Susan and I are here at Gloria Dei. We are happy to be with you and grateful to God for this opportunity for us to work together in tending this God’s garden.
Susan and I moved into the rectory on Friday, June 26. Jim and Paula, our new neighbors, welcomed us with open arms. They treated us with dinner, the excellent old-fashioned hospitality, and made sure that we were properly settled. Thank you, Jim and Paula! We’re comfortable in the rectory.
We’re living at a time, unlike any other in the past; it is an in-between time. Our society is going through an unprecedented time with a vicious pandemic which is killing people, ruining economies, and exposing the fault lines of our country, harkening back to America’s original sin – slavery. As a congregation, we are in between rectors. What do we make of this time? When things settle down, do we go back to the old ways, or will it be a new normal? Change is in the offing. Do we resist change and insist on the comfort of the familiar? I think of this time as a gift to prepare ourselves for a paradigm shift. We are on the threshold of a new beginning. Like the Magi of old, having witnessed baby Jesus, took a different route to their own countries with broader perspectives, we too will reenter the future pivoted to engage in that new thing God is about to do in our midst. Gloria Dei has a role to play in God’s purpose in the world. As it has been a relevant community in the past, it will be even more so for the future.
I look forward to getting to know each of you. My day off is Monday. Call me at 484-557-4559 or e-mail me at Koshy.email@example.com. If you have a prayer request or if you want to just talk about something weighing heavily on you, please feel free to call me anytime. Know that you are God’s beloved, and know God can do infinitely more than what we can do or imagine.
From Jim Ufheil, Senior Warden
Well, here we are in the second half of 2020 and while we’re still not together entirely, we are on the verge of a new beginning. And, it’s an exciting beginning, too!
As I’m sure most of you are aware by now, we have a new Interim Priest, Rev. Dr. Koshy Mathews (Koshy is pronounced with a long “o”). Rev. Koshy made an immediate favorable impression on the interim search committee and the entire vestry. He comes to us having recently retired from his 13 year ministry at St. Peters Episcopal Church in Phoenixville, so coming to an urban setting will be an adjustment.
Koshy and his wife Susan have relocated to the rectory already and are beginning to get to know the staff and the vestry members, and they are looking forward to meeting the rest of the Gloria Dei family.
Now for some more good news. We’re getting ready to re-start! And, the restart is bringing some new opportunities despite some new restrictions. Sounds confusing, but I think you’ll find our restart smart, safe, and convenient.
We’ll be in compliance with all city, state, CDC and Diocesan guidelines for Covid-19 safety – face mask requirements, social distancing, deep cleaning of all surfaces, contact tracing, and occupancy limits. We’ll have communion “in one kind” that in our case will be gluten free wafers. Different yes, but certainly not unmanageable. (Our full description of compliance rules can be found on the Gloria Dei website.)
Now the really good part – we’ll be live streaming the services (1) for those that don’t yet feel comfortable congregating in an enclosed space but want to feel a part of Gloria Dei Sunday services, and (2) into Riverside Hall for any potential “overflow” crowd that may show up on any particular Sunday. We’re testing everything out now so keep an eye on our website (old-swedes.org) or our Facebook page for more information and links to the live streaming and more exciting news.
Partial Restart with live streaming: Sunday, July 19th
Full Restart with open doors date: Sunday, July 26th (hopefully! - We’ll keep you posted on this.)
I’m looking forward to seeing at least some of you very soon. God bless you all and keep you safe and healthy.
Collect: O God, you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor: Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit, that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect: O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of your people who call upon you, and grant that they may know and understand what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Collect: Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, you know our necessities before we ask and our ignorance in asking: Have compassion on our weakness, and mercifully give us those things which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask; through the worthiness of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Collect: O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
My dear friends,
This past month, my heart has been heavy with sorrow, on fire with anger, and restless with uncertainty. The painful reality of systemic racism has never been made clearer (to me who benefits from white privilege) than in this past month, since the shocking death of our brother, George Floyd.
I’ve shared Saint Paul’s words from his first letter to the Corinthians many times before, but they bear repeating: “If one member [of the body of Christ] suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it” (1 Corinthians 12:26). My conviction that we are all united by the Spirit of God has made it impossible to turn away from the events unfolding in our nation and I pray that you, too, are growing in your sense of unity with and compassion for all people of color.
My prayers this month have been prayers of lament (Psalm 13, for example), prayers of supplication (asking God for guidance and courage to act as an anti-racist), and prayers of thanksgiving (for this necessary time of awakening for our country). In addition to these, our team of intercessors has been asked to pray for the individual needs of many others. We invite you to pray with us for the health and healing of some of those people (listed by first name only): David, Patrick, Vera, Diane, Beth, Marianne, Michael, Debbie, Margie, Kate, Tony, Mark, and Edward. We also pray for the repose of the soul of Jeremy, Paul, and Stanley. And, of course, we continue to hold in our hearts all who are impacted by COVID-19 whether physically, emotionally, or economically.
Finally, I’ll leave you with this thought from Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church: “It’s a daily decision to choose to live in the way of love…The way of love is the way of seeking the good, the welfare, and the well-being of others, as well as the self.” May God guide you in your decision-making and in your efforts to live the way of Love.
Peace and blessings,
Prayer Ministry Coordinator
If you feel called to participate in this ministry, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a prayer request, you can contact the church office (215-389-1513) or email me at the address above.