Incarnation: God getting down

By Bill Lewellis

Anglican reflection on our relationship with God begins with Christmas … with God getting down. From there, we move toward the cross and resurrection. In many faith groups, reflection about our relationship with God begins with Good Friday and Easter… with fallen humanity that needs to be saved. I’m not suggesting that one way of getting at the mystery of our relationship with God is better than the other. How would I know? But they are different. And one surely works better for me: to begin not with “Am I saved?” but with “Have I gotten down?” Do I know people in low places?

   The basic Christmas truth is that Jesus is God getting down  and that God continues to touch us through flesh and blood. God uses many media of self disclosure. God touches us through family, relatives, friends, people we don’t even know, even unlikely persons? It’s all part of Incarnation. What story might you tell to celebrate God’s Incarnation … about one way, perhaps, that the word became flesh in your life? How have you touched others?

   Christmas is about a special moment of God’s intervention in history. Christian theology calls it the coming – the already but not yet coming – of the kingdom of God. Through his life and ministry, Jesus pointed to the coming of the kingdom of God. He used subversive speech -- parables and stories that subverted the ordinary, familiar, taken-for-granted world in which we live, while pointing to a strange, surprising world, a world turned upside down. And we know what happened to him.

   I recall years ago when I first heard the phrase altruistic donation. A new way to think about the coming of the kingdom. Altruistic donation. I knew what each word meant, but the phrase in its specialized context was new to me. It has to do with organ donors. Of the more than 100,000 living kidney donors in the U.S., less than one half of one percent were altruistic donors in the sense of people who gave their organs to strangers.

   One would think there might be more. Actually, there are. Many more people make the altruistic offer. Few altruistic donors, however, are accepted. Only about 5%, one of every 20 who make the offer. Most are rejected because altruistic donors must pass rigorous physical and mental health testing. That makes sense. But I do long for a world where altruistic donation of any sort would be the norm, where the presumption would not have to be that altruistic donors have mental health issues.

   That’s my take on the coming of the kingdom, a time when our world will be filled with altruistic donors, joining God to do what we can do to bring about right relationships. God has already gotten down to make the relationship between God and us right. Now, we need continually to get down to make relationships among ourselves right.

   In Episode #32 of The West Wing, a person on the president's staff, having undergone a traumatic event, is required to see a doctor of the American Trauma Victims Association. The session goes on all day and well into the night. The diagnosis is PTSD. Josh is worried that this will cause him to be let go from the president's staff. When Josh heads back to his office, he passes Leo, chief-of-staff and recovering alcoholic, who is sitting in the lobby. "How'd it go?" Leo asks. After some banter, Josh tells Leo what he has been trying to hide – fear about losing his job. Then Leo tells him a story.

   "This guy's walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can't get out."A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, 'Hey you. Can you help me out?' The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on."Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, 'Father, I'm down in this hole can you help me out?' The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by, 'Hey, Joe, it's me can you help me out?' And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, 'Are you stupid? Now we're both down here.' The friend says, 'Yeah, but I've been down here before and I know the way out.'"

   After that, Leo tells Josh not to worry about his job. "As long as I got a job, you got a job."

Now that’s a Christmas story. The mystery and the scandal of incarnation. The Word was made flesh. God getting down. “Are you stupid, God? Now we’re both down here.” That’s the Christmas story, not so much a story about Jesus as it is a story of God. God is in the hole with us.

   That’s what we discover at the manger.
That’s where Christianity begins, with God becoming one of us. Theologians call it the Incarnation. Not the birthday of Jesus – we don’t know when Jesus was born – but the Incarnation. That’s the mystery we contemplate with joy and wonder at the manger. 

Where is the Shelter?

Sermon by Bishop Paul Marshall
Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem
Christmas Eve 2012
5:00 p.m. Eucharist

I have been coincidentally reminded several times this week that it was here in the Lehigh Valley that I have celebrated my only Spanish confirmation service, along with two of my few Spanish eucharists. Learning to say the Spanish liturgy is not hard—the major trick for somebody with my background is to remember that it is NOT Latin. What was the more complex gift to me in getting involved in that phase of Trinity Easton’s ministry was learning more of the customs of Latino Christians so that my halting conversations with them could be a little more meaningful. And they were generous in teaching. Not surprisingly, many Latino church customs are a unique blend of non- or pre-Christian culture with the overall faith of the Church, just as are many familiar customs that are imported, such as the Advent Wreath and Christmas Tree that come from Germans. When cultures mix with faith, powerful traditions grow.

