A Note from the Rector – 10/13/19

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


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

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

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

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

In Christ,
James+

Announcements – 10/13/19

Worship

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

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

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

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

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

Outreach

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

               –     Delivering items to a food pantry in Northeast Philadelphia

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

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

Children and Youth

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

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

Parish Life

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

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

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

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

† The Cash for Causes Program at Giant Supermarket:

· Purchase through JT Wertz

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

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

Education

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

               October 23: Leaders of the Early Church

               October 30: The Seven Ecumenical Councils

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

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

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

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

Announcements – 6/23/2019

Worship

† Our second Liturgy Lab is this morning!  9:15AM Donuts & discussion in the Parish Hall.

† During the summer months, 10AM services may be held in the parish hall if it is too warm to hold them in the church, which does not have air conditioning.  8:30AM Morning Prayer will continue to be held in the church.

† 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 Connect by Night hosting month has been moved from July to December.

† Thanks to all who contributed to food collection for St. Mark’s in Frankford.  Joe Zorc delivered groceries collected and they were very appreciative and added it to their pantry for parishioners in need.  We will continue to collect food for St. Mark’s in the box in the parish office hallway. We will look for other opportunities to work with them.  Let Joe Zorc know if you are interested in participating.

† This summer, we will be sponsoring an end of summer celebration for the summer day camp at the Darby Mission.  If you would like to contribute, please make a contribution to the Outreach Committee.

† Our next all-church Darby Mission Meal: 9/17/19.

Children and Youth

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

† Sunday School is on hiatus from June 16 until September 8!  Thank you to all students, parents, and especially our teachers for a great year of Sunday School.

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

Parish Life

† 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.

† 2019 Happy Hour Dates

· Bring a drink and a snack or appetizer to share.  We’ll hang out on the lawn weather permitting. 

· June 28

· July 19 – *date change* – with a special musical guest, Dennis Chiccino

· August 30

† 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

† Bible Study is held on Thursdays at 11:00AM. We will continue to hold Bible Study through the summer.

† Liturgy Lab: This summer we will be exploring the meaning and purpose of liturgy with 5 “Liturgy Labs.”  Liturgy Lab will begin with a brief discussion of some aspect of liturgy.  During our worship that day, we will incorporate an experiment that will further explore or illustrate our topic.  Donuts & Discussion from 9:15AM—9:45AM, service begins at 10AM.  It’s going to be fun! 

June 23– Morning Prayer vs. Holy Eucharist, a duel to the death?

July 7– Does changing the room change how liturgy feels?

July 21– The Bible (and its many translations) in liturgy.

August 4– All the pieces of the Eucharistic prayer you wish you knew the fancy names for.

A Note from the Rector – 6/23/2019

Today, we return to Ordinary Time.  The Christian life, as represented in our Church’s calendar, is shaped by the rhythms of feasts and fasts.  This cycle is centered on the two great feasts of Christ’s Incarnation: Christmas and Easter. We celebrate Easter for 50 days ending with the Day of Pentecost (June 9 this year). That was followed by Trinity Sunday last week. The Feast of the Ascension (40 days after Easter) and Pentecost (50 days after Easter) both sort of naturally lead to reflection on the mystery of the Triune nature of God, which we always contemplate in our worship, but which we contemplated in a concentrated fashion last Sunday.  Now, we enter a long stretch of Ordinary Time. The liturgical color is green, which puts me in mind of plants and growth. Ordinary time makes up most of the Church calendar because growing in our faith is something that happens, for the most part, in quotidian, day-to-day life experiences. The way we strive to live the Christian life of worship of God & service toward others in the ordinary times of our lives shapes us into people who can rely on God during the not-so-ordinary times in our lives–times of great joy and also times of great hardship, fear, or distress.  God is with us in the feasts and the fasts of life. The task of Christian living is learning to recognize how that is true. That is where the Daily Office comes in.

The Daily Office is the collective name for four services that appear in the Book of Common Prayer: Morning Prayer, Noon Day Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline. In his wonderful book, Inwardly Digest: The Prayer Book as Guide to a Spiritual Life, Derek Olsen devotes a chapter to the Daily Office.   Together, these prayers of the Church are meant to shape our days and hours, as Olsen writes, “the Daily Office helps us see the life of faith as a daily activity that must be consistently chosen from among a hundred other things all clamoring for our time and attention.”

The Daily Office forms the backbone of the prayer of the church.  Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer are the “main” offices. Noon Day Prayer and Compline (meant to be prayed at night, or right before bed) are shorter offices, and take between 5 to 10 minutes to pray.  All four offices are primarily composed of Scripture, and particularly the poetry of Scripture. A life formed by these prayers is a life formed by the beautiful as well as the good and the true.

Today’s Liturgy Lab experiment involves using the office of Morning Prayer as the Liturgy of the Word in our 10AM Holy Eucharist.  If you were here for the first Liturgy Lab last week, you’ll remember me talking about the “logic of liturgy.” The basic logic or structure of our normal 10AM Eucharist is two-fold: Liturgy of the Word (readings, sermon, prayers, etc.) and Liturgy of the Altar (Holy Communion).  Today, the second part (starting with the Offering) will be the same as normal, the first part will be the office of Morning Prayer. Most of the same components will be present: the readings, the psalms, the prayers and the sermon, but the order in which we do these things will be significantly different.  Our Liturgy Lab discussion at 9:15AM Sunday morning will be devoted to further exploration of these changes and the history and meaning of our common worship. Come for the donuts, stay for the surprisingly interesting discussion.

