To the Saints of St. Andrew’s!
Blessings of this 4-week Advent Season as we journey together in the joyful hope of our Lord’s Second Advent.
With the hype in the culture, it would appear the Christmas Season began about the third week of October this year. …Sigh…!
We will shortly visit the joyful event of the Incarnation of our Lord – Christmas Day and the 12-day Christmas Season that begins on Christmas Day. Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas was always a great joy and much fun in our family. It was such a delight for our two children to learn that the gifts of Christmas Eve (when our ‘gift-giving’ began) would continue through the entire Season.
We shared gifts all around – Jane and I to our children and to each other; the children to us and to each other. We’d give the ‘big’ gifts on Christmas Eve, yet the gifts of love would continue through each of the next 12 Days. The gift of spending special time together (either Jane or me with each of our children, the gift of helping a child learn a new skill, the gift of doing some work that was usually done by another in the family, and so on. It was such a joy for us each year to decide what new gift we could each come up with to share our love and care with one another.
It was great fun for our two children to let their friends know that Christmas in our home continued even when school was back in session shortly after the New Year. There were another five days to the Season – and they delighted even more to tell their friends that there would be five more gifts!
Our family celebration was a way for the four of us to put into practice the way we wanted to live in the world. Of course, those times of the four of us together are now past. Yet, the learnings, the love, the joy continues as our children and I continue living the joy of trying to figure out how we can come up with ways we can share love and care with those around us.
Gift giving is an echo of reminding one another of the love God has for each one of us.
Blessed Advent! And, a Holy Joyful Christmas!
To the Saints of St. Andrew’s,
We are fast approaching the end of the Church’s year – the last Sunday of Pentecost. On that day, we celebrate Christ the King. The celebration began in 1925 in Rome when Pope Pius XI created the celebration for the Roman Rite and assigned it to the last Sunday of October. In 1970 the celebration was moved to the last Sunday of Pentecost in the Roman Rite.
Given the Roman Catholic origin of the Celebration, does it seem odd that Episcopalians now (since the 1979 Book of Common Prayer) also observe the last Sunday as the Festival of Christ the King? Afterall, it’s a Roman ‘thing’, right?
The liturgical calendar (weekly and daily observances of the Church) was not something that was established all at once. The form in which we know it was developed over centuries of use. The Festival of Christ the King is the latest addition. Some observations began in one city or another, one congregation or another and spread to other areas of the Church as an appropriate observation for them. There’s the key…an appropriate observation for others. Currently, for example, Lutheran, Anglican, Moravian, Methodist, Nazarene, Reformed and United Protestant Churches also celebrate the Feast of Christ the King. It’s an appropriate observation that was eagerly adopted by others.
The Feast of Christ the King has a focus that points to the end of time when the kingdom of Jesus will be established in all its fullness to the ends of the earth. It leads us into Advent, when the Church anticipates Christ's second coming.
While this background might be important for some, the more significant question is what it means for each one of us that Christ is the king of and for our lives? I suggest that we all take time – a good amount of time – to consider this. We might begin thinking with: “What does it mean for me that Christ is the King of my life?”
Dear Sisters & Brothers…
‘tis the season for Stewardship. This comes around every year and it’s expected that the Stewardship folks will have a program reminding us. Here’s a concern that I’ve had for years: It seems to me that folks have gotten the understanding that the word is spelled like this:
Perhaps it’s what we hear (or, is it, what I hear?). Yes, we’ve all heard that Stewardship has to do with ‘my’ time, talent and treasure (also described as works, wisdom and wealth). That’s a clever way of saying that our Stewardship is about all of life. And, so it is.
I think that our Stewardship is based on an incident in the creation story from Genesis 2:4-25
Then God said, “Let us make humans in our image, according to our likeness, and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over the cattle and over all the wild animals of the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
So God created humans in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the air and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
A key – it seems to me – is the word dominion. Many understand this to mean domination. Yet, when you look at the second creation story in Genesis, we learn that humankind’s responsibility toward God’s creation is “to till it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Viewed through the lens of the second creation account, dominion is not ownership and control, but rather stewardship and caretaking.
As ‘caretakers’ of what belongs to God it is our responsibility to use the resources available to us for that purpose. Further, it is our responsibility as God’s ‘stewards’ to live in God’s creation as responsibly as possible.
This responsibility takes everything we have at our disposal – our time, talent and treasure.
I’ll leave it there at the moment. Hopefully, you’ll work with this and make application as is appropriate to your situation in life.
Oh…and, of course, with this understanding of the word, it’s quite obvious that it’s spelled: Stewardship!
Fr. Jerry (October 13,2023)
To the Saints at St. Andrew’s parish…
During early summer, I was awaiting the inevitable ‘fall’ of attendance at worship services. It’s a very common experience among parishes so it was not an unusual Item in my . Interestingly, that ‘fall’ did not occur! In fact, over the summer, there was one Sunday on which the attendance exceeded the Easter Day attendance! All of this speaks volumes of the life and vitality of St. Andrew’s.
On 10 September, we returned to the use of the common cup or intinction cup for the reception of the consecrated wine during our worship. I’ve asked folks to share input and those who’ve commented were very helpful in their thoughts and observations. Suggestions will be implemented. I continue to invite observations/thoughts from everyone.
