Acts of the Apostles – 01/24/2021

Week of January 24, 2021

Our all-parish annual meeting will take place virtually
NEXT SUNDAY, January 31, after the 10am service. 

We will meet on Zoom to vote to pass a budget and to elect new members of the vestry.  Next week this space will include the Zoom link and call-in number option. We will be using same link we use for nightly Compline. Please plan to join us for this important business meeting.

Dear CHA parishioners,

Our annual meeting has always included a delicious soup and sandwich lunch.  For obvious reasons, we will be postponing that meal until we can gather and share together again. However, we do want to be able to virtually share a bite to eat as we review 2020 and look forward to 2021. To that end, on Saturday 1/30 we will be delivering a bag of breakfast goodies to be enjoyed during our annual meeting being held Sunday, 1/31, following the 10 AM service.

Bon Appetit!

Suzanne Lees
Fellowship Committee Chairperson

THIS SUNDAY

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

This week’s Scripture readings – 3rd Sunday after Epiphany
Jonah 3:1-5, 10
Psalm 62:6-14
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
Mark 1:14-20

A Note from the Rector

We are preparing to elect two new members to our vestry next Sunday at our annual parish meeting.  This slate of candidates includes:

Linda Day
Linda and her husband John have been members of CHA since 2016.  Linda is the Pre-K Assistant Teacher at Plymouth Meeting Friends School.  She has been an integral volunteer for so many things at CHA, from gardening projects to pancakes with Santa.  She also serves on the Altar Guild.  Linda is a member of the Daughters of the King and is interested, with several others, in starting a chapter of DOK here at CHA.  John and Linda live in Wynnewood. 

Jean Gentile
Jean and his wife, Katie, joined CHA in 2019 after moving back to the area from Florida.  Jean and Katie have deep roots in this community.  Since the pandemic prevented us from meeting normally, Jean has been instrumental in building and facilitating the technology we’ve needed in order to conduct our services virtually.  A talented musician, Jean has used his talents combined with his technical skill to help create our virtual choir offerings.  Jean works for Electronic Arts.  Jean and Katie live in Havertown. 

We will also vote on a motion to allow Suzanne Lees to continue serving on the vestry for two more years.  At last year’s annual meeting, Suzanne was elected to complete the last year of Kevin Cavanaugh’s vestry term.  Given the challenges we have faced together in 2020, Suzanne has graciously volunteered to stay on the vestry and complete a typical three-year term.  I hope very much that we will vote to keep Suzanne.  She is a gift to this parish, and I am grateful for her willingness to continue to serve.  Her continued vestry term will provide much needed stability and continuity as we face 2021 and, with God’s help, emerge on the other side of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Thank you to all three vestry candidates.  I hope that all members of the parish will be able to join us online next Sunday, January 31, for our annual parish meeting. 

A Note on Vestries

The vestry and rector serve as the leadership of this parish together.  The vestry system is unique to the American branch of the Anglican Communion (The Episcopal Church).  During our colonial period, the Church of England operated in the American colonies under the direct authority of the Bishop of London.   [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, January 24, 2021 – 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany
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, January 31, 2021 – 4th Sunday after the Epiphany
Holy Eucharist, Rite II with Prayers of Spiritual Communion 10AM
Live-streamed, In-person attendance limited to 10
The Rev. James Stambaugh, celebrant & preacher
All-Parish Annual Meeting to follow this service on Zoom

Tuesday, February 2, 2021 – Candlemas, Feast of the Presentation of Christ to the Temple
Holy Eucharist, Rite II with Prayers of Spiritual Communion and Blessing of Candles 6:30 PM
Live-streamed, In-person attendance limited to 10
The Rev. James Stambaugh, celebrant & 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 passcode: love

Zoom Bible Studyis held every Thursday at 11AM
We will be starting a study of the Books of Daniel and Revelation. Now is a great time to join us as we get ready to discover a new view on the never-changing promises of God. 

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
and passcode: love

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

Announcements

+ Lenten Reading – Lent is just around the corner!  This year you are invited to participate in an All Parish Book Reading and Discussion. We will read a short, intriguing, and enjoyable book by Esther De Waal entitled 
Seeking God: The Way of St. Benedict
(Liturgical Press, 1984, updated 2001) 
There will be opportunities during Lent to discuss the book together. 
You are also welcome just to read the book on your own! You can find the book on Amazon or, you might consider supporting an independent bookstore such as Eighth Day Books or Hearts and Minds Books. You’ll want to order soon in order to ensure that it gets to you in time!