There is a Central American custom that I hope we will pick up as the culture of the USA becomes more diverse. It is an observance of the nine days before Christmas as Las Posadas, the dwellings. It is originally from Spain, but in troubled America Central it took on a certain passion.

That is, people who have deep memories of oppression, homelessness, and persecution, gravitate naturally to the fact that when Joseph and Mary as poor people sought shelter, they had to take whatever hospitality they could get, if they could get it. When at long last Mary and Joseph got to Bethlehem, there was no room for such as them as they went from inn to inn. “No room for them” should be read as “no room for THEM,” as it was anciently a polite expression of contempt. They were poor, dirty from travel, and there were rumors about her. And just as they flashed on in this country in the 1950s, the motel sign repeatedly switched to “no vacancy” when the couple from Nazareth appeared. So they wandered, seeking La Posada, seeking some shelter.

Nowadays, on the nine evenings of Las Posadas, Dec 16-24, Latino people practice going to each other’s dwellings, and the hospitality they celebrate is an affirmation of decency and compassion. It is also defiance of anything in human nature that rejects Christ by denying, marginalizing and ignoring those who are even a little different. Especially children. They ask at each place they visit, “¿dónde está la posada?,” where is the dwelling? Wouldn’t the world be different if we asked that of ourselves each day.

There are regional variations on Las Posadas, but in each version the heartbreak of Mary and Joseph’s story is felt yet overcome. The end of the story on these nights is that Joseph and Mary are recognized as who they are, lights are lit, and there is general rejoicing.

When Central American people celebrate Las Posadas, they celebrate the light, celebrate hospitality, and then party with the kids. (There are plenty of YouTubes you can watch.) They remember together that sure, it was only a stable, but someone was decent enough to let the very pregnant Mary have a shelter in which to have a baby. From that shared space comes a great joy which shall be for all people.

Las Posadas ends up with parties for the children and the famous piñata appears: nobody ever needs to apologize for enjoying children, and, ahem, especially grandchildren.

But it was quite a move on God’s part to enter the world as a child, and in that child come to save us, wasn’t it? God knows that we are at our most receptive when we encounter a child, and as we sing Silent Night every heart opens a crack more toward a deeper relationship with our maker and redeemer. There is chance to open ours wide. Where is the dwelling we make for him?

Beyond the children, though, the nine days of Las Posadas are nine days about ritually remembering being outcast, marginalized, unwanted and rejected. It is about remembering that all three of the stories we hear in church tonight were told in times of threat and pain. Almost every group in America has experienced alienation at one time or another. In Las Posadas, each of us remembers our ancestors journeying, whether that journey was voluntary or in chains. Each of us remembers that nobody creates their own life and that we are redeemed because of a simple act of ancient hospitality by which Christ could enter the world.

But most of all, in a difficult and tragic year in our country, we may wish to remember the light and the piñata at the end of Las Posadas. It is in the darkness that we best see the light. As to the strangers themselves, we remember that Jesus had in mind our own coming to life spiritually when he told us, “whatever you do the least of my brothers and sisters you do to me.” The Posada Principle, if Robert Ludlum wrote sermons.

Jesus would spend his life at the margins of society, would usually have no place to sleep unless friends helped him out. He lived and worked largely among those whom he called “the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” He, poor as he was, says to them and to each of us that we should come to him with our burdens and he will refresh us. He gives us new life by sharing his life, sharing his life of prayer and care for the sick and needy, sharing his life by pouring it out for us.

Do any of us need cheering up this season? Think of Las Posadas and welcome Jesus, Mary and Joseph and see if it doesn’t help. Smile at a stranger as you walk around the corner at New Bethany. Sign up for “Home for Supper” on Jan 25 at Nativity and you could enter someone else’s dwelling for the first time, mindful of what is being enacted. The next time you give a hand-out on the street or serve somebody at a soup kitchen, tell them your name and ask them theirs. The simplest things can point to the ancient Bethlehem dwelling that takes us all under its roof.

