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Daily Message from St. Edward’s – April 9, 2020

Dear parishioners,

Christians have often remarked that Good Friday has a strange name. A number of historians believe it is actually a modification of “God’s Friday”. It is the most solemn commemoration of the entire church year. Good Friday causes us to take our time to stop and consider the extraordinary reality of Jesus’ crucifixion. His humanity is on stark display. The focus is on the cross, and on what the cross means for us. The Passion story and liturgy move us in a profound way and invite us to see the Passion of Jesus as an act of compassion for the entire world.

In our current version of the Book of Common Prayer we have a special liturgy for Good Friday, but this was not always the case. Before the 1970s, churches often created their own versions of something often labeled the “Seven Last Words” of Jesus. Such services typically lasted from noon until 3:00 pm and consisted of a variety of readings, prayers, homilies and periods of silent meditation. They were designed so that individual parishioners could quietly drop in to the service for a period of time, stay as long as they wished, and then also leave quietly on their own.

This older “Seven Last Words” format seems like a particularly good fit for a Good Friday service that is to be held online. So our diocesan service will make use of it without being broadcast from any single location and will run from noon to 3:00 pm. Here is the link:

The program will include elements of our Book of Common Prayer Good Friday liturgy as well as other prayers and collects. Musical interludes will offer time for contemplation or departure. The highlight of the program will be offerings and homilies that a small group of preachers and worship leaders will share with the virtual congregation who participate. Viewers and listeners are welcome to come and go as well as follow along with their bibles and prayer books.

It is also worth remembering that Good Friday is a day of personal fasting. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that can bring great rewards because hunger acts as a constant reminder of the purpose of the fast. Fasts can be kept in different ways and with varying degrees of strictness. If you are a determined, healthy adult, you may wish to go the entire day without taking anything but water or liquids. Or you may simply choose to go as long as you can without feeling unwell. Those with health problems or those not physically 100% may choose to skip a meal, to avoid meat, or to merely eat lightly. And some people should not fast at all due to health reasons. The point is not to make it a matter of pride just how much you can give up, but rather to honor the occasion as best you can. Any sacrifice which serves to remind you of the day will be beneficial. Fasting sharpens our spiritual attention and remind us of the plight of those who must do without on a regular basis. Other self-disciplines commonly employed by Christians on this day are the writing of our own obituaries or the planning of our own funerals.

David +


And here is the link for Tonight’s service:

Our online diocesan service for Maundy Thursday will be unique:


Bishop Audrey is inviting us virtually into her home as she prepares an Agapé meal. This has been recorded so you can begin any time on Thursday evening. There will be prayers and scripture and the evening will end with her praying of Psalm 22, the traditional conclusion of Maundy Thursday. Afterwards, people are invited to participate in a live vigil on Facebook which will run from 8:00 pm until 8:00 am the following morning. (This will be a “drop in, drop out” vigil; no one is expected to stay the entire time.)


The Bishop suggests that in order to participate most fully in the program, those of us at home prepare a light meal — such as bread, soup, cheese, olives, dried fruit, and wine or juice — to enjoy during the Agapé portion of the evening.



Don’t forget to join Christina and Joe McLaughlin, hosting a weekly “Virtual Coffee Hour.”  This is all new to us, so take a chance, set up zoom and see how it all goes!  It will be fun to connect and whether you want to stay on for 5 minutes or the full session, grab your cup of coffee or tea, pull up a chair, and say hello to your fellow parishioners.

Here is a link of step-by-step instructions to set up zoom, that Christina put together.

And, if you have any questions, Christina has offered to please give her a call and she can help!  Her number is 717-415-7043.


TIME:  10 – 10:40 am

PLACE:  Wherever you are comfortable with your computer in your home environment!

ZOOM JOIN CODE:  419 646 4139


WHAT TO BRING:  Your coffee, and a favorite recipe to share!

** This join code and passcode will not be posted on the public website of Facebook.


After he had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them…“I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.”

  • John 13:12a, 15


Last year a mother and her two children wandered into our church just as the altar guild began clearing away items used during the foot washing ceremony. From the celebrant’s chair, I watched the altar guild quietly return a pitcher and basin as another member greeted our guests and invited them to participate. The daughter let go of her mother’s hand, removed her sandals and gingerly walked forward. My own daughter then rose from her acolyte chair beside me, knelt down in front of the visiting child and washed her feet.

The act of washing a stranger’s feet surely offers an example for us to follow, but that’s not what brought tears to my eyes. It was instead watching my yellow- haired, pale-skinned daughter tenderly wash the feet of a child her age with meticulously braided hair and dark-brown skin. It was a profoundly holy moment. Families of color never wandered into the church of my childhood, but if they had, I am certain no one would have voluntarily knelt down to wash their feet. In that moment I was reminded how often our children with their unblemished points of view set Christ-like examples for us follow.

  • Allison Sandlin Liles lives in Dallas with her husband and two children and works as a parish priest and editor for

Holy Week and Easter Music Offerings!  Brought to you by:  Members of the St. Edward’s Choir!

The following Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter offerings are courtesy of Libby Sternberg. 


Ubi caritas by Maurice Durufle

Where love is, there is God.



Crucifixus by Antonio Lotti

He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate



Haec dies by William Byrd

This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Alleluia.


Peter Weber recalls one of his favorites, here.  Enjoy!

Billings, Easter Anthem, ed. Shaw.  I well remember this one as an elementary school chorister! The piece ends in fff on the word “bliss.”







Daily Message from St. Edward’s – April 8, 2020

Dear parishioners,

Now we come to it. We are arriving at the climax of Holy Week, known as the Triduum (pronounced TRID-yoo-um) or “Great Three Days”. The Triduum consists of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter. These services commemorate what happens to Jesus right before, during and after his death and lie at the heart of all Christian belief. Marking these moments as we do allows us to appreciate and enter into their meaning in a way that nothing else can match. The Great Three Days together are the most important occasions in the Christian calendar.

We begin with Maundy Thursday, also called Holy Thursday. It marks the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples. The word “Maundy” comes from the Latin “mandatum” which refers to the commandment Jesus gives to his disciples that night. The Last Supper has always been honored by Christians not only as the final occasion that Jesus spends with his disciples, but also on account of the washing of the disciples’ feet and of course the meal which becomes the very first Eucharist. In most churches the Maundy Thursday service ends in silence as the altar area is stripped of its furnishings and decorations. The stark and bare church is now in readiness for the Passion. In many churches, there is a prayer vigil beginning at the end of the Maundy Thursday service and running all night until the start Good Friday.

