A Note from the Rector – 11/01/2020

It’s been a difficult week for Philadelphia.  The murder of Walter Wallace, Jr. in West Philadelphia was just 11 blocks from our mother parish, Holy Apostles and the Mediator.  Subsequent violent clashes with the police, property destruction, as well as tense but mostly peaceful protests have all happened in close proximity to HAM the past few nights.  As of this writing, HAM’s property has not been damaged to my knowledge.  In one of his frequent online updates, HAM’s faithful Senior Warden, Everett Gillison, spoke about how the church opened its doors to police officers who needed a place to use the restroom and rest on Wednesday night during the hours of unrest.  I was deeply moved to hear about the witness of HAM and the Cookman Baptist Church with whom they share their buildings. 

I cannot imagine how it must feel to be living in that community right now.  It’s hard to imagine what it must be like to be a Black man in America, or a Black mother, or, for that matter, a police officer who is in the midst of this fray.  HAM is only five miles away from Penn Wynne, but it might as well be 500 miles away.  That structural and imaginative divide, which is replicated in many cities and communities around the country, is a huge part of America’s problem.  Racism, violence, and extreme political divisions are just symptoms of something deeper—we are divided from one another at an external, structural level and an internal, heart level.  Empathy, compassion, and mercy seem unimaginable.  Actual societal change seems impossible. The Christian tradition has a name for this situation.  It’s called sin.  Sin encompasses both personal hardness of heart and vast structural evil.  It is what divides us from God and each other.  While policy, voting, and all the rest of it are vitally important (please vote!), they cannot alone solve the heart problem that is at the root.  There is a sickness in the soul of America.  Only the grace and mercy of God can heal it.  Only the unconditional love and the indestructible life of the Risen One can heal it.  As the actual Body of the Risen Christ, we Christians are singled out by God to work toward breaking down the barriers that prevent compassion and empathy, not contribute to them.  We are set apart by God to work for the healing of our community.  We are called to participate in the reconciliation that can only come when justice and mercy meet. 

As important as these ongoing and terribly difficult conversations are for us to have, right now is also the time to support our siblings in Christ at Holy Apostles and the Mediator.  It’s hard to know what to do, especially with the pandemic.  But here’s one thing tangible to do:  leaders from Holy Apostles and the Mediator pray Morning Prayer every morning, Monday-Saturday, at 7AM.  Their prayer is broadcast on Facebook Live on their page https://www.facebook.com/HAMPhilly.  If you find yourself awake at that time, I encourage you to log on and join in their prayer, listen to them, and drop a simple comment to let them know you are there, and that you are praying with and for them.  The service is also recorded so you can watch and pray later in the morning, but it would be great to let them know that we stand beside them in prayer during this difficult time.  We will look for other ways we can support them. 

On the eve of this election, with all the upheaval and insanity all around us, our only path forward as people of faith is to reject contentiousness, jealousy, and pride.  Pray.  If you haven’t already voted, vote.  Then pray some more.  Prayer actually changes things.  It also changes us, orienting us more and more toward God’s desire for the healing of the world.   After the polls close on Tuesday at 8PM, the church doors will be open.  You are welcome to come and pray silently for a few minutes on your own. At about 8:30PM, I will lead a service of prayer for our nation.  This service will be live-streamed on our YouTube channel.  If you do come to the church, please wear a mask and stay at least 6 feet away from others.  

May the God of peace keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and the love of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen. 

Connect By Night Meals – December 2020

Due to COVID-19, rather than housing at the church and making lunches for our guests, we will be providing meals to the guests at the Upper Darby facility on Saturday, December 5, Wednesday, December 23 when we will also distribute gifts, and Tuesday, December 29.

Quantities: Please plan enough to feed 25 guests

If you are able to volunteer to provide food preparation or delivery services, use the SignUp Genius page, or contact Cassie Woestman – grammysqrd@gmail.com – 610-608-5440

Sign Up!

A Note from the Bishop – 10/18/20

(This is the follow-up email to the Bishop’s October video message.)

The Seeds of Patience
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:25

It has been seven months since our collective lives as a world, country, church, and people of the Holy One have radically changed. Many people call it the “new normal,” but there is nothing normal about this time; even so, it is our present reality. As we face it, our assurance is that the Risen Christ is with us, and the Holy One is guiding our steps through this valley.

