The Prayer, Advent, Christmas and More Chicken Tortellini
November 11, 2020 “What happens here, doesn’t stay here…”
Dear Church Family,
Each week, it seems music enters my time of reflection and contemplation. I write many times about how music reminds me of prayers and hope. Once again, this week I want to share a song as a prayer. It’s filled with a simple sentiment of light and hope as we enter the upcoming season of Advent. I hope you, too, will find encouragement and comfort in this piece.
In 1998, Celine Dion and Andre’ Bocelli recorded an original song, a compilation of work of four writers: David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager, Alberto Test and Tony Renis. The song was entitled “The Prayer.” It was originally recorded in two solo versions, one in English and one in Italian, for the movie “Quest for Camelot.” In the Fall of 1998, Dion released an album entitled, “These are Special Times.” It was a Christmas album and on that album she and Andrea released the most popular version of the song as a duet. The song won a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1999 and a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals in 2000. Music critics gave the song very positive reviews and it hit the charts in 1999. In 2008, Dion released a live version of the song, this time as a duet with Josh Groban. When she did, the song hit both the Canadian Hot 100 and the Billboard Hot 100.
I heard the song again this week, sung by two high school students, somewhat impromptu, and recorded on an iPhone, in the middle of a cathedral. Again, I listened intently to the words. As I listened, I thought of the beauty of the music and especially of the words. Our need for this prayer repeatedly in our lives, maybe especially now. For 22 years this prayer has made people stop in their tracks and pay attention. And I wondered, can we all together pray this prayer? Maybe not with the voices of Andrea Bocelli or Celine Dion, but maybe too as we pray, we will hear them singing it in our heads. However we pray, may we remember, we all pray together in unity for one another as we seek to show love and grace to every brother and sister. Just as we ask God to guide us with God’s grace to a place where we’ll be safe.
We are entering the Holiday season and Advent. Families are uncertain if gathering together will be safe, people are concerned about health and safety in these times and - quite frankly - all our words haven’t been so nice for each other following this most recent election. So, I wondered, could these words be a reminder, would we maybe pray this prayer together? Maybe we could share in this message in this season.
To me, it is especially poignant since this song was released on a Christmas album and had such meaning over the years. I thought maybe others will find meaning and hope in these words anew this year. May we all pray for guidance to a safe place in our lives. I share the song and prayer with you now.
I pray you'll be our eyes And watch us where we go And help us to be wise In times when we don't know Let this be our prayer When we lose our way
Lead us to a place Guide us with your grace To a place where we'll be safe
I pray we'll find your light And hold it in our hearts When stars go out each night Let this be our prayer When shadows fill our day Lead us to a place Guide us with your grace Give us faith so we'll be safe
Let this be our prayer
Just like every child
Need to find a place
Guide is with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe.
Peace for the journey,
In our daily prayers…
Please keep in your prayers this day: Greyson Greenawalt Sauter, Greyson underwent multiple surgeries this past week and will continue to recover at Geisinger Danville before being transported to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Continued healing for my mom, Myrtle, and Amy Snider, both following surgery, as well as members of our community that are suffering from COVID-19. I ask for continued prayers for the Reimensnyder family as Peggy continues under the care of hospice, as Tom sits by her side day and night, and as her children assist with her care. I ask for prayers for the family of George Fisher, Cindy Swanger’s father, who was remembered in a private family gathering on Tuesday. Also for Paul Latham’s family, Carol Snider’s father, who will be remembered this coming week. Additionally, please keep Joan Williams, Brent Sample’s mother in your prayers, as she requires surgery after a fall on Monday, and Ruth Berguson, Mallory Sample’s gram who experienced a heart attack while in the hospital and is recovering. We just received word to include Harry Hackenburg in GMC following an ATV accident. Please, as always, keep your church family and all we serve in your daily thoughts and prayers.
Please also remember to either join or update the prayers on St. Paul’s Love and Prayers Facebook page, send an email or call the church office with updates or requests that we together may pray as a community of faith.
Soup Sale News…
Merle Kay and team set a lofty goal this year to sell $2,000 worth of soup for our annual Soup (sans Bake) Sale. Normally, that wouldn’t be so lofty, however, that was a lot considering we had to do 98 percent of it as preorders and mostly through advertising and social media and no in-person day-of-sales or baked goods or Cards of Hope or Wreaths this year. As of this writing, we have reached $1,939…however, don’t count out the goal yet. We have it on good authority that some soup purchasers weren’t able to buy one of the soups they were craving because of late ordering…so, one of our “soup chefs” - one I happen to know personally - has agreed to fill orders for Chicken Tortellini Soup to put us over our goal! We need your order no later than Friday morning, 9 a.m., Nov. 13, 2020. Call the Church Office, or text my cell phone to place your order. We’ll coordinate pick up or delivery from there.
And the best thing? All money raised goes to local missions!
