January 2019
From the Rector

Dear Friends,
Happy New Year! The transition from one year to the next offers an opportunity to reflect on the year that has passed. What kind of year was 2018 for you? What can you be thankful for last year? How did God bless you? The old saying about "counting your blessings" is true - if we take the time to remember the good things that happened to us, we are brought closer to God, who pours out his blessings upon his faithful people.

The twelve days of Christmas are a special time and for a good reason is it called the "Season of Goodwill". The infant Christ brought out in the best in his loving family and in those who came to him and honored him with their love and gifts. It was only the hard of heart, like King Herod the Great, who rejected him. Have you noticed that Jesus brings out the best and the worst in people? Make sure that in 2019 it is the best of yourself who is witnessing to and serving the living God among us.

Consider this suggestion: why not begin the New Year by offering yourself anew to God? Ask him to bless you and strengthen you for service and, to complete your dedication, increase your love for God and neighbor. Take time to pray, wherever you may be, and in whatever situation you may find yourself. If it helps to have a prayer to hand, one of my favorites is from St Richard of Chichester (d. A.D. 1253):

Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits thou hast given me,
for all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me.
O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother,
may I know thee more clearly,
love thee more dearly,
and follow thee more nearly, day by day.

I was once in Germany for the New Year. As the clock chimed twelve, the people around me started wishing "Einen Guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr!" In English this is roughly translated as "Have a good slide into the New Year!" If you can imagine snow on the ground, this saying makes a lot more sense. However, I wish all of you a good "slide" into a happy and prosperous New Year!

With joy, gratitude and blessings, in Christ's name,

Father David

Senior Warden's Report

January 2019

Happy new year everyone! As we look forward to 2019, the Finance Committee will be meeting on January 8 to prepare a budget for the year. We will be figuring out what we can accomplish with the income that we can expect. The bulk of that income will be derived from the pledges we received at the end of 2018. Here is where we stand at this time with that pledging:

* Out of 87 possible pledging families at Redeemer, 47 have pledged for a rate of 54%.
* Total amount of income pledged is $119, 470.
* 27 pledgers increased their pledge amounts from last year.
* 15 pledgers pledged the same amount.
* 5 pledgers decreased their pledge
* 12 people who pledged last year have not pledged this year.

There are some very positive signs in these statistics. The number of people who have increased their pledge amount or kept it the same is very encouraging. If the people who pledged last year turn in their pledges, we will significantly increase the number of pledges and very likely exceed the total amount of income from last year. We would like to thank everyone who has made this leap of faith so far. For those who have not made the leap yet, there is still time. We will always accept a pledge. We have a chance to take a major step forward in 2019. Come join us!

George Baughan
Senior Warden

Souper Bowl of Caring
Our annual Souper Bowl luncheon will take place after the 10:15 service on Sunday, January, 27th. We request that you bring food staples for St. Mary's Food Cupboard or make a monetary donation in return for a bowl of homemade soup and bread. Extra soup will be sold after the lunch.

St. Mary's is currently providing food for over 100 families each week.The need will only increase with the reduction in food stamp allotments and the cut-off of unemployment benefits. The monthly allotment has been reduced by 21 meals a month for a family of four. 

Our collection is part of the Souper Bowl of Caring campaign in Springfield. Bags and flyers will be distributed on January 19th with the food collection on February 3rd. Please be generous.

If you have any questions, call Jane Nyiri at 610-328-6506.

Sermon preached on Christmas Day 2018

Merry Christmas everyone! At this time of year, six of the most welcome words I hear are "Do you want it gift wrapped?" I'm not an especially good gift wrapper, and so I am always pleased when someone else offers to do it for me. Failing that, you can always tell my presents under the tree - they're the ones without bows and with the names of the recipients written on the paper in black marker pen.

