A Note from the Rector – 2/16/2020

Next Sunday, the 23rd of February, is the last Sunday before Lent begins. Can you believe it? I love Lent! I am always excited about the prospect of preparing for Easter, of taking on a spiritual project in order to get ready to receive the greatest and most profound truth there is, the truth that has reordered the universe and which makes all the difference, the truth that gives us hope in death and peace during this life—the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  If preparing for THAT doesn’t make you excited, I don’t know what will. 

Now is the time to begin thinking about what is called a Lenten Rule of Life. A Rule of Life is an intentional pattern of spiritual practices that help shape and form you in a more Godward direction. It is not meant to be a spiritual straight-jacket or an extra to-do list that ends up just making you feel bad about yourself. Rather, a Rule should be a living and life-giving set of practices, ideals, intentions, and hopes. Making a Lenten Rule is about being intentional in your spiritual preparation for Easter. I am rather haphazard sometimes, so the act of being intentional is really helpful for me.  

A Lenten Rule can be as simple as “I am going to give X for Lent.” However, to get the most out of Lent I would encourage you to take a more holistic approach. God wants to be part of every aspect of our lives. It is not really possible to partition off your spiritual life from other aspects of your life and it is really unhealthy to try. So, in your Lenten Rule you might try to engage several aspects of your life in a holistic way. Think about a way to engage different aspects of who you are in Lenten preparation: mental, physical, emotional, etc. You might think about engaging your mind spiritually through taking up a Bible study, by reading a devotional book (I’ll have a bunch of suggestions next week, or you can find your own), and/or by engaging in our Soup Group discussions (Wednesdays during Lent at 6:30PM). 

Fasting is about engaging your physical body, its hungers and desires, in the process of forming yourself to be more like Jesus. Fasting is a very individual thing and should take into consideration your overall health. For instance, folks who have trouble regulating their blood sugar have no business whatsoever in fasting from food in any significant way, but they might consider fasting from other things they enjoy. There are other ways of fasting that have more to do with making mental and emotional space for spiritual growth, such as a fast from social media, or by limiting the amount of screen time we engage in.  

Every Lenten Rule should include prayer. Prayer is the essential tool for spiritual development and is our lifeline to God. As Christians, we should not be able to (or want to) imagine living a day without prayer, however simple our prayers may be.  Even wanting to pray is a prayer in and of itself. Prayer is what integrates us, body, mind, and spirit, and helps to make us whole.  There are many ways to pray. Do some exploring this Lent. Try out a new way to pray.  

Next Sunday, our annual Lenten Offerings booklet will be available (let me know if you’d like me to mail you one!). This booklet will detail the resources that will be available through Holy Apostles for your spiritual growth this Lent, but don’t let that be end of your exploring. Do your own research. And of course, I *love* to talk about this stuff. If you want to discuss spiritual disciplines, prayer, fasting, or Lent in general let me know!

In Christ,

James+

This Week at Holy Apostles – 2/9/2020

Sunday, February 9
Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
Celebrant and Preacher: The Rev. James Stambaugh

8:30a Morning Prayer
10:00a Holy Eucharist


Monday, February 10

Parish Offices closed

Tuesday, February 11

9:15a Morning Prayer
3:30-6:00p Choir School

Wednesday, February 12

9:15a Morning Prayer

Thursday, February 13

9:15a Morning Prayer
11:00a Bible Study
3:30-6:00p Choir School

Friday, February 14

9:15a Morning Prayer

Sunday, February 16
Sixth Sunday after Epiphany
Celebrant and Preacher: The Rev. James Stambaugh

8:30a Morning Prayer
10:00a Holy Eucharist

Announcements – 2/9/2020

Worship

† Next Sunday, join us as we welcome the children of the choir school of Delaware for a special service of Evensong at 5PM.

† Lent is coming!  Ash Wednesday is February 26.  We will have three services with opportunities for the imposition of ashes, as well as, a potential “ashes to go” location at Pennfield station.  Services are as follows:

† 9:15am: Imposition of Ashes (no Eucharist)

† 12:15pm: Eucharist and the Imposition of Ashes

† 6:30pm: Eucharist and the Imposition of Ashes with music

† 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

      – Meals at Darby Mission (3/17). Other ideas are welcome.

