Rector's Message: Saturday, 2 January 2021

Updated: 4 days ago

SUNDAY, 3 January

Second Sunday after Christmas Day


Included in today's update: A Prayer for the New Year, Birthdays in the Week Ahead, Special Seasonal Music, Youth Service Project, Roof Replacement and Budget Updates, 2021 Offering Envelopes Available for Pickup and Creative Angels

FROM THE RECTOR


Saturday, 2 January 2021


Dear Friends:


A PRAYER FOR THE NEW YEAR

Most Holy God,

Master of our yesterdays, our today, and our tomorrows:

We praise you for your unequaled greatness.

We thank you for years past and the year ahead.

In the year to come …

Help us to understand

that when your Love was born as one of us,

you were born for us;

so your Love could be born in us and live in us;

not to be hoarded and locked away,

but that we may share our love

and your Love with others.

Help us to stop and listen to your love songs:

in the golden rays of each new dawn,

in the rose, orange, lavender streaks of sunset,

in the chirping of sparrows

and the antics of squirrels in our own backyards,

in the memories of our elders

and the fantasies of our children.

Help us to stand awestruck,

rejoicing in the beauty and wonder of your Creation,

delighting in every Child of God you have loved into life.

And help us to rejoice and delight in ourselves:

each one of us your own uniquely wondrous Child;

born of Love, redeemed by Love, sustained in Love.

Thank you for the gift of another new year

and the new opportunities each day will bring.

We pray that this will be your Year of Jubilee:

your Year of Peace, your Year of Light,

your Year of Hope to be known by all your Children.

Use us in this year ahead;

that we may join in spreading your peace,

your light, and your hope throughout your world.

Forgive us for falling short in the year that is past.

Help us to leave the irreparable past in your hands,

to make amends where possible,

and set right what can be changed.

Then help us to step confidently into the unknown:

trusting that you will be our guide;

and knowing that having gone before us,

you will now journey with us.

Help us to accept this gift of a new year.

Help us to greet with gladness what lies ahead.

Help us to fully depend on you,

that this year your Kingdom may come,

and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Eternal God of our yesterdays, today, and tomorrows:

We ask all this in the name of your Only Son

and our Only Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.


And be it resolved that in the year ahead, I will:


1. Throw out nonessential numbers.

This includes age, weight, height, and stock market index. Let your doctors and hired professionals worry about these. Isn’t that why you pay them?


2. Keep only cheerful friends.

Grouches, grinches and grumps can only pull you down.


3. Continue learning.

Learn more about the computer, string theory, crafts, Shakespeare, gardening, Manchurian, whatever. Never let the brain idle. There is truth in the saying: 'an idle mind is the devil's workshop.'

4. Enjoy the simple things.

Engage the complicated, but delight in the simple.

5. Laugh.

Often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath and snort like a pig.

6. Let tears happen.

Shed your own and join in those of others.

7. Surround myself with what I enjoy.

Family, pets, art, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, dancing, whatever… Embrace it!!

8. Cherish my health.

What is good, preserve; unstable, improve; beyond what you can improve alone, get help.

9. Not take guilt trips.

Take a trip to visit friends, or family long neglected. Go to the mall or to the movies, to a foreign country or just the next county … but DO NOT book a trip to where guilt lives.

10. Tell the people I love, ‘I love you!’

At EVERY opportunity! And when you can’t find an opportunity to say ‘I love you’ … resolve to MAKE ONE!

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER …

  • Measure life not by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away!

  • Dance like no one is watching! Sing like no one is listening!

May your year ahead be filled with health, happiness and hope!

Blessings! Peace! Grace! And Love!

- Keith


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.

  • Alexander Ryan

  • Ruth Beury

  • Nancy Handrich

  • Mark Wicklund

  • Brenda Weir

  • Wes Shirk

  • Joy Shoop

  • Don Buchecker

  • Mike Linn

  • Andrew Stinson

  • Ann Cook

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. 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!


ALSO ON THE WEBSITE

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.


YOUTH OF MESSIAH CONTINUE

TO COLLECT 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.

Some people have ordered items online and had them sent directly to the church, which is perfectly fane and eliminates the need to shop in crowded stores. And the 12-step groups that meet here at the church have also contributed items. Thank you to everyone who has donated to this worthy cause!


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 less than a month, we have raised $55,440.00 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

AVAILABLE FOR PICKUP

If you currently use weekly offering envelopes for your pledge, you will again receive envelopes for the coming year. Envelopes are now available for pickup, located on a table in the hallway outside the Rector’s office. Questions: please contact the bookkeeper Sarah Patram sarah@messiahgwynedd.org; or the church office. Thanks!


CREATIVE ANGELS

We are always on the lookout for new recipes or craft ideas to pass along. Please direct your submissions to Barbara Stevenson: bebstevenson@yahoo.com


Twice Baked Potato Casserole

  • 4 large potatoes (or frozen shredded hash browns) (about 2 lbs)

  • 1 small onion minced

  • 1 tsp salt or to taste

  • 1 tsp pepper or to taste

  • 1/4 C. chopped dill

  • 1/4 C. chopped parsley

  • 2 C. shredded cheddar cheese

  • 1 1/2 C. sour cream

Wash the potatoes thoroughly. Wipe dry, place on baking tray and bake at 425 degrees for about an hour, turning once. Cool completely. Peel the potatoes and shred them. Place shredded potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add the minced onion, fresh herbs, salt and pepper. Mix gently. Add the cheese and the sour cream. Mix gently again. Transfer potatoes mixture to a 9” square pan. Bake in 425 degree oven for 30-35 minutes. Enjoy!


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