+ Girl Scout Cookies are here! For 6 years now Emma Gallagher has set up in the parish hall during coffee hour, but thanks to COVID, she is all online!  Emma is in Penn Valley/Welsh Valley Cadette Troop 7031. Our cookie sales fund the troop for the year – the girls have been meeting virtually and are really looking forward to seeing each other in person hopefully soon!

Flavors ($4 per box):
Toast-Yay (new this year – which is a French toast flavor), Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Patties, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Coconut Delights, Shortbreads, Lemonades and S’mores.

Click here to place an online order or go to: 
https://app.abcsmartcookies.com/#/social-link-landing/d209b161-8f30-4958-aa36-8807e0d457b1  You can choose shipping, or girl delivery with a credit card. You can also contact Michelle directly and use cash, check, Venmo, PayPal, etc.  Emma can deliver or set up a time to meet (socially distanced) in the church parking lot.  
Emma says “thank you for your support of our troop!” 
Cookie sales run from January 21- March 14.

+ 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 will be starting a study of the Books of Daniel and Revelation. Now is a great time to join us as we get ready to discover a new view on the never-changing promises of God. . 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 January.
2nd     Paul March
4th      Jamie Grant
5th      Bradford Smith
7th      Katie Gentile
8th      Kalli Miller
20th    Deborah Stambaugh
21st    Maddie Johnson
           Paige Johnson
25th    Christine Costello
If your birthday, or the birthday of another parishioner in your family is missing, please notify the Parish Office at holyapostlespa@gmail.com

Copyright © 2021  Church of the Holy Apostles, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
1020 Remington Road, Wynnewood, PA 19096 

A Note from the Rector – 01/24/2021

We are preparing to elect two new members to our vestry next Sunday at our annual parish meeting.  This slate of candidates includes:

Linda Day

Linda and her husband John have been members of CHA since 2016.  Linda is the Pre-K Assistant Teacher at Plymouth Meeting Friends School.  She has been an integral volunteer for so many things at CHA, from gardening projects to pancakes with Santa.  She also serves on the Altar Guild.  Linda is a member of the Daughters of the King and is interested, with several others, in starting a chapter of DOK here at CHA.  John and Linda live in Wynnewood. 

Jean Gentile

Jean and his wife, Katie, joined CHA in 2019 after moving back to the area from Florida.  Jean and Katie have deep roots in this community.  Since the pandemic prevented us from meeting normally, Jean has been instrumental in building and facilitating the technology we’ve needed in order to conduct our services virtually.  A talented musician, Jean has used his talents combined with his technical skill to help create our virtual choir offerings.  Jean works for Electronic Arts.  Jean and Katie live in Havertown. 

We will also vote on a motion to allow Suzanne Lees to continue serving on the vestry for two more years.  At last year’s annual meeting, Suzanne was elected to complete the last year of Kevin Cavanaugh’s vestry term.  Given the challenges we have faced together in 2020, Suzanne has graciously volunteered to stay on the vestry and complete a typical three-year term.  I hope very much that we will vote to keep Suzanne.  She is a gift to this parish, and I am grateful for her willingness to continue to serve.  Her continued vestry term will provide much needed stability and continuity as we face 2021 and, with God’s help, emerge on the other side of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Thank you to all three vestry candidates.  I hope that all members of the parish will be able to join us online next Sunday, January 31, for our annual parish meeting. 

A Note on Vestries

The vestry and rector serve as the leadership of this parish together.  The vestry system is unique to the American branch of the Anglican Communion (The Episcopal Church).  During our colonial period, the Church of England operated in the American colonies under the direct authority of the Bishop of London.  There were no bishops on American soil until after the American Revolution.  There were also no seminaries, and colonies eventually experienced a dire clergy shortage.  The vestry system developed out of this necessity.  In order for parishes to survive, they needed to have strong lay leadership.  Especially in colonies like Virginia where the Church of England was the Established Church, parishes were not just church communities they functioned as geographical entities (similar to the old system of counties and parishes in England).  The parish vestries that developed, then, did not just administer the temporal affairs of the parish church, but also, in many cases, served as civil administrators of the entire geographical parish.  From this history, our contemporary vestry system has developed.  Unique to Anglicanism, (and also to Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and many “Mainline” denominations), a vestry in the Episcopal church is tasked with hiring a rector in consultation with the bishop. 

