A Note from the Rector – 3/10/19

Today is the first Sunday of the season of Lent.  This morning we join in the prayers of the Church using a very ancient form of prayer—the Great Litany.  The Great Litany is the real deal; the big time; the major leagues of prayer.  This prayer was first assembled in response to a 4th century volcanic eruption.  It was further shaped by political uncertainty, war, and medieval outbreaks of the Black Plague in Europe.  In 1544, the Great Litany was the first part of the Liturgy to be translated (and heavily edited) into vernacular English by Thomas Cranmer.  Five years later Cranmer finished the first Book of Common Prayer, which stands at the fountainhead of our own style of worship.  Cranmer’s version of the Litany melded medieval catholic spirituality with the theological concerns of the Reformation.  Martin Luther’s hand can still be detected on the version of the Litany that is in our prayer book.

At one time, the Great Litany was prayed by every Anglican parish every Sunday.  These days, even though it is included in our version of the prayer book, it has fallen into disuse.  This is a real shame. As one scholar writes, the Litany is “a most careful, luminous, and comprehensive collection of the scattered treasures of the Universal Church.”  It holds together the reformed and catholic strands of our tradition, and it articulates the needs, anxieties, and suffering of humanity with a power that is rare.  More than that, the Litany is a profound reminder that we need to rely on the grace and mercy of God.  This is equally true today as it was in the 4th century, or the 14th.  Our life depends on God, whether we recognize it or not.  And the fact is, we often don’t recognize it.  Lent is a good time to correct that, so let’s do it with style.

This morning’s service is going to feel different.  We will begin the service by chanting together this ancient, beautiful prayer. The choir is going to march around the church really slow, and any children present might feel like joining in the march, which would be ideal as far as I am concerned.  My experience is that children intuitively understand the grandest and most sublime parts of liturgy, even if their response to them don’t always strike us adults as appropriate.  It’s going to take some time to chant the Great Litany, which is okay.  Don’t be anxious.  This is an opportunity to lose yourself in the mystery and the majesty of something bigger than you, something more important (really, it is) than the busyness and anxieties and luxuries of everyday life.  I promise it will be worth it.  I also promise to keep my sermon short.  🙂

For more on the history and use of the Great Litany see this excellent article from the Living Church magazine.

A Note from the Rector – 3/3/19

Sunday, March 3rd, is World Mission Sunday.  In this space last week, we printed the bishop’s message calling all the churches in the diocese to mark this day.  You will notice several special prayers in our liturgy this morning which are meant to commemorate mission.  Mission is also a big part of this year’s Lenten Soup Group.  Soup Group is an opportunity to gather on Wednesday evenings in Lent, eat some soup and bread, and have an interesting discussion together about Christian faith and practice.  So, this year, we’ll discuss mission (and evangelism, and the Anglican Communion, and science fiction).  All this talk of mission, though, begs the question.  What is mission?  Here’s a teaser for the Soup Group discussion:

Until the 1400s, mission (missio in Latin) was a word that was only applied to deity.  It was a technical term for the ways that God reveals God’s self in the world.   It was first used for human activity during the European conquest of South and Central America.  At that time, the Church sent “missions,” groups of missionaries to bring Christianity to indigenous people.  The outcome of these missions is, well, complicated.  Not everything done by those and other missionaries was bad.  However, I don’t have to tell anyone that there was and is a lot of terrible stuff that is done in the name of Jesus.

What can be done about the fact that missionary activity has very often gone awry in significant ways?  The first step is to recover the original definition of mission.  Mission is not something that we do.  It is not something that we have.  Contrary to how some might act, Christians don’t possess a mission.  Mission belongs to God.  Mission is the name that we give to the activity of God in the world.  God missions, that is, God moves.  God crosses boundaries.  God shows up in unexpected places at unexpected times.  God’s mission is most perfectly expressed in the person of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is God’s mission to the world.  Jesus crossed the boundary between divine and human in order to bring God’s love and forgiveness to humans.  That’s mission.  Jesus has invited us to participate in His life through baptism.  In baptism we are called to participate in Christ’s life, death, and resurrection (Romans 6:4).  In baptism we cross the boundary from death to life   In baptism we become parts of Christ’s body, and therefore are invited to participate in God’s mission.  BOOM!

If you want to hear more come to Soup Group, Wednesday nights in Lent, or just keep your ears open around here.  I love this stuff and I am not likely to shut up about it anytime soon.

