Rector's Message: Saturday, 18 September 2021
Updated: Sep 25, 2021
Sunday, 19 September
The Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost
UPDATED MASK ADVISORY
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
in indoor settings,
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 https://www.montcopa.org/3660/COVID-19-Vaccine.
A Scripture Verse for the Week:
Where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.
- James 3:16-18a
A Message from the Rector:
Jesus often spoke in parables and sometimes acted them out. In tomorrow’s Gospel reading, the disciples argue among themselves who is the greatest. Jesus takes a child and sets the child in their midst, teaching that greatness in God’s Kingdom is possible only for those who have no aspirations to be great. I am reminded of a story . . .
His name was Bill. He had recently moved to start graduate school, was in his early twenties, and had wild hair, and he wore a t-shirt with holes in it, blue jeans and no shoes. He had become a Christian while attending college as an undergraduate.
Across the street from campus was a church with a very well-dressed, very conservative congregation. They had long talked about developing a ministry to students, but were not at all sure how to go about it.
One Sunday, Bill decided to go there. He walked in with no shoes, dressed in his jeans and holey t-shirt, and wild hair. The service had already started and Bill walked slowly down the main aisle looking for a seat. The church was completely packed and he couldn’t find one, so he continued toward the front. By then, people were looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one said anything. Bill got closer and closer to the pulpit, and when he realized there were no seats, he just squatted down on the carpet at the foot of the pulpit as the preacher prepared to enter. By this this time, people were really uptight, and the tension in the air was thick.
About that time, a man from the back of the church began slowly making his way toward Bill. The man was in his nineties, had silver-gray hair, and was dressed in a three-piece suit. He was very dignified, very courtly. He walked with a cane. As he started walking toward this unkempt young man, heads began to nod in agreement, and everyone was saying to themselves that you can’t blame him for what he was going to do.
It took a long time for the elderly man to reach the boy. The church was utterly silent except for the clicking of the man’s cane. All eyes were fixed on him. You couldn’t even hear anyone breathing. The preacher couldn’t begin to preach the sermon until the senior man did what he had to do.
Upon reaching the front of the church, the elderly man dropped his cane to the floor. With great difficulty, the old man lowered himself, sat down next to Bill, took his hand, bowed his head and prayed with him. Just so Bill wouldn’t be alone.
Everyone was choked with emotion.
When the preacher finally regained his composure, he said: “What I am about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget.”
(taken from an anonymous story, ‘The Hippie and the Deacon’.)
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.
VISIT THE WEBSITE: Here you can find a video of the Sunday service as well as the bulletin and the sermon. https://www.messiahgwynedd.org/
VIEW THE CALENDAR
IN CASE OF A PASTORAL EMERGENCY AFTER HOURS
Should you have an urgent need to contact the Rector outside of Church Office hours, please use his cell phone: 215-692-2667.
Happening This Sunday:
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
Belfry Bargains Is Now Open!!
Monday through Saturday 10:00am-1:00pm
PARISH FUNDRAISER AT BERTUCCI'S
Brick Oven Pizza & Pasta
Enjoy your favorite Bertucci's favorites with family and friends while earning funds in support of Church of the Messiah!
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22nd
11:00am - 10:00pm
Bertucci's will donate 15% of the total (excluding tax and gratuity or gift cards) to Church of the Messiah! Valid on all to-go orders, delivery, catering and dine-in meals. So, eat, drink and make merry! Simply go to the website and download the flyer; present the flyer to your server or use the unique code when ordering online: https://www.messiahgwynedd.org/single-post/bertucci-s-dine-and-donate-event-wednesday-september-22nd-11-00am-10-00pm
New Office Hours
The church office will now be open Monday – Friday: 9:30am-2:30pm.
Staff Member Retirement
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.
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 (email@example.com; 215-699-9204) or Nancy Sisson (firstname.lastname@example.org; 215-285-0331).
SMG Clubhouse at Church of the Messiah is now open!
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 www.smgclubhouse.com for information.
Reminder: Pledge Payments
Wondering if your pledge is up to date? Want to see how much you’ve given this calendar year? You’re in luck…we will be sending out updated pledge statements in the coming week. As we are already in the last quarter of 2021, it is most important to keep your pledge up to date and to use these next few months finalize your pledge for 2021.
