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Weekly Message from Bishop Scanlan – May 1, 2020

Dear Members of the Episcopal Church in Central PA,

Bishop Scanlan shares her weekly Friday message below and features the numerous ways members of our diocese can all stay connected online during these challenging times.

The Rev. Canon Christopher Streeter provides another update regarding Shaped by Faith, click below.

In the Way of Love,

The Rt. Rev. Audrey C. Scanlan

XI Bishop


St. Edward’s Weekly Email: March 13, 2020 – March 20, 2020 & Bishop’s Message Regarding COVID19 Church Closings

Dear Parishioners,

Stories of COVID-19 and the coronavirus are filling the news and the potential dangers are causing a lot of anxiety. In brief, here is what we want you to know as it relates to our common life at St. Edward’s:

Bishop Audrey has consulted with medical experts and has just issued a NEW set of guidelines for congregations. We are now following those guidelines and it is VERY IMPORTANT that you read them carefully.  Please read the Bishop’s letter below. 

When you consume news about the outbreak, please be sure to use reliable sources such as the website of the U.S. Centers For Disease Control (CDC) at or the Pennsylvania Dept of Health at Especially beware of rumors or stories posted on social media or forwarded via email as many of these stories are not accurate.

Finally, we encourage you to follow the advice of the CDC, which recommends that you avoid unnecessary trips and large gatherings (such as church) if you have a chronic illness or if your immune system is not strong. We have plenty of people at St. Edward’s in this group! Although we will temporarily miss your presence, we want you to be safe. This outbreak will not last forever and we will eventually be able return to normal. And be sure to let us know if you need pastoral care or attention due to spending time at home.

We have also added some protocols that address our life at St. Edward’s for the immediate future and they are listed just below my message.

David +

We will be having 8:00 am and 10:15 am services this Sunday.  We will have services only, no coffee hours, adult forum, or Sunday School. And will close the church immediately following the 10:15 am service.

COVID19 Update for St. Edward’s:

Please utilize the St. Edward’s website and Facebook page as your “information hub” for communications.  We may be utilizing email, but in the next 2 weeks the web site will be the main source of outbound communication.  However, if you need to reach the office, email is best and we have remote access to be able to answer any email questions parishioners may have and will respond in a timely fashion.

What we want to stress is that we want you to please be sensible and be safe, and do what feels comfortable to you.  St. Edward’s is here for you.  We will stay in communication and keep you informed.  Just to clarify and expand on the Bishop’s letter as it relates to our St. Edward’s parish please note these details:

(1) The parish office is closed through March 30th and we will keep you informed as to the reopen date if this changes. Please do not come to the parish.  This includes volunteers that utilize the parish office.  If you do enter the parish office, there are disinfectant wipes and gloves to clean the desk/computer area, but it is best to please stay away from the church during this closure time, for our safety and wellness.

(2) If you have an emergency and need to call us, please contact Michelle Bentley at 717-203-1580 or Meredith Westgate, Vestry Senior Warden at 717-575-2119 and we will make certain your matter gets addressed in a timely manner by the office or the Rector.

(3) ALL parish activities are cancelled effective immediately:  This means:  All music practices, Bible study group, KnitWits, outside groups, coffee hours, adult forums, Sunday School, vestry and committee meetings.

(4) Our web site will be the best source for updates.  Please send emails for any communication or questions and we will respond in a timely manner.

(5) There will not be any Wednesday services or pastoral visits made by LEMs or the Rector, but if there is a pastoral need, please contact the parish office via email and the rector will respond via phone.

(6) We encourage you to continue your financial support of St. Edward’s. Your stewardship is vitally important to the success and continued ministry of our parish. Feel comfortable mailing your pledges and giving as we will be maintaining picking up of mail daily.

(7) There will be questions and items we have left out and may think of at a later time.   We apologize for any eliminations and want to avoid confusion, but this is a fluid situation where news is given to us and situations change from day-to-day, so please be patient and prayerful.

Thank you! 

Bishop’s Letter:

 13 March 2020

Dear Members of the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania,

The fast-moving pace of the Coronavirus and resulting cases of COVID-19, Wednesday’s upgrade by the World Health Organization of the illness to a pandemic, the Governor’s press conference on Thursday, and President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency today have all come to bear on exercising a new level of decision making that will have ramifications on our common life together.

In consultation with my brother bishops in the other four Pennsylvania dioceses; several other bishop colleagues across the church; our diocesan Standing Committee (the elected body that serves as my Council of Advice); and Mr. Ed Robertson, our Disaster and Emergency Coordinator, I have decided to suspend worship in our churches on the Sundays of March 22 and 29, and to cancel all large gatherings in the diocese and parish meetings, effective immediately.

