Rector's Message: Saturday, 3 April 2021
Sunday, 4 April
Included in today's update: The Rector's Message, Reopening of the Church, Ways to watch the Easter Service, Birthdays in the Week Ahead, Guidelines for in person worship, YOM Food Drive, Seeking Vestry Nominations, Creative Angels Recipe, and Ongoing Updates
FROM THE RECTOR Saturday,3 April 2021 Dear Friends: It has become routine, and rather trite, to say that the past twelve months have been unlike any we've ever known. And from a certain viewpoint, this is definitely true. Few of us have previously sustained the losses and restrictions we have felt this year, touching nearly every aspect of our lives. But what if we look at this past year from another angle? I was born in 1952. I have known the Vietnam War and other conflicts around the world ... served in the US Navy during the Cold War … seen the AIDS crisis … witnessed the 9/11 attack … famines in Africa and Asia and endless natural catastrophes that resulted in the displacement of innumerable refugees, some from places that I had to look up on a map to know where they came from. And there are the other disastrous results of our own handiwork: Bosnians … Rwandans … Salvadorans … the people of Myanmar … Native Americans … people of color … and now those of Asian descent. When were you born? What have you seen? All-encompassing crises are not new, and not rare, even if, for those of us living in a state of relative privilege compared with the vast majority of the world’s population, these events have rarely engulfed every dimension of our lives. In no way do I mean to diminish or dismiss the losses we have all sustained in this pandemic. We’ve lost family and friends and neighbors, and in many instances, been unable to be with them in their suffering, or give and receive a farewell hug, or tell them good-bye other than by phone or Zoom or other impersonal means. We have grieved that we could not gather each week for worship. Some of us have lost jobs or income we rely on to sustain our families. We have been deprived of gathering to celebrate the traditions and rituals associated with both important, and even the most mundane, life events. But as we journey through these final hours of Holy Week, may we remember that there is no shortage of human suffering in this world, and none that into which the Incarnate One does not enter; no pain or grief that he does not carry down into the grave with him; so sin, no loss, no captivity, no violence, no suffering. And ever marked by the iniquities, sins, pain illnesses of us all, he walks out of the tomb, resplendent with the Divine Love from which nothing … nothing … can separate us. In the Divine Mystery that is Easter, Christ carries each of us with him into the darkness of the tomb, then emerges with us in glorious light of Resurrection and the joyful promise of eternal that is Easter. This is our undeserved, yet ever-present gift from the God who created, redeems, and inspires us! May we willingly go down with Christ into the mystery of service and sacrifice, binding up wounds no matter the cost, embracing every neighbor, acknowledging and resolving injustice and oppression when we encounter it. And in so doing, may we rise to redemption and life in Him. For even at the grave we sing the song of the Crucified and Risen One, who would not and will never abandon us to the power of death. Alleluia! Christ is risen! * inspired by the writing of The Rev. James Farwell May your Easter be filled with joy, health, and hope! Blessings! Peace! Grace! And Love! - Keith Announcing the Reopening of Church of the Messiah for In-Person Worship Tomorrow * EASTER SUNDAY * Tomorrow APRIL 4th Alleluia! Christ is risen! 8:00am Rite I, Holy Eucharist 10:00am Rite II, Holy Eucharist with Music ** the 10:00am service will be live-streamed, available by phone (609-663-5164), and posted to the website for later viewing (messiahgwynedd.org) With the consistent reduction of infections, hospitalizations and deaths, and the increasing numbers of vaccinations, the Diocesan Office and their medical advisory panel, which has taken a conservative approach throughout this pandemic, has eased restrictions for churches to reopen. Following these new guidelines, the wardens and vestry have unanimously approved a plan to allow for in-person worship beginning on Easter Sunday. This deliberate and cautious approach still includes necessary constraints:
Attendance is limited to 50% capacity – 125 people here at Messiah
Masks are required for all attending
Social distancing between household groups must be observed
Holy Communion is limited to the distribution of bread only
Congregational singing is prohibited
Worship spaces must be disinfected between gatherings * see note below
Contact tracing information must be collected
All doors must remain open for maximum ventilation
After-service fellowship may not include serving food or drinks
For those who may still be wary about gathering indoors with others, all personal choices will be honored and respected. EVERY INDIVIDUAL IS ENCOURAGED TO MAKE AN INFORMED PERSONAL DECISION ON WHETHER TO ATTEND. To assist those choosing not yet to attend in-person, the service will continue to be videotaped and posted on the parish website, allowing for participation on-line. If you do not have access to the website (messiahgwynedd.org), please contact the parish office for weekly mailings of the service bulletin and sermon. As noted above, there will be two services on Easter Sunday:
The first is a quieter, more meditative offering with extended periods of silence, allowing contemplation of the mighty acts of the day.