No one can deny that this journey has been frustrating, anger inducing, confusing, and at times disheartening. I want to remind the faithful of our diocese that we are not enduring COVID alone. As a world- wide pandemic, millions are feeling the same anxiety, fear, and concerns. Each diocese, every church and faith tradition; all humanity is suffering. Let us hold all humanity in our prayers and offer the Holy One gratitude for the gifts in our diocese.

We must acknowledge those feelings and hold our tears sacredly. Yet this time has also been defined by creativity, love, pastoral presence, deep faithfulness, prayers of the heart and breathless moments of grace. In many ways, we do not know more than we did in early March about COVID, yet we hope for what we do not see and wait with patience.

My prayers in September – and now in October – are for patience. I recently shared this beautiful description of patience with clergy during our weekly call. Patience is something we must seek and then allow to lead us through this time. It has been written that a great source of suffering in the current century is impatience. Especially in the West, patience has become a virtually extinct characteristic.

As we know from scripture, Joseph was left in a well, Moses waited and wandered, and Jesus’ ministry did not begin for 30 years. Yet all the while, the Holy One was shepherding, directing, and doing great things in their lives. The same is true for us. We see the bountiful fruits of patience over time. Patience turns a simple leaf into silk. A seed waits until it sprouts. With nurturing, the sprout eventually forms into a tree that houses a myriad of life. 

In the Islamic tradition, it is said that if today was the last day of the world and you have a sapling in your hand – you should plant it. We have more than a sapling; we have Christ, and we are filled with the gifts from God for the people of God. Let us continue to plant the seeds of faith, hope, and love. And may the fruits of that planting be joy, peace, kindness, trust, goodness, gentleness, and patience. While we face enormous challenges in the months ahead, the future of the body of Christ is strong. Let us renew our trust in the Holy one and wait patiently, with faith, to see all the good that comes out of this time.  

Do not weaken, have no fear. As is written in James: Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near (5:7-8).

The Budget
COVID has impacted our churches in ways we could not have imagined. It has also injected a sense of anxiety regarding the future financial health of our churches. We cannot negate or gloss over these worries. They are real. During our clergy call each week, and with each church visitation, I listen deeply to these concerns, anxieties, and fears. I take them to heart and carry them in my prayers. Yet I am reassured by that still small voice that whispers, “I am with you always.” 

As we move forward into 2021 and 2022, your voice continues to be important in the decisions we make together. We need to hear your thoughts, your questions, and explain the needs for our collective future before any changes are made. You are the diocese, and in our call to serve you, we enter into a sacred conversation rather than dictate. We are not a corporate institution or government; we are the living Body of Christ. The strength and health of our diocesan family do not come through top-down management. Instead, we share this sacred ministry. As long as the Holy One allows me to serve as your Bishop, nothing will be mandated. I honor and respect your voices and ideas, and we will enter into holy conversations together.

In the coming months and years, we will not have “ministry as usual.” Yet we can face these changes with confidence because we have dedicated our hearts to adapting and adjusting, all the while keeping our eyes on the Holy One. I ask that we pray for and support one another. When we grow frustrated, we must seek the face of Christ, and all the while we remain patient.

Because of COVID, we have made necessary changes to the budget. Over the last six months, we cut $250,000 to avoid potential deficits. We set up a special fund to assist churches who lost income or incurred new expense due to the pandemic. We organized free services and coordinated with our churches to promote their own efforts. At no time did we forget or neglect those in our community who are sick, hungry, and lost. This responsiveness to our siblings in southeastern Pennsylvania speaks to our faithfulness and strength.

For several reasons the budget process differed from past years. The pandemic caused us to forego our usual additional in-person budget discussion sessions. This was also the first year of the new Board of Trustees and Finance Committee; they have been faithful and prayerful in responding to your need. During the three Zoom budget sessions, the Finance Committee listened and took your concerns to heart. As a result, there will be no increase in our request for sacred gifts.

You may remember there were no increases in sacred gifts (financial contributions from churches) during 2017, 2018, and 2019. This was to allow our churches the chance to stabilize their operations. In 2020 they increased by only .02%. In response to your concerns, our new Board of Trustees has decided that there will be no increase in our request for sacred gifts in 2021. The 2021 budget replicates 2020, and the only increases are those required to cover the increased cost of operational expenses, health insurance, retirement, and cost of living adjustments. 

Like the early church, we are called to distribute our wealth and offerings equally among your siblings in Christ. Therefore, I humbly ask that you share as God directs you. Share from your hearts so that together we can engage in God’s work in our community and the world. We give to the Lord and share our gifts and resources with all 134 churches across our diocese.