Our online diocesan service for Maundy Thursday will be unique:

Bishop Audrey is inviting us virtually into her home as she prepares an Agapé meal. This has been recorded so you can begin any time on Thursday evening. There will be prayers and scripture and the evening will end with her praying of Psalm 22, the traditional conclusion of Maundy Thursday. Afterwards, people are invited to participate in a live vigil on Facebook which will run from 8:00 pm until 8:00 am the following morning. (This will be a “drop in, drop out” vigil; no one is expected to stay the entire time.)

The Bishop suggests that in order to participate most fully in the program, those of us at home prepare a light meal — such as bread, soup, cheese, olives, dried fruit, and wine or juice — to enjoy during the Agapé portion of the evening.

David +

The diocesan online service of Tenebrae, for this evening, can be found here:

It takes place live, at 7:00 pm, and comes from St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Harrisburg. On the linked page you can choose to view it on either Facebook or YouTube. All the words will be displayed on the screen so you can easily follow the service as you watch and listen.


Some of the people who attend the Wednesday evening Bible Study would like to be free to attend the Tenebrae service this evening.  Due to the conflict in timing, we are going to cancel this evening’s Bible Study so that everyone can attend the Tenebrae.



God our Father, you see your children growing up in an unsteady and confusing world: Show them that your ways give more life than the ways of the world, and that following you is better than chasing after selfish goals. Help them to take failure, not as a measure of their worth, but as a chance for a new start. Give them strength to hold their faith in you, and to keep alive their joy in your creation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.


  • The Book of Common Prayer


When my daughter Nia was fourteen, she got home three hours before anyone else. One evening, she revealed, “I don’t like being home by myself after school.” I was stunned! When I was her age, I loved being home by myself. Ultimately, I quit my full-time job, and we changed our lifestyle so that none of the girls spent long afternoons alone.

This prayer names the struggles we watch our young people walk through. In a world where the ground can be shaky, our youth need prayer and honest conversations about a life of faith. Pray this prayer for the young people known to you and those unknown. Do you notice a difference in them? Do you see a difference in yourself?

  • Miriam Willard McKenney is the Development Director for Forward Movement. She finds extreme joy parenting her three girls with her husband, David.

Holy Week Resources:  Here is a link to some wonderful free resources provided by Church Publishing:

We are seeking 3 more delegates.

The Rector and Senior Warden are looking for interested parishioners to serve as our delegates to convention. The Diocesan Convention is one day, October 17, 2020, and is a wonderful opportunity to represent us and to be involved in the very important work and decisions that shape our diocese.  As per the by-laws, we are seeking confirmed or received Episcopalians who are over 18 years of age and who attend regularly, financially support the Church and who have been a member of St. Edward’s Church for at least 12 months.  It would be wonderful if parishioners who have not served as delegates in prior years would seek this as an opportunity to serve our parish community. We need you! Please prayerfully consider submitting your name(s) by Monday, April 13th to the parish office.

The following music video is submitted by parishioner, choir member, and cultural events ministry member, Libby Sternberg for Maundy Thursday.  Enjoy!


Ubi caritas by Maurice Durufle

Where love is, there is God.


Daily Message from St. Edward’s – April 7, 2020

Dear parishioners,

Wednesday in Holy Week for most liturgical churches is a day of transition. We are leaving behind the simple services from earlier in the week but have not yet arrived at the more dramatic and climactic days to come. In many churches, including St. Edward’s, Wednesday is the day we have Tenebrae. The name comes from Latin and means “shadows” or “darkness”. A traditional Tenebrae service takes place in the evening and is a collection of psalms, scripture readings, music, texts and responses drawn from ancient monastic Holy Week services. It is also a service that moves gradually from light to darkness as a collection of candles is extinguished one by one while the service progresses. If you have never experienced a Tenebrae service I commend it to you. The tone is meditative and somber, although it ends on a moment of dramatic surprise. The intention is to leave us in the right frame of mind to be ready for the days to come.

The diocesan online service of Tenebrae can be found here:

It takes place live on Wednesday at 7:00 pm and comes from St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Harrisburg. On the linked page you can choose to view it on either Facebook or YouTube. All the words will be displayed on the screen so you can easily follow the service as you watch and listen.

As a bit of a teaser, if you happen to be doing your grocery shopping today or tomorrow (please don’t increase your risk by making a special trip), you may want to pick up some cheese, olives, dried fruit, and wine or juice. I’ll be saying more about that in tomorrow’s post.

After Wednesday, we will be gathering ourselves for the increasingly intense final days of Holy Week.

David +

Personal message from Beth Lynch, Social Outreach Ministry Chairperson:

I am a person whose “engine” is always going. The first week of quarantine was not bad, I was able to catch up on cleaning and craft planning for the summer camps I direct. After 10 days though I was lost. 

I realize I need a schedule or else I flounder about with no purpose. I have made myself a schedule and work hard to keep at it. I add exercise every day. I add communication to friends and family every day.  I add quiet reflection. It is during this time that I feel close to Christ and that brings me close to my family of St. Edward’s.

Bless everyone.

– Beth Lynch


I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them.

–              Hosea 11:4


There’s not much I love more in this world than holding one of my children—except when I absolutely do not want to do it. My kids have a knack for asking me to hold them at exactly the moment I’m working at a hot stove, busy with a task or just exhausted from the day.

In my reflective maturity, I realize that to parent young children is to constantly be invited to the spiritual practice of presence. I know that, no matter how much I work out, I am not going to be able to physically hold my children for much longer. Apart from that, they aren’t going to want me to hold them much longer. Practicing presence invites me to give thanks for who they are now and reminds me that there is no task more important than the cords of human kindness and bands of love.