But more than that, when we remember this night’s events in Bethlehem of Judea, the light the star and the radiance the angels shed change the way we look at those around; it changes the way we see those struggling in any way with life; it especially changes how we see the physically needy and endangered, the people who at this very moment live under the Hill-to-Hill Bridge, the New Street Bridge, the parking garages…and the people who will this week come to churches like Nativity for shelter on the coldest nights of the year.

We who know the light of Christ find our brightest moments when we give home and hospitality to the souls and bodies of all we meet.

¿Dónde está la posada?

[point to heart] Está aqui.



A Christmas Story

By Nanette Smith

As most readers will know, Bethlehem churches take turns each night serving and housing homeless men and women in the “Room at the Inn” project. On Thursday nights, Jo Trepagnier is one of those serving men at Nativity Cathedral. On December 13, what she brought for the men was not something she had made; rather it was from the Church of the Mediator, where she serves as office manager, and it was made by a handful of Raub Middle School students who attend Mediator’s after school Just For Kids program.

A favorite activity in this program is cooking in the Mediator kitchen. Usually they eat what they make. But that Thursday, volunteer Patricia Gaukler suggested the idea to the kids that they cook for the shelter . “The kids were enthusiastic about it. I told them a little about the program and let them choose what they wanted to make,” she said. They chose salad because they wanted to give the men something healthy and cupcakes “because they love to ice cakes,” Patricia said.

Next week, I interviewed two of these cooks. Sixth-grader Caridad Reyes, who likes the cooking because she wants to train to be a chef someday said, “We made food for him because it isn’t right that everyone in the world has something, and they have nothing. If homeless people don’t eat, then we should not eat either.” She looked a little sad and cast her eyes down when she said this to me. Pat had told me that she spoke to the kids carefully about the problem of homelessness and why we should care for our neighbors. It was clear that Caridad took this to heart.

A genuine story teller, the voluble sixth-grader Steven Cruz said he knows about people in need, referring to people he sees in his neighborhood. “I cook for people all the time at home,” he said. “I give poor people pancakes, sometimes pizza.” He told me that when he was a little child he almost died from a heart condition, and that was why he cares about other people “who have problems.” Like Caridad, he loves to cook, especially rice and beans; and he shared a secret with me on how to get the dish just right.

Last year, Mediator pastor, Maria Tjeltveit, helped a group of JFK young people make pies to take to the Homeless Supportive Services Christmas party in Allentown. So this is becoming sort of a tradition.

Jo told me that the food the kids made for Nativity was a big part of the meal and a big hit with the 50 or so men. I am guessing that she asked me to write this article not just to remind people of the Bethlehem homelessness project and the work done by Just for Kids, but because it is a beautiful expression of the Gospel, children—who themselves don’t have a lot--giving what they can to people with much less. They gave of their talents, time, and heart, and showed an understanding of how giving at Christmas time can truly carry the right spirit.

[Nanette Smith is a parishioner at the Church of the Mediator, Allentown]

Bishop Paul's Christmas Message 2012

Bob Hope's Christmas Show for Pacifists
Bishop Paul Marshall, Dec. 24, 2012

Mr Hope was a faithful Catholic and I am sure would approve of the use I make of his reputation.

Nobody on the planet ever put as much energy into entertaining our troops as did Bob Hope. For almost 60 years he flew into danger zones to boost the morale of those serving their country. His first such appearance, in 1943, featured a cast of three, and had no opening acts as we might think of them.

I have often tried to imagine what it was like for those troops, over those six decades, to have had no word of encouragement or contact with home for months or more, and then see Hope's company coming in. If anyone ever had an appropriate surname, it was Bob.The closest hints I get are in the First lesson and the Gospel.

This all comes to mind because of the battle noises that are silenced for ever in the first lesson for Christmas Eve (Is 9:2-7) when the prophet interrupts, rather than entertains, the royal court. All the fighting is to stop because light has broken through. The child comes to do much more (but not less) than comfort the troops: he comes to end the conflict. "The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this." Kings in those days adopted "programmatic names," names that were their platform. Here is a king who adopts one of wonderful counsellor ruling in God's peace.
After psalm and second lesson, the scene shifts, doesn't it, to an even more amazing show of light and sounds. Dirt-poor, ritually unclean, and general nobodies, certain shepherds on the late night shift were brought terror, joy, and hope by a great company of angels. These messengers gave glory to God and offered God's peace to humanity.