The practice of giving gifts is widespread in every culture. Context will determine what meaning we can give to gifts. A businessman giving gifts is looking to establish a business relationship with the receiver. Presidents and Prime Ministers give one another gifts, to signify friendship between their respective countries. There have been some unusual examples: I am old enough to remember the Chinese gifting a panda to President Nixon. The story I like best involves President Johnson, who was gifted a Burberry raincoat by the UK Prime Minister. As the delegation from the U.K. was leaving, Johnson tried on the coat and found that the sleeves were too short. Johnson gave the coat to his chief of protocol and asked him if he could catch the prime minister before he left and get the coat exchanged for the right size. The chief remembers dashing outside and running up to the limousine with the prime minister, while the Secret Service looked on, wondering what was happening. He managed to catch him and get the coat exchanged.

The giving and receiving of presents is essential to Christmas and I believe our gift-giving carries with it a large helping of love. After all, it takes time to think about what present to buy, and where to get it, and how much to spend, and then to wrap it, (or have someone else do it). It only makes sense if, behind every present given, there is love. It's the same for birthdays and weddings - we don't do it just for fun, or just because it is one of those traditional things we have always done, but because it is one of the most natural, least fussy ways we have of showing our love for each other.

If a family decided on "no presents this year" - no presents for Mom or Dad to the children and none from the children to Mom and Dad; none from grandparents or godparents. Well, it would still be Christmas, I suppose, but a dull and sad one. I think it might also feel like a less loving Christmas.

Under our Christmas tree are gifts of all shapes and sizes - I know that the value of the gift is not dependent upon its size. Each gift has been thought of, chosen and wrapped with love. Gift wrapped with love: "for God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life." There is a secret at the heart of all of our giving and receiving. God loved and he gave. When we give, we can be sure that we are doing the works of God; we are treating one another as he has treated all of us.

Jesus, born at Bethlehem, is God's gift to the world, all wrapped up in love. This morning we give our thanks to God for his wonderful gift and meditate on how life's gifts come to us in various shapes and sizes, in different circumstances and situations. For today, let us welcome Jesus into our homes, and in your giving and receiving may God bless you and keep you always.

I wish you all a holy, joyful and blessed Christmas.

Father David Beresford

Christian Education Report

January is the month of Epiphany. In Sunday School we will perform the Epiphany Pageant on the first Sunday in Epiphany, January 6. There will be no Sunday School that day so that families can see the pageant during the 10:15 service. We will also observe a Redeemer tradition with an Epiphany cake after church. The cake will have a thimble, a ring, and 10 dimes in it. If you get a piece of cake with a thimble, you will make the cake next year. If you get the ring, you will be king or queen for the day and everyone has to be nice to you. If you get one of the dimes, you will get a dollar that you are supposed to use for something good.

The rest of the month we will be learning about stories in the Epiphany tradition. Youth Sunday will be on January 27. The confirmation class will continue its preparation for confirmation on May 19.

Adult Forum will continue its series on the book Walk in Love, conducted by Father David.

Evening Prayer

Evening Prayer is said every Tuesday in the chapel at 5 pm. The service takes between 20 - 25 minutes. All are welcome to participate.

Midweek Eucharist
Every Wednesday at 11 am in the chapel. All are welcome.

January Birthdays:

1/1 Burton Viscusi
1/3 MacKensie Milligan
1/4 Giovanna Forte
1/5 Erin Witzel
1/5 Henrietta Taylor
1/12 Heather Witzel
1/14 Susan Atchison
1/16 Kyle Kolynych
1/19 Ella Jane Staley
1/22 Adele Holmes
1/24 Cyn Mattson
1/25 Ginny Doyle
1/26 Brad Gress
1/27 Mia Reiter
1/28 Emily Collins
1/29 Jameson Arch Gress

January Anniversaries:

1/16 David and Ruth Beresford

A Guide to the Eucharist

The Lord's Prayer, Agnus Dei and Holy Communion

The Lord's Prayer forms the natural climax of the Eucharistic Prayer. It serves as part of our final preparation to receive Holy Communion and the prayer has been included ever since the Eucharist began to be celebrated. "The Lord's Prayer is truly the summary of the whole Gospel". (Tertullian.)

The Agnus Dei, literally "Lamb of God", recalls the words of John the Baptist, who in the Gospel of John proclaims: "Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." (John 1:29)

Before receiving the sacrament, we utter the words "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word, and I shall be healed." At this moment we remember the pagan soldier who showed great faith and trust in the Lord and took that vital first step of inviting him into his life. (Matthew 8:8).