Vestries are a testament to a fact just as true today as it was in colonial America, and indeed everywhere at every time: the church’s backbone is strong lay leadership.  The New Testament puts this in theological terms.  All baptized Christians are called to be in the “priesthood of all believers” (1 Peter 2:5).  We are all ministers of the Gospel, and essential parts of the Body of Christ, the Church.  Our role as priests, under Jesus the Great High Priest (Hebrews 7), is to pray for and bless this world, and by our lives, to bring this world closer to God’s Kingdom.  That’s the cosmic picture.  The local picture seems more mundane.  During the pandemic the vestry met monthly on Zoom and passed numerous emails back and forth, conducting the business of the church.   Don’t be fooled.  The work of the vestry is profound, essential, and beautiful.  It is nothing short of committed, loving members of this local congregation quietly doing God’s work day in and day out.  I am so grateful. 

Acts of the Apostles – 01/17/2021

Week of January 17, 2021
Our all-parish annual meeting will take place virtually on
Sunday, January 31, after the 10am service. 
 We will meet on Zoom, vote to pass a budget and elect new members of the vestry.  Watch this space for details and plan to join us for this important business meeting.

This Sunday

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

This week’s Scripture readings – 2nd Sunday after Epiphany
1 Samuel 3:1-20
Psalm 139:1-5, 12-17
1 Corinthians 6:12-20
John 1:43-51

A Note from the Rector

In my sermon last Sunday I said that partisan politics is not the business of the Church.  Instead, I posited, the Church is a politics all of its own.  I want to use a few of these Rector’s Notes to act as footnotes to back that statement up, and to elaborate on it especially from Scripture.  Mostly, I want to meditate on some passages of Scripture that are undeniably political and yet point to what I would call God’s politics, or, in the language of Scripture: the Kingdom of God. God’s reign is in direct contrast to many of the political machinations that we humans have come up with over the millennia.  In these explorations, I am taking the long view.  Yes, I think Scripture speaks to our pressing current situations, but it does so “sidelong.” It is with an understanding that God’s timing is not humanity’s and that political brokenness is not something that is new (even if it is urgent).  So, without naming names, or drawing conclusions that each of you can draw on your own, I want to begin in the first book of the Bible, Genesis.
 
The Tower of Babel
 
Genesis 11:1-12 relates the well-known, but not well understood, story of the Tower of Babel.  It’s worth reading again since it may have been awhile (the last time it came up in the Sunday lectionary was Pentecost, June 9, 2019). 
 
The story is set in the distant past when humans were first gathering together and building cities.  It relates how a group of humans migrated to the plains of Shinar (also known as Mesopotamia, modern day Iraq and Iran).  [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 January 17, 2021 – 2nd Sunday after the Epiphany
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 January 24, 2021 – 3rd Sunday after the Epiphany
Holy Eucharist, Rite II with Prayers of Spiritual Communion 10AM
Live-streamed, In-person attendance limited to 10
The Rev. James Stambaugh, celebrant & 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 held every Thursday at 11AM
We will be starting a new book of the Bible in the next few weeks. Now is a great time to join us as we get ready to discover a new view on the never-changing promises of God. 

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

+ Pledge Update: Hold Fast With 34 pledges received our current pledge number is $119,094.  We are still expecting several more pledges and are on track to meet last year’s pledge amount and meet our budget needs for 2021. If you have been meaning to pledge, there’s still time!  Send in your pledge card, or request a new one from James or JT.  Thank you so much to everyone who gives of their time, talent, and treasure so that Holy Apostles can remain a faithful, hopeful, and generous community of faith that spreads the love of Jesus in our neighborhoods and world.

+ Outreach Opportunity – MLK Day Food & Supply Drive: On Monday, January 18, Haverford Township will hold a food & supply drive from 10am-2pm at the Haverford Community Recreation & Environmental Center, 9000 Parkview Drive, Haverford. Items to be collected: non-perishable food, paper products, cleaning supplies, baby care items including diapers, wipes and bottles, children’s clothes, pots & pans, books and school supplies. See Haverford Township website for more details.

+ “Bread for the Journey” – a virtual Epiphany pilgrimage!
The season of Epiphany marks a time of journey, illumination, and the manifestation of God as a child of refugees. As a diocese in 2021, we will be walking a different kind of pilgrimage this year: a journey of inner illumination to discover where God is manifest among us today. This year-long journey begins with our first virtual pilgrimage in Epiphany. Recalling the holy family’s flight to Egypt, we will enter the sacred story of scripture and our own lives to share stories of migration, immigration, hope, fear, and flight. We hope that you’re able to join us for this special time together next Thursday, 1/21, at 6:30pm   https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bread-for-the-journey-epiphany-refugee-pilgrimage-tickets-136346093837   
The pilgrimage is free and open to all in the diocese – please feel free to share this invitation with others.

