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Rector's Message: Saturday, 04 September 2021

Updated: Sep 11, 2021

Sunday, 05 Setember

The Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost

Included in today's update: Updated Mask Advisory, A Message from the Rector, Scripture Verse for the week, Birthdays in the Week Ahead, Kick-Off Sunday on September 12, Seeking New Acolytes, Belfry Bargains Reopening, Expanded Office Hours, Mike Linn is Retiring, Blue Jeans Collection for the Homeless, Adult Education Offerings this Fall, Volunteers Needed for Tea on the Terrace and Altar Flowers Guild, Openings still available for Rector's Pilgrimage to Oberammergau Passion Play, Update on the daycare/preschool/education center, Creative Angels Recipe, and Ongoing Updates


In accordance with the latest CDC guidelines

and for the safety of all,

particularly the children in our parish family,

all worshippers are highly encouraged

to wear a mask or face covering,

regardless of vaccination status.

Thank you for prayerfully considering this request

for the health of all members of our faith community.

Message From Montgomery County Office Of Public Health Our community is stronger when we’re all protected. The best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and widely available. The COVID-19 vaccine will protect you from severe illness, hospitalization, and death; and protects vulnerable people in your community who can’t get the vaccine. A healthier community starts with you. For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, call the Montgomery County Office of Public Health at 610-278-5117 or visit


Saturday, 04 September 2021

A little humor this week ... with the events of the past week, I think we can all use it!

Three friends from the local congregation were asked: "When you're lying in your casket, and family and friends are mourning over you, what would you like them to say?"

The first answered: "I would like them to say I was a wonderful husband, a great father, a good friend."

The second replied: "I would like them to say that I was a devoted teacher and servant of God who made a huge difference in people's lives."

The third said: "I'd like them to say: Oh look! He's moving!"

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend! And the week ahead!

May your closing summer days be filled with joy, health, and hope!

Stay safe! Keep well!

Blessings! Peace! Grace! And Love!

- Keith


Each week, from the lessons and psalm assigned within the lectionary, I select a verse or two that I hope you will find inspirational and helpful in the days ahead. This week's selected verse comes from The Letter of James:

You do well if you really fulfill the royal law

according to the scripture,

"You shall love your neighbor as yourself.".


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.

  • Grace Murphy

  • Bill Wertz

  • Jason Konorowski

  • Ryan Barrett

  • Joel Hoffman

  • Andrew Pickell

  • Matt Oldt



  • 9:30am – OUTDOOR Holy Eucharist

followed by

  • Parish Picnic Brunch - sign-up sheet in the narthex; bring a dish to add to the potluck buffet

  • SMG Clubhouse Daycare Open House – meet the director and teachers, and tour the newly-renovated daycare spaces

  • Church School Registration – register for Church School classes to begin on September 19th, and learn about the exciting year planned

  • Belfry “Sneak Peak” Shopping – on the day before the store opens to the public, get first crack at the amazing merchandise and enjoy a 10% discount on all your purchases


Volunteers – of any age! – are needed to serve on the altar as acolytes. In addition to leading the choir and clergy in processions, acolytes assist the priest in preparing and clearing the altar for Communion. If you are interested in serving in this important ministry, contact Rich Dunlap: Thank you!



Monday, September 13th at 10:00AM!!!!


The church office will be closed on Monday, September 6th, for the Labor Day holiday. Starting on Tuesday, September 7th, expanded office hours will begin: Monday – Friday: 9:30am-2:30pm.


The deacons of the diocese are leading a blue jeans collection throughout the churches of the diocese. Blue jeans are durable and in need by those who are without shelter. The deacons are asking all churches - and you - to collect what you can so that they can be delivered to those across our community most in need. Collection bins are located in the narthex of the church. Please help us fill them!


