Announcements

A Note from the Rector – 12/8/2019

There is a depth to the season of Advent that makes it my favorite season of the church year besides Easter (what can top a 50 day party?).  Themes are layered within this season like a rich and surprising dessert. There’s hope, preparation, expectation, longing; there’s the movement into the darkest part of the year while defying that darkness with light.  Advent is also a season to reflect on Last Things. As I preached about last week, “Advent…is a time of preparation for the coming of Jesus—preparation for the celebration of his first coming, as a child in a manger in Bethlehem, and preparation for the day when he comes again in great power and glory to judge the world and rule over the nations.”  This dual focus means that Advent has been the traditional time the church reflects on four interrelated themes: Death, Judgement, Hell, and Heaven. Doesn’t that just give you the warm and fuzzies? Nothing makes me want to cozy up near the stocking lined hearth, to watch snowflakes fall, and drink hot cocoa with the vocal stylings of Bing Crosby gently playing in the background like a good discussion about the end of all things.  Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but I don’t think these themes are out of place in the weeks leading up to Christmas, especially because the holidays can be a difficult time. For many of us ,they are a time when we poignantly remember those we love who have died. The holidays can be a time when feelings of loneliness and loss can creep up on us very easily and unexpectedly.  

So, there is some wisdom and, yes, even healing to found in taking a little bit of time to acknowledge the facts of life in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  Death is real and happens to us all, but Christian reflection never ends there. As surely as death is inevitable, God’s love for us is invincible. God and God’s love are not defeated by death.  

God’s judgement is also real.  Scripture is full of reminders that we must give an account of this life to God.  We affirm every Sunday that Christ will return to judge both the living and the dead, and that’s no joke.  Perhaps the only things clearer in Scripture than God’s righteousness and justice, however, is God’s indestructible mercy.  Our patience and ability to forgive is so disproportionately small compared to God’s capacity for patience and forgiveness, they counted on different orders of magnitude.  All the sins, all the evil, of all the world in all times is like a handful of sand compared to ocean of God’s mercy. The Advent themes of judgement and hope, then, are completely compatible when we are talking about our God.  Scripture puts it this way: Nothing we do and nothing that is done to us can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:35-39). God will never abandon the living, and neither will God abandon the dead.      

Death, Judgement, Heaven, Hell: what all this will actually be like, I cannot say. What I can say is that the same love that reaches down to us at Christmas, the love that caused God to come down to earth as a human, is the love that is going to sort out all things at the end of our days, and at the End of Days.  And that is good news of glad tidings, indeed.

In Christ,

James+

Announcements – 12/8/2019

Worship

† There are still open spots for readers, greeters and intercessors for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. (See Liturgy Participant schedule.) Contact Beth Johnson if interested.

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

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

Outreach

† Connect by Night Sheltering Program We have almost completed the schedule for lunch-making for our annual Connect by Night Shelter program. Our guests will be staying in the church every night during the month of December. Lunch-making involves coming to church in the evening at a time of your choice and preparing 50 bag lunches for the guests. If you are able to greet them when they arrive at around 9:30, that is also wonderful, but optional. If you would like to bring a donation, the best item is to bring individual juice boxes to put in the lunches (50 per night), or donations to the Outreach committee. The program asks not to provide snacks for the guests while they are staying with us, but we put out water for them and will be organizing some Christmas presents from the congregation and cards from the Sunday School. The lunch-making items are being stored in the kitchen and on the shelves  and upright freezer in the storage room in the  church basement to the right at the bottom of the stairs. Instructions are in the kitchen.

† If you have questions or need to get into the church and don’t have a key, contact Joe Zorc at zorc@email.chop.edu or 215-776-4285.

† The sign-up sheet is available in the church hall and at this Google docs link: https://bit.ly/2WbmPn3

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

      – Delivering items to a food pantry in Northeast Philadelphia

      – Meals at Darby Mission (3/17) or our annual holiday meal with the East Parkside Community Association (12/9). Other ideas are welcome.

Children and Youth

† No Youth Group tonight, but our family interactive service, Light and Peace, is at 6:30pm.