I have asked the Trustees to establish a fund to assist our churches who may face additional challenges at this time. The Trustees unanimously approved monies to help those churches who cannot share the full amount of sacred gifts, thereby alleviating an unnecessary burden and worry. This is an important demonstration of who we are as the Body of Christ. I want each of our churches to know that we are in this together. If any church is unable to give, instead of fear or anxiety, we can all rejoice together in knowing that they will be covered.

It is important to remember the Trustees must formulate a budget and sacred gifts amount, and it remains at 5.75% of 2019 parish Normal Operating Income (NOI) which is approximately the level of 2020 parish giving at this time. However, there will be no long-term increase in sacred gifts made without the input from the entire diocese. Together, we must discern whether to abandon an antiquated system for funding the ministry of your diocese. While a single-ask system of sharing will have long-term benefits in terms of sustainability, this will only come about after these discussions and then through a mandate of diocesan convention. 

Thus, we will have a series of conversations in the spring to discuss how we fund the diocese and what changes we need to make for our financial health in the future. I hope these conversations will lead to a prayerful process that articulates how our sacred resources will be prioritized and what our diocesan ministry will look like over the next 10 years.

Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:8-11)

2020 Convention
Due to our present reality and after consultation with Standing Committee, our Diocesan Convention will be virtual. While we deeply yearn to sit in the physical presence of our diocesan family, the risk is far too great. We will instead hold a streamlined convention where we will vote on diocesan offices and approve the budget for 2021. My deep gratitude to the convention planning team for their faithfulness, attention and deep care for each one of you.  We will hold a test run and offer training. More information about the convention can be found here.

For I am longing to see you so that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine. (Romans 1:11-12)

Loving Presence
I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord; and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart. Jeremiah 24:7

A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

In what ways has the Church attempted to whitewash the past so that our sins of racism would not bleed through? Yet the blood of Christ that we elevate each Sunday always shines a light on the truth, and we must face it. Like Thomas, we must probe the wounds of the Body of Christ.

Racism and institutional racism have no home in the church. Yet, we have built a house with a foundation of sin that we must reset to rebuild. We can no longer act as if this sin does not exist and choose to ignore it. If we ignore or cannot see the sin, we have a heart sickness that affects the entire body. It affects our vision, words, actions, liturgy, and destroys our community.  We cannot let our hearts harden, and for that reason, we need a revolution of the heart. 

In early June, I called together a group of clergy from diverse backgrounds to meet and develop a foundational diocesan covenant on race, white supremacy and institutional racism that would guide our faith community in this holy work. Known as the Loving Presence, their ministry is based in scripture and centered around the Baptismal Covenant. It seeks to engage everyone as we walk this journey. Their work is not simply a statement, but a covenant that will effectuate change and bring about a revolution of the heart that is rooted in spiritual transformation, scripture, and the necessity for the people of God to enter into this pain. We must heal our hearts to heal the wounds of racism inflicted on our black and brown siblings. 

As a people of God, where all are created in the image of God, we must all devote our lives to this ministry. If we are to banish the sins of racism, white supremacy, prejudice and hatred we must, through our lives and actions, make this the central truth of our faith and a lived reality. There can no longer be “us” versus “them”, or the determination of who is worthy and unworthy. The church must not cheapen the dignity or dehumanize any of the Holy One’s beloved children.

This is not a short nor easy road, but a new path. It will involve truth-telling, support, acknowledgment, repentance, and transformation. This is the cross that we all must carry. But if we take it up, and walk its arduous path, it will lead us into this new way of being, one of listening, embodying, repenting, and turning. 

The Loving Presence path has been approved unanimously by Standing Committee and Diocesan Council. It will be presented to Trustees in mid-October. I will share further information and reflections through a video when their work is released later in the month.

After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ (Revelation 7:9-10)

The Challenge of the Future
The latter splendour of this house shall be greater than the former, says the Lord of hosts; and in this place I will give prosperity, says the Lord of hosts. Haggai 2:9

Above all, I look at this time of COVID as an opportunity for the future. In 2021 and 2022 your diocesan staff will continue to focus on supporting our churches. In particular, the Canons will increase their commitment, focusing 100% of their efforts on churches and community. But this is also a time to learn and grow. Our church has a strong foundation, an apostolic structure that helps form our community and prayer life. However, that does not necessarily mean that our administrative systems have to operate in an antiquated fashion. We have learned so much and made progress in our use of technology in a way that no one would have dreamed possible. It has left me wondering, what else might we accomplish, if we shed our fear and look to the future that God has for us?

