Music Notes – Ecce Lignum Crucis

by Paul Emmons, Organist

As organist, harpsichordist, conductor, composer, and teacher, Anton Heiller was a highly versatile and honored musician in mid-20th-century Vienna.  His performances and recordings of the organ works of Bach were among the most magisterial ever heard. Heiller was often asked to end his American organ recitals with an improvisation on a submitted theme.  He graciously complied, producing stunning creations on a moment’s notice, but regarded the feat as a mere stunt and placated his conscience by charging a lower fee for the event– a scruple which probably only encouraged further such requests!

Heiller’s Ecce Lignum Crucis (Behold the Wood of the Cross) is based upon the Gregorian chant melody for these words in the Good Friday rite.  It appears three times, each time in a higher key, just as it is sung liturgically.  I believe that the dramatic middle variation evokes the hammer blows as the nails are driven into Our Lord’s flesh.  By contrast, the exquisitely tender third variation may remind a listener of Michelango’s sculpture “The Pieta.”   It juxtaposes the Ecce lignum Crucis melody with the German folk song “Es sungen drei Engel” (Three angels are singing), which Heiller’s friend Paul Hindemith had made familiar to us in his symphony Mathis der Maler.

Lenten Offerings 2018

Dear Friends,

Lent is a season of preparation and repentance leading up to Easter.  This year Lent begins with Ash Wednesday on February 14, and continues until the Easter Vigil on the night of Saturday, March 30.

As your priest, it is my sacred obligation to call you to a holy Lent during this time.  Lent is an opportunity, perhaps, to fast from something or give something up.  It is also a time, perhaps, to take up something new—some new spiritual practice, study, scriptural or devotional reading.  Below you will find information about the Lenten services, and practices that are available at and through Church of the Holy Apostles.  You may choose to do one or more of these activities, or they may simply serve to spark your imagination.   Whatever the case, I implore you to make Lent something special.  Make it personal to you and your spiritual journey.

As in many things in life so it is for Lent, you get out what you put in.  In this case, if you spend time this February and March making for yourself a holy Lent, spending the extra time on your spiritual journey, you will be abundantly rewarded with a joyous and festive Easter season.  The more intentional the Lent, the more meaningful and joyful your Easter will be.  Remember, Lent may be 40 days, but Easter—the season in which we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus—is a 50 day party!

Ash Wednesday – February 14

6:20AM-8:46AM – “Ashes to Go” – Imposition of Ashes w/out a service at the Penfield station of the Norristown High Speed Line

9:15AM – Liturgy with Imposition of Ashes, no Eucharist

12:15PM – Holy Eucharist with the Imposition of Ashes

6:30PM – Holy Eucharist with music and the Imposition of Ashes

Wednesday Night Study Group

Our Lenten Study Group each Wednesday of Lent (except Feb. 14 & March 28). We will gather, eat a simple dinner, and discuss the inexhaustibly fascinating subject of prayer.  Youth and adults welcome.

6:30PM in the Memorial Room

February 21 – Varieties of Prayer

February 28 – Confession

March 7 – Intercessory prayer

March 14 – Contemplative prayer

March 21 – Prayer with implements (icons, rosaries, etc.)

Lenten Reading

Featured Book: The Practice of Prayer by Margaret Guenther

As a compliment to the Wednesday night study, and as a way to deepen one’s understanding on one’s own, I am recommending the book, The Practice of Prayer, written by the venerable Episcopal priest and spiritual director, Margaret Guenther.  I am buying several copies for the church’s library, personal copies can be purchased from for between $10-$15.

Other books on various spiritual themes chosen from the parish library and from Fr. James’ library will be available to borrow and read.  Look for the book table display outside the parish hall.

Seeing the World Aright

The poet, Mary Oliver says, “To pay attention; that is our endless and proper work.” This Lent you are invited to practice the spiritual discipline of paying attention. The idea is that you use your camera phone (or other camera) to take one picture for every day of Lent looking for some little beautiful, or sacred, or holy thing that is breaking into your ordinary life:

the first green shoots of spring, the smile of a child or grandchild, a lovingly prepared meal, a candle lit against the darkness, anything that reminds you that you are God’s and that God is present in the smallest ways, and most ordinary circumstances. There is no need to be a professional photographer, it is about training ourselves to see the divine everywhere. You

will also be invited to share your pictures on facebook and other social media platforms, if you wish.

