Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Consecrations, Confirmations, Installations, First Day of School and Michaelmas

Thank you for the messages of encouragement on the blog postings.  I will keep the blog posts coming.  Together, we are filled with His hope and sharing our beautiful stories.  We are building the Kingdom of God in the Diocese of Pennsylvania.  As a mid-week option, I am sharing pictures and brief descriptions of  official visitations and events. I strive on each pilgrimage visit and visitation to listen, learn and serve. 

St. Peters and St. Philip-in-the-Fields

I had the privilege of officiating at the service for the consecration of the memorial garden at St. Peter.  This moving ceremony was the culmination of the union of St. Peter Glenside and St. Philip-in-the-Fields.  The congregations of the two beloved community worked together to merge into one vibrant family.  The ceremony highlighted the hard work, love, and effort of the two congregations.   

The music was joyous; the celebration filled with laughter.   You could see that amidst the rejoicing and the tears, the congregation became one family.  A new fair linen was created and embroidered by Roxanne Walter, a member of the St. Peter’s Altar Guild. It was given in honor of and thanksgiving for the loving and faithful service of the members of the St. Philip-in-the-Fields Altar Guild by the members of the St. Peter’s Altar Guild. 

There were portions of the service that spoke to the day:  

“And the one who was seated on the throne said, "See, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true." Then he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end." (Rev. 21:6)

“Through the ages, God’s people have been moved to build houses of prayer and praise, and to set apart places for the saints of the church to be remembered and to rest from their labors. With gratitude for this Memorial Courtyard and for all the members of St. Peter’s and St. Philip-in-the-Fields who are and will be buried here, we are now gathered to honor these saints and to dedicate and consecrate a new portion of it in God's Name.” (Service Booklet)

I would like to express my thanks to The Very Rev. Emily Richards, The Very Rev. Paul DeWitt Reed, The Rev. Deacon Patricia Rubenstein and all the clergy who shepherded this process.  Special prayers and thanks to the Vestry's of St. Peter's and St. Philip.  I also would like to express my profound gratitude to the holy congregations of St. Peter’s and St. Philip-in-the-Fields for their faithfulness and trust. 

St. Stephen’s Norwood.

The first official episcopal visitation was to St. James Norwood.  The service was upbeat and filled with song.  St. Stephens will hold a special place in my heart in that my first confirmation was at this sacred place. 

The Very Rev. F. Michael Knight welcomed me with open arms and such joy.  I was able to meet with the confirmands before the service.  Each had life-giving stories as to why they attend St. Stephen’s.  One confirmand stated, “This is our home and where we find community and Christ.”  

Below is a picture of the faithful Christian who allowed me to confirm her.  She was the first confirmation as Bishop.   

I will share details of the congregation following my pilgrimage visit. Please visit this beloved community and keep them in your prayers as they journey forward with hope.  

St. James School

One can spend an entire blog speaking of the pride found in the students, faculty, trustees and families of St. James.  I had the honor of addressing the students on the first day of school.  I also shared time with co-founders Reverend Sean Mullen (St. Mark's and Dr. Audrey Evans.

The hope, the intelligence, the beautiful faces.  I will have a detailed description of the school during a visit later in the year.  

St. James Prospect Park

My second visitation was to St. James Prospect Park.  Jude was in town.  He filled my heart when he joined me for the visitation.  

Rev. Christina Nord is a Priest blessed with wisdom, faithfulness and an encouraging ministry.  She is growing St. James and empowering the congregation.  In the meeting with the vestry, they shared their affection for Rev. Christina and how her sermons inspire them and as a result - move them into the world.  

Fr. Tim Gavin’s Installation at the Episcopal Academy

I attended the installation of Fr. Tim Gavin as the Head Chaplain of The Episcopal Academy.  I explained the service to the lower school students and officiated the services for the Upper School.  

I explained looking at the Senior Class that my son was a senior and at that moment, I thought of Jude back in school in Albuquerque so far away from my arms.  The following is a description of the service from the Episcopal Academy:

The Episcopal Academy community gathered on Wednesday to celebrate the Installation of Father Tim Gavin who will serve as the school's 12th Head Chaplain.  The day began with a Lower School Installation Service in The Class of 1944 Chapel, followed by a Middle and Upper School service.

The Right Reverend Daniel G.P. Gutierrez, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, presided over both services. Reverend Gutierrez held Father Gavin's hand saying, "The Head Chaplain at the Episcopal Academy is called to teach and preach the love of God to the entire school, to care for students, staff, parents, and alumni, in the midst of the physical and spiritual needs.”

The Reverend Gutierrez asked those in attendance, "Will you who witness this new beginning support and uphold Father Tim in this ministry?" The answer was a resounding, "We will."
He explained to students that Father Gavin is "part of your pilgrimage as you go back and forth with faith and love.”

"He is going to hold your journey, hold that cross as you transition from students to adulthood. Through your joys, your resurrections, your dreams, your loves. And that is why it is so important, he is part of your pilgrimage.”

The Reverend Gutierrez cited Episcopal's 231-year-old history, reminding students that with the school's Head Chaplain, "There has always been a person who holds the light of hope." A person who "will sustain, support, love and care for you as you journey into the future."
With a standing round of applause Reverend Gutierrez said, "My brothers and sisters, greet your new Chaplain.”

"I feel very blessed to serve you. And I look forward to serving you in any way that I can," said Father Gavin. "The reason I have stayed at Episcopal Academy for so long is for the students. I love you all, thank you."

Greville Haslam Head of School Dr. T.J. Locke shared, "This truly is a special day at the Episcopal Academy for all of us. Father Tim is the 12th Chaplain in the history of our school, so we don't do this too often. You are all part of a very special event.

"When we think of Hold Fast to What is Good, we think of the joy you bring to us each and every day. We are so lucky to have you as our Head Chaplain," said Dr. Locke. He also reminded Father Gavin, "that we are all here for you.” Father Gavin was presented with several symbolic gifts including: a Bible, a vessel of water, a stole, a book of prayers, oil, and keys to the Chapel.

The Reverend Gutierrez closed, saying, "I bless each one of you and know that you are in my prayers daily."

The Installation marked the first official visit to EA by the Bishop since he was consecrated into the Diocese in July.

Michaelmas at Good Shepherd Rosemont

The beauty of the liturgy, the devotion to our Lord, the depth of meaning.  Thank you Fr. Ian and the congregation at Good Shepherd for our rich Anglo-Catholic heritage in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania.  As I mentioned at the service - you have a Bishop who loves you.

I would like to thank Mr. John Wallace (I borrowed his pictures).  He is a devoted and caring servant of Christ. 

Don’t forget to “like” each of these churches and schools on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.  The internet and social media is a form of evangelism.  I am blessed to serve as your Bishop.  There is my boy Jude.