A Note from the Rector – 5/5/19

This is the second part of a series of “Notes” about the meaning and purpose of vestments.  Last week I gave an overview of the topic, and a general theological statement about vestments.  Next, I will explore specific garments, starting from the inside and working out.  One thing to note: this stuff has tradition behind it, but, while many people (God forbid I include myself here) can get sort of fussy about vestments, there are no official guidelines in the Episcopal church or instructions in the Book of Common Prayer about vestments.  

The first robe I normally wear on Sunday is not, properly speaking, a vestment.  It is a long black robe called a cassock, which used to be “street wear” for clerics rather than a garment set apart for worship.  The cassock was meant for everyday use.  This can be illustrated by the BBC series “Father Brown Mysteries” based on the mystery stories of G. K. Chesterton, featuring Mark Williams as the eponymous sleuthing priest.  Father Brown is almost never seen without his cassock on.  He even rides countryside on his bicycle wearing it. These days, the everyday wear of clergy people, known as “clericals,” is more commonly the black shirt with a white collar.  More often than not, I only wear my cassock on Sunday mornings.  For me, it serves the purpose of setting Sunday and Sunday worship apart as something out of the ordinary.  

What’s worn over the cassock is much more important.  The robe worn over the cassock is called an alb, which is short for the Latin word, albus, which means “white” (an etymology which might be significant for fans of the Harry Potterseries, written by an Anglican lay woman by the name of J.K. Rowling).  The alb derives from the everyday clothing of ancient Rome. Originally it was similar to the Greek toga.  It is a garment not limited only to priests, deacons, and bishops.  Anybody serving in the liturgy may wear an alb, or a similar garment (I’ll get to similar garments in a moment).  This is because, first and foremost, the alb signifies the ministry of all the baptized.  In the 4thcentury (here we go again), a pilgrim named Egeria travelled to Jerusalem and observed the Easter ceremonies of the Church in Jerusalem. During the Easter Vigil, Egeria observed a number of baptisms of adults (infant baptism was not very common in the early centuries of the church).  Those to be baptized were separated by gender, and they disrobed before they were baptized by full-immersion.  When they came out of the water they were given an alb to put on to signify that their sins had been washed away, and they were now forgiven participants in the risen life of Christ.  So, in one sense, the alb signifies the state and ministry of all the baptized. 

In Revelation 7:14, the author sees a vision of a great multitude of people from every people group and nation, standing before the throne of God in heaven holding palm branches.  They are all wearing albs, and the author is told their robes are white because they have washed them in the blood of the Lamb, who is Christ himself.  All these white-robed saints had experienced persecution and martyrdom.  On several occasions, our liturgy refers to the white-robed army of martyrs.  This is the origin of that reference.  So, the alb signifies the state and ministry of the baptized, and also the purity and faithfulness of those whose commitment to Christ extends even unto death and beyond. I am reminded of these symbolic meanings every time I put on my alb with this prayer: “Have mercy on me, O Lord, and cleanse from me all stains of sin; that, with those who have made their robes white in the blood of the Lamb, I may have grace to attain to everlasting happiness.”

A local, northern European variation of the alb, called the surplice is another white garment that I sometimes where.  The surplice is cut differently than the alb, with a wider neck, and reallybig sleeves.  It is not worn with a cincture (robe around the waist).  Over time, the usage of the alb versus the surplice was differentiated so that, a surplice is generally worn by those who are not actually celebrating the Eucharist (clergy or lay), and for services such as Morning Prayer where Eucharist is not to be celebrated at all.  It is part of what is known as “choir dress,” vestments for worship other than Eucharistic worship.  On Sundays when we have guest clergy who are not leading us in the Eucharistic prayer, you will notice they will wear either an alb and stole (I’ll talk about the stole next week), or a cassock, surplice, and stole.  The priest leading the Eucharistic prayer will wear a chasuble over his or her alb and stole.  This usage, of course, is not universal.  