–              Patrick Funston is a husband, father of two young children and rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan, Kansas

Holy Week Resources:  Here is a link to some wonderful free resources provided by Church Publishing:

The Rector and Senior Warden are looking for interested parishioners to serve as our delegates to convention. The Diocesan Convention is one day, October 17, 2020, and is a wonderful opportunity to represent us and to be involved in the very important work and decisions that shape our diocese.  As per the by-laws, we are seeking confirmed or received Episcopalians who are over 18 years of age and who attend regularly, financially support the Church and who have been a member of St. Edward’s Church for at least 12 months.  It would be wonderful if parishioners who have not served as delegates in prior years would seek this as an opportunity to serve our parish community. We need you! Please prayerfully consider submitting your name(s) by Monday, April 13th to the parish office.














Daily Message from St. Edward’s – April 6, 2020

Dear parishioners,

The coronavirus pandemic has prevented us from gathering in Holy Week as we normally would. Some of us are still quite busy if we work in an essential job, work from home, or care for children. But for a group of us, we have more time on our hands than usual and more solitude as well.

These are ideal conditions for prayer, contemplation and spiritual reading. Those with extra time have an opportunity to connect to Holy Week in a deeper way than normal, and also to hold up in prayer those who are ill, who are poor, and those pouring out their lives in service working on the front lines of this crisis.

After the drama and intensity of Palm Sunday: the Sunday of the Passion, the church backs off and marks the early days of Holy Week quietly. On Monday and Tuesday are simple services that mark some of the moments from the Gospel of John during the final week of Jesus’ life while he is in Jerusalem. Monday’s story, which is both shocking and poignant, is of Mary (the sister of Lazarus) anointing Jesus’ feet with costly perfume and wiping them with her hair. Tuesday’s story is a classic about a group of Greeks (non-Jews) who would like to see Jesus.

Our diocese has provided an online service for each day of this Holy Week. The Monday service is being broadcast live at 7:00 pm on the diocesan Facebook page at You don’t have to be a member of Facebook to view it. It will be led by youth and young adults from around the diocese. I’m not certain, but if you’re not able to watch this service live, it may be available afterwards as a recording you could view later.

The Tuesday service, which has already been recorded and is available to view any time, is one of Evening Prayer from St. John’s, Huntingdon, done in the traditional language of Rite I. The link —

— includes a service leaflet you can download as well.

I’ll have more to say and post later this week about the remaining days of Holy Week as they come up.

David +

From the parish office:  We have experienced wonderful “gifts” from our parishioners and staff, and for that, we are grateful.  Here are some updates:

  • Julie and Jerry Hoff were kind enough to come in when nobody else was in the church to set up the altar in preparation for our St. Edward’s Easter service filming this week.
  • In preparation for Palm Sunday, we were able to source palms, and with the help of Father David, Father Rick was able to come in on Saturday and bless them and they were available to parishioners to come and pick up.  It was nice to see so many parishioners stop by and get their palms and a printed copy of the  Scepter.
  • And speaking of Scepter. . . as usual, Mac Miller did a fantastic job with the Scepter this month, filled with great photos and stories.  There will be so much more to share in the May issue!
  • The Wednesday Bible Study group has been holding wonderful weekly meetings via zoom and, as reported by Bill and Yvonne Gasperetti, they have 13 participants in the group, which is fantastic.  Their study will continue after Easter, as well, for 7 more sessions as they finish up their Blackaby, James bible study book.
  • Christina and Joe McLaughlin launched the first “virtual coffee hour” on Zoom and it was a success with 8-10 families participating.  We will continue to give the details of that, for our parishioners to join, in our Thursday Daily Message, as it requires a join number and a passcode.  We share those only in the parish email (you can pass on to friends or interested parties) so as to protect meeting privacy.
  • Social Outreach shares our Facebook posts with our Embrace community so that they have a liturgy that they can get in touch with for worship.
  • Patrick Ishler, Karen Waddill, and Father Rick filmed the music portion of our planned Easter service on Sunday afternoon and by all accounts it sounds like it will be beautiful!
  • Our organist, Karen Waddill has provided us with wonderful piano pieces she recorded for Holy Week.  Here is the post to listen to the pieces throughout the week:
  • Jamie Alton, choir member, reader, and stewardship committee member relayed that the choir had a virtual “meet up” and it was great to see so many faces and have the ability, through technology, to get together and chat face-to-face.  Jamie also recorded his Easter reading which will be part of our upcoming service. Leslie Arnold and Rosie Westgate will be our other technology-savvy recorded readers.
  • People have been calling each other to say hello and check up on their fellow St. Edwardians, which is fantastic!
  • The office receives wonderful tidbits to add as content for the Daily Message, and we are most grateful, including personal messages from members of the parish to each other.  Keep sending!!!
  • Work on restoring the narthex ceiling continues and should be completed this week.  Our kitchen work may be a bit delayed due to some subcontractors unable to get waivers to do their work.
  • The lawn just got cut for the first time last week!  It looks great.
  • Our Vestry continues to communicate and plan the business of the church and will be holding their next vestry meeting, tomorrow, April 7th, virtually.
  • Community Aid Bin:  Please DO NOT drop any items in the bin in our parking lot.  Community Aid is still working on getting their waivers to start making pick-ups and it is overflowing right now.  We will let you know when it is ready to be of service.
  • Holy Week Resources:  Here is a link to some wonderful free resources provided by Church Publishing:

Finally:  The Rector and Senior Warden are looking for interested parishioners to serve as our delegates to convention. The Diocesan Convention is one day, October 17, 2020, and is a wonderful opportunity to represent us and to be involved in the very important work and decisions that shape our diocese.  As per the by-laws, we are seeking confirmed or received Episcopalians who are over 18 years of age and who attend regularly, financially support the Church and who have been a member of St. Edward’s Church for at least 12 months.  It would be wonderful if parishioners who have not served as delegates in prior years would seek this as an opportunity to serve our parish community. We need you! Please prayerfully consider submitting your name(s) by Monday, April 13th to the parish office.


Will you cherish the wondrous works of God, and protect the beauty and integrity of all creation?*


God created, and, indeed, it was very good.

My family has gone backpacking every summer since our daughter was four years old. This time together immersed in creation—even amidst the moans of blisters and heavy bags and who-got-the-last-packet- of-lemonade bickering—is one of my favorite times of the whole year. Being in the wilderness with nothing to plug in or answer brings us to our essential selves and reminds us of who we are together.