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.  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

† Apostles Gallery, our new parish artistic endeavor (and hallway wall beautification project), will offer a new exhibition of work for Lent entitled “Jerusalem: Meditations on the Holy City.”  This show will feature woodcuts by Margaret Adams Parker inspired by her pilgrimages to the Holy City, as well as photographs from last year’s diocesan pilgrimage, and more. Artwork will be for sale and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Princess Basma Center, a Jerusalem based children’s hospital and school operated by the Episicopal Diocese of Jerusalem.  There will be a fun opening reception on March 7th at 6:30PM.

† 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

† Death is inevitable.  As Christians we’re called to prepare for death in the hope of the Resurrection.  Our Lenten Soup Group this year will focus on the theology and practice of a good death.  The five weeks series will be held on Wednesdays during Lent starting on March 4. Topics will include a theology of death and dying, devotions and practices surrounding death and dying, funeral planning, end of life bio-ethics, and creating wills and advanced directives.  You’ll be amazed how fun talking about death can be! Everyone is welcome. If you would like childcare, let Fr. James know as soon as possible.

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

· Third Sunday Basics Class will continue February 16 with a class called “What is liturgy?”

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

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

A Note from the Rector – 2/9/2020

Next Sunday evening, February 16, we are very blessed to host the Choir School of Delaware for a special service of Evensong!  It will also be a gentle first performance for our own Holy Apostles Choir School who will join their Delaware counterparts for several pieces.  You are not going to want to miss this.  

The Choir School of Delaware, located in Wilmington, began as the Cathedral Choir School of Delaware in 1883.  It is one of the oldest continually operating children’s music programs in the country. When the Episcopal Cathedral closed in Wilmington, the Choir School continued independently. Today it is a thriving program which serves the children and youth of inner-city Wilmington, offering under-served families world-class music instruction, mentoring, homework help, college preparation, and more. The Choir School has performed in concert halls and churches all over the mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, including singing Evensong at St. Thomas Fifth Avenue, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in New York City.  Just wait until you hear these kids. You are going to be blown away.  

The Director of Music and Operations for the Choir School of Delaware is none other than Arreon Harley-Emerson, who also directs our Choir School and frequently sings in our choir. Arreon is a gifted educator and a world-class professional musician. He oozes a contagious excitement for music and joy for living. He holds advanced music degrees from the University of Delaware and has conducted choirs in such venues as St. Peter’s in Vatican City, the Kimmel Center for the Arts in Philadelphia, and the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore.  Have I mentioned that you are not going to want to miss Evensong on the 16th?

Evensong, or Sung Evening Prayer, is moving and beautiful service; one of the glories of the Anglican/Episcopal tradition.  Though it follows the familiar pattern of Evening Prayer according to the Book of Common Prayer—psalms, readings from Scripture, and prayers—almost the entire service is sung by the choir and the officiant (although there will be several congregational hymns on the 16th).   Not only will the music be beautiful, but since most the responsibility for audible prayer is delegated to the choir, the congregation has the opportunity for silent prayer and meditation, letting the prayerful music roll over them.  It promises to be a peaceful and stress-relieving experience, and a perfect way to start a new week. Seriously, come to this service and invite all your friends and neighbors. It will not disappoint.

In Christ,

James+

This Week at Holy Apostles – 2/2/2020

Sunday, February 2
The Presentation of Our Lord
Celebrant and Preacher: The Rev. James Stambaugh

8:30a Morning Prayer
10:00a Holy Eucharist


Monday, February 3

Parish Offices closed

Tuesday, February 4

9:15a Morning Prayer
3:30-6:00p Choir School

Wednesday, February 5

9:15a Morning Prayer

Thursday, February 6

9:15a Morning Prayer
11:00a Bible Study
3:30-6:00p Choir School

Friday, February 7

9:15a Morning Prayer

Sunday, February 9
Fifth Sunday after Epiphany
Celebrant and Preacher: The Rev. James Stambaugh

8:30a Morning Prayer
10:00a Holy Eucharist

Announcements – 2/2/2020

Worship

† We will bless candles for Candlemas immediately following Morning Prayer this morning, which begins at 8:30AM.  Blessed candles will be available at the 10AM service of Holy Eucharist (see today’s Note from the Rector for more information).

† Healing Prayer will be offered today, February 2, at the 10AM service.