In Christ,
James+

Announcements – 6/16/2019

Worship

† Our first Liturgy Lab is this morning!  9:15AM Donuts & discussion in the Parish Hall.

† During the summer months, the 10:00AM Sunday service may be held in the parish hall if it is too warm to hold them in the church, which does not have air conditioning.  8:30AM Morning Prayer will continue to be held in the church.

† 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 Connect by Night hosting month has been moved from July to December.

† Thanks to all who contributed to food collection for St. Mark’s in Frankford.  Joe Zorc delivered groceries collected and they were very appreciative and added it to their pantry for parishioners in need.  We will continue to collect food for St. Mark’s in the box in the parish office hallway. We will look for other opportunities to work with them.  Let Joe Zorc know if you are interested in participating.

† This summer, we will be sponsoring an end of summer celebration for the summer day camp at the Darby Mission.  If you would like to contribute, please make a contribution to the Outreach Committee.

† Our next all-church Darby Mission Meal: 9/17/19.

Children and Youth

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

† Sunday School is on hiatus from June 16 until September 8!  Thank you to all students, parents, and especially our teachers for a great year of Sunday School.

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

Parish Life

† 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.

† 2019 Happy Hour Dates

· Bring a drink and a snack or appetizer to share.  We’ll hang out on the lawn weather permitting. 

· June 28

· July 19—*date change*—with a special musical guest

· August 30

† 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

† Bible Study is held on Thursdays at 11:00AM. We will continue to hold Bible Study through the summer.

† Liturgy Lab: This summer we will be exploring the meaning and purpose of liturgy with 5 “Liturgy Labs.”  Liturgy Lab will begin with a brief discussion of some aspect of liturgy.  During our worship that day, we will incorporate an experiment that will further explore or illustrate our topic.  Donuts & Discussion from 9:15AM—9:45AM, service begins at 10AM.  It’s going to be fun! 

June 16– What is liturgy, anyway? 

June 23– Morning Prayer vs. Holy Eucharist, a duel to the death?

July 7– Does changing the room change how liturgy feels?

July 21– The Bible (and its many translations) in liturgy.

August 4– All the pieces of the Eucharistic prayer you wish you     knew the fancy names for.

A Note from the Rector – 6/16/2019

Happy Father’s Day!  Today is our first Liturgy Lab of the summer.  As is true of all good experiments, one never knows for sure what the outcome will be, but with God’s grace we will hopefully avoid any explosions or poisonous gas clouds resulting from an experiment gone awry.  

One of the several components of our experiment will be our monthly practice of Healing Prayer.  Normally, we do this on the second Sunday of the month. For the past several months that practice has been interrupted by major feasts–last week, it was the Feast of Pentecost.  Rather than try to cram too much liturgical action into such important days, I think it is better to have healing prayer on a subsequent Sunday (like today). However, we are going to change (shudder!) how we do it for this Liturgy Lab Sunday.  It is our normal practice to have healing prayers AFTER everyone has received Communion. Those who wish, normally come back to the altar rail and receive the laying on of hands and/or annointing with oil. Today, Healing Prayer will be offered before the Peace and right after the Confession.  There is a method to the madness, but you’ll have to come to Liturgy Lab at 9:15 Sunday morning to find out what it is.

Healing prayer itself is a New Testament practice.  The Epistle of James, for instance, says this: “Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.  The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven.” (James 5:14-15; for a hint about why we are moving it within the service order, look at verse 16).            

In medieval Europe, particularly during times when the bubonic plague was rampant, healing prayer with laying on of hands and anointing with oil (anointing with oil is also called “unction”) came to be associated with the end of one’s life–because, well, if you were sick with the plague, most likely you were not going to recover.   Over the years, anointing the sick morphed into (or conflated with) anointing the dying and dead, a practice known as extreme unction. In the 1540s, Thomas Cranmer took medieval liturgy, translated it into English and edited it into the first Book of Common Prayer. He tried to recover the New Testament sense of healing prayer: that is, you pray for healing, expecting healing–whether that be spiritual healing, physical healing, or both.  In other words, he wanted to differentiate between healing prayer and prayers for the dying. Thomas Cranmer’s Reformation buddies didn’t like that part of the original Book of Common Prayer and the service of healing with anointing of oil was removed from subsequent versions of the Prayer Book. That is how things remained for about 300 years in the Anglican world (Church of England, and it’s “children” including the Episcopal Church). In the earliest 20th century there was a revival of interest in healing prayer and anointing the sick with oil.  This revival coincided with the early Pentecostal movement that emphasized healing, and with Christian Science and similar movements, which rapidly gained popularity in both the US and the UK. The Church of England and the Episcopal Church took note of this renewed interest in healing, and the Episcopal Church included a service of “Ministration to the Sick,” which included anointing the sick with oil in the 1928 Prayer Book, and again, with minor changes in the 1979 Prayer Book. The prayers for anointing in this service are derived from Thomas Cranmer’s prayer that he composed in 1549 for the first Book of Common Prayer.    

In Christ,
James+