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Rector's Message: Saturday, 30 January 2021

Sunday, 31 January

Fourth Sunday after

the Feast of the Epiphany

Included in today's update: The Rector's Message, Birthdays in the Week Ahead, Ash Wednesday, Shrove- Sunday-To-Go, Rector's Lenten Bible Study, "Thank you" from Laurel House, YOGA Resumes, Creative Angels Recipe, and Ongoing Updates


Dear Friends:

Saturday, 30 January 2021

Dear Friends:

A woman was traveling cross-country and decided that she would make a point of stopping at Episcopal churches to worship along the way. Her first stop was at a church in San Diego, where she encountered something she had never seen before: a golden phone in the narthex with a sign, "3 Minutes for $10,000." Intrigued, after the service she asked the priest, "What exactly is that golden phone, and why does it cost $10,000 to make a call?"

The Rector replied, "Well, it's a direct line to God."

"Oh!" she replied, "I'll remember that. I have a few question to ask. Maybe I can raise $10,000 someday."

The woman continued her journey across the country, where, in San Antonio, she found the same golden phone and same message, "3 Minutes for $10,000." Then, in St. Louis - same phone, same sign. And again, in the Louisville Cathedral - same golden phone and sign.

Finally, she found herself outside Philadelphia in Gwynedd, where she stopped to worship at a beautiful stone church, Church of the Messiah. There, in the narthex was the golden phone, only above this phone the sign read, "Three Minutes - Fifty Cents."

"Well," she thought, "that can't be right!" So after the beautiful service and inspiring sermon, at a coffee hour where she was welcomed better than at any other church along the way, she found the delightful and devout Father Marsh and asked for a moment to speak with him. She explained about her travels throughout the country, and the golden phones, and the $10,000 price tag everywhere else.

"Why," she asked, "does your golden phone only cost fifty cents?"

"Well, you see," said Father Marsh, "here at Church of the Messiah, a direct call to God is only a local call."

With all that is going on in the world, I thought you all might enjoy a little levity and a quick smile! Have a good week!

And remember the 3 W's:

  • Wear a mask.

  • Watch your distance.

  • Wash you hands.

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

Blessings! Peace! Grace! And Love!

- Keith


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.

  • Jayne Wicklund

  • Ginny Woodbury

  • John Grivner

  • Sophie Harrison

  • Brian Schneider

  • Claudette Sudlow

  • Lauren Thornborough

  • Nancy Parke

  • Shirley Bowen

ASH WEDNESDAY: February 17th

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent, the Church's 40-day liturgical season that precedes Easter Day. Due to the continuing pandemic, this year's service must be virtual and "ash-less". Ashes are not mandatory for the commemoration of the day, always optional, and in their place you will be invited to mark the sign of the cross on your forehead, retracing the action first made by the priest at your baptism, sealing you with the Holy Spirit and marking you as "one of Christ's own forever." The service bulletin, along with the service video, will be posted on the parish website:


Sunday, February 28th

Join us at 10;30 on that Sunday morning as we honor Sue Phillips on her retirement and offer thank her for her 19 years of dedicated service and ministry as Messiah's Parish Administrator. In order to maintain COVID protocols, the vestry is planning a "drive-through" celebration, so start planning how you want to decorate your car, make signs, etc. Watch this space for more details and reminders . . .


As with most things lately, Shrove Sunday will be a little different at Messiah this year. We always look forward to having our parish come together for a meal on the last Sunday before the Lenten Season. This year we will be having a Shrove-Sunday-To-Go event on Sunday, February 14th!

Order ahead via our Sign-Up Genius link (;

or you can phone or email Dave Reichley directly (; 267-664-2276) if you have trouble signing up! You can even pay in advance (

or when you pick up your order. Our pick-up day will be on Sunday, February 14th from 10:30am until 12:30pm. Just pull up to the first Parish Hall doors, give us your name, and we will bring your order to your car!

Our Menu will have two options:


· Pancakes (3 large pancakes, plain or chocolate chip, with single serve syrup) - $3

· Side of Fresh Fruit (freshly cut in a separate container) - $2

· Side of Sausage (2 cooked sausage patties) - $1


10 pancakes plus syrup, large order of fruit, and 6 sausages - $15

Proceeds from the event will benefit Tree for Hope Girls School, located just outside Antigua, Guatemala. Youth and adults from Messiah have been involved in mission work in Guatemala on a number of occasions. Last January, we were introduced to this education mission, while visiting and worshipping with our companion parish, St. Alban’s Mission in Antigua. Tree for Hope, a new ministry sponsored through the Lutheran Church, provides quality education for girls and young women, many of whom would not receive an education were it not for scholarships.

We hope that you will join in with us in celebrating Shrove Sunday this year! Although we will miss sitting down for a meal with good company, we hope to join together in spirit as we enjoy a Messiah tradition at home.


