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The Messenger


The Weekly E-newsletter of St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church

Message from the Priest-in-Charge

Dear friends,

We are coming up on Palm Sunday and the start of Holy Week this weekend. I'm looking forward to celebrating this sacred time of the year with you all, first virtually and then in person on Easter morning. You can find the schedule for Holy Week and Easter services below.

The plan is to continue to worship outside through the Easter season for all services. This plan may change, but until you hear otherwise, plan on worshiping outdoors through April and most of May.

This decision was made in light of a letter that was sent out from our bishop and the diocesan leadership bodies last week, which you can read here. The letter stipulates that churches cannot gather indoors unless the new case count falls below 25 per 100,000 people for two consecutive weeks. Currently, Berks County is hovering in the 30s, so it will be a little while before we can gather indoors again.

Our diocesan leaders also published protocols for gathering (some of which apply even outdoors) which you can read here. We'll be following these guidelines as we celebrate Eucharist outside, so we'll continue to receive
our Communion bread in small baggies!

I know that these protocols are not ideal, but if they allow us to worship together again in relative safety, then I am happy to follow them.

Finally, if I can take a moment of personal privilege, I'd like to thank all you of who came out to the baby shower for Becca and Baby Girl VanBuren on Sunday. It was wonderful to see so many of you - some of you we haven't seen in a year! It was a taste of the in-person community we'll experience once we start worshiping outside. 

Thanks also to those who offered their well wishes or gifts at other times but couldn't be there Sunday. Becca and I feel truly loved, and I'm glad our little girl will be a part of a community that has loved her even since before she was born!

In Christ's lov


Links for worship:

Schedule for Holy Week and Easter

Palm Sunday - March 28
We will celebrate Palm Sunday at our Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning services.  You can pick up a palm frond from the front of St. Gabriel's on Saturday between 4:00 and 6:00 pm, or on Sunday anytime after 8:00 am. There will also be packets of Palm Sunday and Holy Week activities for children and families.

Maundy Thursday - April 1
Virtual Holy Eucharist - 7:00 pm
A virtual Eucharist worship service will be held on Thursday at 7:00 pm, which will end in the stripping of the altar.
All-Night Vigil
At St. Gabriel's, we hold a vigil on the evening after Maundy Thursday every year. During this vigil, folks are invited to keep watch over the Communion bread as a practice of "staying awake" with Jesus during his last night in this world. The Vigil will be held in-person this year, but to keep everyone as safe as possible, it will be held in the main sanctuary.
Read more and sign up for an hour-long timeslot here.

Good Friday - April 2
Solemn Worship - 12:00 noon
We recount Jesus' crucifixion and pray for the world in this worship service with music.
Stations of the Cross - recorded
There will be two recorded services of Stations of the Cross: one for adults (recorded in 2020) and one for children and families (recorded this year). You can find these videos on our Facebook page.

Easter Sunday - April 4
8:00 and 10:30 am, outdoors and in-person
Join us outside on Easter morning to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus in joyful services of prayer and singing! These worship services will take place even if it is frigid or raining (we'll only cancel if it's thunderstorming), so please dress appropriately. There will not be a Saturday evening service on April 3.

Announcements and Events

Pottstown Dinner Recap
This past Wednesday, several members from St. Gabriel's prepared and served around 60 meals for residents of Pottstown. Thanks to Sally, Cindy, Suzanne, and Dianne for volunteering, and thanks especially to Danielle for organizing the meal.

Sweet Streets Pick-up This Sunday 
If you ordered Sweet Streets dessert, you can pick up your order this Sunday, March 28, from 12:00 to 2:00 pm in the St. Gabe's parking lot. Payment is due when you pick up (cash or check). Thanks for supporting our youth!


Celebrating Palm Sunday at Home
Building Faith offers a short service involving a prayer, reading, and introduction to Palm Sunday, which you can find here.

The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach about Jesus's Final Days in Jerusalem
Bible scholars Marcus Borg and J. D. Crossan explore how Jesus' entrance in Jerusalem and his final actions subverted the power structures of his time. Read more about this book or buy a copy here.

Prayer List

Please remember in your prayers those on our 30-day prayer list:
Lee Baker; Kelly Fitzgerald; Colin Hiriak; Kathryn; Robert; Gregory Rowe; Mark Rowe; Gloria Schwager; the family of Brian Schwartz; Betty Webster.
Heavenly God, watch over these loved ones of ours, and grant that they may be restored to perfect strength and health, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In our parish cycle of prayer this week, we pray for:

James Elliott; Mark and Chris Elliott; Judy and Greg Embriani;
Michael, Alia, Joshua, and Nora Emery.

The complete prayer list is in our Sunday bulletin
(which can be viewed on the St. Gabriel's website).
If you'd like to add or remove someone from the Prayer List,
please email Barbara.

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