In my next conversations with the Trustees and with Standing Committee, I would like for us to begin to discern some essential, fundamental, and prayerful questions that will guide us through the next two years and help frame our entry into our long-term pilgrimage as a diocese. I also ask that you contemplate these questions.  
1.        What will the post-COVID church look like?
2.        As a church, are we challenging ourselves and one another in our ministries, outreach, and evangelism? If not, how can we meet the challenge?
3.        What ministries are more critical at this time than others?
4.        How can we maximize the efficacy and impact of our existing ministries?
5.        What existing ministries can we consolidate?
6.        Are we the only entity that can carry out the work, or are there other entities that can take it on, allowing us to concentrate on our most essential ministries?
7.        How can churches partner in outreach? Is it necessary to have 3 food pantries all within the same community? If they combined their efforts, could they serve more people more efficiently?
8.        How can we partner with other faith traditions or private entities for outreach and ministry?  
9.         How do we use our campuses seven days a week? What can we do to ensure that they are centers of community life and service all the time? What can we do to open them up to organizations that lost their buildings due to COVID?
10.     How can we consolidate our administrative functions at both a diocesan and church level so that we can deliver the same effective results but at a lower cost?
11.     What components of the diocesan structures can be restructured and realigned? Deaneries? The budget? Our process for resolutions? Etc.…
12.     How can our diocesan churches partner with one another on all levels of administration and staffing so as to be able to function more efficiently?
13.     How can we use the talents that are abundant among our laity to assist one another? Who will accept the challenge of the Holy Spirit to step up and reach out?
14.     Do we need to start over and rebuild from the ground up?

We should also capitalize on what we have learned.  How can we engage in ministry remotely without losing effectiveness, presence, or sacrificing our core identity? We must not stop but instead look to discern:
1.        How can we maximize video conferencing?
2.        How can we make use of technology to spread the Good News?
3.        Do all the committees need to meet in person every month, or should we utilize the new technologies to reduce our footprint on the environment?
4.        What is the future of office work?
5.        How will these factors impact our budgets and use of space?

The fundamental question is: “what is Christ calling us to do?”

The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. Ephesians 4:11-14

A Transitional Moment
I wanted to close by sharing a personal revelation. Over the past eighteen months, I have been led to a deeply spiritual place, all the while focusing on the beauty and power of the Holy One. COVID has led me further into prayer. As a child, I was taught that you cover your head with a shawl or scarf when you read or heard the word of God as we are in the presence of God (for this reason, you often see me with a scarf). A bishop wears the mitre during the Old Testament, Psalms, and the New Testament while removing the mitre during the Gospel. During Advent and beyond, I will be covering my head with a linen scarf rather than a mitre as it speaks to my natural desire for simplicity, jettisoning vestiges of patriarchy (women were always required to cover their heads), and a return to my history and cultural teachings. I look forward to teaching and engaging your questions about this new, yet old, practice.

My siblings, as you move forward, know that each day, I hold all of you in prayer. I also pray for the wisdom and patience to faithfully serve as the Holy One has called me to serve. In the end, I will account to the Lord and I cannot face the Almighty if I know that I have failed to serve each and every one of you from the depths of my heart and with whatever gifts the Lord has granted me. I can only promise you my unending devotion, faithfulness and love.  May the Holy One bless you and may the divine peace cover each day. 
Bishop Daniel

2020 Connect-by-Night Needs

In this year where so much has been affected and changed by COVID-19, we will be adapting our Connect by Night experience as well. While we cannot lodge guests in the church building this year, we will still be providing some meals at the facility in Upper Darby where they will be sheltering . In addition, we will be providing supplies in the form of gift bags for 25 individuals The deadline for collection is Tuesday, December 15, so that there is time to assemble the bags and fill in gaps where needed.

Items Needed – 25 of each:

  • Canvas tote – the sturdy kind, preferably from area college, university or medical facility, making them long-lasting, easily identified by the recipient as their own, and a fitting replacement for plastic bag luggage.
  • Poncho
  • Socks
  • Disposable Razors
  • Hand Towel
  • Wash Cloth
  • Gloves
  • Small hand cream
  • Chapstick
  • Tissues (box or wrapped personal size)
  • Candy
  • Cards from Children
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash (non-alcoholic only)
  • Books
  • Puzzles

You may elect to provide all 25 of any item, or any combination of the above.