We encourage you to bring an your pledge payment to the Sunday services, mail a check to the office or use Tithe.ly, our online giving platform. We thank you for your support and dedication to Church of the Messiah. Your pledge directly supports the operations of the church, and we are grateful for your gifts!
SAVE THE DATE!!
Sign up link to come!
MULTIPLE WAYS TO JOIN US FOR SUNDAY WORSHIP
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 (messiahgwynedd.org)
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 (messiahgwynedd.org) for viewing at a time convenient for you
The Church Needs You!
Volunteers are Needed for the Following :
ALTAR FLOWERS GUILD
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; email@example.com). 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Acolytes - not just for teens anymore!
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: email@example.com. Thank you!
Sunday Morning Nursery
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; firstname.lastname@example.org
Reaching Out to the Community
BLUE JEANS COLLECTION FOR THE HOMELESS
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)
AID FOR HAITI IN AFTERMATH
OF EARTHQUAKE & TROPICAL STORM
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 episcopalrelief.org/haiti-relief.
SUPPORT OUR MANNA ON MAIN STREET
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.
MEALS On Wheels Appeal
Delivery Drivers and Kitchen Helpers
are desperately needed!
Delivery drivers are needed in both the North Penn and Indian Valley areas; kitchen prep and packers are needed in the Souderton facility. Deliveries are made Monday-Friday between 10:45-12:30. Volunteers are scheduled to deliver weekly or bi-weekly to fit your schedule. Substitute drivers are also needed. For more information, please contact Kim or Pat: 215-723-8555.
Adult Education Offerings
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 email@example.com
To purchase the book: Amazon - $16.99, or Kindle - $9.99;
or at Cokesbury.com - $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.
Church School News
Mark your calendars for the start of the new Church School year:
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
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 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
This past Sunday was a wonderful day. The weather was perfect for our outdoor service, the pot luck brunch, the open house at our new child care and church school registration. Everyone was happy, friendly and upbeat! Much laughter rang through the air!
There were several requests made for recipes for dishes that were served at the pot luck. I have included two that I’ve received. The recipe for the Overnight Brunch Egg Bake was shared by Keith Marsh. The recipe for the Celery Salad was shared by Jen Christmas. My special thanks to both of them!
Overnight Brunch Egg Bake
6 cups (24 oz.) shredded Mexican blend cheese
2 Tbsp butter
1 bunch green onions, sliced
1 medium red pepper
1 can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 lb sausage
1/2 cup flour
4 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 3/4 cup milk
Spray 13 x9 inch baking dish with non stick cooking spray. Sprinkle half of cheese evenly into dish. Melt butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add onions, bell pepper, and mushrooms; cook until onions and bell pepper are tender. Arrange vegetables over cheese in baking dish. In same skillet, brown sausage, breaking it into small pieces. When sausage is no longer pink, drain well on paper towels to remove as much grease as possible. Spread evenly over vegetables. Beat eggs in large bowl. Add flour, parsley and milk to eggs; blend well. Pour egg mixture over cheese, vegetables and sausage in baking dish. Cover; refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. To serve: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover baking dish; bake at 350 degrees for 60 - 65 minutes or until mixture is set and top is lightly browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. To serve, cut into squares. May be served hot or at room temperature.
8 long celery stalks, leaves separated and reserved, tough fibers pulled off with a vegetable peeler, sliced on an angle into 1/4 inch thick pieces
1/2 cup raw almonds
4 Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (from about 1 1/2 lemons)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 oz Parmigano-Reggiano cheese, shaved into shards with a vegetable peeler ( about 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Place the celery in a bowl of ice water and soak for about 20 minutes to heighten the crispness. Drain the celery and Pat it dry with a tea towel, then pile the celery into a a medium bowl. To toast the almonds, warm them in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until fragrant and toasted, 5 - 7 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and chop into desired size pieces. To the bowl of drained celery, add the celery leaves, chopped almonds, dates, lemon juice and red pepper flakes. Season generously with salt ( start with 1/4 tsp) and pepper. Toss to combine. Add the cheese and olive oil and toss gently. Taste and add more salt, pepper and/or red pepper flakes until you reach an irresistible blend of salty, spicy, tart and sweet. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Keeps well covered and chilled for about 3 days. (Before serving, toss again and pour off excess liquid.)