† 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

† Our annual Connect by Night shelter program concluded last month. We made over 1,500 lunches and provided many different gifts to our guests, who were very thankful for the support. Thanks to all the many people who took part this month, and particularly to our weekly supply captains: Peter Patton, Lyn DeSilets, Michelle Gallagher and family (thanks also for the socks), Judy and Jim Jervis and Beth Johnson. Thanks also to the Philadelphia Bible Reform Church, the Woestmanns (who organized a book distribution), and the Gentiles (who covered Christmas and New Year’s Eve).

† 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). Other ideas are welcome.

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.  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

† Please don’t miss the Annual Parish Meeting and luncheon after our 10AM worship, Sunday, February 2.  We’ll review our budget for the year, elect new vestry members, and praise God for all the wonderful things happening in this place. In an effort to cut down on paper waste, print copies of reports will not be provided at the meeting. We will digitally project information during the meeting. Print copies of the 2020 Budget will be provided. You can also print your own: Visit the Annual Meeting page to access the budget and all reports in a printable format.

† 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.

· Third Sunday Basics Class will continue February 16 with a class called “What is liturgy?”

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

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

A Note from the Rector – 2/2/2020

It’s a busy and exciting Sunday.  We will have our annual parish meeting and luncheon immediately following the 10AM service of Holy Eucharist.  Apparently, there is also some sort of sporting event going on later in the afternoon, but our business will be finished long before then.  Liturgically, there is a lot going on today as well. Today is the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple. It’s part of the Church’s fixed Calendar as it always falls exactly 40 days after Christmas.  In some Christian traditions, you wouldn’t even think of touching your Christmas decorations to put them away until after this feast.  

I’ll talk more about the Biblical origins of the feast and its connections to the themes of Epiphany in my Sunday sermon.  However, there is another layer of liturgical interest about this feast. The Presentation of Our Lord is also called Candlemas.  This name comes from a late medieval custom of blessing candles on this day for parishioners to use throughout the year. These “holy” candles (holy, just means set apart, remember) were often reserved for use in times of fear or distress.  For example, in times of extreme weather, people would bring out the candles blessed at Candlemas and light them as a prayer of safety and for a return of seasonable weather. In Roman Catholic Poland, candles blessed at Candlemas are called “Thunder Candles” for this reason.  Modern meteorology may have taught us a lot about the origins and workings of weather, but I will admit to finding some comfort in lighting a candle during a storm, a reminder that Christ is present throughout the storms of life.  

So, today’s feast of Candlemas is associated with praying for seasonable weather and looking forward to warmer weather, even as the beginning of February around here usually means a long slog between now and Spring.  Mix this with the fact that February 2 is also a “quarter day” which falls, more or less, between the Winter solstice and the Spring equinox, a day which is the traditional beginning of a farmer’s yearly work, and you have the formula for the growth of a number of fascinating folk traditions in many cultures around the word that associate Candlemas and the prediction of weather.  In England and Scotland, there is a traditional saying: “If Candlemas is fair and clear / There’ll be twa winters in the year.” Of course, the most famous of these folk traditions—at least around here—is Groundhog’s Day, which has its origins in German folk traditions that mix Candlemas with badgers and their kin.  

You’ll be relieved to know that we will not be mixing badgers with our liturgical celebrations today (or groundhogs for that matter).  We will bless candles, however. Due to our annual meeting, the need for healing prayer, and other pressures on our time at the 10AM Eucharist, the Blessing of the Candles will take place immediately following Morning Prayer which begins at 8:30AM.  Everyone is invited to come and participate in this fun, faith-building tradition provided that you stay (or come back) for the annual meeting! If you have to choose to come only to the 10AM service, don’t worry. The pre-blessed candles will be available for everyone at the 10AM service as a reminder that Christ who is the Light of the Word is present with us always. 