+ 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 will be starting a new book of the Bible in the next few weeks. Now is a great time to join us as we get ready to discover a new view on the never-changing promises of God. . 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 January.2nd     Paul March
4th      Jamie Grant
5th      Bradford Smith
7th      Katie Gentile
8th      Kalli Miller
20th    Deborah Stambaugh
21st    Maddie Johnson
           Paige Johnson
25th    Christine Costello
If your birthday, or the birthday of another parishioner in your family is missing, please notify the Parish Office at holyapostlespa@gmail.com
Copyright © 2021  Church of the Holy Apostles, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
1020 Remington Road, Wynnewood, PA 19096 

A Note from the Rector – 01/17/2021

In my sermon last Sunday I said that partisan politics is not the business of the Church.  Instead, I posited, the Church is a politics all of its own.  I want to use a few of these Rector’s Notes to act as footnotes to back that statement up, and to elaborate on it especially from Scripture.  Mostly, I want to meditate on some passages of Scripture that are undeniably political and yet point to what I would call God’s politics, or, in the language of Scripture: the Kingdom of God. God’s reign is in direct contrast to many of the political machinations that we humans have come up with over the millennia.  In these explorations, I am taking the long view.  Yes, I think Scripture speaks to our pressing current situations, but it does so “sidelong.” It is with an understanding that God’s timing is not humanity’s and that political brokenness is not something that is new (even if it is urgent).  So, without naming names, or drawing conclusions that each of you can draw on your own, I want to begin in the first book of the Bible, Genesis.

The Tower of Babel

Genesis 11:1-12 relates the well-known, but not well understood, story of the Tower of Babel.  It’s worth reading again since it may have been awhile (the last time it came up in the Sunday lectionary was Pentecost, June 9, 2019). 

The story is set in the distant past when humans were first gathering together and building cities.  It relates how a group of humans migrated to the plains of Shinar (also known as Mesopotamia, modern day Iraq and Iran).  They developed the technology to make bricks by baking mud and adding bitumen, and they created mortar to hold them together.  This technology allowed them, apparently for the first time ever, to start building a city.  As the crowning achievement of this city, they began building a great tower.  They wanted to the tower to reach to the heavens, “in order to make a name for themselves.”    They all spoke the same language.  God sees what they are doing and says something fascinating.  We are meant to imagine God enthroned in God’s council, surrounded by the heavenly hosts.  That is why God is speaking as if to a group.  God says, “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.  Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”  That’s exactly what happens and, as a consequence, the overly ambitious building project is abandoned.  The people are scattered around the area, each one looking for the others who speak their language.  Each one is struggling to be understood and to be heard. 

The theological and ethical point of this story is that God judges the pride and hubris of humanity. One of the most remarkably consistent messages in Scripture—from Genesis to Revelation and almost every book in-between—is that prideful people will always come under God’s judgement in the end, but that God will always be merciful to those who have humility.  The tower of Babel story supports the notion that chaos and division are the consequences of pride as it is carried out in the public square.  From the perspective from which the story is told, God’s judgement means that God scrambled the languages.  From a human point of view, and from the perspective of history, it is easy to see that prideful leadership always results in division and chaos.  We recognize both God’s judgement and the natural consequences of pride are the same.  As St. Paul puts in Galatians, “you reap what you sow.”

Anthropologically and archeologically, the story of Babel is interesting because it seems to be set in a period of human history, around 12,000 to 20,000 years ago, when humans first began building cities and establishing civilizations on a large scale.  Two new human inventions supported the rise of the first cities in Mesopotamia, subsistence agriculture and slavery.  Archeology suggests that the first cities in Mesopotamia built around this time included large pyramid type buildings that towered over all the other buildings.  Scholars suspect that such a building is what the writer of Genesis had in mind in the story of the tower of Babel.  Called, ziggurats, these ancient buildings were temples for the worship of a several ancient deities.  In a fascinating concurrence, these structures from the Near East look and probably functioned remarkably similar to pyramids that were constructed in Central and South America by early Meso-American civilizations, though the latter were built thousands of years later. 

But, what does this story have to do with politics, particularly the politics of today’s Church?  A clue is found in the lectionary.  As I alluded to earlier, the story of the tower of Babel is read on the Feast of Pentecost in lectionary year C.  There is a reason for this.  The lectionary invites us intentionally to contrast Babel with the story of the Day of the Pentecost and the founding of the Church found in Acts 2.  You’ll remember that on that day, the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus’ disciples who had gathered in the upper room.  When the Holy Spirit arrived, they began speaking in other languages (among other things).  This is called glossolalia, and it was mentioned in last Sunday’s readings as well in relationship to Baptism (Acts 19:1-17).  On Pentecost day, the disciples spoke in other languages.  In Jerusalem for the Passover and its attendant festivals, there were members of the Jewish diaspora who were from many parts of the ancient world and spoke a variety of languages.  When these folks heard the disciples and understood what they were saying in a variety of different languages, they were amazed and many of them believed their message about Jesus. 

