Acts of the Apostles – 12/13/2020

Week of December 13, 2020

To borrow a line from Jo March of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Christmas won’t be Christmas without… fill in the blank. Many of us are feeling that way in 2020. At Church of the Holy Apostles you can join in on any one or all of the following events to help us feel more together, even as we must keep our distance. 

  • Video Christmas Pageant – a vital part of our live-stream service on 12/20
  • Silent Night Church Family Video 
  • Church-wide Christmas Card
  • Take our Christmas Survey just for fun
  • Zoom Christmas Caroling Party
  • Decorate the Chrismon Tree
  • Memorial Poinsettias a yearly tradition to remember our loved ones 
  • Christmas Eve Services, live-streamed at 4:30 pm & 10 pm
  • Christmas Day Service, live-streamed at 10 am
  • Lessons and Carols Service (pre-recorded), broadcast on 12/27 @ 10 am

See the Announcements section below for details on these events and plan how you and your family can participate! 

THIS SUNDAY

10AM Holy Eucharist 
Limited to 10 in-person attendees, Social Distancing and masks are required – Sign Up
Watch the livestream on our YouTube channel
Service Material can be found on our website  

This week’s scripture readingsThird Advent
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Canticle 15 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8,19-28

HOLD FAST

In recognition of our blessings and in faith that God keeps promises, I am asking that every member of Holy Apostles commits to memorizing at least one Scripture verse together during the next few weeks. 
Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for God who has promised is faithful.  – Hebrews 10:23

Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. – Deuteronomy 31:6

God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:7

You can find lock screen images for your mobile phone for all three verses at www.holyapostlespa.org/phone

A Note from the Rector

Recently an article of mine called “The Spirit-Drenched World and the Renewal of the Episcopal Church” was published by the online publication, Earth & Altar Magazine.  It’s something of a provocation and a little bit provocative.  It’s not necessarily something that I would write for my weekly parish column.  The article is about how the wider church is in need of spiritual renewal.  This wider renewal will of course have ramifications on the parish level.  One implication, I wrote, is that in the parish “We need to teach and preach again about the existence of angels, demons, and miracles.”  I thought maybe I should practice what I preach.  As Christmas nears and we hear and recall stories of angels appearing to Mary and to shepherds and wise men, I thought I would spend some time sharing with you about angels. 

I am not a materialist.  That is, I don’t believe the material world which is experienced by our five senses and explored through the scientific method is all there is to reality.  I believe there is something more… 

A theological reflection on wearing masks

Services

You can view our live-stream on our YouTube channel.  A link to this video will be posted to Facebook.

Sunday, December 13, 2020 – 3rd Advent
Holy Eucharist, Rite II with Prayers of Spiritual Communion 10AM
Live-streamed; In-person attendance limited to 10
The Rev. James Stambaugh, celebrant & preacher

Sunday, December 20, 2020 – 4th Advent
Holy Eucharist, Rite II with Prayers of Spiritual Communion 10AM
Virtual Christmas Pageant!
Live-streamed; In-person attendance limited to 10
The Rev. James Stambaugh, celebrant & preacher

Thursday, December 24, 2020 – Christmas Eve Family Service
Holy Eucharist, Rite II with Prayers of Spiritual Communion 4:30PM 
Live-streamed; In-person attendance limited to 10
The Rev. James Stambaugh, celebrant & preacher

Thursday, December 24, 2020 – Christmas Eve Late Service
Holy Eucharist, Rite II with Prayers of Spiritual Communion 10PM
Live-streamed; In-person attendance limited to 10
The Rev. James Stambaugh, celebrant & preacher

Friday, December 25, 2020 – Christmas Day
Holy Eucharist, Rite II with Prayers of Spiritual Communion 10AM
Live-streamed; In-person attendance limited to 10
The Rev. James Stambaugh, celebrant & preacher

Sunday December 27, 2020 – 1st Sunday after Christmas
Lessons & Carols 10AM
Pre-recorded; no in-person attendance
The Rev. James Stambaugh, preacher

Zoom Compline is held every night at 7:30PM
A brief time of prayer and checking in with other members of CHA
“Zoom Compline has been really helped me through this difficult time.  It’s such a great way to close the day.” – CHA Member

Follow this link to join: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/233415613?pwd=dTBDeUhrUUdSak9MS3RUaXdDSDhpUT09
or call into the meeting toll-free   1-888-475-4499 
Callers will be promoted to enter this meeting ID: 233 415 613 and password: love

Zoom Bible Study is every Thursday at 11AM
We are currently studying the book of Hebrews. Join us as we learn together.

