Be careful: If you come here, you will grow!
St. Philip’s Episcopal Church
A note from the Rev. Michael A. Bullock
Happy Thanksgiving! This surely will be a holiday that will stick out in our memories. For so many this year, the feast has been altered due to the important restrictions of the pandemic, and it hurts to feel these limitations. Yet, as our Eucharistic liturgy’s “Memorial Acclamation” says: “Let us keep the feast!” Nonetheless, perhaps this year our Thanksgiving experience will be less encumbered by the various trappings with which we can and do surround ourselves to reveal those things for which we are most grateful and in need of: Our relationships with God and with one another.
As frequently happens with calendar time, Thanksgiving Sunday is also the start of our faith season of Advent; and I admit that the transition from feasting and football, and [God help us!] from Christmas shopping and decorating is not an easy one. I say this because the season of Advent begins with warnings that we’d rather ignore, warnings about the consequences of a life untended. This letter is not the place to go into the details, but the harsh tones of Advent’s beginnings (scenes of life becoming unglued) are not the focus or the season’s message. (Don’t be sucker-punched by those whose literalism – either literal dismissal of the text or literal acceptance of it – tends to take all the oxygen out of the room.) There is so much more going on in these texts and images than either camp can recognize. READ MORE
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,
Our next service is this Saturday, November 28th! We’ll be making a post-Thanksgiving meal of macaroni and cheese with greens and ham. Perfect late fall comfort food. If you are interested in joining us, you can sign up here:
If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll note that the fourth Saturday for December is December 26th. St. Philip’s and Westhampton Congregational will be serving a meal on the 26th (some warm chilli for a cold month), so do look for that announcement early next month.
We also work with Our Lady of the Valley on Christmas Day, where all the Take and Eat weekends come together to make a Christmas meal for our clients. If yu are interested in taking part in this event, see below:
We of the Take and Eat ministry are planning our Christmas meal prep and delivery on Christmas Day. We are in need of volunteers in all aspects of the meal and delivery. We realize it is a busy day for everyone, but you can give us as little as 1 hour or as much as you can. Please consider it as a Christmas gift to those who have no one to celebrate with or who have no access to a good home-cooked meal on Christmas Day.
If you can help, please contact Peg Wallace at email@example.com
For those attending this week:
Kitchen staff, our coordinators will be improving our social distancing protocol this session, so make sure to check in when you arrive for details. As always, we ask that you wash hands on entry, wear gloves and an apron, and clean surfaces after every use . Please come with a clean hat and clothes, and bring your own mask.
Drivers, please sanitize the bags and coolers you use to transport food. Pickup will take place at the picnic tables outside the kitchen. During delivery, handle the food with gloves or use hand sanitizer, and when you drop off the food, please leave it outside and call the recipient to let them know.
Remember, if you feel ill, please stay home. Contact Jon if you cannot attend. Only come to a service if you have signed up, as we need to operate with a smaller crew to reduce exposure. We also ask that children stay home.
All the Best,
Jon & the Take & Eat Team
A Thank You Note!
A St. Philip’s ‘THANK YOU!’ to the committee members who developed our (Phase 2) reopening plans: Julie Flahive, Elizabeth McAnulty, and Joe Bianca. Our plans were received by the Diocese and approved quickly! This is truly good news. What does this mean? Well, with COVID cases spiking once again across Massachusetts, for now it means we remain status quo. We hope to allow use of the hall to our regular renters soon, but we must proceed carefully. Well done team! Stay tuned for any news of changes in this area. ~Bonnie Katusich, Sr. Warden
Read the complete News of the Week HERE