Creation, of course, is all around us, no less in rivers and mountains than the dandelions creeping up between gaps in the sidewalk. Being a person of faith is about learning to see God everywhere; the life force of a weed is as fearsome as the tallest mountain. To cherish God’s wondrous works and protect its beauty and creation is a twenty-four-hour-a-day proposition. It’s more complicated than just packing our trash in and out on a long hike; we are in a crisis of our own making, and time is short. True creation stewardship means being committed at every level, from how we shop to how we vote. Will you cherish the wondrous works of God, and protect the beauty and integrity of all creation? I will. With God’s help.

Sarah Irwin is an Episcopal priest serving as pastor of St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, married to Noah Evans and mother of their two children.


*This sixth baptismal promise was authorized for trial use at the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church.

Music for Holy Week from Our Organist – Karen Waddill

A wonderful way to walk through Holy Week is through music and we are fortunate to have our organist, Karen Waddill, send to us four pieces, that she recorded at home, for Holy Week.  Many thanks to Karen for these recordings.

Monday – Wednesday






Friday – Saturday


Daily Message from St. Edward’s – April 4, 2020

Dear parishioners,

We are fortunate to have Father Rick live so close by as he was kind enough, at the request of Father David, to stop by today and bless the palms for Palm Sunday.  They are now in individual sleeves on a table under the front portico along with printed instructions on how to make a palm cross.  Thank you to Father David and Father Rick for bringing this very important symbol of the season to our St. Edward’s parish in these “new times” where we cannot share the Liturgy of the Palms, together, in person.

Also, the April Scepter is posted on our web site.  It’s a great issue! Click here to go to the Scepter page.



It may sound strange to speak of the relationship between parents and children in terms of hospitality. But it belongs to the center of the Christian message that children are not properties to own and rule, but gifts to cherish and care for. Our children are our most important guests, who enter into our home, ask for careful attention, stay for a while and then leave to follow their own way.

  • Henri Nouwen

Reaching Out


Henri Nouwen’s words about hospitality to children have impacted my understanding of the role of being an adult in relation to children. Children are not possessions— they are persons. They come to us as children for only a short while on their way to becoming adults who will then “leave to follow their own way.”

In the fifty-third chapter of the Rule of Saint Benedict, we are told that “All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ.” We are to seek and serve Christ in all persons, especially the guests who stay with us for a while on their journey. Nouwen reminds us that this hospitality should extend too to the children who present themselves to our families, churches and communities—each one an important guest, with us for a short while before leaving on their own way.

  • Jamie Osborne serves as a priest at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Montgomery, Alabama, where he lives with his wife, Lauren, and their two elementary-age children.

3 April 2020

Dear Members of the Episcopal Church in Central PA,

Bishop Scanlan shares her weekly message to our diocese and a video introducing new Diocesan Holy Week Resources. The resources can be found online at

Are you interested in hearing about Shaped by Faith updates? The Rev. Canon Christopher Streeter, Canon for Mission Development and Innovation has an update for you! For more information regarding Shaped by Faith, visit

The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

In the Way of Love,

The Rt. Rev. Audrey C. Scanlan

XI Bishop

Anglican Cycle of Prayer

Pray for the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean

Diocesan Cycle of Prayer

All Saints, Williamsport

Christ Church, Milton

We pray for Christians, Muslims, and Jews and all people of faith throughout the world who are suffering persecution for their beliefs.

Parish Cycle of Prayer: Tom and Wendy Hallowell and Family; Peggy Hanzelman; Bev Hess; Jerry and Julie Hoff

Pray for the recently departed:  Kate Peterson

Praying for those we love and who are important in our lives is an essential component of our worship, but many of the names listed and read out in the Prayers of the People are known only to those who have requested them, and the list grows each week.  So, when we come to the Prayers of the people in the service, the names for those “You are asked to pray for” and those “for our military personnel” will not be read aloud; rather we invite you to lift those names up to God in Christ silently in your heart as we pray the Prayers of the People, adding any others you wish to pray for.

You are asked to pray for:  The St. Edward’s Vestry, The Rev. David Bateman, The Rev. Rick Bauer and family; The residents of The Episcopal Home, Joe Holwager, Rose Dixon, Arch Cross, Mary Walker, Liz Yeager, Patricia Stout, Marge Sieghardt, Harry West, Sandy Patrone, Mimi Stauffer, Robert Hubbard, Kate Peterson, Donna J. Mott, Charlotte Jakiel, Stephanie Patrone, Nicholas Patrone, Dakota Patrone, DJ Dixon, Robert, The Rev. Jay Croft, Robert Carter, Dorothy Diehl, Barbara Bradfield, Fran Davis, Cody Campbell, Heather, Cheryl Shearer, Myra Taylor, Sally Mears, Barry Leed, Father Sud, Dr. Randy Cohen and Family, Aaron Rowe, Sr., Dorothy Rowe, Dr. Karl and Carolyn Moyer, James Pentland Moore, Joseph Holena, Rick Welk, Max Lown, Aiden Guillory

You are asked to pray for our military personnel who are being deployed or serving in the military:  Rev. David J. Sparks, Evan Westgate, Adam and Christina Grim, David Peck, David Sternberg, John Lewis, Gordon Frankenfield, Allison Tomich, Mike Spurr, Seamas Whitesel, Capt. Andrew Pfeiffer, 1st Lt. Thomas Whitesel, Brandon Fox, Alex Kube, Richard Mutari, Dustin Burleson, Anthony Koser, Jack Hawk, Christina Dragon, Justin Carnahan, Clayton Tennies, Benjamin Jenkins, Andy Lopez

Daily Message from St. Edward’s – April 3, 2020

Dear People of God at St. Edward’s,

We begin Holy Week as always with Palm Sunday. Since we must all stay at home, our diocese has put together a wonderful online service for Palm Sunday. Here is the link:

It consists of three separate videos. The first video has the Liturgy of the Palms culminating in the Hymn “All glory, laud and honor”. The second video is an informal procession through the neighborhood of the pro-cathedral in Williamsport. It is not strictly part of the liturgy but is worth your time. The final video is the dramatic reading of the Passion from the Gospel according to Matthew. The online service ends with the Passion reading, so I am enclosing my sermon for Palm Sunday.

You will get the most out of it if you watch the online service first.