The Gospel of Mark

Mark’s Gospel is the shortest of the four Gospels and known for its quick pace. Most scholars consider it to be the earliest written. In this liturgical year we have just entered, most of our Sunday Gospel readings will be drawn from Mark. Join the Rector as we take an in-depth look at this perspective on Jesus’ life, teaching, healing, suffering, death, and resurrection.

Many people find that engaging in Bible study provides a good Lenten discipline and prepares them to receive the joy of Easter more fully. The six-week course will meet on six consecutive Wednesday evenings via ZOOM, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. (Dates: Feb 24th, March 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st.) Our textbook will be the Gospel of Mark; a copy will be provided to ensure that we are all reading the same translation, so no cost is involved. Each week, prior to our meeting, you will receive a short series of reflection questions, along with your ZOOM invitation.

Joining the class is easy!

Contact the Rector at, or 215-699-9204.


Due to the delays with the US Postal Service, we are still receiving mail posted before the end of the year. Therefore, in order to ensure that all 2020 pledges and donations are properly accounted for, the Rector has instructed the bookkeeper to delay the distribution of the final financial statements until February 15th. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.



As part of Messiah's annual Christmas Outreach project, many parishioners provided gifts and gift cards for families served by Laurel House, located in Norristown. The following letter was received in response:

Dear Friends:

Due to the ongoing public health crisis, we at Laurel House know this past year has been very different and, at times, challenging for all of us, especially those who are affected by domestic violence. Due to COVID-19, the number of families we served in the Adopt-a-Family Program, this past holiday season, increased by 33% compared to last year's number. This dramatic increase required more resources and more donors to support these families during an extremely difficult time.

We asked you to support the families in need in our community, and you did! Thank you so much for adopting Family #204 and #206. Please know that your donation of various gift cards and toys were greatly appreciated by these families.

At Laurel House, we believe that our community has the power to give and make a difference for survivors of domestic violence. The support of generous donors like you make it possible for the staff and volunteers of Laurel House to continue to help our clients meet the many challenges they face every day, especially during these challenging times.

Thank you!

Andrea Devenney

Executive Assistant, Laurel House


As they have done for the past several years, William R. May Funeral Home, located on Main Street in North Wales, has provided the parish with liturgical calendars. These calendars feature the liturgical colors of the various church seasons, note Holy Days and Saints’ Days, and the readings assigned for each Sunday. The calendars are free and are available in the church office.


Now that the holidays are over, you might be feeling a bit sluggish; or perhaps you made a resolution to get in better shape; or maybe you’re just curious. Whatever the reason, you are invited to join in the weekly yoga sessions being offered by Diana Mulroy. The sessions are being offered in a virtual format, so it makes it easy and safe to participate. Classes are $10.00/session, and all proceeds benefit the outreach projects supported by Belfry Bargains. Sessions are Monday and Wednesday evenings at 6:30pm; and Thursday mornings, 9:30am. Diana notes: “If there is a different tine that might work better for you, email me and I’ll try to add it.” Contact Diana (; 267-481-6091) to register or for more information.


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 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. Presently, we have raised $63,765.20 toward this goal! 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:; 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 (

Thank you for whatever assistance you can give toward this important parish project!


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; or the church office. Thanks!


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

Jennifer Christman has been busy during Pandemic time. As she’s moving through her activities, she has been cooking! She has shared this tasty recipe for us all to enjoy!

Sausage and Peppers Pasta with Broccoli

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 lb sweet Italian pork sausage, casings removed

  • 1 lb broccoli, cut into 1 1/2” florets (about 4c)

  • 2 med yellow peppers (12 oz), cored and seeded and thinly sliced (about 2 1/2 c)

  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • Kosher salt and pepper

  • 1 lb rigatoni

  • 1/2 c grated Parmesan (2oz), more for serving

  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)

  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

  1. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in large non stick skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 min. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl.

  2. Add remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, the broccoli, peppers and garlic to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook stirring often until they soften and begin to brown, about 8 min.

  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of salted water to al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water and drain the pasta.

  4. Return the pasta and reserved cooking water to the pot over low heat. Add the broccoli mixture, cooked sausage and its accumulated juices, 1/2 cup Parmesan, the lemon juice and red pepper flakes. Stir vigorously until liquid is slightly thickened and saucy, about 2 min. Season with salt and pepper.

  5. Serve the pasta with additional Parmesan for sprinkling on top. Serves 4.

Then, how about a special project to preserve those recipes your friends request? You can make a recipe remembrance plate, easily, for those meaningful gifts!

Recipe Remembrance Plate

  • 1 ceramic plate

  • 1 Sharpie marker

Write your recipe on the plate with the marker. (You can draw lines on the plate with pencil to guide your writing. The pencil marks can be removed after the marker is dry with a barely damp q-tip ). Set your oven to 425 degrees. Put the plate in the preheated oven for 35 minutes. At the end of the 35 minutes, turn the oven off, but leave the plate in the oven until the plate is totally cool. Remove the plate from the oven! This plate can be washed by hand or in the dishwasher.

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