Follow this link to join:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/788355291?pwd=R2FQRWltZ01LWG92WGtPSm54cXJSUT09
or call 1-888-475-4499 US Toll-free
You will be prompted to enter this meeting ID: 788 355 291

*note: the password for all Zoom meetings is “love”

Announcements

+ Connect by Night Gifts:  A huge THANK YOU to all who have contributed to this year’s Connect by Night events. If you are providing items for the gift bags that will be presented at dinner on December 23, please remember that the deadline for drop off is this Tuesday, December 15th. Items still needed:

  • Non-alcoholic mouthwash
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrushes
  • Washcloths and hand towels
  • Ankle & wrist weights
  • Jump ropes

If you have questions or need help in getting your items to the church, please contact Cassie Woestman at grammysqrd@gmail.com or 610-608-5440. And thank you again for your extraordinary generosity to those in need.

+ Video Christmas Pageant: Don’t miss the live-streamed service next Sunday, December 20 @ 10AM! Innovation has been the key to putting this year’s pageant together and it is sure to be an event like no other. If you must miss the live-stream, you can watch the broadcast at any time on our YouTube channel

+ Silent Night Church Family Video: There is nothing quite like a full church on Christmas Eve with everyone holding a lighted candle during the singing of Silent Night. It’s so special, that we have devised a plan to share in that same spirit. This year, you don’t even have to leave home to participate in this custom. One of our videographers will visit you at a pre-arranged time at your home and provide the candles. You and your family will step out onto your porch, stoop, front walk, etc. and be videoed holding your lit candles. Singing is not required. Please contact Joe Zorc or David Lees to arrange your post-dusk video time. All videos must be taken by end of day Monday, December 21.  

+ Christmas Memorial Poinsettias : If you would like to participate in this CHA custom, please provide us with the names of the deceased loved ones you would like to remember along with a donation. The suggested donation is $8.00 per name, but please do give only as you are able and so moved. You may email the names of your loved ones to us and use our online “give” button on website in order to donate. On the online form you will find a memo line that you can utilize to designate the donation as “Christmas flowers.” You may also mail the names and/or a check to the church office. Please have your names to the church no later than Friday, December 19th.

Zoom Christmas “Caroling” Party: Come one, come all to our Zoom Christmas party on Saturday, December 19 @ 7pm – caroling not required. No wonderful nibbles from Suzanne Lees this year, you’ll need to provide your own refreshments of the edible and liquid variety. Come as you are – Christmas PJ’s get bonus points! We’ll be using the Compline Zoom link for a time of fun and fellowship. Won’t you stop by?

+ Church-wide Christmas Card: Take a digital photo of everyone in your household: wearing Christmas sweaters, in front of the tree or with cookies or your gingerbread house! Or just sitting in a comfy chair together. Just make sure we can see your beautiful faces. Email your photo to Katie Gentile: katie@thegentiles.com by 6pm on December 20th. Submissions will be gathered and created into a video card including everyone’s survey answers (See below). A link to the finished result will be provided to everyone who participates in the photos, and also in a special edition of the Acts of the Apostles newsletter to be mailed out on December 23rd.

+ Christmas Survey Questions: Answer our CHA Christmas Survey Questions about your favorite Christmas carols, family traditions, etc. by 6pm on December 20th. All answers are anonymous and you can use the link as many times as needed so everyone in the family can give their own answers. Submissions will be gathered and created into a video card including everyone’s photos (See above). A link to the finished result will be provided to everyone who participates in the photos, and also in a special edition of the Acts of the Apostles newsletter to be mailed out on December 23rd.

