October 1, 2020

  Click on the links below to go directly to that section of the newsletter.
Prayer List
Prayer Shawl Ministry
Daily Devotionals
Thank You's
Worship Videos
Red Bird Trailers Open Sat/Sun
Pastor Brad's Reflection
COVID-19 Precautions
Children and Youth Ministries
Zoom Bible Study
Gospel of Matthew Study
Blessing of the Animals
Mission Project
Advent Devotionals
Music Ministries



Please click to view


Prayer requests can be submitted

or through the church email, stjumc@aol.com.  

All "Ongoing Prayer Concerns" will be listed for two weeks.  Please submit a new prayer request, if you desire to renew the listing for 2 additional weeks.

This Sunday      
In-Person Worship   
*Holy Communion  
9 AM
in the Sanctuary  
10:30 AM in Fellowship Hall   
A video recording of the 9 AM service will also be available to view on our website following the  
in-person service.  
What is Truth? 
Pastor Brad    
John 18:33-38a 
Worship Assistant:  
Ruth Portzline, CLM
Music: Ring of Faith Bell Choir,  
Alissa Nelson, Roy Nelson,  
Valerie and David Sharper 
Piano: Brian Barber  
Praise Band @ 10:30 am 
The Order of Worship  
will be sent out on Friday.   
You may print a copy  
and bring with you to worship. 
Hand made prayer shawls (or lap robes for men) are again available for those experiencing serious illness, bereavement, or other major life issue.  Each comes in a sealed plastic bag.  Recipients need not be members of St. John's.  Requests can be made via the comments section of the prayer request form on the church website, by calling or emailing the church office, or by calling Carol Rice at 215-357-1203. Requesters will be notified of contactless pickup arrangements at the main entrance of church building.

The Upper Room Devotional
for September/October is now available.
Copies are in the Narthex
and also in a container on the front porch of the church.
Be sure to pick up your copy and take one for a friend as well.

The Tuesday Devotionals and
Special Emails/Announcements are also posted on our website: www.stjohnsivyland.com
under the "What's Happening"tab.

  • Just go to our website stjohnsivyland.com
  • Click on the 'Give' button in red and register.
Once you've registered, you can either make donations by debit or credit.  
OR try  
 All you have to do is text the amount you wish to give to 877-960-2396.
You will immediately receive a one-time registration link, then just follow the prompts to complete your donation!

It's quick and secure.
The same vendor that handles electronic giving for us, Vanco Services, has state of the art encryption, so you can rest easy that your transaction is 100% safe and confidenti
If you have any questions about mobile or text giving,
email Lou Lescas at stjohns820@gmail.com

You may also send your tithes and offerings to the church office:
820 Almshouse Road, Ivyland, PA 18974

Thank you for your generosity!

Our previously recorded worship videos can be accessed here or
under the "What's Happening" tab on our website - See the "Videos" link.
Last Sunday's Worship Service 
  September 27, 2020

 Special Music: Alissa Nelson, Roy Nelson David and Valerie Sharper 
Accompanist: Brian Barber 