If you don’t live far from St. Edward’s and feel safe making a brief excursion to the church driveway (perhaps while running a necessary errand), we will have a container of blessed palms available for the taking. They will be in individual plastic sleeves on a table under the portico by our front doors after 4 PM.  If you arrive and someone is at the table to pick their palms up, please wait in your car until they leave so we practice proper social distancing.

We are also planning a Palm Sunday morning online “Coffee Hour” via Zoom. Those details were provided in your Thursday Daily Message and are on the post of the same title on our web site.

The diocese is providing online services and home resources for the rest of Holy Week as well, continuing up through the Great Vigil of Easter on Easter Eve and then on to Easter Day itself.

We’ll be encouraging and reminding you of each of the online Holy Week services as they come up.

But we also know how many of you would like to experience an Easter service that is from St. Edward’s directly. So we are making plans to record a video of our own simple Easter service from the church building which will be available online for everyone.

Please stay safe, stay home, say your prayers and reach out to someone.

David +


at The Liturgy of the Palms

The Gospel: Matthew 21:1-11

When Jesus and his disciples had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, `The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,

“Tell the daughter of Zion,

Look, your king is coming to you,

humble, and mounted on a donkey,

and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”


The Response: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29

Confitemini Domino

1 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; *

his mercy endures for ever.

2 Let Israel now proclaim, *

“His mercy endures for ever.”

19 Open for me the gates of righteousness; *

I will enter them;

I will offer thanks to the LORD.

20 “This is the gate of the LORD; *

he who is righteous may enter.”

21 I will give thanks to you, for you answered me *

and have become my salvation.

22 The same stone which the builders rejected *

has become the chief cornerstone.

23 This is the LORD’s doing, *

and it is marvelous in our eyes.

24 On this day the LORD has acted; *

we will rejoice and be glad in it.

25 Hosannah, LORD, hosannah! *

LORD, send us now success.

26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; *

we bless you from the house of the LORD.

27 God is the LORD; he has shined upon us; *

form a procession with branches up to the horns of the altar.

28 “You are my God, and I will thank you; *

you are my God, and I will exalt you.”

29 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; *

his mercy endures for ever.


at The Liturgy of the Word

The Collect

Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Old Testament: Isaiah 50:4-9a

The Lord GOD has given me

the tongue of a teacher,

that I may know how to sustain

the weary with a word.

Morning by morning he wakens–

wakens my ear

to listen as those who are taught.

The Lord GOD has opened my ear,

and I was not rebellious,

I did not turn backward.

I gave my back to those who struck me,

and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;

I did not hide my face

from insult and spitting.

The Lord GOD helps me;

therefore I have not been disgraced;

therefore I have set my face like flint,

and I know that I shall not be put to shame;

he who vindicates me is near.

Who will contend with me?

Let us stand up together.

Who are my adversaries?

Let them confront me.

It is the Lord GOD who helps me;

who will declare me guilty?


The Response: Psalm 31:9-16

In te, Domine, speravi

9 Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I am in trouble; *

my eye is consumed with sorrow,

and also my throat and my belly.

10 For my life is wasted with grief,

and my years with sighing; *

my strength fails me because of affliction,

and my bones are consumed.

11 I have become a reproach to all my enemies and even to my neighbors,

a dismay to those of my acquaintance; *

when they see me in the street they avoid me.

12 I am forgotten like a dead man, out of mind; *

I am as useless as a broken pot.

13 For I have heard the whispering of the crowd;

fear is all around; *

they put their heads together against me;

they plot to take my life.

14 But as for me, I have trusted in you, O LORD. *

I have said, “You are my God.

15 My times are in your hand; *

rescue me from the hand of my enemies,

and from those who persecute me.

16 Make your face to shine upon your servant, *

and in your loving-kindness save me.”


The Epistle: Philippians 2:5-11

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

who, though he was in the form of God,

did not regard equality with God

as something to be exploited,

but emptied himself,

taking the form of a slave,

being born in human likeness.

And being found in human form,

he humbled himself

and became obedient to the point of death–

even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him

and gave him the name

that is above every name,

so that at the name of Jesus

every knee should bend,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

and every tongue should confess

that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.


The Gospel: Matthew 26:14- 27:66

One of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I betray him to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver. And from that moment he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.

On the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Where do you want us to make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, My time is near; I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.’” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover meal.

When it was evening, he took his place with the twelve; and while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” And they became greatly distressed and began to say to him one after another, “Surely not I, Lord?” He answered, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.” Judas, who betrayed him, said, “Surely not I, Rabbi?” He replied, “You have said so.”

While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will never again drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”

When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Then Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters because of me this night; for it is written,

‘I will strike the shepherd,

the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’

But after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” Peter said to him, “Though all become deserters because of you, I will never desert you.” Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” Peter said to him, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And so said all the disciples.

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated. Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.” And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.” Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour? Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” Again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”

While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; with him was a large crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the

elders of the people. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him.” At once he came up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you are here to do.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and arrested him. Suddenly, one of those with Jesus put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?” At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But all this has taken place, so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, in whose house the scribes and the elders had gathered. But Peter was following him at a distance, as far as the courtyard of the high priest; and going inside, he sat with the guards in order to see how this would end. Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’” The high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?” But Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I put you under oath before the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you,

From now on you will see the Son of Man

seated at the right hand of Power

and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?” They answered, “He deserves death.” Then they spat in his face and struck him; and some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who is it that struck you?”

Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant-girl came to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before all of them, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.” When he went out to the porch, another servant-girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” Again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.” After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you.” Then he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know the man!” At that moment the cock crowed. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said: “Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death. They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate the governor.

When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. He said, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to it yourself.” Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself. But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money.” After conferring together, they used them to buy the potter’s field as a place to bury foreigners. For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one on whom a price had been set, on whom some of the people of Israel had set a price, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You say so.” But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?” But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.” Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” All of them said, “Let him be crucified!” Then he asked, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots; then they sat down there and kept watch over him. Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”

Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, ‘I am God’s Son.’” The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way.

From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.” At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”

Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He has been raised from the dead,’ and the last deception would be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone. 