In fact, as an fyi…your church, gives a minimum of 10% of all income to missions and benevolence, no matter what the designation. If the designation is higher or there is a need beyond what is designated, we give. That is what we believe makes us the church. Over the past three years our Missions Giving has been above and beyond our 10% goal and has averaged 17% of our total annual budget, designating even more than given. Please know your generosity, no matter if it comes designated for Missions or for General Operations will always be used to support the mission of this faith community.
Christmas Pageant News…
Your talents…Colleen Franciscus, Russ Wynn and others will be working to organize one of the most unique Christmas Pageants in the history of Christmas Pageants. This week, we will be coming to you to ask for your family participation in this year’s pageant. It will have a bit of a different look, however the story and music will ring true. Families will be asked to participate, playing roles in the pageant and filming it from home while special music and carols will be added to aid in full participation as we tell the story of Christ’s birth once more, all together. Once all is put together we will broadcast it out for members, family and friends via our social media and live stream feeds. We hope everyone who can will participate!
News from home…
Honoring our Veterans… Today is Veterans Day. I still remember my first few years here when Gene Gilliom would be at the piano and as a way to honor our Veterans, Gene would play through each of the hymns for each division of our military and members would stand as their division was honored. Today, while we cannot gather all in person, we do have an opportunity for our bells, our new Carillon, to ring out in honor and celebration of our Veterans. During the day today the bells will ring out on the hours of 9, 12, 5, 6, 7 & 8 with hymns to honor our military, those who have risked their lives for peace, freedom and justice that we all may be safe. Will you join me in prayers of thanksgiving for all members of Saint Paul’s who have served and those who continue to serve? Advent from home…While we don’t know for sure what Advent will look like with in person gatherings at Saint Paul’s, we do know that several families will remain gathering at home and join us via LiveStream. We would invite you, that if you don’t already have an advent wreath at home to create or purchase one for you and your family this year. If you would like they are available for order via online or there are instructions in our newly distributed “Faithful Families” (pp.63) to build one of your own together. If you are interested in having a wreath at home and don’t have a way to get one or build one of your own, please reach out to the church office and we will assist in whatever way is needed. Also, as you do light a candle with us each week, we hope you will be willing to share pictures with us of your creations and celebrations.
The surveys are in… Results are being compiled and next week your Consistory will review the results and plan appropriately. After prayerful consideration, we will share with you options for gathering during Advent and Christmas. Please pray for wise decisions as we move forward in these times. Daily Devotions for Advent…We will be publishing a daily Advent Devotion online and printed copies will be available for those who need them. Please watch for ways which you may join us during this Advent season in daily reflection and prayer. Plan now to set aside time daily to journey through this season with us all. Sharing our Gifts…Jen Arnold is once again heading up gift giving for children and families in need for the Donald Heiter Community Center. Jen has a list of 140 children, varying ages in which gifts are needed. Most of the gifts are essential needs with some “would likes” however most are needs of essentials. If you would like to help provide gifts, adopt a child or family, you may contact Jen via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: (570) 713-5995, or contact Jen via Facebook Messenger. Jen is adding the list to our St. Paul’s Love and Prayers private group to make it more convenient as well. Ours is the gift to give in helping our neighbors, and we invite you to participate as you are able. Reach out to Jen for more information.
Here’s a great Christmas Gift idea for coffee drinkers…Saint Paul’s Coffee Club is continuing to take orders for the Fair-Trade products. All profits benefit our Mission Fund and all purchases go to benefit independent farmers. Order forms are available to be emailed to you or you may download from the church website. You may then turn in your order form via email or to the church office. Orders will be filled with the stock we have, until we run out and then we will place a bulk order.
Order cut-off each month is 3 p.m. on the first Tuesday of the month. Payment is due when order is placed. We will notify you of the pick-up date and time.
You may pay for your orders via a check made to SPUCC or Easytithe.
This week @ Saint Paul’s:
Wed., Nov. 11 Veterans Day
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Church office open
Thur. Nov. 12 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Fresh Express
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Church office open
Fri., Nov. 13 Happy Birthday, Amaya Verducci
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Church office open
Mon., Nov. 15 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Church Office open
10:30 a.m. Monday Morning Preacher Bible Study
Tue., Nov. 16 Happy Birthday, Max Bossert
Happy Birthday, Mallory Sample
10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Church office open
Christian Education (click on Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5705681433)
· Sundays with Dave and Friends – 9:15 weekly (a Bible Study on Revelation)
· Monday Morning Preacher – 10:30 a. m. weekly (Let’s talk about Sunday’s text)
· Wednesday Musings and Theology – 6:30 p.m. weekly (Book study, see description below)
· Non-Zoom daily devotions with “Faithful Families”
What happens here doesn’t stay here (ways to connect in the community):
· Fresh Express (2nd & 4th Thursdays each month)
· Fall Lawn / Yard Clean-up
· Painting, Cleaning and Organizing at the Church
· Pantry Remodeling at the church
· Fall Family Fun Packets
· Community Thanksgiving Baskets
· Equal Exchange Coffee Sale
· CARE team Goodies and Meals
Reach out to learn more about these and many other opportunities at the church!