  • clean, gently worn jeans

  • those jeans in the back of you closet that you know you will never wear again

  • brand new jeans (please buy your own size to ensure a wide variety of sizes are collected)



On Saturday, August 14, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck the southwest portion of Haiti. This devastating earthquake was followed by Tropical Storm Grace on Monday night and much of Tuesday. More than 1 million people, including more than half a million children, have been impacted by the back-to-back disasters, and the death toll is close to 2,200. Episcopal Relief & Development and its partners are responding immediately with direct assistance to vulnerable households in the region, as partners plan long-term recovery. Your generous gift can provide assistance to help people in the wake of these disasters. To assist in these efforts, visit


Mark your calendars for the start of the new Church School year:

  • SEPTEMBER 12 - Church School registration

  • SEPTEMBER 19 - Church School and Nursery reopen for the year

Following the CDC and diocesan guidelines, and for the safety of all:

  • all children, teachers and nursery volunteers will be strongly encouraged to wear a mask or face covering, regardless of vaccination status

  • seats will be spread out, when both sitting at a table or on the carpet

  • snacks and drinks will not be served

  • hand sanitizer will be available, as well as the restroom sink for hand washing

  • each child will be supplied with a bag of their own supplies to eliminate the need for sharing supplies

PLEASE NOTE: Nursery volunteers are needed to care for with our youngest parishioners during the 9:30am service. Please contact Tiffany Reichley if you are willing to serve: 215-779-0391;



Dave Reichley, Messiah's Youth Minister, and Cheryl Berry, the YOM program's lead volunteer, along with the Rector and Warden, spent much of the summer planning the events, activities and meetings for the upcoming year. Many changes and upgrades were in response to suggestions included in last spring's survey from teens and parents. Thank you to all who participated and gave such helpful feedback.

We are excited about the range of variety of the offerings presented - an increased number of community outreach projects, as well as a "Sr. Prom" for members and friends of the parish. Go the parish website to find the complete calendar. September activities include:

  • SEPTEMBER 19 - following the 9:30 service - Parents Meeting to review the calendar, answer questions, recruit volunteers

  • SEPTEMBER 26 - 5:30-7:00pm - Potluck and game night for all YOM parents and teens - an opportunity for new families to get to know everyone, and experienced families to reconnect at the beginning of a new year


Looking for GOD in Messy Places

A Book About HOPE - How to find it. Practice it. Grow it.

The Rev. MaryJo Melberger invites you: Join our Zoom book discussion!

Thursday afternoons at 2:00 p.m.

From September 30 – November 11,2021

Looking for GOD in Messy Places is written by Jake Owensby, the Episcopal Bishop of Western Louisiana. Life is messy. We can get discouraged by setbacks, overwhelmed by busyness, and shaken by worry. Hope is the power that gets us out of bed in the morning and gives us the courage to face adversity. It is a book about how love gives us an inextinguishable hope. This book is for anyone who has ever been frozen in place by loss or regret, anyone who has endured suffering, cruelty, or rejection. From word to word and page to page, readers will experience themselves as God’s beloved―so that they can be hopeful.

To inquire about or register for the sessions: contact MaryJo Melberger at

To purchase the book: Amazon - $16.99, or Kindle - $9.99;

or at - $13.99+postage.

The Rector’s Zoom Book Study & Discussion

GENESIS - The Opening Chapters: Origins & Foundations

Wednesday evenings – 7:00pm

First Session: October 6 – November 10, 2021

Second Session: January 12 – February 16, 2022

The first book of the Bible is a book of beginnings. The first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis bring us back to our origins and the foundation of life itself: the creation stories; the Fall; the first murder; the ark and Great Flood; the first covenant; Tower of Babel; and dispersion of the nations. We learn how we were created and about the origins of sin and its fallout through meeting Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and his family. We find ourselves drawn into tales of deceit, jealousy and outright failure. And woven throughout these earliest stories are the golden threads of God’s promises and revelation.