This Week at Holy Apostles – 4/14/19

Holy Week and Easter Day

Palm Sunday – April 14
Morning Prayer – 8:30AM
Holy Eucharist with Blessing of the Palms, Procession, and Passion Reading – 10AM

Tuesday –  April 16
Morning Prayer – 9:15AM

Wednesday – April 17
Morning Prayer – 9:15AM
Tenebrae – A service of readings and growing darkness 6:30PM

Maundy Thursday – April 18
Morning Prayer – 9:15AM
Agape Meal, Holy Eucharist & the Stripping of the Altar – 6:30PM
The Altar of Repose—from 9PM-9AM Friday

Good Friday – April 19
Morning Prayer – 9:15AM
Children’s Stations of the Cross 10AM
Egg decorating at the Rectory (children of all ages invited) – 11AM
Good Friday Service – 12PM
Good Friday Liturgy – 6:30PM

Holy Saturday – April 20
Easter Vigil followed by Champagne Reception – 8PM

Easter Sunday – April 21
Morning Prayer 8:30AM
Festival Choral Eucharist with Baptism – 10AM

Easter Egg follows Easter service!

Announcements – 4/14/19


† The service this morning will begin in the Parish Hall with the blessing of the Palms. 

† Easter Sunday will truly be a joyful day as we celebrate the Christ’s victory over death and welcome through baptism Maxwell Wagner into the body of Christ.  Max is the son of David Wagner and Jennifer Sibley Wagner. 

† Healing Prayers will be offered the second Sunday of Easter, April 28th. 

† 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 smart phone apps!  See the last section of the digital edition of the “Acts of the Apostles” for details.

† Sign up to sit with Christ at the Altar of Repose 9PM Thursday—9AM Friday this week.


† We are collecting non-perishable food items for the food pantry of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia.  Look for the collection box in the hallway outside the parish hall.

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

Good News

† Montgomery County will be using the back portion of our parking lot on Sunday, April 28th for a Bike Safety Rodeo in conjunction with the Penn Wynne Civic Association Earth Day Celebration (in the park).  We need volunteers to help welcome people onto our property and to do crowd & traffic control.  Sign up on the bulletin board outside the church office.  Also, note this will affect parking for church on that day. 

† Save the Date: Haverford Heritage Festival – Sunday, June 2.  The church will have a booth.

Children and Youth

† Because Palm Sunday is a lot of fun, we have encouraged all families  to attend today’s 10AM service. Family Evening Worship will also be offered at 5:30PM for those who want to come to church twice!

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

† Sunday School: Children Preschool – 2nd grade and 3rd – 8th grade attend Sunday classes at 10:00AM, the same time as the church service starts; children join their parents in the church in time for communion. Classes are held on the 1st, 3rd, & 4th Sundays of the month. On 2nd Sundays children attend church with their parents, either the 10:00PM Holy Eucharist service or the 5:30PM 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.

† 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

† Official CHA T-shirts; $17; order yours outside the church office.

† Easter Flower Memorials– please have your memorials to the church office no later than this coming Tuesday, April 16. It is our custom to remember deceased loved ones in the light of Christ’s Resurrection with a stunning array of flowers on Easter day.  A letter was sent out this week.  Let the office know if you didn’t receive yours. The suggested donation is $8.00 per name.  Extra envelopes can be found on the Connect table.

† 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.


† Thank you to all who participated in our Lenten Soup Group series!  Look for more adult education opportunities in the near future!

† Bible Study is held on Thursdays at 11AM.

Diocesan / Community Events

† Mental Health First Aid Training (Youth) – May 4—8:30a-4:30p. St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Germantown.

† Community Veteran Culture Training / Healing Ceremony – May 6-7 starting at 8am.  Cranaleith Spiritual Center, Philadelphia. 

Announcements – 11/5/2017






Welcome to Church of the Holy Apostles! This Sunday, Nov. 5th, our Guest Celebrant is the Rev. Canon Betsy Ivey. The Rev. James Stambaugh, our Deacon-in-Charge, will serve as Deacon and Preacher. In addition to Holy Eucharist, we will celebrate the rite of Holy Baptism, welcoming Julie Anne McLaughlin, daughter of Kate and Sean McLaughlin, into the family of God.