But the troop of shepherds weren't just entertained by the spectacle; they were engaged, and they responded. They got up and went as fast as they could to find the child, Mary and Joseph. And they, too, praised God.

Morale in our country is not very high for a number of reasons, some of them tragic. Christmas this year invites us to make a special effort to be where we can hear the angels, worship the child, and like the shepherds, make known to all what they had seen and heard. Jesus the Savior is here, at all times and in all places. Each one of us knows someone who needs to know that.

If that someone is us, we know what to do. Those celebrating family will probably end up at a late afternoon or early evening service tomorrow; for me, this is always the time of sheer and holy fun. The midnight liturgy offers us more of a chance to enter the mystery and adore the One who is come among us and gives permission to the part of us that seeks a deeper relationship with God. For those for whom this has been a hard year, perhaps this is the time to try the relative quiet of a Christmas morning liturgy, with the entirely unsentimental but inexhaustibly inspiring words from John's Gospel.

Since this is the first Christmas Eve in 65 years where I shall be alone (but fear not: I will drive up to be with the family already up in CT after Christmas morning liturgy). I am going to use all that quiet to listen to the Christmas portion of Messiah, then the first part of Bach's Christmas Oratorio,

And because in the long run I am really just an old softie, will listen to Paul Scofield reading "A Christmas Carol," and if there is time, watch Jean Shepherd's "Christmas Story," "Miracle on 34th Street," "It's a Wonderful Life" and an old Twilight Zone episode called "Carol for another Christmas."  I might even watch Bill Murray in "Scrooged." [I sometimes watch Nat Lamp "Christmas Vacation," but will not admit it here.] You have your own playlist--there is no better time to access it than when doing your final preparations and, for me at least, in the quiet between the services.

Sadly, Bob Hope is no longer with us, but Christ always is, and we can but hope that wars will one day cease in Jesus' homeland and throughout the earth. Jesus  is still with us, offering peace for our hearts and joy for all the world. May your Christmas be filled with the light that is the life of us all.

May 2013 bring each of us many opportunities to offer peace as the angels did, and amaze others with our testimony as did the shepherds who first saw the spectacle coming from the sky. God bless you and all of those you love.


(PS the sermons at Nativity tomorrow are about something completely different)

(PPS This begins very internet service on my end until Friday, as I shall be frolicking with Madeleine on Tues-through Thurs, who went to her first Christmas party brunch today without me to protect her)

Is 9:2-7
2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, and increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.

4 For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian.

5 For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.

6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Diocesan support for Seamen's Church Institute

[From Canon Jane Teter]


I have received a note of thanks from the Seamen's Church Institute thanking
all of you for the knitted and crocheted items sent for the mariners on the hign
seas at Christmas. 

We sent off eleven boxes of items including:  60 scarves, 102 hats, 15 vests, 1 pair
of slippers and 19 helmets.

Many thanks to all who have made these items.

Please continue to make items for next year.  They may be dropped off at Diocesan
House all year long.  Once the holidays are over, it is a good time to relax and knit or
crochet an item or two!

Blessings of Advent to all of you,
Canon  Teter

St. Matthew's, Stevensville to host Festival of Lessons and Carols December 11th

[By the Rev. Paul Walker]

St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Stevensville has announced its annual Christmas Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols which will be held on Sunday, December 11 at 2:00 P.M.  The church is located on Route 706 in Stevensville.  The Rev. Paul Walker, Rector of St. Paul’s, will officiate at the service.  Refreshments will be served following the program.

Everyone is invited to bring boughs of holly and evergreens to decorate the church prior to the service.  Because of the soft ground around the building, St. Matthew’s invites those attending to park at Frank and Mary’s Restaurant, just west of the church, and ride the wagon up to the church.

St Matthew's Church, Stevensville, in what is now Bradford County, was established in 1799 by sheep farmers who came from Litchfield, CT, following the Revolutionary War. Along with their sheep, they brought their deep faith and commitment to the Church of England. However, the recent War of Independence meant that church was now reconstituted in the United States as of 1789 as the Episcopal Church. Their first services were held in a room over a store, but soon they moved to a church building.