All materials will be provided. For more information or to sign up for the classes: contact the Rector, Keith Marsh at




Following the service to be held here at Church of the Messiah, all are invited to continue the celebration at a luncheon to be served at the William Penn Inn. In order for adequate preparations to be made for the meal, please RSVP to Lynn Mangan by September 9th: 215-353-6008;


Our long-time sexton, MIKE LINN, has announced that he will be retiring at the end of October. For more than 18 years, Mike has faithfully and lovingly maintained our parish property and buildings - and we are all most grateful for his dedication and commitment. But, as Mike told me not long ago, in his quiet way: "It's time." We will all miss his ready willingness to serve and help Messiah and its members in so many ways. He has always been prompt to address problems as they have arisen, and his knowledge and skills have been a great asset to Messiah. He will be sorely missed. Mike and his family - wife Beth, and son Spencer - are returning back to Lock Haven and have already started the move out of the cottage and into their new home upstate. We all wish them well!

The Rector, Warden and Property Chair are investigating various options to ensure that the care and maintenance of our church property remains at the high level Mike has established over the years.

On Sunday, October 31st, following the 9:30 service, please plan to attend a reception to honor and thank Mike for his many years of service and send him, Beth and Spencer off with our blessings and prayers as they enter into this next exciting chapter of life.



Both last summer and this year, throughout the summer months, twice each week, a local farmstand donates their excess fresh vegetables and fruit to those in need. Two of our parishioners – John Sangston and Ulrich Taglieber – transport the donations to Manna, allowing them to distribute fresh produce to their clients. In appreciation for their generosity, Messiah parishioners may wish to consider visiting and supporting the farmstand as a gesture of our gratitude for assisting us in this important ministry. Skippack Pike Farmstand is located is located at 1040 West Skippack Pike, Blue Bell (between Valley Road and Cathcart Road, next to the former Korean restaurant).

And We Continue to Collect & Deliver Non-Perishable Items

As you do your weekly shopping, please pick up some non-perishable food items, toiletries and cleaning supplies. These donations can be left on the back pew of the church or left outside the Rector’s office door. These will then be delivered to Manna to stock their shelves for distribution to meet clients’ needs.


The Prayer Shawl Ministry has an abundant supply of prayer shawls available for distribution. If you or someone you know is ill or hospitalized, shut-in, experiencing the death of a loved one, welcoming a new baby into the family or celebrating another life event, a prayer shawl serves as a reminder that they are being held in others’ thoughts and prayers. Requesting a prayer shawl is easy: simply contact the Rector (; 215-699-9204) or Nancy Sisson (; 215-285-0331).



Each Sunday, the altar is graced with flowers dedicated to the glory of God, as well as the memory of a loved one or given in thanksgiving by members of the congregation. For the past several years, these weekly arrangements have been lovingly done by Nancy Sisson and Deb Casey, with occasional help from Dale Murphy and Kristin Pickell. Sadly, Deb will soon be relocating to the Delaware beach area - a bit too far to commute for flower arranging! We are now looking for volunteers to assist in this important ministry by taking responsibility of providing floral arrangements for a few weeks each year. If you have experience in this area, or are interested in learning, please contact Nancy Sisson for more information (215-285-0331; Your help will be greatly appreciated.


After being shut for several months due to the pandemic, Belfry Bargains will reopen in September! All proceeds from this important parish ministry, now in its third decade, provides outreach funds to local, national and international social service and justice agencies and organizations. Hours of operation are 10:00am-1:00pm, Monday through Saturday. Volunteers perform a variety of tasks: assisting customers; manning the sales counter; receiving, sorting, pricing and stocking donated clothing, small kitchen items, and other merchandise. Assistance is needed, particularly on Mondays and Thursdays. If you are willing to serve, have questions, or need more information, please contact Diana Mulroy (



  • 8:00AM EUCHARIST RESUMES - after 18 months hiatus, the early service returns for those who prefer a shorter, more contemplative Sunday worship experience

  • CHURCH SCHOOL CLASSES BEGIN - children gather for class upstairs in the Parish Hall by 9:30am, then return to church in time to share in Communion

  • NURSERY SERVICE RETURNS - the parish nursery, located on the upper level of the Parish Hall, is staffed by volunteers from 9:15am until the end of the service