Additional items going in bags (already donated):

  • Seasonal ornament
  • Face masks
  • Scarves/hats

The following is a list of equipment Director Timmi Kilgore has requested for a gym area that is being set up at the facility. These items can be new or gently used:

  • Treadmill
  • Yoga mats
  • Yoga video
  • Hula hoops
  • Ankle/wrist weights (no free weights)
  • Stretching bands
  • Jump ropes

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Announcements – 12/1/19

Worship

† On December 8, we will welcome our second St. Faith preacher, the Rev. Canon Betsy Ivey, the Canon for Growth and Support at the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.

† Are you friendly?  We need you! Our greeter ministry is one of the key ministries of our church.  Greeters welcome visitors, make people comfortable, hand out service leaflets and take up offering.  They make sure the service runs smoothly. Starting in October, we will be organizing a monthly Greeters breakfast with the Rector, probably at a local restaurant.  If you’re interested in serving God in this way, talk to Jim Jervis or Fr. James.

† Morning Prayer is offered at 8:30AM on Sunday mornings and at 9:15AM Tuesdays through Fridays.  Anyone can pray the service privately using the Book of Common Prayer or one of a number of smartphone apps!  See the last section of the digital edition of the “Acts of the Apostles” for details.

Outreach

† Connect-by-Night begins tonight!  There are still some empty slots needed for lunch preparers!  See the sign-up sheet in the parish hall or online: bit.ly/2WbmPn3

† There are lots of opportunities to participate in Holy Apostles Outreach through our various programs:

      – Delivering items to a food pantry in Northeast Philadelphia

      – Meals at Darby Mission (3/17) or our annual holiday meal with the East Parkside Community Association (12/9). Other ideas are welcome. Please contact Joe Zorc (zorc@email.chop.edu) or see the sign-up sheet in the parish hall.

Children and Youth

† Nursery childcare is available during the 10:00AM Sunday service for children ages 3 and younger in the Godly Play Room.

† The Holy Apostles Choir School is off and running for the Fall of 2019.  If you have a potential student, apply today.  More information is available at holyapostlespa.org/choir-school/. Please forward this information to friends and neighbors who may be interested. Contact Deb Stambaugh if you have any questions.

† Christmas Pageant: December 15 during the 10AM service. Rehearsals will be during Sunday School (10AM) on Dec. 1, and Dec. 8. There will also be a rehearsal on Sat., Dec. 14 at 9AM. All children encouraged to participate! Contact Michelle Gallagher with questions or email holyapostlessundayschool@gmail.com.

Parish Life

† Caroling rehearsals at 6pm on December 5, 12, and 19. Christmas Caroling is on December 20, followed by Christmas Party!

† Pancakes with Santa! December 7th is next Saturday.  Please contact Drew Meiers with questions concerning volunteers!

† We are getting ready to refresh the hallway outside the church offices including some new paint, new furniture, and eventually new flooring.  As a result we have been moving some things around. The Lost & Found box is now located in the church office.

† If you have an announcement to be included in Acts of the Apostles, please send it to holyapostlescomm@gmail.com before Thursday at noon of each week.

† Don’t forget to enter the church through the Parish office door and grab a “Church Member” badge from the office during Daycare hours (7:00AM – 6:00PM Mon-Fri)!

† The Cash for Causes Program at Giant Supermarket:

· Purchase through JT Wertz

· 5% of card value is given to Holy Apostles operating fund.

· Can be used in store or when ordering Giant groceries through Peapod online delivery service.

Education

† Join us for BASICS class, every 3rd Sunday at 9AM. 

† Bible Study on Deuteronomy, Thursdays at 11AM.  All are welcome.