Holy Communion is a sharing in the life of Christ, uniquely through his body and blood, "for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink." (John 6:55). After receiving Holy Communion, we say "Amen", which means, "let it be so." As the Curé d'Ars said, "Come to communion...It is true that you are not worthy of it, but you need it."

After communion has been administered to all who receive (i.e. to those who are baptized - those who aren't baptized may come forward for a blessing instead), the priest cleans the vessels and clears the table. Anything left over is consumed by the priest or "reserved" in the aumbry. Because we believe that the bread and the wine have been consecrated and are now the Body and Blood of Christ, we treat them with utmost care; they are never discarded.

January 21

 Agnes, Child Martyr at Rome, A.D. 304 

K nown as the virgin martyr of Rome, Agnes has become one of the best known of the early Roman martyrs, despite uncertain  information concerning her life. Early records state that she was 12 or 13 when she refused marriage in order to dedicate her life to Christ. She was martyred by being stabbed in the throat and was buried in the cemetery on the Via  Nomentana in Rome in or around the year 304. 

Agnes has been revered since the mid-fourth century as an example of faith under intense pressure, and of dedication to God. From the three accounts of her martyrdom it is known that she was either 12 or 13 when the Emperor Diocletian declared his persecution against the Christians.The Diocletian persecution of 303-4 was one of the most intense and well ordered attacks on the Church. Agnes openly declared herself a Christian and held to her faith and her virginity, despite being threatened with being sent into prostitution and ultimately to death. It is said that the ferocity of her martyrdom so shocked Roman society that she was one of the last martyrs of the Diocletian persecution.

Various hymns and works of art have been produced on the theme of Agnes' martyrdom and these illustrate the way in which she was venerated from a time very close to that of her death, although creative licence has added layers of myth to the kernels of truth that lie within her story. During the reign of Constantine, some 25 years after her death, a basilica was erected over her grave in the Via Nomentana in Rome and a relief of her is to be found on a marble slab that dates from the fourth century.
Although the later traditions embellish and at times fabricate her story, a few facts remain. Agnes was a young girl who died for her faith. She refused to trade her virginity for her life, and she died a martyr's death, alongside many others of the Early Church. She serves to remind us, not only of the cost of discipleship generally in the Early Church, but especially of the heroism and faith of children and families in many parts of the world today who continue to suffer persecution and even death for their faith.

Just for Fun

A guy goes to a zoo and sees a gorilla with two books. The gorilla looks confused. One of the books is the Bible, the other Darwin. The guy asks the gorilla why he looks confused. The gorilla says "I can't figure out if I'm my brother's keeper or my keeper's brother!"

It was just before Christmas and the magistrate was in a happy mood. He asked the prisoner who was in the dock, 'What are you charged with?'
The prisoner replied, 'Doing my Christmas shopping too early.'
'That's no crime', said the magistrate. 'Just how early were you doing this shopping?'
'Before the shop opened', answered the prisoner.


Send corrections, remarks, or updates to the Redeemer Reporter to Israel Ramirez: hyperbolictechnical@gmail.com.

Church of the Redeemer, Springfield
145 West Springfield Road  
Springfield, Pennsylvania 19064  

The Reverend David Beresford, Rector
davidberesford@gmail.com, (302) 468-9062
Minister of Music  
Susanna Faust
Parish Administrator 
Maria Macfarlan

Gary Rew
Eucharistic Visitors
Linda Bennett,  Mary Huber,  Carol Kane,  Claire Witzel 
  Vestry Members
  George Baughan '19  - Senior W ard en
  Lee Lucas '20 - Junior Warden
Keith Brown '19  - Accounting Warden

Sharon Bilak '21
Ginny Doyle '19
  Jim Lambert '21
Joan Strayer '18
Helen Lightcap '20
Gary Rew '21

Our Mission
"As people of God, we come together in joyful worship, to care for each other, to engage in Christian formation, and to reach out to others thoughtfully and compassionately."
Our Vision  
"Becoming one with Christ, with one another, and with all God's people"