This is a change from what I offered to our clergy in a letter to them on Thursday, and, yet, I believe it to be the appropriate choice for our people and communities in the time of an international public health crisis. The recommendations for altered worship patterns from last week’s pastoral letter (e.g., no intinction, no touching at the Peace) remain in place for this Sunday. Those who are especially vulnerable should take care and avoid large public gatherings, including church on March 15.

In his press conference on Thursday, the Governor made three succinct points suggesting ways to “flatten the curve” of the spread of the disease: participate in social distancing, avoid recreational activities, and, to religious leaders he issued a call to “use discretion to prevent the spread (of the disease.)”

Our diocese, though mostly composed of smaller congregations, does contain a great number of faithful, aged members. Those over the age of 60 and those with chronic health conditions are considered to be at-risk for contracting COVID-19. It is my desire- and the desire of the Standing Committee- to work to preserve the health and safety of our parishioners at all times. A cessation of gathering for worship will help to keep us- and our families and neighbors- safe.

Here is the plan for going forward:

•        All churches will refrain from public worship on the Sundays of March 22 and March 29. This includes worship and other activities of the parish on Sundays. The public health situation will be reevaluated as we approach Holy Week, and the decision to resume services will be considered.

•        All parish and diocesan gatherings (including committee meetings) during the weekdays will be suspended until Holy Week. Those meetings that can be conducted by Zoom conferencing or teleconferencing will be encouraged to take place. Our diocesan offices can assist with setting up Zoom meetings for various diocesan committees. Please be in touch with Canon Guzsick ( for assistance with Zoom.

•        All Shaped by Faith convocational meetings will be moved to a webinar format. Canon Streeter ( will be in touch with participants with directions for this new protocol.

•        All churches with feeding programs will be asked to come together to prepare the food and then serve it in To-Go containers to its guests, avoiding the gathering of groups.

•        Food and Goods distribution programs (Meals on Wheels, Meals for Seals, Food pantries, Clothing distributions, Diaper Banks) will be able to conduct their usual distribution as long as there are adequate volunteers and the distribution takes place in an efficient manner, not inviting the gathering of groups.

•        AA and other 12-step programs may still meet at parishes- with the permission of the Rector- with the added protocol that participants spray surfaces and wipe them down following use and participate in good hygiene practices, including the use of hand sanitizer and minimal physical contact.  The work of these groups is lifesaving to people with the experience of addiction; it is up to the Rector to make the decision, in consultation with the Vestry, about the use of the parish space for these meetings.

•        Pastoral offices (burials, memorial services, confirmations, baptisms, etc.) are to be postponed if possible. Please confer with me about conflicts.

•        Congregations are encouraged to participate in the live streaming of services as we will provide them from St. James, Lancaster (, and St. Luke’s, Mechanicsburg ( and our two cathedrals as their capacity is developed. These services will not include a congregation. Some clergy may wish to conduct services of Morning Prayer on Facebook Live as they are able.

•        We have created a free resource to allow your parishioners make secure gift and pledge payments online. The link provides a listing of all our congregations—so no matter what service you are watching, you can donate to your own parish. That page can be found here: For those congregations hoping to set up their own portal for giving on their own parish webpage, please contact Canon Alexis Guszick at or Canon Chad Linder at

•        The diocesan staff will be offered the opportunity to work from home during this period. Most of the staff have the capacity to work remotely. Please exercise patience in reaching them during this time; email is the preferred method for communication. I will be available by email ( and by cell phone (860 866 7412).

This new way of being together has been described by one of my bishop colleagues as a “fast.” Fasting is, indeed, a hallmark of our Lenten discipline; I had never imagined that it would extend to worship, or to our weekly celebration of the Holy Eucharist. It is my fervent prayer that this two-week fast will allow us to participate in slowing the spread of the virus and that, come Palm Sunday: The Sunday of the Passion, we will be back together to journey through Holy Week to the Cross and beyond, to the Paschal Feast.

Please bear with me through these days, in faith, and with grace.

Take care of each other, and hold each other in prayer, as I do you.

Please use this time of fasting from corporate worship and meetings at church to try on new ways of relating to God: select a book of the Bible to read through quietly at home; go for a “prayer walk” in nature and find God in the beauty of the emerging spring; spend time in unhurried conversation with family members; use the phone to reach out to those whom you have missed; explore the Book of Common Prayer and its rich resources (for those without a BCP at home, you can find the full text online at; sit in the quiet and welcome Christ; prepare and share a meal with your family, telling stories of faith and hope. All of these are ways that we can express devotion to the One who has created us, to Jesus who saves us, and to the Spirit who sustains us.

Take advantage of technological capacities that can allow for prayer chains in email, e-blasts with news and encouragement, phone trees to check in on our aged, and creative, compassionate expressions of our faith.