Red Bird trailers are open for donations on Saturdays and Sundays  
Hours:  9 AM - 5 PM  
Please try to limit bag/box weight to 30 pounds or less.   
Volunteer packers are still needed.
  If interested, please contact  
Rick Poll l.poll@verizon.net) or the church office (stjumc@aol.com). 
UMC LINKSumc logo
   Prior to our move to Lower Bucks County, almost every morning started in a similar way: as I awoke, I would be greeted by our eager, energetic, and urgently whining dog named Finn. Sixty pounds of Lab mixed with some unknown breed of pure energy, I quickly learned it's simply not possible to get dressed fast enough for Finn. The whining and whimpering would continue until we were out the door - usually before the sun was up. And if I was late, well, the whining started before I was even out of bed.*
   Once out the door, we'd walk a 2-mile loop around our community, Bear Creek Lakes. Yes, we encountered some bears, along with countless deer, a few skunks, many foxes and turkeys, a seasonal pair of mallard ducks that our neighbor named... and even an occasional bald eagle soaring overhead. As we walked, I woke up and prayed. I thanked God for a new day and prayed for our neighbors as I passed each house - many of which I grew to know well. Finn was always on a mission. Sniffing, exploring, lunging at those vicious deer who dared to cross his path - he was always on the go as he pressed on to complete our loop.
   Afterwards, Finn was the picture of contentment. After his treat, that is; the whining would resume if I was slow with that! Then Finn was completely content, often sprawling out at my feet as I had some coffee and breakfast. As I focused on the many things I needed to do, Finn was asleep, satisfied and at peace.
   I look back fondly on those mornings and thank God for the blessing of our animal friends. I believe animals have much to teach us about our relationship with God. For instance, Finn's earnest and unswerving desire for time with me paints a beautiful picture of what our desire for God can look like. Psalm 37:4 says "take desire in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." That's exactly what Finn does, and he is (usually) satisfied. In a similar way, we will not be left wanting when we eagerly desire time and fellowship with our Lord. What a blessing that is!
   This Sunday at 4 PM, we have a special opportunity to worship and give thanks to God for the gift of our animal friends as we seek God's blessing on them. If you have a special animal friend, consider joining us. If your special animal friend doesn't do well outside or is a bit too energetic (believe me, I understand!), pause at 4 PM and offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the blessing of animals and the natural world. Then, in the days ahead, look for the many ways creation - and especially our animal companions - point to the glory and blessings of God!
*It must be noted that, post-move, my wife Jennifer has assumed early morning dog duty. I'm still trying to get caught up. And I'm sticking to that story.

Pastor Brad
As a reminder, our ability to continue in-person worship is contingent on compliance with mandates and best practices, including wearing masks or face shields, maintaining social distancing of at least 6 feet, use of hand sanitizer and frequent hand washing, and adjusting foot traffic to minimize close contact. The SignUpGenius reservation tool has enabled us to coordinate the reduced capacity and traffic flow patterns in the Sanctuary and Fellowship Hall and will continue to be used. Most importantly, if you registered for worship but do not feel like your normal, healthy self, please remain at home and worship along with the recording of the service.

Know that we recognize how difficult the past months have been. Thank you for your patience and consistent compliance with all aspects of our approach. Your commitment to Christ and heartfelt caring for each other are greatly appreciated.
 Please read: 
We've been blessed by a steady increase in attendance at our worship services! If you are planning to attend, it is critical to register via Sign Up Genius. This enables our ushers to promptly seat you while maintaining safe distancing necessitated by Covid. Thank you for your patience and compliance with these interim procedures as we all eagerly await the day when we can fill God's sanctuary again!

   Sign-ups are accepted until Friday, 10/2 at Noon. 

*Communion Note:  Sunday, October 4, 2020
The Covid pandemic has altered many of the meaningful rhythms in our lives. One of the greatest longings many of us have experienced is the desire to commune with our Lord at His table. This Sunday, October 4, the Sacrament of Communion will be offered in worship and to all in a drive-through format.
During our 9AM and 10:30 AM worship services, individual, prepackaged elements will be consecrated and offered to in-person worshippers. Those not able or comfortable attending in-person are asked to join us online for worship; we expect the service will be posted around 10:15 AM. Then come to  
St. John's between 11:30-12 noon to receive the Communion elements. You will be asked to please remain in your car.
We look forward to seeing you and sharing in Christ's love together through the Sacrament of Holy Communion!
Holy Communion Offering:   
Family Promise of Lower Bucks County 

Sunday School programming that will be offered for young people this Sunday. Note that each lesson will have a video component and will also include follow-up materials that guide parents in talking about the concepts throughout the week. Hope to see you on Zoom!

Young Children (Pre-K to Grade 2)
What's In the Bible?  
Sundays at 11 am on Zoom  
 Join Buck Denver and a group of hilarious friends as they journey through the Bible and discover what it means for us. Amy Scarlett will lead us for the opening weeks as we discover What's In the Bible!   
Lesson length: 20-25 minutes.

Older Elementary Children (Grades 3-5)  
Orange 252 Kids
Sundays @ 11am on Zoom  
Our older elementary children will explore fun and engaging lessons from The Orange Group. Susan Seamans will lead off the year with a challenge to Drop the Act... and live with integrity! Children will see that integrity means choosing to be truthful in whatever we say and do - we can all drop the act and choose to be who God made us to be!  
Lesson length: 25-35 minutes.