+ Chrismon Tree: We will put our Chrismon tree outside in the church garden area so that everyone may enjoy it and help to decorate it with symbols of Christ and the Christian faith. Traditionally all ornaments are white and gold. White is for joy and God’s holiness, while gold symbolizes God’s glory. Ornaments can be crowns, crosses, doves, stars, and butterflies, as well as balls, ribbons and white lights. If you need ideas, you can find patterns for ornaments on the church website: Come join us in decorating the tree and welcoming our Savior and King! The tree will be erected and ready for decorations beginning Sunday, December 20th

+ Pledge Cards: You should have already received your 2021 pledge card in your US Mail delivery. Please complete and return the card in the stamped and addressed envelope provided at your earliest convenience. Thank you for your continued support of Church of the Holy Apostles and its ministries.  If you have not yet received your pledge card, please contact James: james.r.stambaugh@gmaill.com 

+ On Saturday December 19, at 10AM, you can join in a special simulcast service of Lessons and Carols that will be live streamed from Philadelphia Cathedral and Christ Lutheran Church in Bethlehem in the West Bank of Palestine.  This service is a part of the diocese’s Covenant with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, and will also include Lutherans in both the Holy Land and here in Pennsylvania.  This will be a special service, indeed.  You can view at the diocese’s One Love Channel:  For more information on how to watch click here: https://www.diopa.org/events/christmas-lesson-and-carols-simulcast-with-bethlehem

+ Sunday School: Sunday School will be held online via Zoom on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month for preschool (5 years old) through 8th grade.  You can join Sunday School using this link (all ages welcome):  https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89142013163?pwd=WFpJVDlZVFJhOUVVa1gxQ2k0djVndz09
We’re looking for more teachers! If you would like to be involved in this exciting ministry, contact Peter Patton: pmpatton307@gmail.com

+ Bible Study: Every Thursday at 11AM (currently on Zoom).  We’re  studying the Epistle to the Hebrews. Join us anytime using this link: 
https://gmail.us20.list-manage.com/track/click?u=1f491246993696e01f4487821&id=d52f77ccb0&e=fca055bb29

+ One Love: Our diocese has created an online platform where you can find inspirational videos, sermons by the bishop and other clergy, and online services.  Visit DioPA One Love Online: https://episcopalpa.online.church

+Eucharistic Visits: During this time, the rector and trained Eucharistic ministers may visit others to bring them the Eucharist. Meeting in outdoor spaces of homes will be preferred.  Contact the rector if you would like to schedule a visit. 

+Giving: You can still mail pledge contributions to the church at this time.  The mail is checked regularly.  You can also securely give online.  Go to holyapostlespa.org and click on the “Give” button on the top right hand corner of the webpage.  

+ Online Worship: Online worship continues!  We will be live-streaming each Sunday at 10AM.  We will be calling on our virtual choir to provide music for us, and there will be occasional readings from members at home.  It’s all happening on our YouTube Channel. Be sure to hit the SUBSCRIBE button!

+ Happy Birthday! The following folks have birthdays in the month of December.

3rd      Patricia Mattoon
7th      Beth Johnson, Victoria Henderson
12th      Connie Cunningham
16th    Robert Mattoon
23rd    Peter Patton
25th    Shaun Digel

If your birthday, or the birthday of another parishioner in your family is missing, please notify the Parish Office at holyapostlespa@gmail.com

Liturgy Participants

Can you fill an empty spot?
Readers/Intercessors: Email Katie Gentile at katie@thegentiles.com
Ushers/Greeters: Email Beth Johnson at bethjohnson514@gmail.com

December 13, 2020

  • Readers/Intercessors: John & Linda Day
  • Usher/Greeter: Mike Johnson

December 20, 2020

  • Readers/Intercessors: Drew & Toni Meiers
  • Usher/Greeter: Annette Smith

December 24, 2020 – 4:30 pm Service

  • Readers/Intercessors: Jamie Grant
  • Usher/Greeter

December 24, 2020 – 10:00 pm Service

  • Readers/Intercessors: Katie Gentile
  • Usher/Greeter

December 25, 2020 – 10:00 am Service

  • Readers/Intercessors: Katie Gentile
  • Usher/Greeter

December 27, 2020 – Lessons & Carols – Pre-recorded

  • THANK YOU to all who have volunteered to pre-record readings for the Lessons & Carols service. If you have questions about your assigned reading or how to record, upload, etc., please contact Katie Gentile

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