A Message from the Interim Rector:
Why, one might ask, do the Gospel writers focus so much on the passion of Jesus?

The details of the last week and days of Jesus life has filled a unique void in human experience because it is about redemptive suffering. Somehow the story speaks to us, wherever we find ourselves, not least after a year of struggling with the Covid 19 pandemic.
The human suffering of this year cannot fully be grasped or measured. It will take decades for us to fully envision the toll of human suffering and redemptive love and sacrifice of families and friends, first responders and health care workers, employers, and public servants. The pandemic has brought out the worst and the best in us. Delayed grief, deferred surgeries and health check-ups, the economic toll on millions of workers and businesses is all part of the invisible shadow of the valley of death that the human family now finds itself in.
The passion story will be heard very differently this year, as well as resurrection hope and transformation of suffering into victory. The patient waiting for some kind of all clear or normalcy is palpable. I have found it necessary to create little markers of hope, breaks to the monotony of permissive lockdown or space to think and plan for an unknown future. Whether it is Zoom calls with friends, family and church, or little breaks where we can move from one bubble to another, all of these are helpful markers to get us through this dreadful time.
Today, I was fortunate to get my second Pfizer vaccine, as many of you have. Church staff took advantage of the Diocesan initiative to equip our lay and clergy colleagues to get vaccinated as part of the 1B essential workers cohort. I encourage all of you to take advantage or the remarkable rollout of vaccinations in the USA that will exceed President Biden’s initial target of 100 million vaccinations. We will still need to wear masks and practice social distancing, remain careful when we meet for in person worship, as here at St Paul’s the Vestry plan for the coming months has been approved by the Diocese.

On Easter Eve, we will celebrate an outdoor vigil and first Easter eucharist on April 3rd. Next day, Easter Sunday, we return to three Sunday services in person that will take us through the summer (please God). This coming Sunday, (Palm or Passion Sunday) we will offer two in person services -one outside in a large tent at 9 a.m. and one at 11 a.m. in the sanctuary that will be livestreamed for people unable to be with us in person. The 10 am slot will feature my interviewing a group of parishioners who have committed themselves as members of the Company of Angels (our legacy society). Our congregation can do what we do around here because of the selfless love of many who have gone before us and over 20% or our program budget comes from the foresight of this generosity. Yet most of have no idea what this is all about!

Holy Week speaks to us -listen carefully

(continued) The Legacy Society was created in 1936, a few years after the Wall Street crash and just before the second world war. Our ancestors went through equally challenging dark days and amid all of that, they had the courage and foresight to look to the cross and resurrection as a dramatic witness of hope in uncertain times. People who worshipped in this newly constructed building (finished in 1928) helped to give employment to so many local people. Yet, I am sure there were moments when St. Paul’s leadership probably had their regrets and wondered how they might pay for the windows, the carvings, the exquisite craftsmanship of this temple high above Philadelphia where a shocking 40 percent of the black workforce was out of work soon after it was built. Let’s look at the context of the building we often take for granted and the beginnings of the Legacy Society. Roger Simon writes:

From the end of 1929 to the spring of 1933 the national and local economy spiraled downward. The decline was staggering; regional manufacturing output plummeted 45 percent, while factory payrolls fell by 60 percent; retail sales sank by 40 percent. Construction went into free fall, dropping 84 percent. Unemployment rose inexorably. By April 1930, 135,000 Philadelphians were jobless with another 46,000 working only part time. A year later, the number of unemployed approached 250,000, more than a quarter of the workforce. The slide continued until March 1933; by then, only 40 percent of the workforce was employed full time, the rest worked only part time or not at all. Although the entire region was hard hit, the city suffered the worst. In 1930 Philadelphia’s unemployment rate was twice that of Chester and Montgomery counties. Manufacturing workers had higher rates of unemployment than did those in white collar and service occupations. The foreign born and African Americans, because they were concentrated in manufacturing and low skilled jobs, and because of outright discrimination, sustained particularly high levels of joblessness(read more here).

The story we are about to tell, was undoubtedly told in churches and in families way back then. The seeds of future hope and many of the social and health support systems that helped so many people get out of poverty and return to the dignity of work, caring and educating their families came from the power of this story and its impact on hearts, minds, and imagination. This has not changed for the Christians of this city and nation. Many of the great generation who still belong at St Paul’s were forever shaped by these experiences, in the same way our current crisis will remain in the hearts of our children and shape their values and outlook. To give one another the hope and inspiration we need to live these days -that is our mission, and Easter Good News. Join us to share this story and make it your own.

Memorial service for Donald Watlington postponed.