  • YOM PARENT MEETING - following the 9:30 service, join us in the Guild Room to learn more about the events, activities and meetings planned for the parish youth in the year ahead





a cultural & spiritual experience of a lifetime

September 10-21, 2022

more info: see flyer & narthex display

The original performance of the world-renowned Oberammergau Passion Play dates back almost four centuries to the year 1634. During the Thirty-Year War, the small Bavarian village of Oberammergau was spared the ravages of the Black Plague. In thanksgiving, the residents vowed that every ten years they would reenact the last days of Christ in a magnificent passion play. All of the performers of this once-each-decade event are required to be native to the village, from babes in arms to village elders. To be chosen for the various roles is a great honor, and to lend authenticity to the performance, the cast starts to grow their hair and beards more than a year in advance. In addition to visiting the charming Oberammergau village and attending the Passion Play (Category 1 tickets and seating), we will visit a trio of Europe’s most beautiful cities: Budapest, Vienna and Prague; as well as the fairy-tale town of Cesky Krumlov and other sites and experiences throughout the region. And our final night, in Munich, coincides with the opening of Oktoberfest!

Reservations are now being accepted for the limited spots available.

A $500. deposit holds your spot.

From the Rector: “Having escorted a group to the Passion Play in the year 2000, Deb and I can assure you that it is an experience you will never forget, will inform your understanding of Our Lord’s Passion, and deepen your faith!”



The first children arrived this past week!

The deep cleaning has been accomplished! All the spaces have been painted! The new flooring has been laid! And the tables, chairs, cribs, toys and other furnishings and supplies have started to arrive! The lease has been approved by the diocese and signed by both parties! The credentialing applications have all been filed and are waiting for approval!

SMG Clubhouse at Church of the Messiah

is well on its way to becoming a reality!

Be sure to be here on Sunday, September 12th, for the open house and tour of the newly renovated spaces, and an opportunity to meet the Day Care Director and staff.

If you, or someone you know, is in need of day care (3 months to 5 years) and wants to know more about SMG Clubhouse and enrollment opportunities, contact the Director, Syieda Logan, at 215-999-3811 or for information.


Thanks to the wonders of modern technology and the hard work of several parishioners, we are able to offer a variety of ways to participate in Sunday services:

  • IN-PERSON – COVID precautions strictly observed

  • LIVE-STREAMED - the service will be broadcast on YouTube – follow the link posted on the church website (

  • BY PHONE – for those without computer access, dial 609-663-5164 to listen to an audio-only option on your phone

  • WEBSITE – at the close of the service, a video will be posted to the parish website ( for viewing at a time convenient for you


Check the website each weekend for the video of the Sunday service. And make it interactive by checking out the service bulletin with all the responses, lessons, and weekly updates and information. A copy of the Sunday sermon is also available.


Should you have an urgent need to contact the Rector outside of Church Office hours, please use his cell phone: 215-692-2667.


NOTE: Barbara Stevenson continues to need recipes and craft ideas to pass along to the parish through the weekly email messages. You can send your submissions to Barbara at

As we begin to experience the fall weather, many of us look forward to those yummy fall meals. Some of these meals include a tasty gravy. One of my favorites is this recipe for Slow Cooker Pork Cops and Gravy. Easy and delicious! Enjoy!


Slow Cooker Pork Chops and Gravy

  • 4 large, thick pork chops

  • 1 10.5 oz can cream of chicken soup

  • 1 1 oz packet onion dip mix

  • 1 0.87 oz packet pork gravy mix

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth ( or water)

  • 1/2 tsp pepper

  • 2 TBsp corn starch

  • 2 TBsp water

Add the soup, onion mix, gravy mix, pepper and chicken broth to the slow cooker and mix. Add pork chops. Pour gravy mix over pork chops. Cover slow cooker and set on low for 8 hours. In 7 1/2 hours mix cornstarch and water. Add to slow cooker. Replace cover and cook for 30 minutes more. Remove lid and use fork to pull apart pork chops. Remove bones and discard. Add pork to mashed potatoes and cover with gravy. 8 servings.

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