A Note from the (Former) Rector: History of Connect-by-Night at Holy Apostles

by the Rev. Steve Snider (Rector 1991-2006)

We began sheltering circa 1994, I think it was, with a group of interdenominational parishes coordinated by an organization called Shepherd’s Place. Sally Griffith, now a parishioner of Holy Trinity Rittenhouse Square, alerted us to the organization and affected the marriage between CHA and Shepherd’s Place. We signed on and a core group of parish volunteers quickly expanded to the numbers you have today. I advocated and Sally was our first coordinator by default! She did a great job. Looking through the 2006 directory, the year I retired from CHA, I count 40+ families or individuals who stepped up to host and prepare bag lunches, drinks, sanitize, etc. Many of them are still helping today. I also remember our earliest volunteers now departed: Win Becker, Sr., Peter Cadwallader, Bonnie Davis, Ray Dyer, Bob & Carole Moore, Vince Raimondo, Harry Sibley, Sandy Smith, Gene Stivers, and I hope for forgiveness for missing anyone else.

Prior to our first year of hosting, we sent flyers around the neighborhood and the result was predictable. Some neighbors called to complain; some anonymously called the township resulting in a surprise inspection, albeit with an apology from the inspector; some called and offered to help. Ultimately, we had many more neighborhood helpers than complainers. After the first couple of years the nay-sayers stopped saying, well, ‘nay’.

When we first began, we were assigned winter months, and thus helped to save many from freezing on the streets. We needed to put a hold on our involvement in 1999 when the parish hall underwent re-construction. When we re-joined the rota for the month of July, which worked well since we had just installed air-conditioning in the parish hall.  We have been helping people avoid heat related catastrophes ever since.

At some point in the mid-90’s, Shepherd’s Place ceased to exist and the sheltering operation came under the auspices of Connect-By-Night social services in Upper Darby. Largely, CHA and other parishes hosted the overflow from the permanent shelter located at 63rd & Market in Upper Darby. That shelter was overwhelmed by the first year of its opening. At first our guests – numbering from 25 to 60 people each night – included children, most often with their mothers and sometimes with both parents/partners. In time, the children began to disappear for an assortment of reasons, some of them good.

I am so pleased and give thanks to God that CHA continues in this life-saving outreach. By my count 2018 marks the 24rd year in this sacred endeavor…anyway, that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Steve+

Announcements 4/15/18

This Week at Holy Apostles

Sunday, April 15th         10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist, Rite II

Celebrant: The Rev. James Stambaugh, Rector                                                       

Monday, Apr.16th          Office Closed

Tuesday, Apr. 17th         9:00 a.m. Morning Prayer

10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Office Hours

Wednesday, Apr.18th   7:30 a.m. Holy Eucharist

Thursday, Apr. 19th      9:00 a.m. Morning Prayer

Friday, Apr. 20th           9:00 a.m. Morning Prayer

10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Office Hours

Sunday, Apr. 22nd      10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist, Rite II

                                               Celebrant: The Rev. James Stambaugh, Rector

5:00 p.m. Confirmation Class

Announcements for Sunday, April 15th, 2018

Worship

Special worship services during the season of Easter:

Wednesday, April 25th – Feast of St. Mark the Evangelist: Holy Eucharist 6:00 p.m. (followed by Soup Group make-up discussion on Prayer)

Sunday, May 6th – Rogation Sunday: 10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist; Rogation Procession after service (see announcement in Parish Life)

Thursday, May 10th – Feast of the Ascension: 7:00 p.m. Holy Eucharist

Sunday, May 20th – Feast of Pentecost: 10:00 a.m. Holy Eucharist

Children & Youth

Confirmation classes are being held the second and fourth Sundays of each month at 5:00 p.m.  All children and youth 5th grade and up (at parent’s discretion) are welcome to attend, even those who are not seeking confirmation.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR – BISHOP DANIEL GUTIERREZ WILL VISIT HOLY APOSTLES & CONFIRM ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2018

April 29th is Youth Sunday, when children and teens in the church take part in leading the service. There is no Sunday School held that day, and children attend church with their parents.

Nursery 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 routinely 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.

Adult Education

On Wednesday, April 25, we will hold a special Easter season “make-up day” for our Lenten study series on prayer.  It will begin with a Eucharist in honor of the Feast Day of St. Mark the Evangelist at 6:00 p.m., and then a soup and salad supper and discussion will follow.  The discussion will focus on tools for prayer such as prayer ropes, rosaries, and Icons.

Parish Life

Sunday, April 15th, at 4:00 p.m.: Centennial Organ Recital at Church Farm School Chapel of the Atonement will be held today. Among other performers will be Michael Stairs, one of the most accomplished organists in our area, Organist Emeritus at Church of the Redeemer, Bryn Mawr, and organist for the Philadelphia Orchestra. The concert is free, and all are invited to a reception at Ned and Linda Sherrill’s home after the performance. Please see Nancy Haas for more information.