This is new territory for us that will call on our creativity, experimentation, collaboration, discovery, and change.

Our God is a good God who watches over us and will not forsake us.

God of the present moment,

God who in Jesus stills the storm

and soothes the frantic heart; bring

hope and courage to all

who wait or work in uncertainty.

Bring them courage to endure what cannot

be avoided,

for your will is health and wholeness;

you are God, and we need you.

This we pray in

Christ our Lord. Amen.

from Episcopal Relief and Development website

I will write again during this time of hiatus to check in and keep our diocese informed of any developments. Please share this e-mail with your parish e-mail list.

In the Way of Love,

The Rt. Rev. Audrey C. Scanlan

XI Bishop

2020 cultural events: 

Sunday, April 26th at 3:00 PM  valleyphonics – Mix of classical and contemporary program

Saturday, June 20th at 7 PM  Servant Stage – A Broadway Review style “revue” show

Sunday September 20th at 3 PM – QuintEssentially Brass – Baroque to Jazz, Sacred to Secular

Sunday, December 13th at 3 PM  Fire in the Glen – A Celtic Christmas program

Please submit any news articles, announcements, photos, etc. for the April Scepter, due Friday, March 20th to mac Miller at:

Cultural Events at St. Edward’s in 2020 with kick-off event – Swing Street Jazz Quartet on January 26th

Patrick Ishler, Cultural Events chairperson, and the entire Cultural Events Committee invite you to a wonderful 2020 program at St. Edward’s.

Tell your friends!  Invite your family and neighbors!  We have a wonderful selection of events scheduled starting Janaury 26th at 3:00 PM with Swing Street Jazz Quartet and continuing throughout the year.

All events are a free-will offering and all events will have light refreshments.

Check out our 2020 schedule here.

Check out the event information for Swing Street here.

Christmas Services at St. Edward’s & Presiding Bishop Curry Christmas Message 2019

Please join The Reverend David Bateman for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services at St. Edward’s.  Our service schedule is as follows:

Christmas Eve

4:30 pm Family/Children’s Service with Holy Communion

Praise Band begins playing at 4:15 pm and nursery is available for ages infant – 4 years of age.

9:00 pm Festival Holy Eucharist with Choir

Nursery is available for ages infant – 4 years of age.

Christmas Day

10:00 am Holy Eucharist Rite II

We look forward to sharing Christmas with you at St. Edward’s!

Presiding Bishop Curry’s Christmas Message 2019

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry said in his Christmas Message 2019.

The video of the Presiding Bishop’s message is here

The text of the Presiding Bishop’s message follows:

In the first chapter of John’s Gospel, sometimes referred to as the prologue to the Gospel, sometimes spoken of as the whole Gospel in miniature the Gospel writer says this. As he reflects on the coming of God into the world in the person of Jesus. As he reflects on Christmas. He says, the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.

I don’t think it’s an accident that long ago, followers of Jesus began to commemorate his coming into the world when the world seemed to be at its darkest.

It’s probably not an accident that we observe Christmas soon after December 21, the winter solstice. The winter solstice being in the Northern Hemisphere the darkest time of the year.

Undoubtedly, these ancient Christians who began to celebrate the coming of God into the world, they knew very well that this Jesus, his teachings, his message, his spirit, his example, his life points us to the way of life itself, a way of life, where we take care of each other. A way of life, where we care for God’s world. A way of life, where we are in a loving relationship with our God, and with each other as children of the one God, who has created us all.

They also knew John’s Gospel and John’s Christmas story. Now there are no angels in John’s Christmas story. There are no wise men coming from afar. There’s no baby lying in a manger. There’s no angel choir singing Gloria in excelsis Deo in the highest of the heavens. There are no shepherds tending their flocks by night. Matthew and Luke tell those stories. In John, it is the poetry of new possibility, born of the reality of God when God breaks into the world.

It’s not an accident that long ago, followers of Jesus began to commemorate his birth, his coming into the world. When the world seemed darkest. When hope seemed to be dashed on the altar of reality. It is not an accident that we too, commemorate his coming, when things do not always look right in this world.

But there is a God. And there is Jesus. And even in the darkest night. That light once shined and will shine still.  His way of love is the way of life. It is the light of the world. And the light of that love shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not, cannot, and will not overcome it.

God love you. God bless you and may you have a Merry Christmas and may this world be blessed. Amen.

The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry

Presiding Bishop and Primate

The Episcopal Church

St. Edward’s Annual Cookie Sale – Saturday, December 7th


2019 cookie sale was a fantastic success!  Thank you to all the volunteers, bakers, crafters who take on this ministry every year and do such a fantastic job.  We raised a total of $3,085.80!  And, of course, thank you to all who come each year and buy these delicious cookies, baked goods and our *NEW* crafts.  Without the community support, we would not have such great fundraising success!