At Pentecost, God was constituting a new community—the Church—a new society, a new city even.  This new political body was a reversal of the chaos and discordance of Babel.   The Tower of Babel represents God’s judgement against human pride and hubris, but God’s judgement is never the final word.  God’s mercy always is. In contrast to a society that is founded on pride and human hubris, God founds a different kind of community, the Church.  The Church can only be founded on the self-giving love of Jesus, and on a new and mysterious kind of power: the power of the Holy Spirit.  This spiritual power does not coerce or use violence to achieve its ends.  Rather the power of the Holy Spirit is the power to meet others where they are, use the language they use, and invite them to experience Jesus’ love for themselves.  It is the power to constitute a society based on the principles of the Gospel.  When the Church relies on this power (even though this power seems like weakness to this world) the Church cannot fail.  When the Church, through pride or fear, resorts to other forms of power such as nationalism or violence, it stops being the Church that God intends.  Its witness to the saving grace of Jesus is strongly diminished and it needs to turn around. 

Acts of the Apostle – 01/10/2021

Week of January 10, 2021

Our all-parish annual meeting will take place virtually on Sunday, January 31 after the 10am service. We will meet on Zoom, vote to pass a budget and elect new members of the vestry.  Watch this space for details and plan to join us for this important business meeting.

This Sunday

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

This week’s Scripture readings1st Sunday after the Epiphany
Genesis 1:1-5
Psalm 29
Acts 19:1-7
Mark 1:4-11

A Note from the Rector

I am not going to rush to capture all my thoughts regarding the attack on the Capitol building which happened on the Feast of the Epiphany.  I was horrified and outraged.  But by themselves, my emotions don’t mean much.  Horror and outrage will only go so far.  The real work lies on the other side.  But, I’m not going to rush past all that toward the construction of a grand analysis, solution, or even a cogent essay of any kind.  I have much to process as we all do.  For now, I am going to offer one thought and plead one cause. 
 
Holy Apostles is our local incarnation of Body of Christ.  St. Paul tells us that we are all members of one body (Romans 12).  A member of the body attacking another member of the body is analogous to one of the most dangerous aspects of the coronavirus for a lot people, especially those who are otherwise healthy.  The virus tricks the body’s immune system into attacking the body itself.  In the same way, the virus of hatred and division (a spiritual, cultural, and political malaise) is tricking the body of Christ into attacking itself.  This cannot be.  Now more than ever, we need to love each other and stick by each other.  We do not need to completely agree with each other, except in one case—that we are members of the Body of Christ.  Don’t believe our society that claims the only thing that matters is being right, that the “gotcha” moment is what counts.  The only thing that matters is the love of Jesus that transforms the world.  In the FINAL analysis, the moment that counts is when you were baptized into the Body of Christ, transformed and saved by the grace of God.  We need to be careful what we say to each other, especially on social media.  Social media gives us a false sense of removal from the real consequences of our words.  It tricks us into thinking we can say whatever we want; to be more forceful, mean, and cruel than we would ever dream of being in a face-to-face conversation.  I confess to you my siblings in Christ, I am guilty of this more times than I can count.  The love of Jesus is calling us to be different.  Grace and peace are not won by winning on the internet. 
 
This doesn’t mean we should not have real conversations about the issues which threaten to destroy the country in which we live.  Going forward, after the outrage and horror subsides, we’re going to have to figure out ways on the grassroots level to talk about this stuff in ways that honor God and honor our sacred obligation to love each other as Christ loves us. 

Services

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

Sunday January 10, 2021 – 1st Sunday after the Epiphany
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 January 17, 2021 – 2nd Sunday after the Epiphany
Holy Eucharist, Rite II with Prayers of Spiritual Communion 10AM
Live-streamed, In-person attendance limited to 10
The Rev. James Stambaugh, celebrant & 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 Studyis held every Thursday at 11AM
We will be starting a new book of the Bible in the next few weeks. Now is a great time to join us as we get ready to discover a new view on the never-changing promises of God. 

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

+ Pledge Update: Hold Fast With 34 pledges received our current pledge number is $119,094.  We are still expecting several more pledges and are on track to meet last year’s pledge amount and meet our budget needs for 2021. If you have been meaning to pledge, there’s still time!  Send in your pledge card, or request a new one from James or JT.  Thank you so much to everyone who gives of their time, talent, and treasure so that Holy Apostles can remain a faithful, hopeful, and generous community of faith that spreads the love of Jesus in our neighborhoods and world.