Daily Devotional

Clergy of the Merion deanery (Episcopal churches in Lower and Upper Merion and surrounding area) are collaborating on a collection of short daily devotional readings.  The devotional will be distributed as a printed booklet to all the congregations in the deanery, as well as posted online in a daily blog format.  This will be a nice way to “be on the same page” with many of our Episcopal neighbors during Lent.

Stations of the Cross

February 23 – Friday, 6:30PM – Multi-media Stations of the Cross

March 11 – Sunday, 5:30PM – Children & Youth Stations of the Cross for Family Evening Worship

March  16 – Friday, 6:30PM – Multi-media Stations of the Cross

March 30 – Good Friday, 7:30AM – Traditional Stations of the Cross

Holy Week & Easter

Palm Sunday –

Holy Eucharist with Blessing of the Palms, Procession, and Passion Reading – 10AM

Tuesday –

Morning Prayer – 9AM

Tenebrae – 6:30PM


Holy Eucharist – 7:30AM

Maundy Thursday –

Holy Eucharist with Foot-washing & the stripping of the altar – 6:30PM

Good Friday

Stations of the Cross – 7:30AM

Potential Ecumenical Good Friday Service

Good Friday Liturgy – 6:30PM

Holy Saturday

Easter Vigil followed by Champagne Reception – 8PM

Easter Morning

Festival Eucharist with Baptism – 10AM


The Church office will be closed both Monday & Tuesday following Easter day.


Nursery/Childcare Position Available

Church of the Holy Apostles is looking to fill the vacant part-time position of Nursery childcare provider.


The successful candidate will work at Church of the Holy Apostles (1020 Remington Rd. Wynnewood, PA 19096) every Sunday from 9:45am – 11:15am, during our Sunday morning service.   This person will be responsible for providing childcare for children ages infant to 3 yrs old.  Additional adult(s), will be present in the room for support.

The church’s nursery is part of a larger play/class room.  The nursery/childcare provider will be responsible for maintaining a safe, clean and playful environment within the nursery.   There will be opportunities to work at additional church events and special occasions.  Competitive pay commensurate with experience.


Qualifications for this position are experience working with young children and references from previous employers.  Applicant must successfully complete FBI fingerprinting, PA Child Abuse Clearance, PA State Criminal History Report, and Mandatory Reporter Child Abuse Training prior to employment in order to comply with PA state regulations.

Applicants please email Church of the Holy Apostles.  In the email, please include a brief statement of interest in the position describing pertinent experience, at least one reference, and contact information.  Thank you for your interest.

Announcements – 12/24/17

Worship Schedule for Christmas 2017

December 24th
10AM – The Fourth Sunday of Advent
4PM – Christmas Eve Family Eucharist
10PM – Christmas Eve Festival Eucharist

December 25th
9AM – Christmas Day Holy Eucharist

December 31st
10AM – Service of Christmas Lessons & Carols
followed by Holy Eucharist



Welcome to Church of the Holy Apostles! This 10:00 p.m. service is Holy Eucharist, Rite II.  The celebrant is our rector, the Rev. James Stambaugh.

There will be no Sunday School during the Sunday morning service.

No Morning Prayer this week.

Children & Youth

Childcare is available during the 10:00 a.m. Sunday service for children ages 3 and younger in the Godly Play Room.

Sunday School classes (preschool – 2nd grade and 3rd – 8th grade) are held on the 1st, 3rd, and 4th Sundays of the month, beginning at 10:00 a.m., the same time as the church service starts; children join their parents in the church in time for communion. On 2nd Sundays children attend church with their parents, either the 10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist service or the 5:30 p.m. Family Worship Service. When there is a 5th Sunday, children attend church with their parents, with some of the children taking part in leading the service.


Our adult education mini-series, Theological Liner Notes, was a lot of fun.  Thanks to those who participated, and especially to those who provided wonderful food.  Stay tuned for more Christian education opportunities in the new year.

Parish Life

The Stambaughs will be away visiting family from Dec. 26-30.  Fr. James can still be reached by email or phone.

Home Blessings – The season of Epiphany is a customary time to have your home blessed by a priest.  Fr. James will be offering home blessings during this period starting on Epiphany (January 6th).  If you would like to have your home blessed, look for the sign up sheet in the parish hall.

