PREPARING FOR SUNDAY WORSHIP Saturday, 4 December 2020
Updated: Dec 12, 2020
Included in today's update: A Message from the Rector, Birthdays this Week, Parish Roof Replacement Appeal, Christmas Outreach Opportunities, Creative Angels Recipes & Crafts, Diocesan Worship Opportunities, Liturgy For Tomorrow's Worship...
FROM THE RECTOR
Saturday,5 December 2020 Dear Friends: Where does one find comfort or inspiration in the midst of a pandemic? Perhaps by looking past the present and imagining the future. In the book a group of us are reading and discussing in these four weeks of Advent, The Rev. John Claypool is quoted: "The worst things are not the last things." That short statement could serve as a summary of the Gospel and the promise of the Kingdom. In that spirit, I offer you the following from Meg Nyberg, a young woman from Iowa, currently teaching in an English school located in Quito, Ecuador . . . "As a mother, teacher, and person trying to fight off anxiety from it all, I can’t help but be hopeful for what will come from this COVID disaster:
I hope that when this all passes, we appreciate how technology has allowed us to remain connected to loved ones, but we realize that it is no replacement for personal connection. I hope to see more people at restaurants without phones in front of them.
I hope we all have a greater appreciation for teachers and the time and effort and energy care and love that goes into helping not just one child, but a classroom full of them. I hope to see societies and parents be less critical and more supportive.
I hope we don’t forget the risks doctors and nurses have taken, the sacrifices they have made, and the crazy demand placed on those professions. I hope more people stop to say thank you to those who keep us well.
I hope after doing it alone, parents value the village they have in helping raise their children, be it a nanny or day care provider or grandparents or friends who help in big and small ways.
I hope everyone will realize that maternity leave is not a vacation and that stay-at home moms do in fact have full-time jobs. Maybe we can all just stop expecting of each other and ourselves that we parent as though we don’t work and work as though we aren’t parents.
I hope those reluctant to vaccinate see the value in modern medicine and the horrors that can happen when we don’t have herd immunity to protect the most vulnerable among us.
I hope we recognize the critical role nature plays in our well-being and stop destroying mother nature. I hope to see more kids choosing to play outside over playing video games, and more people making time for walks outdoors.
I hope we appreciate travel, both near and far, for all of the ways it enriches our lives. I hope more people choose to spend money on experiences rather than things after feeling the void of being isolated with all of our belongings.
I hope we begin to understand the importance of electing officials at all levels who we trust with life-and-death decisions, who listen to experts, and make difficult calls while taking full responsibility. Politics do matter, and they do impact all of our daily lives.
I hope we all make more of an effort to understand numbers, statistics, and data and stop relying on TV anchors to interpret it for us. I hope we seek out valid and reliable sources of information for all things in the future. Let us begin to listen to experts in science about tipping points with climate change and see that we can and must act, in whatever ways we can.
I hope we start to see workers in the food and supply and cleaning and maintenance industries as vital and worthy of a living wage. Perhaps in the future, more of us will advocate for policies that serve others rather than ourselves.
I hope we understand that paid sick leave and a right to health care are actually in the best interest of all of us, and begin to demand those things from our governments.
I hope we remember the fear we felt about not having our basic needs met, and the desire to flee (despite laws and risks telling us not to), and stop persecuting refugees for making choices we would undoubtedly make as well.
I hope this pace of life allows us to slow down, find quiet, and find balance when we come out on the other side. May we all take from this time the importance of long conversations, meditation, time in the kitchen, the sound of birds outside, dancing to music, reading, writing, and making art.
I hope we carry with us the acts of kindness we have heard of and witnessed during this time. May we remember the resilience of the human spirit and try to emulate those who have been a light in dark times. I hope we remember that our actions really do matter. When this is all said and done, let’s cherish the beauty of “normal.” Stay hopeful, friends."
Blessings! Peace! Grace! And love! - Keith
SUNDAY'S YOM MEETING CANCELLED
Consistent with cancelling in-person worship services due to the precipitous rise in COVID infections and deaths, tomorrow evening's scheduled meeting for the Youth of Messiah is cancelled.
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.
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 $35,000.00 from members of the congregation. To date, we have raised $12,300.00 toward this goal; leaving $22,700.00 still to be raised or pledged.
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: 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 (email@example.com).
Thank you for whatever assistance you can give toward this important parish project!
CHRISTMAS OUTREACH OPPORTUNITIES
Gifts for Families on the Virtual Christmas Tree: If you signed up to purchase a gift or gift card for families served by Laurel House or Interfaith Housing Ambler, please bring your gift to the Church Office this week. All unwrapped gifts and cards are due back by THIS SUNDAY, DECEMBER 6th. The church doors will be open between 9:00-12:00 to receive your donations.
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.
WRAPPING UP THE 2021 STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN
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! 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 firstname.lastname@example.org; or the church office. Thanks!
THANK YOU! & WELCOME ABOARD!
After serving faithfully and tirelessly as Jr. Warden for the past five years, Jean London has announced that she will be stepping down from that position at the end of the year. We will certainly miss her guidance, administrative skills and buoyant willingness to take on any project asked of her. During her tenure, she has greatly enhanced our parish communications, both within the congregation, as well into the larger community. Thank you, Jean! But don't worry, she's not going anywhere - and I already have some ideas of other avenues to keep her busy! And I am thrilled to announce that Barbara Stevenson has agreed to step into the position and serve as our next Jr. Warden. Welcome aboard, Barbara! We are delighted to welcome her to her new responsibilities and look forward to having her lead us in this important ministry.
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 (email@example.com) and we will publish one with each edition of the parish email. Thank you! Cheryl and Hugh Sargent passed along the following article - featuring Hugh's daughter! - and the Vanderbilt students in her class, expressing themselves and displaying their talents and creativity through their hand-sewn masks. For those of you who sew, instructions are included! https://news.vanderbilt.edu/2020/11/09/fashion-with-function-students-express-themselves-through-their-masks/ And if you still have some Thanksgiving leftovers and are wondering what you might do to "resurrect" them, here's a tasty recipe to try . . . LEFTOVER STUFFING WAFFLES
4 cups leftover bread stuffing
2 large eggs, beaten
Chicken or turkey stock
Leftover cranberry sauce
Leftover sliced turkey
Preheat the waffle baker and grease with cooking spray.
Stir together the leftover stuffing and eggs.
Add 1/4 cup stock and mix until well combined. Continue adding stock as needed until the mixture is well-moistened.
Scoop half of the stuffing mixture into the waffle baker, spreading it evenly. (The stuffing will not spread like regular waffle batter as it bakes, so it is important to arrange it in an even layer that covers the waffle plate.)
Close the lid and let the waffle bake until golden brown and the egg is cooked throughout. (This will take longer than a regular waffle.)
Top the waffle with cranberry sauce, then turkey, then gravy.
LITURGY FOR TOMORROW'S WORSHIP
Second Sunday of Advent
6 December 2020
The bulletin for the Sunday service, as well as a text of the sermon, 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.
AND A REMINDER . . .
Please remember that we will not hold in-person worship for the first three Sundays in Advent - November 29, December 6 & 13. 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: 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.
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.
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.