+ Christmas Poinsettias: The flowers have been placed in the Narthex. If you would like one, please feel free to stop by and pick one up.

+ 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 will be starting a new book of the Bible in the next few weeks. Now is a great time to join us as we get ready to discover a new view on the never-changing promises of God. . 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 January.
2nd     Paul March
4th      Jamie Grant
5th      Bradford Smith
7th      Katie Gentile
20th    Deborah Stambaugh
21st    Maddie Johnson
           Paige Johnson
25th    Christine Costello
If your birthday, or the birthday of another parishioner in your family is missing, please notify the Parish Office at holyapostlespa@gmail.com

A Note from the Rector – 01/10/2021

I am not going to rush to capture all my thoughts regarding the attack on the Capitol building which happened on the Feast of the Epiphany.  I was horrified and outraged.  But by themselves, my emotions don’t mean much.  Horror and outrage will only go so far.  The real work lies on the other side.  But, I’m not going to rush past all that toward the construction of a grand analysis, solution, or even a cogent essay of any kind.  I have much to process as we all do.  For now, I am going to offer one thought and plead one cause. 

Holy Apostles is our local incarnation of Body of Christ.  St. Paul tells us that we are all members of one body (Romans 12).  A member of the body attacking another member of the body is analogous to one of the most dangerous aspects of the coronavirus for a lot people, especially those who are otherwise healthy.  The virus tricks the body’s immune system into attacking the body itself.  In the same way, the virus of hatred and division (a spiritual, cultural, and political malaise) is tricking the body of Christ into attacking itself.  This cannot be.  Now more than ever, we need to love each other and stick by each other.  We do not need to completely agree with each other, except in one case—that we are members of the Body of Christ.  Don’t believe our society that claims the only thing that matters is being right, that the “gotcha” moment is what counts.  The only thing that matters is the love of Jesus that transforms the world.  In the FINAL analysis, the moment that counts is when you were baptized into the Body of Christ, transformed and saved by the grace of God.  We need to be careful what we say to each other, especially on social media.  Social media gives us a false sense of removal from the real consequences of our words.  It tricks us into thinking we can say whatever we want; to be more forceful, mean, and cruel than we would ever dream of being in a face-to-face conversation.  I confess to you my siblings in Christ, I am guilty of this more times than I can count.  The love of Jesus is calling us to be different.  Grace and peace are not won by winning on the internet. 

This doesn’t mean we should not have real conversations about the issues which threaten to destroy the country in which we live.  Going forward, after the outrage and horror subsides, we’re going to have to figure out ways on the grassroots level to talk about this stuff in ways that honor God and honor our sacred obligation to love each other as Christ loves us.

Acts of the Apostles – 01/03/2021

Week of January 3, 2021

Our all-parish annual meeting will take place virtually on Sunday, January 31 after the 10am service. We will meet on Zoom, vote to pass a budget and elect new members of the vestry.  Look for details in the Acts of the Apostles, and plan to join us for this important business meeting.

This Sunday

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

This week’s Scripture readings2nd Sunday after Christmas
Jeremiah 31:7-14
Ephesians 1:3-6,15-19a
Matthew 2:13-15,19-23
Psalm 84 

A Note from the Rector

Several weeks ago I wrote about angels in this space and promised to write more.  I wanted to link some of the descriptions of angels that we can find in Scripture to our actual liturgy and practice as Christians.  I am trying to get at what angels actually have to do with you and me in our lived experience.  I want to start with an early Christian theologian and reader of Scripture who took all the various references to angelic beings in Scripture and in other sources, ancient Jewish literature for example, and systematized them into categories.  Now, boxing such things into categories is satisfying but dangerous.  Nevertheless, I think these categories of angelic beings are interesting and can, at least, give us a framework in which to think about them, as long as we aren’t too dogmatic about it. [more]

Services

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

Sunday January 3, 2021 – 2nd Sunday after Christmas
Holy Eucharist, Rite II with Prayers of Spiritual Communion 10AM
Live-streamed, In-person attendance limited to 10
The Rev. James Stambaugh, celebrant & preacher

Wednesday January 6, 2021 – Feast of the Epiphany
Holy Eucharist, Rite II with Prayers of Spiritual Communion 6:30PM
Live-streamed, In-person attendance limited to 10
The Rev. James Stambaugh, celebrant & preacher

Sunday January 10, 2021 – 1st Sunday after the Epiphany
Holy Eucharist, Rite II with Prayers of Spiritual Communion 10AM
Live-streamed, In-person attendance limited to 10
The Rev. James Stambaugh, celebrant & 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

+ There will be a special weekday service on Wednesday, January 6 @ 6:30PM to celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. The service will be limited to 10 people in attendance but will also be live-streamed to our YouTube channel. We hope you’ll join us for this special day in the church calendar.