It’s that time of year when St. Edward’s holds their Annual Christmas Cookie Sale.  Renowned for the awesome variety of cookies, it has become a Lancaster favorite as the line forms early before doors open at 8 AM.  Come early for the best selection!

This year, we will be adding Christmas crafts to our sale with a lovely variety of handmade crafts for you to purchase.

As part of our fundraiser, we will also be offering a continental breakfast of coffee/tea, juice, fresh fruit, muffins or bagels for $5.00.  Come and take a break or take it with you (we will have coffee to-go cups!)

Mark your calendars and we look forward to seeing everyone and sharing this St. Edward’s “tradition” with our wider community!

December 1st – Choral Evensong at St. Edward’s featuring The Lancaster Chamber Singers

A service of choral evensong will be held at St. Edward’s Episcopal Church on Sunday, December 1st, at 4 PM.  This event is free, but an offering will be received.

The service, which takes place on the First Sunday of Advent, with The Reverend David Bateman serving as Cantor and Officiant, will feature The Lancaster Chamber Singers.

 The Lancaster Chamber Singers, directed by Jay W. Risser, has played a major role in quality performances of choral masterpieces in central Pennsylvania since the ensemble’s founding in 1978.  From its inception, the mission of the Lancaster Chamber Singers has been to provide a rich choral opportunity for experienced voices in the greater Lancaster area and to bring to life for both audience and performer the great choral heritage of our culture.  The select group consists of 35 to 40 auditioned vocalists from varied walks of life from central Pennsylvania.

Performing primarily in Lancaster County and its immediate surroundings, the Lancaster Chamber Singers has also appeared in numerous invitation-only settings such as the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. and Longwood Gardens.  In addition to performing a capella, the singers perform with Lancaster area instrumentalists and chamber ensembles.

Performances of note include Mozart’s Requiem with former Metropolitan Opera bass/baritone John Darrenkamp and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs with Met baritone Mark Oswald.  LCS premiered Voices of Psalms, a unique work based on an Amish hymn, by Lancaster County composer Pomice Stoltzfus.  The ensemble also presented the Pennsylvania premiere of James Bassi’s Harpsonnets, based on the works of Shakespeare and featuring New York City harpist Ray Pool.   Several benefit concerts for victims of natural disasters have been sponsored and performed by the Lancaster Chamber Singers.  LCS was invited to help celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown with a concert at Bruton Parish Church, Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia.  In the spring of 2018, the Lancaster Chamber Singers marked its 40th anniversary with a gala performance of Mozart’s Mass in C Major (Coronation Mass) with full orchestra.

The December program is the fourth event in The Rev. Canon Stephen C. Casey Cultural Event Series at St. Edward’s for 2019, showcasing the church’s fellowship outreach.

Community Fellowship Dinner Wednesday, December 11th at 6 PM

WHAT:  Community Fellowship Dinner

WHEN: Wednesday, December 11th at 6:00 PM

WHERE:  St. Edward’s Parish Hall

BRING: Your own table setting and a hot and cold dish to share for 4-6 people

QUESTIONS? Contact Amy Swiernik at 717-682-1827 or Meredith Westgate at 717-575-2119

Our Community Fellowship dinners are a great time to get together and enjoy good food and conversation.

Come and dine and enjoy catching up  with old friends and getting to know some new ones.

Advent Wreath Making & Beautiful Seasonal Music by The Lancaster Recorder Consort, Sunday, November 24th

Please join us on Sunday, November 24th after the 8 AM and 10:15 AM services for extended coffee hours, wonderful seasonal music provided by The Lancaster Recorder Consort and fellowship as we gather to make Advent wreaths for our home bound parishioners, as well as those who would like to make one for their home.  A devotional will accompany each wreath, provided by Father David.

We have all of the supplies and will have them all prepared to make a very simply designed centerpiece to embrace the season of Advent.  We have 6 wreaths we would like to make for our home bound parishioners.

We will have a free-will offering basket for people who would like to donate to help defer the costs of he Advent wreath supplies.

Special Adult Forum, Sunday, November 17th at 9:10 AM

David Manuel, a member of the Susquehanna Speakers Association, will be speaking at Adult Forum on Nov. 17 at 9:10 AM about the Navajo Code Talkers of WW II.   He will explore the Navajo nation’s interactions with the US Government from their mistreatment in the late 1800’s to their creation of a code that was never broken and was instrumental in helping to win the war in the Pacific.  He says that his talk is the perfect blending of historical facts and human interest stories.  Please join us & welcome our special guest!  Invite a friend to attend services and come to this special forum.