In 1814 the church building burned and construction was soon underway for a new sanctuary. This new building, which still stands, was built in 1820 and consecrated by Bishop William White, the first Bishop of Pennsylvania, in 1824. This majestic structure has stood fast and faithful for over 185 years. It is reported to be the oldest building in the Diocese of Bethlehem still used as a church.

The sanctuary has been refurbished several times over the years, but the “modernization” was the conversion of the whale-oil lamps to kerosene. The original source of heat was a large pot-bellied stove in the rear of the church, which still stands. It is not disconnected for reasons of safety; charred beams under the floor are reminders of fires past.

The interior of the building has been kept as the original, including a balcony with benches, which winds its way along the rear and sidewalls. The windows are mainly clear glass, although there are several tinted or painted memorial windows. There are many interesting appointments and paintings in the church.

Due to changing demographics, St. Matthew's has become essentially inactive as a parish. Seasonal services and special events, such as weddings, are held in the building; and, it is the site of many pilgrimages. Since the early 1930's the care and oversight of the church was given to St. Paul's, Montrose, which is seventeen miles east of the parish on Route 706.

Trinity West Pittston distributes Christmas trees to flood victims » FLOODCare update: Christmas Tree Distribution

Dear Bakery Friends,

On Saturday evening, Trinity West Pittston's grounds turned into a Christmas tree lot as we invited our neighbors affected by the September flooding to choose a Christmas tree or wreath to brighten their holiday. 

About 60 families came by to choose from an assortment of trees and wreaths delivered fresh that day from a nearby tree lot.  With the sounds of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" filling the air and ample supplies of hot chocolate and cookies baked by parishioners from Trinity and the Episcopal Church Women's group from Prince of Peace in Dallas, we tried to make our guests feel welcome as they chose a tree.

For some, getting a tree freed up money to use on other things.  For others, it replaced an artificial tree that was lost to the flooding.  Many of those who stopped by told tales of losing not only their trees but all their Christmas decorations which were stored in basements or garages that took on water during the flood. 

One woman shared how she thought her tree and ornaments were okay because they were stored on high shelves in the garage and well above the flood water, but when she went out to get her decorations she discovered that the flood water had toppled the plastic storage tubs containing the decorations from the shelves into the water.  Someone who probably thought they were being helpful hosed off the boxes and put them back on the shelves but didn't open them or clean what was inside, and all her decorations were ruined.  "I was so upset.  We had so many nice things and they were all caked with mud and mold," she said.  This woman was able to choose from some Christmas ornaments and lights donated for those affected by the flood and took home not only a tree but some things to decorate it with.  "It might be a Charlie Brown tree without enough ornaments, " she said, "but it will still feel like Christmas."

We were initially surprised by how many residents chose wreaths instead of trees, and saddened to learn that the reason was that many of them were living in circumstances that just don't leave room for a Christmas tree.  Some are living in cramped trailers, and many are still living in one room in a hotel or with relatives or friends.  One woman said she couldn't take a tree because her house doesn't have any floors -- the entire first level had to be stripped to the support beams to eradicate mold.  "I don't have any place to stand a tree, but I can still remember Christmas when I look at my front door," this woman said.

Our neighbors also had the opportunity to browse a selection of new and gently used clothing and salon beauty products provided by Covers of Love, a local non-profit that heard about our efforts and asked to join us, as well as some of the clothing and bedding donated by St. John's Hamlin during our furniture distribution.  We also had more than 80 cases of water and a dozen cases of bleach sent to us by Churches of Christ Disaster Relief and a selection of Christmas ornaments, toys and new household items donated by Trinity parishioners, as well as some of the gift cards collected at the Diocesan Convention and sent to us afterwards by other churches.  Our neighbors were pleasantly surprised and very grateful to receive so much help when they thought they were only getting a tree.

Over and over, we were thanked for still being there when others have moved on.  But the thanks didn't warm our hearts as much as knowing that about sixty families will have a merrier Christmas right when they most need to take a moment to step away from stress and loss and feel the spirit of Christmas around them.  "If you weren't giving these away, I wouldn't have stopped working on the house tonight to run out for a tree.  I don't know if I would have ever stopped," one man accompanied by two grade school aged children told us.  "We're going to decorate this and have cookies and milk under the tree before bed.  Tonight, we can just forget about the flood and think about Christmas."