Optional parts of the readings are set off in square brackets.
The Bible texts of the Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel lessons are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA, and used by permission.
The Collects, Psalms and Canticles are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.
From The Lectionary Page:

SERMON:  The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday — April 5, 2020

The Rev. David Bateman, St. Edward’s Episcopal Church, Lancaster, PA

Before you read this sermon, I invite you to watch the online Palm Sunday service produced by our diocese. It includes a traditional blessing of the palms, a “procession” into the local neighborhood, and a reading of the Passion Gospel.

Here is the link:

If you don’t watch the video service, I invite you pause and recall a previous Palm Sunday experience from your memory.

Do you feel any differently now than you felt earlier?  I know that I do.  A little while ago was the holding of branches and proclaiming Jesus as a victorious king.  The mood was special; it was triumphant; it was even fun.  But the fun is gone now.  The palm branches are still there, but we’re not waving them.  Triumph has turned into gloom.  Everything has shifted.

Out of all the different occasions of worship through the year, this is the only one that has such a dramatic reversal part-way through it.  It’s even reflected in today’s name.  I wonder how many of you know the primary formal name without looking at the bulletin or prayer book.  It’s not what you would automatically think.  Today is Palm Sunday, all right, but that is the secondary name of the occasion we are marking.  The first and primary title for today is The Sunday of the Passion.  And the fact that this day has two names highlights the double theme of the occasion.

We are most used to the name that talks about the part at the very beginning, the part that has the palms in it.  If we were hearing this story for the first time, or if we were among the group of Jesus’ original followers, then his triumphal entry into Jerusalem would seem like the ultimate achievement, the perfect culmination of a difficult but fascinating career.  Jesus, who has gotten such a mixed reception wherever he has gone, is finally getting the recognition he deserves.  He gets it not only from the disciples and from the crowds; he gets it from us, too.  By hearing the story and by brandishing branches, we have put ourselves into the scene.  We are part of that great crowd of shouting worshipers, and it’s a good thing that we are.  It’s a wonderful moment that we don’t want to miss; it’s Palm Sunday.

The palm part doesn’t last, though.  The party turns into a nightmare as things go from sad to bad to hideous.  Those who have been plotting Jesus’ undoing finally have their way.  His one instant of glory has hardly passed before the downhill slide begins.  And so as we hear the long tale in all its miserable and tragic fullness, it is as though there never were any palms, as though there never were any shouts of praise or adoring crowds.  Palm Sunday is over almost as soon as it starts; today is the Sunday of the Passion.

In this context, the word “passion” means “suffering”.  And though Episcopalians hate excesses of emotion in our worship, we nevertheless are not afraid to embrace this drama by telling it fully and in the form of speaking parts for the characters.  Jesus’ passion now speaks to us in all its detail and power.  As it does so, it reminds us of something we tend to forget during the rest of the year.  It reminds us of how human he really is, how he has to struggle and how hard his trials are to bear.  Matthew shows us a Jesus who says at the beginning “let this cup pass me by” and at the bitter end who desperately calls “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  We see not a superhuman stoic or a play-actor quoting scripture, but a miserably alone person who is in psychic, spiritual, and physical agony.

That isn’t even the worst of it.  As we know from other kinds of stories, heroes sometimes must suffer before the tide turns in their favor.  But Jesus becomes the victim of the forces of darkness.  There is no last-minute rescue while we are holding our breath, no voice of fairness that prevents a catastrophe.  The bad guys get what they want.  Jesus must endure the ultimate tragedy of dying and death, while his followers must endure the tragedy of losing him.  There is no easy way out; in fact, there is no way out at all.

As I write this, the world is gripped by a virus pandemic. More than 50,000 people have died with tens of thousands more deaths expected in the coming weeks. Millions are losing their livelihoods and the world economy is threatened. We may be entering the worst period of global and collective human suffering in living memory.

Now more than ever, to be human is to know what it is like to be hurt and grieving; Jesus has not only seen that but felt it, too.  We have had and continue to have our times of loneliness and alienation from others and from God; Jesus has, too.  And that changes everything.  Because a God who is always above us and separate and perfect can know everything by observation, and can save us by reaching from the outside in.  But imagine a God who knows our needs through direct experience, a God who has taken into himself the very essence of what it means to be human.  A God like that knows us in every way, and can save us not as an outsider but as an insider.

The experience of Jesus on the cross has been taken up into the center of God’s being; it is a part of God.  That fact is more meaningful than all the history books ever written and more powerful than all the bombs ever created.  It changes what it means to be a human being; it alters the whole world.  We watch this day and this week while the earth is shaken to its very foundations, while human existence balances upon a razor’s edge of change.  And we let the story stop for a while, stop with a limp and broken Jesus.  Even though we know the rest of the story and what comes after this, we don’t jump ahead to that part yet; we just pause on the edge and let this part of God’s reality stand on its own and speak to us on its own terms.  The time of palms is over.  The time of passion is now.  Amen.

From the Praise Band:

I will be missing my favorite hymn, “All Glory Laud and Honor,” on Palm Sunday this year.  I spent some time looking online today at various versions to listen to.  This is one of those hymns that is best heard sung by choir, accompanied by organ, with a joyful congregation joining in.  I love it.  Here’s a nice version that shows some of that, and I like the video showing the children processing with Palms:

It will be all the more sweet to sing it with all of you, my church family, next year.


Randy Westgate



This is my story, this is my song, praising my savior, all the day long.

”Blessed Assurance”

Lift Every Voice and Sing II


I am a worrier by nature. I spend so much energy thinking of what could be or what may be that I often forget to just be. My children have the wonderful gift of not worrying too much about what’s next because they are caught up in what is now. The gift that children give us by living in the now is holy and transformative.

There are days when my children spend hours catching frogs and losing their shoes in mud pits. There are days when they forget food is even a part of life because they are experiencing such joy. This past summer a short hike turned into five hours at a swimming hole in the Blue Ridge Mountains. These moments of love and curiosity are worship. They are the ways my children find God. They are the experiences that make their story and mold them. I am often afraid that my story, my song, is one of fear and worry, but my children are teaching me that I could be writing a story and singing a song of joyful praise, experiencing God’s kingdom in all its glory.

