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From Koshy Mathews, Interim Rector

Dear Members and Friends of Gloria Dei,
On Sunday, September 27, we, the members of Gloria Dei, gathered for our Annual Meeting, delayed for few months due to COVID. We heard the impressive reports of the activities and accomplishments of our various committees. Gloria Dei continued its winning ways even into this year despite the not so ideal situation we currently are going through. In my sermon last Sunday, I talked about the importance of being aware of what truly makes up the church. It is neither the physical structure nor the priests who come to serve here. The church is the people.  The current members are entrusted with the mission of the church and are expected to hand it over to the next generation in as good a shape or better than how it was when you received it.
Following the service, I was asked,” Where is the next generation you were talking about that we can hand this church to?” I was at a loss for words. It is a big challenge for us. If it is of any comfort to us, we are not alone in this regard.  It is a widespread phenomenon. Many young people are not interested in what we are doing in the church as it is not relevant to them and  not what they are concerned about. It is a serious concern that we must address.  Perhaps the new vestry can take on this as a challenge going forward beginning during this interim. 
This interim period is unlike any other time for us. As a society, we are in a time of enormous stress and strain. COVID 19 pandemic has so far claimed more than 200,000 lives, and we don’t see any downward bend in its trajectory. Certain historically dehumanized minority communities have become disproportionately more vulnerable to getting infected and dying; the pandemic has unwittingly exposed a fault line of our society, systemic racism. Further exacerbated by minority unemployment and unequal application of justice by law enforcement on minority populations, the Black Lives Matter movement has once again sprouted all across the United States, though this time with the support of the conscientious white community, especially young white people. Our Episcopal Bishops have spoken about the prevailing systemic racism in our society and called on its members to study and repent our racist past, and to make amendments to the ways of our being in church and society.  At Gloria Dei, we will be studying the book,” How to be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi beginning on Wednesday, October 7. I am encouraged to see that some of us have signed up for this study, recognizing that one cannot be a Christian and a racist at the same time.
On Sunday, October 4, we celebrated the feast of Saint Francis, the patron saint of the environment. In the afternoon at 2 PM, we held a short service at the amphitheater and blessed pets and animals. My Sunday sermon touched on creation care.  I am encouraged to see Gloria Dei has a Green Committee which is engaged in the work of protecting and caring for the environment.
Later this month, on Sunday, October 25, at our service of Eucharist, we will honor and remember the crew of SS Poet, the ship which mysteriously disappeared in the sea in 1980.  I look forward to this tradition, unique to Gloria Dei, a maritime church   in addition to its Swedish past.
I thank God for allowing me to sojourn with the wonderful people of this great church, Gloria Dei. Let us partner with God in doing God’s mission from inside the margins of this great American city of Philadelphia.
From Jim Ufheil, Rector’s Warden
Certainly a different year than I think any of us imagined.Here we are in the final quarter of 2020. 

But, we’re hanging in there and actually doing pretty well.  Over the past month we’ve averaged about 20 people attending Sunday services in person and several more watching the live streaming.  As was pointed out during our annual meeting, we’ve gotten a lot done around the property and we’ve many improvements that should help us in the future as well. 

Unfortunately, our Annual Meeting didn’t fare as well.  Rather disappointing as we had been announcing it for a while, and only a couple of people not on the vestry participated.
Speaking of the vestry, we have two new members, Jerry Walker and Nils Van Ammers, and Barbara Chilcott will begin serving her second term on the vestry.  Congratulations to all of you.
Since our last newsletter the Keystone Grant work has begun.  A little later than hoped, but it is underway and hopefully the weather will hold out for a couple more months so that a lot of the outside work can get completed. 
I’m looking forward to seeing more of you at church as we close out the year.  If you can’t make it physically, please keep up to date on the website or on Facebook.


October 2020 Calendar

Live worship in sanctuary at 10 AM with Covid-19 precautions.  25 people allowed in the sanctuary, overflow in Riverside Hall. 
Tuesdays in October
Evensong on Zoom - 6:30 PM, followed by “coffee hour” (or whatever you like to drink!)  Email Jaime at for a Zoom link. 

Wednesdays in October at 7 PM
Book Study on Zoom – How To Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi  - Sign up on the website at

Lectionary for October
Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
October 4, 2020
Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20
Psalm 19
Philippians 3:4b-14
Matthew 21:33-46
Collect: Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
October 11, 2020
Exodus 32:1-14
Psalm 106:1-6, 19-23
Philippians 4:1-9
Matthew 22:1-14
Collect: Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost
October 18, 2020
Exodus 33:12-23
Psalm 99
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
Matthew 22:15-22
Collect: Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost
October 25, 2020
Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Psalm 90:1-6, 13-17
1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Matthew 22:34-46
Collect:  Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Prayer Ministry

Dear friends,

As divisions in our nation become more pronounced, it feels more important than ever to engage in some form of prayer. Yet, it is often difficult to find the words. If we believe that the Spirit of God dwells within us, then we can trust that the Spirit will give us the words to pray when our minds can’t articulate them. One form of prayer that calls us to lean on the Spirit’s guidance is called “Lectio Divina”. Lectio Divina is a term that means “sacred reading”. When we use Lectio Divina as a form of prayer, we seek to encounter God through a text (often the Bible), trusting that God’s Spirit will speak to us through the reading. Here are the basic steps of Lectio Divina:

  • Choose a Bible passage (perhaps one from the lectionary published in this newsletter).
  • Ask God to be present with you while you engage in this form of prayer.
  • Read through the text for the first time. It can help to read it aloud.
  • Now ask yourself, “What does the text say?” In other words, what is going on in the story?
  • Then read through the text a second time.
  • Now ask yourself, “What does the text say to me?” (Sometimes a particular word or phrase will draw your attention. Consider what that word or phrase means to you at this moment in your life.)
  • Then read through the text a third time.
  • Then ask yourself, “What do I want to say to God about the text?” Allow yourself to speak (pray) to God about how the text is speaking to you. There is no right or wrong way to do this.
  • Finally, ask yourself, “What difference does this text make in my life?” Consider how the text impacts you. Are you being called to some kind of action? Are you being called to rest? Are you being invited to have hope?
  • Sit quietly and notice any thoughts, feelings, and sensations that arise following this experience.
  • Close with a brief prayer of gratitude for God’s presence during this time.

You may also choose to simply say the names of the individuals on our prayer list right now: (listed by first name only): The Byaese Family, Barb, Bevin, Jill, Amy, Susan, Kate, Margie G, Margie K, Luca, Kabir, Edward, Shaun, Jerry W, Jerry B, and Sally. We pray for the repose of the soul of Robert, Gilbert, and “Van Winkle”. We also pray for the victims of violence, natural disasters, and COVID-19. May we be open to the Spirit’s call to action and God’s guidance on how to use our gifts in service to others.
Peace and blessings,
Megan Bartlett, Prayer Ministry Coordinator
If you feel called to participate in this ministry, please contact me: If you have a prayer request, you can contact the church office (215-389-1513) or email me at the address above.

Memorial Cards
Helga Cinalli – November 19, 1934 – March 11, 2020
If you would like to purchase a memorial card for $5, please call the church office at 215-389-1513.
Congratulations to the newly married:
Keith Conway & Brein Crumlich – August 29, 2020


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