELS!"

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 (bebstevenson@yahoo.com) and we will publish one with each edition of the parish email. Thank you!

This recipe is an interesting variety of a family favorite—-lasagna! It is delicious and a very tempting way to get the kids (and persnickety adults) to eat their veggies! Enjoy!


Vegetable Lasagna

  • 14 lasagna noodles

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 cup chopped onion (1/2 large onion)

  • Small amount of minced garlic

  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into small pieces

  • 2 medium yellow squash, cut into small pieces

  • Small can or 6 oz of sliced mushrooms

  • 1/2 cup of diced (very small) green pepper

  • One jar (12oz) roasted red peppers, drained and cut into 1/2” pieces

  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

  • Fresh basil, chopped (a handful)

  • 1 15oz container ricotta cheese

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)

  • 8 oz mozzarella, shredded

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook lasagna noodles. Add olive oil to water. Drain, lay flat on aluminum foil. Heat oven to 350. Lightly oil or spray 13x9 baking dish. Heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook 3-5 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, zucchini, squash and a pinch of salt, stirring occasionally for 5-8 minutes until softened. Stir in roasted red peppers and tomatoes. Bring to low simmer and cook until liquid has thickened and reduced by half, 5-8 minutes. Add basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir ricotta, eggs and 1/2 tsp salt in bowl until blended. Spoon just enough vegetable mix into baking dish to lightly cover the bottom. Arrange 4 noodles lengthwise in the dish. Spread 1/2 of the ricotta mixture over noodles. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Top with 1/3 of vegetable mixture. Add another layer of noodles, repeat. Finish with final layer of noodles, vegetables and cheeses. Cover loosely with foil, bake 20 minutes, uncover and bake 15 minutes until cheese is crusty around the edges. To make cheese brown on top, slide under broiler for 1-2 minutes. Let rest before serving.


While you are waiting for your lasagna to cook, you can make a couple of last minute gifts! You can etch glass in five minutes!


Supplies:

  • Etching cream (available in craft stores)

  • Sticky stencils

  • Paint brush

  • Glass objects to etch

Carefully adhere your stencil to your object. Apply the etching cream over the open parts of the stencil. You don’t want to spread the cream too thin. Be careful not to get the cream on your skin. Wash your brush with water when done. Let the cream set for 2-3 minutes ( follow container directions). Then, rinse cream off of your object. Rub remaining cream off with a sponge. Remove the stencil and give the object a final cleaning. ( You won’t be able to see the etching well until the glass is dry. ) Then decorate the container as you wish! Have fun!


LITURGY FOR TOMORROW'S WORSHIP

Fourth Sunday in Advent

Festival of Lessons & Carols

20 December 2020

The bulletin for the Sunday service is posted on the church website (www.messiahgwynedd.org). 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.

SUNDAY SERMON AVAILABLE EACH WEEK

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 RETURNS TO CBS

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

PLEASE KEEP YOUR PLEDGE UP TO DATE

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 Tithe.ly, an on-line giving platform recommended by the Diocese of Pennsylvania. Simply visit the parish website (messiahgwynedd.org), 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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1001 Dekalb Pike

Lower Gwynedd, PA  19002

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