Our thanks to Ciampi's Greenhouses for assisting us with a good price on the trees and for donating the wreaths; to Father Earl Trygar, his wife Helen and the parishioners of St. Mark's Moscow for the generous cash contributions towards the purchase of trees; to the ECW at Prince of Peace for the beautiful trays of homemade cookies, as well as the candy canes and small gifts we were able to hand out to the children who visited; to the Churches of Christ for the water and bleach; and to all of you who contributed gift cards that we were able to share.  Our neighbors are grateful for the help you are all providing, and we are grateful for your support as we continue to try to ease their burdens.  Our parish Community Resiliency Team will meet soon to discuss the projects we've just completed, assess the needs we've learned about and plan new ways to help.  We'll keep you posted -- please keep our neighbors and our efforts in your prayers.

Janine Ungvarsky
FLOODCare Coordinator
Trinity West Pittston

P.S.  We were also fortunate enough to have a video journalist from local television stations FOX56 and WBRE stop by during the evening to film a report that ran on the 10 and 11 p.m. newscasts. The text of that report can be found below.  The attitude expressed by Ms. Edwards is very typical of what we hear from our neighbors: they are doing without so much but are very grateful for what they do have and for any help they receive.


Road To Recovery: Flood 2011

Church Spreads Christmas Joy in the Flood Zone

Reported by: Mark Hiller
West Pittston, Luzerne County -- The first weekend of December is a popular time for people to get a fresh Christmas tree. That's what some flood victims in West Pittston did -- but if you asked them before the September flood, they never would have guessed they'd get that tree from a church. Trinity Episcopal Church of West Pittston gave away free trees and wreaths as well as new toys and new and lightly-used clothing. It's a welcome gesture for a community hit so hard.

"This is wonderful. This is really great to at least have a wreath, to be able to have some decorations out," said Bonnie Edwards. Her home on Lacoe Street was hit hard by flooding but her family has managed to return. "We're at least living in the upstairs of our house. We're basics, no kitchen, plumbing or anything but we're home."

Others aren't so fortunate. "I don't even have floors and I don't mean flooring. I mean floors. So, it's hard," said Linda Armstrong who also lives on Lacoe Street. It's a hardship lessened at least a little by the church and other caring groups and individuals. "It makes me grateful to live in our community where we have neighbors that are reaching out and helping each other," said Ms. Armstrong.

Trinity Episcopal Church had vouchers ready for flood victims to still get free trees and wreaths in case today's giveaway supply ran out. 



Santa visits Music Together at Trinity, West Pittston » Santa visits Music Together at Trinity West Pittston

Dear Bakery Friends,

Trinity West Pittston had a special visitor last night when Santa Claus heard a Music Together class in progress and dropped in to visit with the children and their families.  Music Together is an internationally known music and movement program for children from birth to age five and the grownups that love them, which Trinity brought to the area three years ago as part of our MUSICare ministry to young families. 

Fifteen children and their parents and grandparents were taking part in Trinity's annual free Christmas demonstration of the Music Together program, including a number of families who were new to the Music Together experience.  Santa Claus heard the loud and joyful sound of the children experimenting with the rhythm instruments and stopped by to sing along.  Santa joined the kids and their families in a rousing rendition of "Jingle Bells," then spent time talking to the children and gave each a small gift.  I was able to get this photo of Santa and some of the children and their parents and grandparents before Santa had to hurry off...

The Christmas Santa Sing-a-Long is one of two free Music Together events held at Trinity each year-- the other is an end-of-summer party. In addition, we participate in numerous free demonstrations in the community at libraries, bookstores and schools during the year. Three semesters of classes, 10 weeks per semester, are held each year, with classes offered mornings, afternoons and early evenings.   If you or someone you know lives in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area and is interested in more information about Music Together classes, please email me at [email protected] or visit  The next class semester starts January 10.



Janine Ungvarsky
Assistant Administrator
MUSICare featuring Music Together
Trinity West Pittston


Little Jackson meets Santa for the very first time...

Trio of Montrose churches host Christmas bazaars on December 3rd.

