Be careful: If you come here, you will grow!
St. Philip’s Episcopal Church
A note from the Rev. Michael A. Bullock
Our National Thanksgiving Day is next Thursday (11/26); and I suspect that when next week’s edition of the NOW comes out (delivered on Thursdays at 10 a.m.) you will be deeply involved in your own Thanksgiving preparations and not very attentive to missives like mine. So, I thought practically that I should address the issue of Thanksgiving early in this NOW article.
Even though this year’s preparations may be more confined than before, with places at our table missing because of travel restrictions, illness, or [God bless us] death, I hope each of you will have some form of a feast and take the time to save room in your heart and soul for gratitude. It is, after all, Thanksgiving Day! We have a good deal for which to be grateful. READ MORE
THE ANNUAL PARISH CANVASS IS THIS MONTH
Hard and Uncertain Times Bring Out Our Faith
By the time you receive this edition of the NOW, most of you will have received a letter from me (Veterans Day notwithstanding), asking you to make a financial pledge to St Philip’s so that we will have the necessary funding support in 2021 to continue our mission and ministry. Our financial pledges to the parish are a concrete expression of our commitment to being the church, Christ’s Body in our time and place. Put more directly, money (in addition to our time) is how we choose to use our power; and our annual Canvassing of the parish membership seeks to ask for your investment in what St. Philip’s stands for and does.
In 2020, every aspect of our life has been pushed off-balance by the pandemic. This is certainly true of our life at St. Philip’s. And while many of us have been forced to re-evaluate how we live and how we specifically use our money, I am asking you to remember what God has done and is doing through you and me, through St. Philip’s. I will not rehearse the surprising life that is bubbling up among us; nor will I chronicle the ways in which we are working to keep one another connected during this straining time of separation. It is enough to say that we have remained faithful and creatively so in these last nine months and will continue to do so in the demanding time ahead.
I talk a good deal about “showing up” and how important this is to all of us in our pilgrimage as followers of Jesus. Making a financial commitment to St. Philip’s, to our life and our ministry, is a crucial way we “show up”. So, I ask you to make a financial pledge to St. Philip’s for 2021. Together, we are doing important things.
Looking Ahead to Advent and Christmas at St. Philip’s
With the Sunday after Thanksgiving Day being the start of a new Christian liturgical year and the beginning of the Season of Advent, and with all the challenges we have faced as a community of faith during this time of separation and trial, it seems even more important than usual to announce what we will do at St. Philip’s to mark the time and to be strengthened by the experiences.
Unfortunately, we will not be able to meet for in-person worship; but we will continue to live-stream our liturgical life. (In this vein, we will be asking Santa for a laptop computer, which our technical elves have assured us will greatly help in the sound and picture reliability of what we broadcast! What a gift this would be! Santa, are you listening?) Nonetheless, we intend – as best we can — to offer the richness and loveliness of Advent and Christmas and invite you to join us as best you can.
1. WE WILL HAVE CHRISTMAS EVE AND CHRISTMAS DAY WORSHIP SERVICES. They will be live-streamed on our facebook channel and also available on phone audio for those without internet access. Moreover, we have decided that the Christmas Eve liturgy will be a Communion service. While actual on-site distribution of the Sacrament will be limited to the four individuals providing the liturgy’s leadership, our intention is to create a sign-up sheet to identify those who may desire home Communion from the service. We are even working on the possibility of distributing Communion after the service, outside the church to those who can come by and receive. The logistics of this are challenging and still very much in the works; but at the very least we intend to bring Communion to those who cannot get out. But sign-ups are essential for being able to do this. So please keep an eagle eye out for more on the procedure and the sign-up in the weeks to come.
2. ADVENT WEDNESDAYS: QUIET EVENINGS: In the past few years, we have offered several quiet Wednesday evenings in the church for Advent reflection and prayer. This year, in lieu of Compline on Wednesdays (on three successive Wednesdays (12/2, 12/9, 12/16)), we will live-stream a similar experience, combining music, readings, reflection, and prayer – all in the context of Advent’s strengthening quiet anticipation
3. FAMILY STORY TIME: Continuing a “small “t” tradition among us, we will mark the season of Advent with three story opportunities, which are designed for CHILDREN of ALL ages and families of ALL sizes. On three consecutive Saturdays and in lieu of Compline on those days (12/5, 12/12, 12/19), we will gather via zoom to remember the richness of this season’s great anticipatory time. The first Story Time will be in honor of St. Nicholas. The second Story Time will recall what used to be the longest night of the year and the tradition of St. Lucy. The third Story Time will be to read the famous story written by a nineteenth century, Episcopal, seminary professor: “The Night Before Christmas” and perhaps the sharing of another seasonal insight!
4. CAROLING ON THE CHURCH LAWN: Can we do it? With social distancing, etc., we would like a group of 25 or less to gather at St. Philip’s front lawn for thirty minutes to sing the carols we all love so well and would otherwise miss this year. Dusk is the time (a more precise date and time will be given at a later communication). We will provide the carol verses; you bring a mask, a lantern or light and your much-missed presence. It will be good for us to have this quick and safe gathering of the community and also visibly to demonstrate to the Main Street throngs passing by that we are still in business!
As with everything this year, 2020 has been somewhat of a challenge, but not an insurmountable one. For the last few years St Philips has had a Christmas Giving Tree requesting donations of children’s pajamas and socks for the Easthampton Community Center. We would like to continue with that tradition this year with a different twist. So many parents have either lost employment or have had their hours significantly decreased making the need much greater. In past years our parish has donated 56 pairs of pjs and socks. If you are interested in participating in this much needed ministry, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will assign you a size or sizes to purchase. Jan Davis and I have come up with a few ways to make this a little easier.
Unwrapped donations can be dropped off at the Davis’ home any time during the day, where a container marked ‘St Philips’ will be placed outside of the garage. If you wish to buy on-line you can have the donation shipped to either Jan or myself. Thirdly, if you are unable to drop off the donations or are unable to have the donations shipped, I will be happy to pick it up at your house.
Joe and I will bring the collected donations to the Community Center the week of December 14th.
170 Park St.
Easthampton, MA 01027
58 Gilbert Rd.
Southampton, MA 01073
If you decide to have the donations delivered, please email or call whoever you have shipped it to so that we will be sure to watch for the delivery.
Thank you to all and God Bless you,
2020 Thanksgiving Day Food Drive
Thanks to those who left food donations at the church hall last week. There were nearly three baskets full. May be this Thursday there will be four.
We will continue collecting Thanksgiving food donations to support the center’s efforts this Thursday at the church hall vestibule between 1-5 pm or Saturday morning at the PVPP Event. Mary and I will bring them to the EHCC.
Any of the following items will help the Community Center in their efforts, especially the highlighted below. These are become difficult to find and some stores are limiting the quantities that can be purchased at any one time.
Stuffing – Stove Top or store brand
Pie fillings – pumpkin, cherry, blueberry
Bread or Brownie mixes
The Community Center will also be providing Thanksgiving turkeys to those in need. Donations in support of these can be made directly to the Center via mail or their website. You can also donate any unused Stop & Shop or Big Y gift cards our store coupons. Over the last few years the Center has provided 700 – 800 turkeys for Thanksgiving. This year their funds will only allow for 500.
We would like to continue our food donations efforts for Christmas and will provide details in next week’s NOW.
Please remember that Easthampton does not allow the Community Center to distribute food beyond the “Use by Date”.
Read the complete News of the Week HERE