† FacePsalm online study of the Psalms: bit.ly/2ndKq9o

LITURGY PARTICIPANTS

December 8, 2019

Reader: Valle Brokes
Intercessor: Nancy Haas
Chalice Bearers: Christina King-Smith and Clifton Davis
Greeter: Jim Jervis
Acolytes: Thomas and Peter Mustered

December 15, 2019

Reader: Christmas Pageant
Intercessor: Toni Meiers
Chalice Bearers: Dan Dugan and Annette Smith
Greeter: Mike Johnson
Acolytes: Adrienne Hillis and Garrett Delevan

COFFEE HOUR HOSTS

December 1 Vicki & Tom Forker

December 8 Jim & Judy Jervis — St. Nicholas Visit

December 15 Christmas Pageant—Fellowship Committee

December 22 Dave & Annette Smith

December 29 Todd & Meg Delevan

A Note from the Rector 12/1/19

Happy New Year!  The first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of a new year of the Church Calendar.  The Church marks time differently than the rest of society, and in fact, the Church experiences time differently than the rest of society.  That’s what the Church calendar with all its strange nooks and crannies teaches us.  On the table in the office hallway is a stack of Church calendars, each household is welcome to take one.  It can be a tool to help  you experience time differently.  Which brings us to one of the many purposes and themes of Advent: preparation.  Advent is the season right before Christmas (it is not part of the Christmas season), and it is meant to be a time of preparation for the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord, when we celebrate Jesus’ first coming (advent is Latin for coming), as well as a season to remember and prepare for Jesus’ second advent, the future event when Christ will come in glory to judge the living and the dead, and establish a kingdom of perfect peace and justice forever more.  Advent is about watching and waiting.  It is about preparing our minds and hearts to receive Jesus. 

Advent calendars are a great way to help prepare us, and my wife, Deb has handmade Advent calendars for every family in our parish church.  The calendar consists of an envelope to open for every day of Advent.  The enclosed Scriptures and prayers will be a great tool to help us prepare for Christ’s arrival.  If you haven’t picked yours up, it is on the office hallway table. 

As the beginning of a new Church calendar year, Advent marks the reset of our cycle of Scripture readings called the lectionary.  Our Sunday Eucharist lectionary is a three year cycle: A, B, and C.  Today marks the beginning of Year A.  You’ll notice throughout the year that Year A focuses on the Gospel of Matthew. 

Advent is a special time.  I encourage you to shun the almost overwhelming temptation to being crazy busy during this season.  Shun the temptation to skip straight to Christmas without spending time to prepare your heart for it.  Take time to pay attention, to watch, and to wait.  Paradoxically, it is easy to miss Jesus at Christmas time if we aren’t careful to keep our minds and hearts on him, and focus on what is truly important.  Advent gives us space to find this focus.  May God richly bless you this Advent!   

In Christ,

James+

A Note from the Rector – 10/13/19

This is a special Sunday.  I know I’ve written that before, but really: this is a special Sunday.  Today we are honored to welcome our Mother parish, Holy Apostles and the Mediator for a special shared Eucharist AND we are honored to welcome Madeleine Diana Fleckser into Christ’s one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church through the Sacrament of baptism.  Each of these two events are exciting and wonderful in their own right, but they are also integrally connected.  Our history reveals part of this connection.


In 1868, the vestry and rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square decided to establish a mission church to serve the growing post-Civil War population of southwest Philadelphia.  They partnered with Church of the Mediator in Philadelphia. The church that grew from that partnership was Church of the Holy Apostles, first located on 21st & Christian streets.  By the early 20th century, Church of the Holy Apostles became the largest parish in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.  In the early years of the 1900s there were 5,000 children enrolled in the weekly Sunday School. Around this time, Church of the Mediator and Holy Apostles decided to partner, and a new building, Chapel of the Mediator, was built on 51st and Spruce streets in West Philadelphia in 1919.  The establishment of this chapel reflected the congregation’s movement from south to west Philadelphia.  As this migration increased after the First World War, the Chapel of the Mediator flourished, while the congregation which met at the original Holy Apostles diminished. 

In 1944, the original Holy Apostles building was sold and the parish was consolidated in West Philadelphia.  The church was renamed Holy Apostles and the Mediator. In 1950, Holy Apostles and Mediator established the Chapel of the Holy Apostles in Penn Wynne.  This reflects the fact that many members of the congregation were moving farther and farther west into the suburbs, a movement that has been dubbed “white flight.” 

The funds from the sale of the original building on 21st and Christian streets were used to buy this property and build the parish hall.  Throughout the 50s, Holy Apostles and the Mediator raised money to build our church building, while financially sustaining this new congregation and ensuring that its first priests, Robert Bauer and John Kolb were paid.  When the church was built in 1959, the furniture from the original Holy Apostles in South Philadelphia was installed here: the altar and reredos (the wood panel behind the altar), the pulpit, the lectern, and the baptismal font.  Thus, Holy Apostles and the Mediator is responsible for the holy physical objects that shape our worship of God here in Penn Wynne every week.  