Youth Study - Faith in an Anxious World  
Sundays @ 11 am on Zoom 
If you've ever felt pressure or anxiety from school, friends, college applications, sports, parents... you are not alone! Hear young people share about the real pressure you face, and learn how our faith can guide and strengthen us in difficult times. Ashley Zesinger and Heidi Gutsch will be our leaders - you won't want to miss this 4-week study!
Please have a Bible, notebook/journal and pen with you.  
Lesson length: 50-60 minutes. 

Paul Henry is offering a 14 week study course on Zoom, Tuesdays from 10:30 am to 11:30 am. The course will provide a variety of short term topics for study and discussion so that you may join for subjects that interest you or participate in the entire series.
We began on September 22nd with a look at The Lord's Prayer. The words of this prayer are very familiar to all of us and we can recite it without thinking. But would you view the Lord's Prayer differently if you were an inhabitant of Galilee in 30 A.D.? Would you understand the prayer differently than a 21st century American Protestant? Join our virtual journey to a first century Jewish village and examine the differences in understanding.
There are no books to purchase, just register for the course and you will be provided with readings for each discussion topic.

If you would like to register for a week,
please contact Paul at phenry605@verizon.net,
or by calling 215-962-6719.
10/6  Reflections of Genesis 1-3
10/13 Being Christian in a Pagan World
10/20 Being Christian continued

Wednesdays 7-8:30 PM
Fellowship Hall
Leader: Ken Lee
You are invited to join our Wednesday night Bible study in Fellowship Hall from 7 to 8:30PM. We're currently doing the Gospel of Matthew using the William Barclay New Daily Study Bible beginning with Chapter 14. This study is a continuation from last March but since each class is a standalone discussion of the Scriptures there is no need to catch up, just jump in. Take a deep dive into Matthew's Gospel to better understand what he wants you to know. Originally written to first century Jews, it is still relevant for us today! Barclay makes it easy to understand. 
If anyone needs a book: either they can order it or we can and they can reimburse the church. We are social distancing and wearing masks in class but taking breaks for a breather.
Please contact Ken Lee (kenwlee66@gmail.com) for more information.
SUNDAY, October 4, 2020
4:00 PM
(Front Yard of Church.)
(In case of rain we will move to Fellowship Hall)
Everyone is invited to attend with their animals
(properly restrained, of course).
If you wish you may bring a picture of your pet
to be blessed.    
We will give thanks for all God's creation,
and celebrate His gift of creatures, great and small.
Social distancing practiced and masks required.
Each animal will receive a personal blessing, a gift,
a treat and a free picture of this special event.

Please join us on
Wednesday, October 14 at 6:30 p.m.
for a short meeting to be held in the Church Parlor. 
Please wear a mask - 
safe distancing practices will be observed.
At this meeting you may
pick up the supplies and take them with you
to complete the mission project from the
safety and comfort of your home.
We ask that you bring the wrapped plastic ware
back to the church by Sunday, October 25.
When completed, they will be delivered to
the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen.
Thank you for your participation,
Pastor Ruth


Advent is the season of preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas. This should be a time for families to come together in prayer and devotion. 
St. John's would like to encourage this devotional time by preparing an Advent Devotional containing a reading for each day in Advent. These devotions will be written by members of our congregation.  
If you are interested in contributing a devotion, please contact
Music at St. John's
We would like to thank the singers and Instrumentalists who have been providing music for our Worship Services.  Your willingness to share your talents and Faith is appreciated by everyone.
Rehearsals are being held in the Sanctuary, where correct SOCIAL DISTANCING can be followed.  All ringers are wearing masks for the protection of everyone.  If you are interested in participating in one of our Handbell Choirs, please contact Roy Nelson or Alissa Nelson for details.  Adults and Youth are welcome.
It has been a difficult 6 months for everyone involved with the Music Ministry at St. John's.  Not having choirs participate in Worship is very difficult for almost everyone who participates in those groups.  It is especially difficult for those of us who are in the music profession, both in Church or in School.  We look forward to the time when it will be "safe" to resume singing as a group.  We'll rely on the "experts" in the music field, and trust their judgement as it pertains to large vocal and instrumental performing groups.  

Roy Nelson, Director of Music Ministries
roynel@aol.com, 215-962-8928