+ Pledge Update: Hold Fast With 34 pledges received our current pledge number is $119,094.  We are still expecting several more pledges and are on track to meet last year’s pledge amount and meet our budget needs for 2021. If you have been meaning to pledge, there’s still time!  Send in your pledge card, or request a new one from James or JT.  Thank you so much to everyone who gives of their time, talent, and treasure so that Holy Apostles can remain a faithful, hopeful, and generous community of faith that spreads the love of Jesus in our neighborhoods and world.

+ 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 January.2nd     Paul March
4th      Jamie Grant
5th      Bradford Smith
7th      Katie Gentile
20th    Deborah Stambaugh
21st    Maddie Johnson
           Paige Johnson
25th    Christine Costello
If your birthday, or the birthday of another parishioner in your family is missing, please notify the Parish Office at holyapostlespa@gmail.com

A Note from the Rector – 01/03/2021

Several weeks ago I wrote about angels in this space and promised to write more.  I wanted to link some of the descriptions of angels that we can find in Scripture to our actual liturgy and practice as Christians.  I am trying to get at what angels actually have to do with you and me in our lived experience.  I want to start with an early Christian theologian and reader of Scripture who took all the various references to angelic beings in Scripture and in other sources, ancient Jewish literature for example, and systematized them into categories.  Now, boxing such things into categories is satisfying but dangerous.  Nevertheless, I think these categories of angelic beings are interesting and can, at least, give us a framework in which to think about them, as long as we aren’t too dogmatic about it. 

This framework is from a 5th century text called the On the Celestial Hierarchy, by a person who is now known as Pseudo-Dionysus (long story behind the name).  Here are the categories of the heavenly host according to this text, grouped in three groups of three: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones; Dominions, Virtues, Powers; Principalities, Archangels, Angels.  

Immediately you’ll notice that angels and archangels are at the end of the list.  While we might colloquially refer to all these creatures as angels, the heavenly beings that function as messengers, (for that is what the word “angel” means) represent a small portion of the heavenly host.  The ordering begins with those beings closest to the eternal presence of God almighty and work “outward” to those whose function in God’s economy take them to various aspects of the material world and human interaction.  As messengers and defenders of humanity, archangels and angels appear closest to us in the heavenly ranks. 

I don’t have the space in this week’s “Note” to write about all 9 ranks of the heavenly host, but I will at least write a little about the first two and the last two, particularly with what they have to do with our worship here on earth.  Think of this as a commentary on our Sunday Eucharistic liturgy.  With the Christmas story fresh on our minds, we remember that the angel (messenger) of the Lord visited shepherds with Good News of great joy, and then was joined by a multitude of the heavenly host—perhaps not just angels, but others from the ranks of heaven—who sing: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth…”.  This proclamation of the heavenly host forms the basis for the standard opening hymn of our Eucharistic liturgy, called the Gloria.  Since it is the proclamation of the angels and, traditionally, the archangels such as Gabriel, the Gloria makes perfect sense as the opening of what is called the Liturgy of the Word.  This is the first half of our service, in which we proclaim the Good News of God’s salvation week after week by reading Scripture, preaching the sermon, and reciting the Creed.  The Liturgy of the Word is the message of the angels over and over again, amplified by human voices.  The Liturgy of the Word is followed by the Liturgy of the Table (the altar), and that is where we next meet with heavenly beings. 

Here is a really important moment in our Eucharistic liturgy.  To set the scene: we’ve gathered together our gifts, including the elements of bread and wine and, in the offering, we’ve offered them to God “from whom all blessing flow.”  There is an opening dialogue (“The Lord be with you”) which establishes the fact that we are joining our prayers together and that, with the consent of those gathered, the priest is representing the prayers and thanksgivings of the entire assembly.  Then comes a paragraph called a “proper preface” which usually sets the scene, the liturgical season, etc. and answers the question, Why is it “a right and good thing always and everywhere to praise God”?  Then comes the moment I am thinking about.  The culmination of the proper preface is always the observation that we humans are joining our Eucharistic prayer with the ongoing praise and prayer of the “angels, the archangels, and all the company of heaven, who forever sing this hymn to the glory of Your [God’s] name: Holy, Holy, Holy…”. They’re joining us, or rather, we’re joining them and the liturgies of humans intersect with the liturgy of the angels. 

Along with the angels and archangels, whose message we joined during the liturgy of the Word, the company of heaven actually refers in particular to seraphim, cherubim, and thrones, the first three ranks in the list I shared above.  This becomes clear when we examine the biblical sources for this part of the Eucharistic prayer. 