On Sunday April 22nd, the Penn Wynne Civic Association is hosting an Earth Celebration in Wynnewood Valley Park next door. This is a great chance for the church to be present to the neighborhood.  There will be a number of fun activities for children and families, and a member of our youth group will be part of a music performance.  1PM-5PM (Confirmation class will start at 5PM!)

On Saturday, May 5th, we are planning an ALL PARISH WORK DAY from 2PM-5PM.  We will work to clean and fix up the church, and then enjoy a taco dinner together.  Among other things, we are looking to clean up and re-open the bathrooms in the basement.  Come for as long as little as you can. The only expertise necessary is the ability to eat tacos.

On Sunday, May 6th, we will celebrate a parish Rogation Day. Rogation comes from the Latin word rogare, which means “to ask.” Since the 5th century the days leading up the Feast of the Ascension have been Rogation days specifically to ask for God’s protection and blessing over land, crops, waterways, and other places and things important to growing and agriculture.  On May 6th, immediately following the 10:00 a.m. service, there will be a Rogation procession from the church to the Wynnewood Valley Park next door for special prayers and blessings over the flora, fauna, and watershed that nourishes and beautifies our neighborhood.

If you visit the church during the week (and we hope you do!), please use the red double doors nearest the church offices.  Please take special care to lock doors behind you, and ensure that they latch properly.  Doors that are not locked or completely shut are a very serious safety concern for Little Friends Daycare.  Thank you!

This week the Parish Office will be open on Tuesday, April 17th, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., and on Friday, April 20th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

 

Announcements – 11/26/2017

Announcements for Sunday, November 26th, 2017

The Last Sunday after Pentecost/Christ the King

Worship

Welcome to Church of the Holy Apostles! This morning’s service is Holy Eucharist, Rite II, at 10:00 a.m..  Our Guest Celebrant is the Rev. Canon Shawn Wamsley. The Rev. James Stambaugh will serve as Deacon and Preacher.

Morning Prayer: This week, Tuesday through Friday in the church at 9:00 a.m.

Sunday, December 24th is both Advent IV (in the morning) and Christmas Eve (in the late afternoon and evening). There will be Holy Eucharist, Rite II, as usual at 10:00 a.m. (but without choir) on the 24th, observing Advent IV. Christmas Eve services are Holy Eucharist, Rite II, at both 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. There will be Holy Eucharist at 9:00 a.m. on Christmas Day, Monday, December 25th (without choir).

Children & Youth

Childcare is available during the 10:00 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.

Education

Join us for our next Christian Education Mini-Series: Theological Liner NotesWednesdays at 6:30pm on December 6th, 13th, 20th.  Together we will listen to some great music and then discuss how the music relates to the person and work of God as well as questions of meaning and purpose for humans. Some of the artists we will listen to include Bob Dylan, Beyonce, Dave Matthews, Regina Spektor, and Oliver Mtukudzi.  James is open for other suggestions.

Outreach & Service

On Monday December 11th at 6pm the Holy Apostles will hold its annual holiday meal with the East Parkside Resident’s Association. The group will be celebrating members of their community who are cancer survivors.  We will be bringing side dishes and uncooked (frozen or defrosted) turkeys to distribute as gifts.  A sign-up sheet will be posted in the parish hall, and we can travel together from church leaving at 5:30 pm to the Christ Community Baptist Church, 1224 N 41st St , Philadelphia, PA 19104.  If anyone is interested in being part of their entertainment program, or if there are other questions, please contact Joe Zorc at zorc@email.chop.edu .

Parish Life

Seeking volunteers to help with our Pancakes with Santa extrava- ganza on December 2nd from 7:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. There is a sign-up sheet posted in the parish hall. Call or email Drew Meiers (610) 446-8340 or dkmeiers@verizon.net for more information.

Ordination to the Priesthood On December 9 at 4:00 p.m., our deacon-in-charge, James Stambaugh will be ordained to the priesthood by the Rt. Rev. Daniel Gutiérrez.  The special service will take place here at Holy Apostles.  A reception will follow.  An important part of the service is for people to formally present James to the bishop.  James would like to invite any and all willing members of CHA to be his presenters for the service. See BCP, pp. 526-7 to see what this entails.  Look for a sign-up sheet on the table across from the parish office.

The parish office will be open this week on Tuesday, November 28th, and Thursday, November 30th.