  • Emily Rutledge is the Children, Youth and Family Minister at Church of Our Saviour in Charlottesville, Virginia, and a mother of two


Daily Message from St. Edward’s – April 2, 2020

Dear parishioners,

Today’s message provides you with some new activities for this weekend, starting with Stations of the Cross, tomorrow.  This is all new to many of us, being in community virtually, and can be challenging to “meet” with technology, but give it a try, if you can!  Know that there are people we can connect you with to help, as well.  If we keep the faith and keep our parish community bonds, virtually, imagine how strong we will be when we meet, in person, again!  Please remember to give someone a call, text, or email today – friends, family, fellow parishioners.  We need each other.



Starting THIS SUNDAY, we are so fortunate to have Christina McLaughlin hosting a weekly “Virtual Coffee Hour” on Sunday’s from 10-10:45 AM.  This is all new to us, so take a chance, set up zoom and see how it all goes!  It will be fun to connect and whether you want to stay on for 5 minutes or the full session, grab your cup of coffee or tea, pull up a chair, and say hello to your fellow parishioners.

Here is a link of step-by-step instructions to set up zoom, that Christina put together.


And, if you have any questions, Christina has offered to please give her a call and she can help!  Her number is 717-415-7043.


Each Thursday, we will include this message with the “join” code as we want to keep that within the parish.  This join code will not be posted on the public website of Facebook.


This is a wonderful activity that Dina Ishler forwarded to us to participate in.  Send your photos to parish office and we will post!

This is a lovely and easy idea to honor Palm Sunday from our homes- we could even take pictures of our own doors and share them in the Scepter, on Facebook, etc. Several of us have been sharing it on Facebook and thinking it’s such a neat idea.

Stations of the Cross, Friday, April 3rd

There will be a Live stream on the Way of the Cross (Stations of the Cross), Friday, April 3 at 6:30 pm . Please join us on Dina Ishler’s Facebook page or via Zoom as we take the journey of Jesus to the cross.  All are so very welcome to join in and when we can’t be together physically we can use this gift of technology to pray with and for each other.  For those who are not connected with Facebook and will use Zoom, use the following link:


Learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.

–              Isaiah 1:17


The first four words of this verse are simple: “Learn to do good.” I have found that this is a lot easier to say than it is to carry out.

In my life, I frequently find myself reading an article about a terrible injustice and then desiring to do good. When I went to seminary, I spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to do good. Because of my work, I’m oftentimes writing reflections on the importance of doing good. I’ve heard many sermons about doing good, have sung hymns about doing good and have been dismissed with a resounding call to “do good.” I’ve voted for people who I think will do good and, like many, I’ve posted a lot on social media about what I think it means to “do good.”

Nevertheless, as nice as all these things are, they are not enough. God insists that at some point we actually have to walk the talk and go do it. To my mind, the rest of this verse specifies what that means: to seek justice where there is none to be found, to rescue people who have no chance, to defend the welfare of children who have no one and to plead the case for marginalized women in society. Reflecting honestly, have you done any of these things lately?

–              Miguel Escobar is the Director of Anglican Studies at Episcopal Divinity School at Union.



Daily Message from St. Edward’s – April 1, 2020

Dear parishioners,

Well, we made it through “Hump Day” and April 1st.  There was no “foolery” at St. Edward’s today, just getting things aligned for new and exciting activities to come in many ways over the ensuing weeks, so. . . stay tuned!  Something for everyone.

We’ve included a couple links to some items that you will enjoy, and tomorrow, we will add some great offerings/activities from Dina Ishler and Christina McLaughlin.  We look forward to messages from Father David on Friday, for the Palm Sunday service offerings.

We try to place just a few things in each daily message so as not to overwhelm everyone and give you something fresh and new for the next day.  Take care.  Be Safe. Stay Well. Keep all peoples, including your fellow St. Edwardian’s, in your prayers.  We are in this together.


A personal message from Richard & Gail Irons, members of the stewardship committee, and long-time St. Edwardians:

Our and prayers always for EACH of you. 

We are grateful each day & night for Father David’s poignant messages & Michelle’s upbeat daily reflections. 

Our early years of retirement are always full with opportunities to share days with our four young grandsons.  This has changed for many of us.  Even our companion, Bella, our Berner, looks at us each day as if to say “Don’t you both have to be somewhere today?”  And so it goes. 

Now our days continue with our early morn prayers & gratitude moments, jump starting flower beds, reading multiple books & VERY long walks witness to God’s early spring beauty.   One of those walks took us to Gretna to walk, socially distanced with our daughter & three-year old grandson.  And a final grace note from our son & his wife, asking us to FaceTime with them our dinner song…. Johnny Appleseed prayer with our grandsons.  What JOY that moment has brought.       

                         JOSHUA 1:9


The Irons


Here is a link to a booklet of wonderful Holy Week resources for the ENTIRE FAMILY from Church Publishing.  Please download it and share as we journey into Holy Week.

From the Praise Band:  “Goodness of God” 

We have sung this song at the last couple contemporary services, and it has been well received.  It is good reminder to us that even in the midst of trials, our God is standing alongside us.  Here’s a quote from Bethel Church, whose worship leaders wrote it, about this song and its message:  “Jesus told us we would face trouble, but He promised to walk with us through the fire and carry us. In the middle of a storm, we can have joy and peace as we anchor ourselves in the unchanging goodness of God.”

Take a listen to this version that I like from singer Josh Baldwin:

(If you can’t cut and paste the link, search on your browser:  Josh Baldwin Goodness of God.)

Blessings, church family,

Randy Westgate


Taste and see, taste and see the goodness of the Lord. Oh, taste and see, taste and see the goodness of the Lord, of the Lord.

–              ”Taste and See”


I remember singing “Taste and See” during communion on many a Sunday growing up. I didn’t know the song used Psalm 34 for its lyrics, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was that this song gave me a language to use when people asked me about my church or my faith. Kids who knew my dad was a priest would ask what was so great about going to church. I didn’t know how to put it into my own words. “Taste and see,” I told them. “Come, taste and see.”

The truth is, evangelizing is hard for some of us. One Sunday in youth group, I asked the teenagers gathered how they shared the good news about Jesus. One said that she prays with a group of dancers before a performance. Another said that he attends a Catholic school where many kids are religious. A couple of kids wear outward signs of faith: One wears a crucifix, another loves church camp gear. As a self-professed group of introverts, they are finding their own ways to show their love for Jesus in this secular world. They remind me to continue inviting others to taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

–              Miriam Willard McKenney is the Development Director for Forward Movement. She finds extreme joy parenting her three girls with her husband, David.







