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The Messenger


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

Message from the Priest-in-Charge

Dear friends,

One week from today marks Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. Since we won't be able to gather in-person , we'll have to be creative about worshiping that day.

Ash Wednesday Worship (Feb 17)
To start,
you can join us for online worship 
that day:

  • 8:00 am - Simple spoken service
  • 7:00 pm - Service with music
These services will be streamed on the church Facebook Live page. 

Ashes at Home
In preparation for these services, I encourage you to prepare a container of ashes from your fireplace, if you have one. If you don't have a fireplace or access to ashes, you can use ordinary dirt. We traditionally use ashes because they are a sign of mourning and penitence, but the symbolism of dirt works as well, since we are recalling that we came from the earth and that we will return to the earth when we die.

Once you have your ashes or dirt, mix just a bit of water or oil (olive oil works well) to make a thick paste. Then, during the service, when I say the words "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return," make a sign of the cross on your forehead (or on the forehead of a family member) using the ashes or dirt.

We can do this remotely because the ashes are just a symbol of our mortality. They are different than the Sacrament of Communion, during which we believe the bread and wine are transformed to become the body and blood of Jesus in us

Ashes to Go
If remote worship (or making your own ashes) doesn't appeal to you, you can stop by church briefly on Wednesday afternoon to receive ashes.
  • 3:00 to 5:00 pm - Come into the sanctuary
  • 5:00 to 6:00 pm - Park in the parking lot
I'll be standing at the sanctuary entrance or in the parking lot close to the church building, distributing ashes. As always, please wear a mask.

Regular Weekly Worship
We continue to worship virtually:
  • Saturday at 5:00 pm - Contemporary worship with singing
  • Sunday at 8:00 am - Traditional spoken service
  • Sunday at 10:30 am - Contemporary worship with singing

And don't forget our two services during the week:

Both of these weekday services are streamed on our church Facebook Live page.

Be well, and stay safe and warm!

In Christ's lov


Links for worship:

Announcements and Events

Sweet Streets Fundraiser for Youth
Support our youth AND enjoy a delicious dessert! When you order a Street Sweets dessert, the proceeds help pay for the youth's annual retreat at Kanuga this summer. To order, look at the menu and order form, then email your order to Michelle Miller at Orders are due by March 14. Payment is due when you pick up your desserts on Sunday, March 28, from 12:00 - 2:00 pm. You can pay cash or check (made out to St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church; memo "Youth"). Thank you for your support!

Episcopal Magnets
Want to jazz up your car bumper and let your Episcopal pride shine? Here is your chance! For the suggested donation of $5 to St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church, you can own a professional grade bumper magnet of our well-known and ever-loved Episcopal Shield. They are also an excellent addition to your fridge! Magnets are 3.75" wide x 4.5" tall.
You can order your magnet a couple different ways:

  • Walk into church with a check or cash, and walk out with a magnet!
  • Mail a check to church, made out to St. Gabriel's with the memo "Magnet." Make sure your name and address are correct on your check, and we'll mail you the magnet.
  • Order online using the church Paypal account.

Lenten Quiet Day Retreat
Saturday, March 13th, 9:00 AM - 12:00 noon
Spend a morning exploring and reflecting on the theme "Seeing Beauty: A Spiritual Practice."  Together on Zoom, we'll explore what beauty is, why it's essential for nurturing our souls, and discuss some related spiritual practices. There are several breaks built into the program. Facilitating the retreat is  Janeen Adil, a Spiritual Director, writer and teacher who's a Commissioned Minister of Christian Spirituality in the United Church of Christ. 
The retreat is sponsored by our St. Gabriel's "Angelus" Chapter of the Daughters of the King and is open to ALL. There is no charge to attend. Please share this event with anyone you know who may be interested! A flyer will be attached in an upcoming newsletter. Advance registration is required so that participants can receive e-mailed handout materials and the Zoom link. Register via e-mail to Sally Heist, or call the church office at 610-385-3144. Deadline is March 7th.

Lenten Devotions
"Listening with All Your Heart, Soul, Strength, and Mind"
Our communal meeting groups are full, but you can still practice Lenten devotions by reading this Living Compass booklet of daily brief reflections.

Thank You from the Salvation Army
This past Advent, you all helped support local families by buying gifts that were distributed by the Salvation Army. The director of the program wrote a letter to St. Gabriel's to thank us for the gifts; in total, 15,024 presents were given to children and seniors in Berks County. Thank you for your generosity!


Saint Valentine's Day
Did you know that the first Valentine was sent in the 3rd century to a jailor's daughter? Find out more about St. Valentine and the legend around the holiday here.

Ash Wednesday at Home

BuildingFaith offers numerous handouts for different church holidays so that you can celebrate at home. Here is an explanation of Ash Wednesday, along with a Bible reading and a prayer.

Prayer List

Please remember in your prayers those on our 30-day prayer list:
Miss Joann; Jared Patt;
Heather Reese; and Briana Speese

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

Matthew, Dena, Ava, Logan & Cole Burkhart; Robert & Diana Caldwell;
Patricia Care; Sharron Carrigan

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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