Also on 10 September, we welcomed Canon Barbara Harrison Seward who preached, attended a celebration during Fellowship Hour and worked with St. Andrew’s Search Committee. It was a full morning (and early afternoon) for Canon Barbara. She expressed delight at her conversations with members as well as with the Search Committee. It's quite evident that the Search Committee is busy at work on behalf of the Congregation!
Looking ahead a bit to October…On Sunday, 1 October, we will offer the annual blessing of animals at the beginning of the 10:30 AM Eucharist. I’ve sought to continue the tradition and have inquired for details.
While I am usually ‘on duty’ every Friday, please know that I am easily contacted via cell phone or email at any time. 610-737-9509; GRGaeta@aol.com I always look forward to contact.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Blessings and peace be with you in abundance!
In the last edition of this newsletter, I announced the return to the use of the common cup for the reception of wine at Holy Communion. Along with the cup, an intinction cup will be available. The Memorial Funeral Mass for Charles Johns offered us an experience of these options of receiving the wine.
The Episcopal Church recognizes that receiving communion in either bread or wine, provides the same spiritual benefit of union with the precious body and blood of Jesus as if you were receiving both bread and wine. So, although it is our tradition to receive both, both are certainly not required.
Beginning on Sunday, September 10 we will have these options:
This is entirely your choice. I invite you to decide which option is most comfortable for you.
Dear Sisters & Brothers of St. Andrew’s Church…
God’s blessings rest upon each one this day!
Several weeks ago, member David Hoag shared the helpfulness and joy he’d discovered in offering daily prayer. As I recall it, David shared that he began a daily prayer with a simple prayer of thanks and offering of himself. Later, he discovered that the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) had several orders of prayer – Morning Prayers, Evening Prayer & Compline (or Night Prayer). Giving those a go, David said that he found that he was ready for those forms of prayer and that they were helpful for him.
David offered us all a very helpful resource. It was joyful to hear several folks join in with their own witness to the spiritual value of daily prayer. One person shared the resource that is daily available from the Washington National Cathedral (Episcopalian) at Cathedral.org. Each day, the clergy of the Cathedral take turns leading folks via Internet in BCP daily prayers. This is an especially rich resource.
Another is Canterbury Cathedral at www.canterbury-cathedral.org. I’ve not checked this site. A dear friend followed their Morning Prayer liturgy for many years. Finally, there are many (MANY) opportunities for daily prayer available to anyone who wishes to journey into the life of prayer. I’ll encourage your search for something that will ‘fit’.
Further, please know that I am always available as a resource. Ring me up (610-737-9509) to chat or to meet at the Church Office (I’m there on Fridays 10-4). It’s always a good idea to call first for a specific time as I can’t guarantee that my responsibilities may call me away at times.
Sharing from experience of many – as well as my own – I’ll offer that beginning some daily prayer routine (from a one- or two-line prayer or a more structured liturgy) one soon discovers that for a full life in Christ, Sunday worship just isn’t enough. You and I need to be in prayer with our God frequently that we may learn even more how to listen, how to hear, how to praise.
There is so very much in daily life that we need to bring to God. There are also so many opportunities during our days to praise God.
Give it a go! You’ll find a richness in your relationship with our Lord!
Fr. Jerry (June 7, 2023)
God’s blessings hold and support you on your journeys these Easter days. It was a privilege for me to journey with you during the balance of the Holy Season of Lent, Holy Week and the beginnings of the Easter Season.
I was a bit surprised at how drained I was after the Easter Day liturgy. With that in mind, we need to remember all those who worked so very hard to prepare for each of the liturgies throughout the seasons. Particular thanks to Deacon Lane, the Acolytes, Readers, Intercessors, Ushers, to our talented
musician, the Altar Guild, Eddie Boskett (fire builder for the Vigil), and all others who labored so very hard. Forming a list like this always brings a risk that someone will be omitted. Please receive your omission not as a slight, but as the fault of a very tired mind who continues to recover!
Personally, it was a joy for me to be part of the planning as well as to preside. It was a memorable experience and a joyful affirmation to our faith as we journeyed through these Holy Days.
Looking to the months ahead, it is with considerable joy that I anticipate the continued labors engaged by so many toward the Calling of a Rector. Much of this work is ‘behind the scenes’ yet it is not ‘private’. Rather, each person involved is very aware that they labor faithfully on behalf of all members of this Congregation.
More information will be coming as the various projects are prepared. In the meantime, it’s important that each of us continue to hold this labor of love in our daily prayers. God already knows who He chose for the position. The task now is to follow God’s will. Thus, prayers for clarity and faithfulness!
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church
1900 Pennsylvania Ave.
Allentown, PA 18109-3187
The Rev. Dr. Gerard Gaeta OblSB
St. Andrew's office
hours: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays
9AM to 1PM
10:30 AM on Sundays
Masks optional and CDC
Ministers of the Parish
The Rt. Rev. Kevin Nichols
The Rev. Dr. Gerard Gaeta OblSB
Supply Priest (through 2023)
The Rev. Lane Perdue Ob/SJB
Apply for this Position!
Organist/ Choir Director
Finance Committee Chair
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