Daily Message from St. Edward’s -March 31, 2020

Dear parishioners,

Now that Holy Week and Easter are getting close, I want to let everyone know where we stand in terms of worship.

1) It turns out that it is not safe or feasible for us to have any kind of a “parking lot” service. Even St. Thomas, which has a much larger parking lot and initially planned such a service, has had to cancel its plans. Likewise, the Bishop has banned so-called “drive through” Eucharists as unsafe.

2) The diocese has been working very hard to produce online services for all of us to share during Holy Week and Easter. St. Edward’s will use those services for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

3) Our Easter plans are not yet decided, other than that Easter must be online. The diocesan service is available to us, but we also know you would like to have something coming from St. Edward’s itself. Perhaps we can do a blend of the two. Even recording singing at this point is very difficult because singers would have to stand at least six feet apart and no more than ten people should be in one place at one time! As soon as we finalize our Easter plans we will let you know.

4) In the weeks after Easter, St. Edward’s will be working to generate some sort of home-grown online services. Father Rick will be on board by then, and he has quite a bit of technical experience in sound, recording and editing. We will have to be patient as the technical capabilities of St. Edward’s are less than that of larger churches and we will have a lot of trial and error. But we have already arranged to beef up our internet service at the church in anticipation of making these broadcasts.

5) If the circumstances of the pandemic ease enough to permit us to gather in church by May 31st, the Bishop is contemplating that we may be able to have some sort of combined Easter/Pentecost event on Pentecost.

David +

A personal message from fellow parishioner and vestry member, Ellen Milligan, to our St. Edward’s Community:

Some time ago Amy Swiernik gave me a bag full of embroidery floss. The floss had belonged to her mother. Amy knew that I cross stitch and thought I might be able to use it. I confess that I stuck the bag in a drawer and forgot about it. Fast forward to the Covid-19 crisis.  With so much time to fill, I decided to work on an Easter cross stitch. I found a pattern online and then realized that I had no way to purchase floss.  Then I remembered Amy’s gift.  Now I am happily stitching and the kids are making friendship bracelets.  Seeing all of the various, beautiful colors of floss makes me smile.  Even though I never knew Amy’s mother I can tell from all the bright, cheerful colors that she enjoyed creating pieces. So, you just never know how a kind gesture may come around to help. 

Ellen Milligan

From the Praise Band:

Hymn number 679 is based on the text of Isaiah 12, and the words of praise have resonated with me and become a source of encouragement during these challenging times.  I love the musical setting as well.  It is a fairly recent composition called Thomas Merton by Ray Urwin, who wrote it while music director of an Episcopal Church in Wilmington, DE, and is now serving a church in Southern California.  I enjoyed it when Patrick choose it for some of our 10:15 services, and I intended to use it in our contemporary services this spring, which now have been cancelled.  I found a version on Facebook, so take a listen.  The singer is a bit unpolished, but very enthusiastic:

Blessings today,

Randy Westgate

St. Edward’s Bible Study Update:

This past Wednesday evening we were able to hold our Bible Study over Zoom, and after a few bumps we were able to get it working satisfactorily.  With that success, we would like to ensure that anyone who might be thinking about joining the group has the opportunity to do so.  Would you please add this information to your daily publication to the church members, letting people know that if they would like to join us, we will continue to meet each Wednesday evening at 6:30.  They will need to contact Bill ( or Yvonne ( and we will send instructions to join us on Zoom.  Each week we will send the I.D. number for that week’s session to those who indicate their interest in joining the meeting.

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry’s Word to the Church: On Our Theology of Worship:  A word to the Church regarding the theology of worship during the COVID-19 pandemic from the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church

March 31, 2020

John Donne, Priest, 1631

Dear Friends in Christ Jesus,

We find ourselves in the strange position of fasting from physical gathering for worship of almighty God, not out of sloth or disobedience, but in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, for whom the primacy of love for God and neighbor is the way of life. In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, refraining from physically gathering together to hear God’s holy word and receiving the sacrament of holy communion is itself an act of love for God and our neighbor.

As one of our spiritual ancestors once cried, “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” (Psalm 137).  How shall we sing the Lord’s song in this alien and strange land of COVID-19? How shall we conduct the public worship of Almighty God? How shall we provide pastoral ministrations to people who are sick, dying, and any in need? How shall we baptize? Ordain? How? I thank God for the bishops, priests, deacons, and the whole people of God who have been faithfully seeking ways to sing the Lord’s song in ways that truly worship God and simultaneously help to heal and protect human life.

It is my conviction that the Anglican way of following Jesus has deep within it a way and habit of worship and liturgy that is of significant help to us in this moment. It may well be that the breadth and depth of the Anglican way of common prayer can come to our aid now, when for the sake of others, we abstain from physical, public gathering to hear God’s Word and to receive the Sacrament.

With this in mind I convened a group to help me compose a theological reflection on how this Anglican way gives guidance in this moment.  I hope this will be a framework, a theological context, or a signpost pointing in the direction of some of the wisdom of the Anglican way of common prayer. This is not in any sense a set of guidelines, directives, or mandates. I commend this work to you.

O God, our help in ages past,

Our hope for years to come,

Be thou our guide while life shall last,

And our eternal home.

God love you. God bless you.

Keep the faith,


The Most Reverend Michael B. Curry

Presiding Bishop and Primate

The Episcopal Church


Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, “Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbor in your land.”

–              Deuteronomy 15:11


I think I freaked out my daughter’s preschool teacher at our last conference. As we discussed goals, I wasn’t concerned about my child meeting some academic milestone, how well she knew her ABCs or whether she was becoming a better reader. I told her teacher that what I was hoping for my children was an invitation to develop their emotional intelligence. When we drop off in the mornings, we always look around to see whether someone needs a friend—and in preschool, there’s always somebody who’s having a hard morning! Some of my proudest parental moments have been when my daughter notices a friend in need before I say a word.

As adults, we sometimes harden ourselves to need by labeling it as systemic and therefore out of our control. We allow the generality to distance us, but Moses’ invitation is personal: It’s not “fight the system” but rather “open your hand.” It’s an invitation to enter into preschool and notice who needs a friend.

–              Patrick Funston is a husband, father of two young children and rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan, Kansas.