As a note, “seraphim” is Hebrew and translates to English as “burning ones” (yes, it is plural).  There are many mentions of seraphim in Scripture but one in particular pertains to the liturgy of the Eucharist, Isaiah 6:1-5:

In the year that King Uzzi′ah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and his train filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim; each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Notice that seraphim stand above the throne of God and have six wings.  The seraphim’s role is to eternally stand vigil near God’s throne and to sing endless praise to the mighty One.  Similar are the cherubim.  Cherubim are described in the book of Ezekiel to creatures with four wings, and four heads: the heads of a lion, a human, an eagle, and ox (Ezekiel 1:5-11; compare this to the creatures who adorn our pulpit and who represent the four gospels).  These obviously do not look like cuddly babies with dainty wings that were popularized by renaissance painters.  Cherubim have a variety of roles ascribed to them in the Old Testament, but the most significant one seems to be the bearers of the throne of God.  In Ezekiel, God’s throne is depicted as a flaming chariot that is drawn by the cherubim.  In Exodus, God tells Moses to recreate a material copy of the throne room of God that Moses experiences atop Mt. Sinai.  Moses does this and builds the tabernacle, with the Ark of Covenant being God’s throne.  On top of the Ark of the Covenant are two golden cherubim upon which God’s glory resides. 

In Revelation, the last book of the New Testament, John the author receives a vision of the heavenly throne room that is similar to Isaiah’s vision. 

Around the throne, and on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with a face like a human face, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and inside. Day and night without ceasing they sing,

“Holy, holy, holy,
the Lord God the Almighty,
    who was and is and is to come.”

Revelation 4:6-8 NRSV

Here, John sees living creatures whose attributes combine Isaiah’s description of the seraphim, Ezekiel’s description of the cherubim, as well as Ezekiel’s description of another creature named, thrones, which are living wheels with eyes that form the chariot/throne of God.  These creatures not only worship God the Father, they worship the Lamb who was slain, who is at the right hand of God.  The Lamb is Christ who is the eternal sacrifice, once offered for the salvation of the whole world.  Christ is there on the heavenly altar (of which the ancient tabernacle is a copy), and Christ is made present in our midst in the Eucharist.  At that moment, earth and heaven are joined, righteousness and mercy kiss, and our voices truly are joined with the hosts of heaven in eternal praise.  

Acts of the Apostles – 12/20/2020

Week of December 20, 2020

Join us Sunday for our 10 AM livestream to see the 2020 Children’s Pageant.
So many have worked so hard to create this special event. Don’t miss it!

THIS SUNDAY:

10AM Holy Eucharist & Children’s Pageant
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 readings – Fourth Advent
Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26
Romans 16:25-27
Luke 1:26-38

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

Services

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

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, presider

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 – Last minute gift needs: Our next dinner for Connect by Night is this Wednesday, December 23, which will also be the night of gift distribution. We can still use donations of the following:
shampoo (9 regular OR 18 travel size)
gloves (5)
toothpaste (8)
gently used winter coats gratefully accepted
Any surplus items collected will be saved for additional CBN guests and distributed as needed. More Giant gift cards will also be delivered to St Mary’s Pantry this week for distribution. To arrange drop off, please email Cassie Woestman or phone/text at 610-608-5440. And thank you again for your extraordinary generosity to those in need.

+ Silent Night Candlelight Video: Join us in a reimagining of a CHA Christmas tradition. Arrange a time for one of our videographers to visit your home. We 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.   

+ Church-wide Christmas Card: You still have a few days to send in your Christmas photo for our Church-wide Christmas card. Please send your photo to Katie Gentile 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: Don’t forget to click this link and take 2-3 minutes to fill out 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: The Chrismon tree will be erected and ready for decorations beginning Sunday, December 20th 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! 

+ BuildOn Julia and Sarah Zorc are members of the BuildOn service club at Lower Merion High School. You may remember this organization from Robbie Zorc and Barbara Peck’s trip to Malawi, Africa 5 years ago. BuildOn is hosting a virtual gala on Saturday, December 19th from 5:00-8:00 pm to raise money for the construction of a primary school in Burkina Faso, Africa. Although students cannot travel there this year, all funds raised will go towards its construction costs. You can access the BuildOn Gala through a livestream on the Lower Merion District Website  For every $10 that you donate by Saturday, you will be entered in a raffle for over $400 worth of prizes!  You can donate during the event, or in advance on the BuildOn fundraising page. If you have any questions please feel free to email Julia Zorc or call/text her at 610-592-6105. 

+ 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  

+ 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

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