In Christ,

James+

This Week at Holy Apostles – 1/26/2020

Sunday, January 26
Third Sunday after the Epiphany
Celebrant and Preacher: The Rev. James Stambaugh

8:30a Morning Prayer
10:00a Holy Eucharist


Monday, January 27

Parish Offices closed

Tuesday, January 28

9:15a Morning Prayer
3:30-6:00p Choir School

Wednesday, January 29

9:15a Morning Prayer

Thursday, January 30

9:15a Morning Prayer
11:00a Bible Study
3:30-6:00p Choir School

Friday, January 31

9:15a Morning Prayer

Sunday, February 2
The Presentation of Our Lord
Celebrant and Preacher: The Rev. James Stambaugh

8:30a Morning Prayer
10:00a Holy Eucharist

Announcements – 1/26/2020

Worship

† 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

† Our annual Connect by Night shelter program concluded last month. We made over 1,500 lunches and provided many different gifts to our guests, who were very thankful for the support. Thanks to all the many people who took part this month, and particularly to our weekly supply captains: Peter Patton, Lyn DeSilets, Michelle Gallagher and family (thanks also for the socks), Judy and Jim Jervis and Beth Johnson. Thanks also to the Philadelphia Bible Reform Church, the Woestmanns (who organized a book distribution), and the Gentiles (who covered Christmas and New Year’s Eve).

† 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). Other ideas are welcome.

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.  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

† Next Sunday!  Please don’t miss the Annual Parish Meeting and luncheon after our 10AM worship next Sunday, February 2.  We’ll review our budget for the year, elect new vestry members, and praise God for all the wonderful things happening in this place.

† 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.

· Third Sunday Basics Class will continue February 16 with a class called “What is liturgy?”

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

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

A Note from the Rector – 1/26/2020

A Note from the Rector – 26 January 2020

Can you believe how good the floors look?  We can be grateful to NBC Environmental who removed the old tile, and to Smith Flooring Incorporated for installing the new tile.  They did a great job with a very tight schedule and they even finished with hours to spare. They are finishing up the project this weekend in the front area of the Parish Hall and the hallway outside the bathrooms and Memorial Room.  If all goes according to plan, we will have access to the bathrooms and Memorial Room for our Sunday morning services. The vestry with the help of the property committee and the finance committee have done a lot of work to make this project happen, and I am extremely grateful to everyone who has contributed.  A special mention needs to go to JT Wertz and John Day for leading the planning and logistics. One or both of them were here the entire time that the contractors were working. Thank you very much for your dedication! Thanks also, to the huge crew of people who moved all furniture out of the Godly play room and back.   

This morning we will bless the new set of green paraments and vestments that were commissioned in loving memory of Jane Sibley, and use them for the first time.  Paraments refer to decorative cloths that hangs on the front of the altar (called a frontal), the pulpit, and the lectern. Made to match these is a veil, the cloth that covers the chalice and communion paten before they are used; and the burse, which is a little envelope that holds extra linen cloths.  Those are the paraments. The new vestments that were created for us are a chasuble, two stoles, and a maniple. All of these were beautifully designed and executed by a liturgical artist named Davis d’Ambly. Davis lives in the Philadelphia area and is a parishioner of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Center City.  Without exaggeration, he is one of the most well-known and sought-after designer of liturgical appointments in the United States. He is frequently commissioned by Episcopal and Roman Catholic churches around the country and beyond for major projects including large-scale paintings, carvings, and liturgical furniture, in addition to sets of vestments.  I was overjoyed that he agreed to create this special set of vestments and paraments for us in honor of Jane. They were created prayerfully, and with the highest quality materials and craftsmanship, and are, I hope, a fitting tribute to Jane’s many years of service to the worship of God in this place.  

You may remember that last April and May I wrote a series of articles on the meaning and symbolism of vestments.  Those articles can be found on our website here, here, here, here, here, and here.  To end this week’s note in celebration of our new paraments and vestments, I will provide an excerpt of something I originally wrote about vestments for Sunday, April 28, 2019:

“Christians are set apart; made holy by virtue of our baptism into the life and body of Christ.  Scripture puts it this way: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).  All Christians are priests. Vocational priests and other ministers are called and ordained (set apart) merely as symbols and tokens of that fact.  

Priests, deacons, and bishops wear vestments in that capacity, as symbols and signs of the priesthood of all Christians.  Vestments are not about setting the minister apart from the congregation in some qualitative sense. They’re not just meant to be fancy clothes in order to make me feel fancy.  Rather, vestments are symbolic of the fact that liturgy itself is a time, place, and activity which is set apart, demarcated from other time and other activities. Liturgy, the worship of the church, is special.  It is holy. The priest is a symbol for the whole people of God, and vestments are symbols of the set apart-ness of the activity in which we come together to participate on Sunday mornings (and other times!).”

In Christ,

James+