We had previously announced a service for Saturday 27th March but the family has decided to wait until after the Easter holidays. More to follow.
Palm Sunday
Sunday, March 28th, 2o21
Two services! 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
9 AM: Outdoor, family-friendly Rite II Holy Eucharist under a tent on the lawn. The Rev. Dan Kline is preaching and The Rev. Canon Albert Ogle is celebrating. Music is led by Dr. Andrew Kotylo, Karen Richter, and volunteers from the St. Paul’s Adult Choir. Service will be recorded and available later in the day on our YouTube Channel. WE ARE PERMITTED TO SING OUTSIDE and will have a choir present!! Horraahh!!!

10 AM:  Clergy Conversations with Albert Ogle and the newly formed "Company of Angels" leadership group discussing what they love about St. Paul's and how to support our future ministries through the legacy society. Join this Zoom call.

10:30 AM: Time change for this week! Parents' Exchange: Click here to join.

10:30 AM: Godly Play Storytime: Click here to join.

11 AM: Traditional Rite II Choral Eucharist in the Sanctuary with limited procession. The Rev. Dan Kline is preaching, and The Rev. Canon Albert Ogle is celebrating. Music is led by Dr. Andrew Kotylo, Emily Amos, and St. Paul’s Staff Singers.  Bulletin and service link will come in a Saturday evening email and will be posted on Facebook on Sunday morning.

12 noon: Zoom Coffee Hour: Click here to join.
Memorial Flowers for Easter

Please check that your loved ones’ names are spelled correctly on our list below (contact Marisa Curcio with any spelling corrections). If you haven’t submitted names yet to be remembered during our Easter celebrations, please consider filling out this form, and then follow this link to donate $50 to help replenish the flower fund for 2021! The last day to submit names is Wednesday, March 31.
Helen M. Betancourt
Raul Betancourt
Raul Betancourt, Jr.
Donald Bowden
Minnie Bowden
Pietro Cartelli
Rita Cartelli
Rose Cartelli
Herman and Louise Carter, Sr.
Alice Clarke
Helen Seery Desmond
William Desmond, Sr.
June and Ernestine Ellis
Evelyn and Victor Fiore
Elizabeth C. Forster
Jane Gerhardt Frain
Everett H. Glover
Mary A. Glover
John B. Healy
Katherine Heck
Joseph Lees Jones
Eleanor W. Kolb
John F. Kolb, Jr.
Kathleen Loveland
Laura Loveland
William Edward McBride
Sophie Cope Miller
Jane O'Rourke
Eric Reath
George Reath
Isabel D. Reath
Timothy Reath
C. Joseph R. Rowland
Gertrude D. Rowland
Joseph R. Rowland
Anna Schroth
Frank Schroth
Paul W. Shoup
Anne Hobart Sokoloff
Boris Sokoloff
Louise Viglianese
Frederick L. Voigt
Elmer and Polly Van Volkinburg
Mark Van Volkinburg
Florann Weathers
Harry F. West
Harry F. West, Jr.
Isabel West
Mai West
Molly Tyler West
Joseph Vanderbilt Williams
please add others........................
Nominating Committee:
Receiving Names For Positions

The Nominating Committee is open to receiving names for consideration for one vestry member and one delegate to the Diocesan Convention.

The vestry is the governing body for St. Paul’s Church responsible for developing policies and procedures according to canons and by-laws; ensuring that financial and organizational systems are in place; developing and managing the annual budget and communicating with the parish on a regular basis. The vestry term is for 3 years with an opportunity serve for a second term if elected.

The Delegate to the Diocesan convention represents the parish at the annual Diocesan convention by voting on the diocesan budget and other issues presented. The term is for 3 years.

If you know of a fellow parishioner that you feel is well-suited for vestry service or delegate or if you yourself feel called to this leadership role, please click here to email any nominating committee member. 
Missed last week's services?
Canon Albert Ogle reflects on the failures of religion
During this time when most of us are not attending church services in person, we are offering a Virtual Collection Plate. Please contribute what you would normally have given each Sunday and help Saint Paul's continue its important work!
Learn more about Holy Week and the special Easter liturgy from last week's presenter.

Join liturgical scholar Dr. Kyle Schiefelbein-Guerrero, Steck-Miller Assistant Professor of Worship and Liturgy at United Lutheran Seminary (down the street on Germantown Avenue), to participate in this journey through time and practice. Lecture at 11 a.m. followed by a Q&A. -- WATCH HERE.

There is something to do every day during Holy Week. Evening Prayer with Karen Richter on Holy Monday evening at 5.30 p.m.
  • Book and Action Club (Wednesdays at 7 p.m.) A Lenten series on The Rev. Canon Kelly Brown Douglas' book, Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God -- Zoom link
  • Maundy Thursday -Holy Eucharist at 7p.m.
  • Good Friday walk with Fr. Albert and our neighbors from OMC (check link) and Good Friday services at 7 p.m.
  • Holy Saturday 7 p.m. Great Vigil, Easter fire and first eucharist of Easter (begins outside). see link for all details on services this week.
Marisa Curcio is available to help you get connected, and she can be reached by e-mail at mcurcio@stpaulschestnuthill.org.
Stay connected.