[From Paul Walker, Rector of St. Paul's, Montrose]

Three churches in Montrose will all hold their Christmas bazaars on Saturday, December 3.

The Montrose United Methodist Church, 526 Church Street, will open the doors of The Christmas Department Store from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Lunch will be available.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 276 Church Street, will open the doors of The Country Store from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Breakfast and lunch will be available in The North Pole Café.

The Altar and Rosary Society of Holy Name of Mary Roman Catholic Church, 278 South Main Street, will hold their annual Christmas Bazaar from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  A continental breakfast and lunch will be available.

In addition The Susquehanna County Historical Society and Free Library Association will be continuing their Christmas book sale at The Inn at Montrose, 26 South Main Street.

The churches of Montrose invite you to come and celebrate the holidays in Montrose!

You know it's almost Christmas when St. Paul's Montrose makes its wreaths

[From Paul Walker, Rector of St. Paul's, Montrose]

DSC_0065Members of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Montrose, met recently for an afternoon of making pinecone wreaths for their Christmas bazaar called The Country Store, to be held at the church, located at 276 Church Street, on Saturday, December 3 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The participants from left to right are Margaret Burgh, Rita Leigh, Lynne Graham, Carol Marker, Jennie Bowen, and Ed and Karen Smith, front.


Diocesan Life February 2011

Hello everyone! Here is the latest edition of Diocesan Life. We are now wrapping around a new, independent paper called the Episcopal Journal. Of course, our online version doesn't include that news, but you should receive it in your mailboxes this week. As always, if you have stories, photos, news, please pass them along to Kat Lehman. The file is in .pdf formate and is 2.3 MB in size.

Download 1102_DiocesanLifeFINAL_SMALL

Mittens and gloves to warm the homeless and hungry

[From Marcie Lightwood]

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The Trinity Soup Kitchen in Bethlehem, where I work as a social worker, traditionally gives gifts to our poor and homeless guests at Christmas time. This year, we have received many beautiful hand-knit scarves and hats from local knitters, but we have no gloves or mittens to give.

I am asking if you could please pick up a pair of gloves or mittens on your next shopping trip and donate them? We need more gloves for MEN than for women; we serve probably 2 women for every 3-4 men at the soup kitchen. We only have a few guests who are children.

Any kind of new glove is fine; some like plain knit gloves or mittens; others want them insulated or waterproof. The homeless folks love mittens, or gloves with the mitten fold-over.

You can bring them to Trinity Episcopal Church, 44 E. Market Street in Bethlehem, drop them at my home, or at the WDIY studio where I will have a box set up. You can call me to arrange pick-up. If you work at a place that can have a collection box on premises, please let me know.

Please feel free to forward this to people who have warm hearts.

We need about 250 pair of gloves, total, and any excess will be kept for guest needs through the winter.

Happy holidays to you, and thank you.

Marcie Lightwood
1334 Club Avenue
Allentown, PA  18109
484-767-2908, [email protected]

Quiet Christmas at Moravian Theological Seminary

QC postcard for emailA Quiet Christmas service is one of reflection, reading, prayer and healing.  It is designed for those who may have suffered losses in the past year – losses of loved ones, health, employment.  There are seasons in our lives when quiet reflection is more appropriate than festivities.  There will be a harpist and a violinist to provide music, scripture, candle lighting, readings to remember the light in our lives.

All are welcome!

Bahnson Center is accessible for individuals with mobility impairments. Moravian Theological Seminary encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact Amanda Griesser at 610-861-1519 at least one week prior to the event.

"An Evening with Margie and Dave" Benefit Concert

[From Fr. Scott Allen]

“An Evening with Margie and Dave”
Recording artists Margie DeRosso and David Lang will perform their original Christmas songs in addition to
your favorite holiday standards.
Saturday December 4th, at 4:00pm.
In the sanctuary of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
1900 Pennsylvania Ave., Bethlehem, PA
A “Meet and greet” with the artists will follow the concert in the church’s Social Hall.
Refreshments will be served.
All proceeds benefit the Pennsylvania Avenue Interfaith Food Pantry
Admission is $5.00 with a non-perishable food item donation at the door. Please call Craig @ 484-892-1589 for details.
This Concert is being sponsored in part by:
Giant Food Markets
Weis food Markets
Michael Thomas Floral Design Studio