Music Notes for Sunday October 29th

Martin LutherWhen I moved to this area from Washington State in September 1985, I left the position of Organist-Choirmaster of St. Timothy’s Church, Yakima.  My successor was a young Lutheran lady who immediately began making plans for Reformation Sunday.  She was surprised when the rector informed her, “We don’t observe Reformation Sunday, because we’re only half reformed.” So it is in every Episcopal church I know (and far be it from me to object). But on October 29, our Protestant friends will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  It is an ideal time for us to sing Martin Luther’s most famous hymn, “A mighty fortress,” which has long appeared in Anglican hymnals, and even Roman Catholics have been glad to sing since Vatican II.

Luther not only wrote the words but composed the music, and we shall use his original form, which I hope you will agree is actually rather jazzy and, once you get used to it, more exciting and fun than the regular rhythm popularized by Bach.

Paul Emmons, Organist

Announcements – 10/15/17

Welcome to Church of the Holy Apostles! This Sunday, October 15th, will be the 19th Sunday after Pentecost/Proper 23.  Our Guest Celebrant for Holy Eucharist, Rite II at 10:00 a.m. will be the Rev. Canon Shawn Wamsley. The Rev. James Stambaugh, our Deacon-in-Charge, will serve as Deacon and Preacher.

Childcare is available during the 10:00 service for children ages 3 and younger in the Godly Play Room.

Name tags are available in the narthex and also on the table across from the rector’s office. Please wear one with your name so that our new rector can begin to become better acquainted with you.

Next week Morning Prayer will continue to be held at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday through Friday.  On Tuesday the 17th and Wednesday the 18th, other than for Morning Prayer, James, our Deacon-in-Charge, will be out of the office at the diocesan conference, Discipleship Matters.

On Thursday, November 2nd at 6:00 p.m., we will hold a service for the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed. There will be a procession to our columbarium where prayers will be said for all those interred there. The service also will include commemoration and prayers for all our loved ones who have passed.

Save the dates: Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m., Nov. 1st, 8th, and 15th. Adult (and Older Teen) Study Group: The Christian Year: The Strange and Wondrous Rhythms of the Church Calendar.”

Save the Date! VETERANS MASS on November 13th, sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania Veterans Ministry: Monday, November 13th, 7:00 p.m. at St. Stephen’s Church, 19 South 10th Street, Philadelphia 19107. All are welcome. Dinner before service at 5:30 p.m. RSVP required: see Facebook diopa-veterans. Parking 10th Street off Market. To add the name of a veteran to the prayer list for this service, please email (please indicate if the veteran is deceased).

 We are continuing to collect photographs of everyone in the parish to make a photo book for our new rector. If you have not already done so, please send a photo of you/your family to the parish office by email to, or by regular mail to the church address. Thanks very much.

We are in the process of updating the parish directory. You will be receiving a request for the relevant information by email, or by regular mail if you do not use email.

Please note that parish office hours next week will be Thursday, Oct. 19th and Friday, Oct. 29th, from 10:00 – 2:00 p.m.

From the Deacon’s Desk # 1

Starting my first day at Holy Apostles, I began saying Morning Prayer at 8am in the quire section of the church every morning that I am at the church.  I will continue this practice, and will announce in the weekly announcements, on the website, and/or on Facebook what my schedule will be each week.  Anyone and everyone (including children) are most welcome to join me for Morning Prayer anytime.

Morning Prayer from the BCP is a beautiful service and is very ancient.  Our version of the service, along with Evening Prayer and Compline, are derived from the Daily Office prayed by English Benedictine monks and nuns in the late Middle Ages.  The Christian pattern of praying at certain times of the day ultimately descends from Jewish daily prayer practices from the time of Jesus’ first apostles (see Acts 3:1)!

I believe prayer—including, but not limited to Morning Prayer—is the cornerstone of the Church.  I want it to be the centerpiece of everything that I do at Holy Apostles.  I know that some might like to be present for Morning Prayer at the church but are prohibited by time or distance constraints.  God honors prayer from any location!  I encourage each of you to pray every day, whether you use the Book of Common Prayer (a magnificent thing to do!), or not; whether you are able to come to the church building itself, or not.  Please pray: pray for me and for each other.  Pray for our neighborhoods, our country, and our world.

If you want to give Morning Prayer from the Prayer Book a try on your own, but are unsure of how it works, please don’t hesitate to ask me.

With love,

Deacon James