The second service will carry a more festive, celebratory tone, featuring music expressing the joy of the Resurrection.
Beginning on April 11th, the Second Sunday of Easter, there will be one Sunday service at 9:30am. The same guidelines noted above will be followed, gradually lifted as restrictions are eased by the Bishop’s office. These services will also be live-streamed and posted to the parish website for later viewing. I look forward to greeting many of you on Easter morning! But whatever your choice – whether joining us here in-person, or joining with us on-line or through the weekly mailings – know that you are loved in the name of Our Risen Lord! ** A NOTE ABOUT DISINFECTING THE CHURCH: We have purchased a professional fogger for use in disinfecting our worship and other spaces. This allows us to efficiently and effectively apply a hospital-strength disinfectant on all pews, door handles, restroom, tables and other surfaces. On Easter, this disinfecting procedure will be done before the first service, and again before the second service. BEGINNING NEXT SUNDAY Weekly Sunday worship will be held in-person beginning next week. One service: 9:30am. As you feel comfortable, please JOIN US! 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
PARISH OFFICE CLOSINGS The Parish Offices are closed on Easter Monday and Tuesday, April 5th and 6th. The office will reopen on Wednesday. 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.
YOM FOOD COLLECTION FOR MANNA ON MAIN STREET The Youth of Messiah are excited to be hosting a food drive for Manna on Main Street! We will be collecting donations beginning Sunday, April 4th through Sunday, April 25th. Our teens will be organizing our donations when we meet on the 25th and we will deliver our donations to Manna the following week. Donations can be dropped off in the narthex before or after Sunday Service, or at the Parish Hall during day-time office hours (9:00am-1:00pm, Monday-Thursday). Take a look at our flyer by clicking HERE. To see a full list of current items needed at Manna on their website Click Here. SUE PHILLIPS' RETIREMENT RECEPTION This event has been scheduled for Sunday, April 25th. Following the 9:30 Eucharist, we will gather outside for some refreshments, presentation of gifts and opportunities for you to wish her well in this new life chapter. FORWARD DAY BY DAY Copies of the next edition of this popular devotional for the coming quarter (May, June, July) have arrived and are available to be picked up in the narthex. Copies are free. If you are unable to pick one up in person, please contact the church office and one will be mailed to you. ALTAR MEMORIAL FLOWER OPEN DATES There are several dates available for memorial altar flowers. Suggested donation amount: $60.00. If you would like to dedicate flowers for one of these dates (listed below), please contact the rector (firstname.lastname@example.org; 215-699-9204).
WE'RE GETTING CLOSER, BUT WE'RE NOT THERE YET I know we're all becoming COVID-weary, but don't forget the 3 W's:
Wear a mask.
Watch your distance.
Wash you hands.
And please, please, please! When you have the opportunity, get vaccinated! Despite the actions in some states, let's all continue to be vigilant and keep doing our part to stop the spread of this viral pandemic! With every vaccination, we are getting closer! Let's not make the mistake of turning back now! SEEKING VESTRY NOMINEES Each year, at the Annual Parish Meeting, held on the first Sunday in May, four parish members are selected to fill three-year terms on the Messiah Vestry. If you are interested in serving, or if you have someone you wish to be considered, please contact a member of the Nominating Committee: Vicky Fogel, Susan Miller, Charles Sudlow. HELP NEEDED BY A PARISH MEMBER A member of the parish with limited mobility and can no longer drive has been receiving assistance from a couple of parishioners with rides to doctor's appointments, errands, and help 1-2 times a week with minor household chores (taking out trash, etc). She has just moved into a new apartment for independent living, and needs additional help getting settled. Her new apartment is in Hatfield, twice the distance from parishioners who have been helping her. If anyone lives near Hatfield can help this parishioner settle in her new apartment (unpacking, minor furniture repair/placement, cleaning) and/or provide rides to appointments, please contact Michael Stinson at email@example.com. Enter "Help for Parishioner" in the subject line. Thank you. 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. 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. CREATIVE ANGELS 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 week has been a special one for me. I am in Virginia spending time with my cousin. She and I love to laugh and shop! We have so much fun together. I asked her to share a special recipe for you to have. In her attempt to get people to eat veggies, she came up with this broccoli casserole recipe which she claims is a family favorite! So...enjoy and think of one of my favorite people. Happy Easter! Barbara Alyson’s Broccoli Casserole
2 packages of frozen broccoli, thawed and drained
1 can mushroom soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sharp cheese, cubed
1 package crouton dressing mix
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup margarine (or butter) mixed with stuffing
Cook broccoli. Drain. Mix all ingredients, leaving some croutons for the top of the casserole. Bake 15 - 20 minutes @ 350 degrees.