The font that baby Maddie will be baptized in this morning was originally given to the church in 1896 by George C. Thomas, who was, along with his wife, the primary benefactor to Holy Apostles in all of its incarnations.  Over more than a century, hundreds, if not thousands, of people have been baptized in this very font. That means something. Baptism is a spiritual and mystical tie which binds every Christian in every time and every place to each other and to Christ.  This baptismal font is a tangible, physical link between what has ultimately become Church of the Holy Apostles, Penn Wynne and Holy Apostles and the Mediator. It is a physical reminder that our histories and destinies in Christ are bound up with each other.  We are because they are, and this font reminds us of the debt of gratitude that we owe our Mother congregation, whose generosity benefits us every Sunday and especially on Sundays like this.  Hopefully this baptismal font will serve today as a symbol of our friendship, our mutual love for each other, and the joy we share in worshipping our God together as sisters and brothers.

In Christ,
James+

Announcements – 10/13/19

Worship

† Our preacher next Sunday, October 20th will be Jeremiah Mustered, postulant for holy orders sponsored by the parish.

† There will be an Altar Guild Meeting next Sunday, October 20th immediately following the 10AM service.

† Please submit names of beloved deceased persons to be prayed for at our annual All Souls Day Mass (Holy Eucharist).  You can email them to holyapostlespa@gmail.com

† Are you friendly?  We need you! Our greeter ministry is one of the key ministries of our church.  Greeters welcome visitors, make people comfortable, hand out service leaflets and take up offering.  They make sure the service runs smoothly. Starting in October we will be organizing a monthly Greeters breakfast with the Rector, probably at a local restaurant.  If you’re interested in serving God in this way, talk to Jim Jervis or Fr. James.

† Morning Prayer is offered at 8:30AM on Sunday mornings and at 9:15AM Tuesdays through Fridays.  Anyone can pray the service privately using the Book of Common Prayer or one of a number of smartphone apps!  See the last section of the digital edition of the “Acts of the Apostles” for details.

Outreach

† There are lots of opportunities to participate in Holy Apostles Outreach through our various programs:

               –     Delivering items to a food pantry in Northeast Philadelphia

               –     Organizing supplies or gifts for our own Connect by Night shelter program coming for the month of December

               –     Meals at Darby Mission (3/17) or our annual holiday meal with the East Parkside Community Association (12/9). Other ideas are welcome. Please contact Joe Zorc (zorc@email.chop.edu) or see the sign-up sheet in the parish hall.

Children and Youth

† Nursery childcare is available during the 10:00AM Sunday service for children ages 3 and younger in the Godly Play Room.

† The Holy Apostles Choir School is off and running for the Fall of 2019.  If you have a potential student, apply today.  More information is available at holyapostlespa.org/choir-school/. Please forward this information to friends and neighbors who may be interested. Contact Deb Stambaugh if you have any questions.   

Parish Life

† Year-to-date statements for 2019 Stewardship pledges are available, pick yours up from the table in the hallway.  Those not picked up will be mailed.

† We are getting ready to refresh the hallway outside the church offices including some new paint, new furniture, and eventually new flooring.  As a result we have been moving some things around. The Lost & Found box is now located in the church office.

† If you have an announcement to be included in Acts of the Apostles, please send it to holyapostlescomm@gmail.com before Thursday at noon of each week.

† Don’t forget to enter the church through the Parish office door and grab a “Church Member” badge from the office during Daycare hours (7:00AM – 6:00PM Mon-Fri)!

† The Cash for Causes Program at Giant Supermarket:

· Purchase through JT Wertz

· 5% of card value is given to Holy Apostles operating fund.

· Can be used in store or when ordering Giant groceries through Peapod online delivery service.

Education

† Fall Soup Group: We are studying the lives and teachings of the Fathers and Mothers of the Church.  All sessions begin at 6:30PM

               October 23: Leaders of the Early Church

               October 30: The Seven Ecumenical Councils

               For a full list see our website: holyapostlespa.org/soup-group

† Join us for BASICS class, every 3rd Sunday at 9AM.  There will be a cycle of four classes, the first, Sunday Oct. 20, is on the Sacraments.

† Bible Study on Deuteronomy, Thursdays at 11AM.  All are welcome.

† FacePsalm online study of the Psalms: bit.ly/2ndKq9o