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

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

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

Parish Life

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

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

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

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

† The Cash for Causes Program at Giant Supermarket:

· Purchase through JT Wertz

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

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

Education

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

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

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

This Week at Holy Apostles – 12/8/2019

Sunday, December 8
Second Sunday of Advent
Preacher and Celebrant: The Rev. Canon Betsy Ivey

8:30a Morning Prayer
10:00a Holy Eucharist
6:30p Light and Peace


Monday, December 9

Parish Offices closed

Tuesday, December 10

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

Wednesday, December 11

9:15a Morning Prayer

Thursday, December 12

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

Friday, December 13

9:15a Morning Prayer

Sunday, December 15
Third Sunday of Advent
Celebrant: The Rev. James Stambaugh

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

Announcements – 12/1/19

Worship

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

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

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

Outreach

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

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

      – Delivering items to a food pantry in Northeast Philadelphia

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

Children and Youth

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

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

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

Parish Life

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

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

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

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

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

† The Cash for Causes Program at Giant Supermarket:

· Purchase through JT Wertz

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

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

Education

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

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

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

LITURGY PARTICIPANTS

December 8, 2019

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

December 15, 2019

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

COFFEE HOUR HOSTS

December 1 Vicki & Tom Forker

December 8 Jim & Judy Jervis — St. Nicholas Visit

December 15 Christmas Pageant—Fellowship Committee

December 22 Dave & Annette Smith

December 29 Todd & Meg Delevan

A Note from the Rector 12/1/19

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

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

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

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

In Christ,

James+

Christmas Worship Schedule

Christmas Eve

December 24th, 2019

Holy Eucharist, Rite II – 5PM
A joyous service that may be especially attractive to families with young children (though children are always welcome at EVERY service at Holy Apostles). This service will end with a candlelit singing of O Holy Night, a favorite tradition for generations of Holy Apostles members.

Holy Eucharist, Rite II – 10PM
A solemn, joyful service with full choir. This service ends with candlelit singing of O Holy Night, a favorite tradition for generations of Holy Apostles members.

Christmas Day

December 25, 2019

Holy Eucharist for the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord, Rite II – 10AM

A quiet service of peace and joy to celebrate the wondrous Incarnation of Jesus Christ on Christmas Day.

Pancakes with Santa

Join us Saturday, December 7th for a special breakfast and a visit from Old Saint Nick. Doors open at 8AM and breakfast will be served until Santa departs at 11AM.

Crafts and other activities will also be provided.

Admission

$3 for ages 3-12
$5 for ages 13 and up
children under 3 are FREE

Proceeds go toward supporting the outreach ministries of Holy Apostles.

A Note from the Rector – 11/24/2019

A few weeks ago, I sent an appeal letter to every member of our parish.  I wrote about the theme of our stewardship season, “Wonder, love and praise,” which comes from Charles Wesley’s immortal hymn.  And I wrote of our calling as a parish church: We are called to foster wonder, to learn to love our neighbors, and to praise God.  This is one calling, and not three separate callings, because each of those items is really an aspect of the same thing. Wonder is about an encounter with the living God.  We believe that God is present to us in real ways in our real lives. A concentrated moment of God’s presence is our weekly gathering of Eucharist when we encounter Jesus in the bread and the wine.  Our first response to the encounter with the living God is gratitude. This is why we call it Eucharist, Greek for Thanksgiving, in the first place. Along with gratitude comes praise, which is simply the expression of gratitude.  We praise God through things like music. But, praising God is also a mindset that can and should inform the everyday actions of our lives. That is where learning to love our neighbors comes in. Scripture is clear: our love for God is expressed in our love for our neighbor.  1 John tells us that if we don’t love other people, we don’t actually love God, which inspired Dorothy Day to write these words: “I love God only as much as the person I love the least.”  

Cultivating wonder and gratitude, extending real care to our neighbors, and learning to praise God in every detail of our lives—this is the hard work of being a Christian and a member of Holy Apostles.  Charles Wesley’s song predicts that on the last day, along with all the saints, we will cast our golden crowns before the Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and that we will be lost in wonder, love, and praise.  In the eternal moment of heaven, everything else will cease to matter, and we’ll be lost: gratitude and worship will come naturally, it will be the only thing we can possibly do.  But in this world, oftentimes it is the opposite. We are lost in our daily preoccupations, our jobs and families, the cares, and trials of this life. That’s why EVERY Sunday is so great.  Our weekly Sunday Eucharist is an opportunity to experience the splendor of heaven. For a few minutes at least, (and sometimes this takes practice) we can be lost in wonder, love and praise.  In Sunday worship, praising and God and loving our neighbors should come easily to us. We should rush to honor each other and exchange the sign of God’s peace with each other. We should revel in our time of fellowship afterward and revel—just as much—In our time of prayer.  

All of this is amplified this Sunday because it is the Sunday that we gather together our pledges of financial support for the parish.  We have had several weeks of discernment and prayer. We have been asked to consider with gratitude the various gifts God has given us. And now we are provided with the opportunity to express our gratitude to God and express our mutual responsibility and care for each other and for this place of worship, prayer, and peace.  After service we will revel together in the possibilities for mutual flourishing that our financial support can bring us. It’s all pretty exciting, and I am truly grateful to each of you for making this church community a place of wonder, love, praise; for making this church community a place to belong.  

In Christ,

James+