Morning Prayer: Tuesdays through Fridays in the church at 9:00 a.m.

Evening Family Worship will take place on Sunday, November 12th at 5:30 p.m. An informal meal will follow the service.

Children & Youth

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

Outreach & Service

Darby Mission Meal: Wyatt Delavan’s Boy Scout troop 300 is planning to serve an Italian-themed dinner for the Darby Mission on Tuesday, 11/21. Additional support in providing and making food would be greatly appreciated. Food dropped off in the church kitchen will be picked up by the Delevans on Sunday, 11/19. If you can help, many thanks!  Please use the SignUpGenius link at http://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b0b45aca82da57-darby

The Sunday School is collecting Treats for Troops stationed overseas.  The collection will run through Veteran’s Day weekend, Sunday Nov. 12th.  A list of needed items (Halloween candy, toiletries, sundries) is posted in the church hall or at the link here: http://www.philatreatsfortroops.com/donate


The Adult (and Older Teen) Study Group, The Christian Year: The Strange and Wondrous Rhythms of the Church Calendar, continues to meet Wednesday, Nov. 8th and 15th. at 6:30 p.m.

Parish Life

We are in the midst of our annual Stewardship Season, Celebrating God’s Good Gifts!  This is a time when we reflect on and celebrate the gifts that God has given us, and consider how we can offer thanksgiving back to God. Pledge cards are on the table across from the rector’s office. Please pick up yours todayOur stewardship campaign will end this year on November 19th, Celebration Sunday.  During that service we will collect the pledge card and afterwards we have a celebratory brunch of thanksgiving.  Since this is a catered affair, please RSVP to the parish office at holyapostlespa@gmail.com

An Invitation from St. Mark’s Armenian Catholic Church: Armenian Food Court Friday and Saturday, Nov. 10th and 11th from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Our neighbors, St. Mark’s Armenian Catholic Church, have invited our community to attend their annual Armenian Food Court, which will take place at St. Mark’s (400 Haverford Road, Wynnewood PA). If you would like to buy a raffle ticket for $1, contact Deacon James.  This is an opportunity for great food, and to get to know our neighbors and build connections with Christians of a different tradition, which makes Jesus happy.

Pancakes with Santa, Dec. 2nd: Anyone who is interested in helping with this family  event,  please contact Drew Meiers (610) 446-8340 or dkmeiers@verizon.net.

Turkey Trot: 5K Run or 1 Mile Walk 9:00 a.m. Thanksgiving, Nov. 23rd. (Meet in front of St. Faith Church, Havertown.)

Come join the Smyth Family and express your thankfulness for good health and to raise money for the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania. The fee is $20 or $10 for participants under 12. This event is held each year in memory of Matt Smyth who passed away from Testicular Cancer at 23 and to remind men to check themselves. Make your donations payable to Abramson Cancer Center and in the memo put “The Matt Smyth Fund”.

New Committee: Family Friendly Holy Apostles: Please contact Beth Johnson if you are interested in being a part of a group to look at how we can make Holy Apostles more Family Friendly to visitors of our church so they will want to worship with us again!  The meeting will be held in mid November, date TBD.  bethjohnson514@gmail.com or 610-733-2055.

Flower Memorials: Each week flowers are placed on the altar for the 10:00 Sunday service in memory of loved ones who have died or in thanksgiving for a special occasion such as an anniversary or birthday. The cost for the donation of the flowers is $30. Altar Flower Memorials are open for the following dates beginning in 2018: February 25, May 13, July 8, and August 12. Please know that the flower memorials automatically renew annually unless you request otherwise, scheduled for the date on the Sunday closest to the original request. To take ad-vantage of this opportunity to honor or remember loved ones with a flower memorial, please notify Patty Wertz of the Altar Guild or Margaret Helminska in the Parish Office.