Happy Spring! I was saying to Father David today, that this seems like the longest week, in terms of time passing, than we have experienced in months! But we are grateful for longer days and moderate temperatures to be able to go outside and take in the unfolding of spring and all of the buds and birds that seem to be oblivious to what us humans are experiencing. A good time for bike rides and long walks to bask in the wonder of our natural world and take some much-needed “deep breaths.”
Today’s message focuses on outreach ministry to our local community, our parish community, and to children.
We start with 2 free online resources, from Church Publishing Group, made available through April 15th.
This first link is to Living in Lent – Meditations for Forty Days by Barbara Cawthorne Crafton It is a wonderful collection of hymn texts from our Hymnal 1982 matched with reflections for each day of Lent. Very reflective in digital book form that you can view on your computer or tablet, and a nice complement to the daily Lenten meditation that we include at the bottom of each Daily Message from the Episcopal Relief & Development 2020 booklet.
This second link is to a wonderful children’s book entitled, Candle Walk – A Bedtime Prayer to God by Karin Holsinger Sherman, which is a wonderful bedtime story to share with your children to lull them into peaceful sleep.
We are fortunate, at St. Edward’s, to have the ability to share our generosity and ministry with the local Hempfield Area Food Pantry. As some of you may recall, Diane Gerlach from the Food Pantry came to St. Edward’s back in January to share with us the extraordinary work they do for our local community (Hempfield area) and how integral St. Edward’s ministry is in making their efforts successful. With our monthly food and monetary donations, as well as the freezer dedicated to the Food Pantry in the name of Stephen & Rayelenn Casey, upon Father Stephen’s retirement, St. Edward’s has become one of their larger food donors. BUT, in these new times, the food pantry cannot accept food donations from outside groups, including churches. And, in this time when families that cannot get out or are suffering from lack of a paycheck and school meals, it would be wonderful if we could continue our ministry to the Food Pantry by donating over the next 3 weeks, monetarily, in order to provide them with funds that they can then take to the Food Bank and purchase the food products they so desperately need. So, how about it?!? The amount does not matter and it can involve the entire family. Create your own household challenge to raise money and either send it via mail to St. Edward’s over the next 2 weeks or go online to the diocesan website and make your donation through our St. Edward’s portal, the same place you can make your weekly giving https://diocesecpa.org/stewardship/ and in the memo line mark it “Hempfield Area Food Pantry.” Let’s show the Food Pantry our love for our neighborhood community, and in doing so fill us with the grace of God’s love.
For those in need: The Food Pantry is open Mondays & Wednesdays from 10 AM – 1 PM. Please bring your ID to document you are a Hempfield resident. You can get food the same day and if you are NOT a Hempfield resident, but attend St. Edward’s, you are eligible to receive food. The entrance is in the rear of the building. 85 E Brandt Blvd., Landisville, Pennsylvania 17538
The guiding principle of St. Edward’s community outreach activities is found in Matthew 25:37-40. ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
If there are any questions, please email or contact the parish office or Beth Lynch.
Reaching out to each other: Remember there was a game show on TV a while back and one of the options to get help with answering the questions was to “Phone a Friend”? Well, in these new times we are experiencing, we ask that you open up your St. Edward’s directory and “Phone a Friend.” Maybe it is someone you already know from your ministry work or from the worship service you attend, or, maybe, you could reach out to someone that you may not know and introduce yourself and just take a few minutes of your day to say hello and have a chat! Even though we are “social distancing” we can still be together as a community of faith and reaching out to those you know, and especially to those you do not know, is the kind of ministry that we are called to do. If you do not have a directory or need a phone number or email, please contact the parish office or Meredith Westgate. It is best to send the office an email and I will reply in a timely manner.
LENTEN MEDITATION, MARCH 19, 2020
You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.
- Leviticus 19:13-14
This passage is stunning in its specificity. It could simply command us to not take advantage of the poor, but instead it specifically addresses employer abuse, the act of withholding wages from people who are hungry now. It could simply say to not take advantage of others’ vulnerabilities, but instead it says to not make fun of those who can’t hear what you’re saying or trip up those who will never see it coming. Through this specificity, we meet a God who is watchful of how powerful people treat the powerless. As Americans, we are immersed in a hyper-competitive culture that encourages—even exults in—capitalizing on others’ desperation and vulnerability. Yesterday’s headlines included a story about drug companies taking advantage of people with rare but fatal diseases. Their individual needs are so great while the population with this disease is so small that companies take advantage and charge exorbitant amounts. This is not the way of God. I believe we are called to join with God in being watchful of how powerful people treat the powerless.
- Miguel Escobar is the Director of Anglican Studies at Episcopal Divinity School at Union.