Good morning people,
Today my little niece Nina is getting married in Germany. By little I mean: 5 foot 7 and 35 years old. She had planned a small wedding from the very beginning, but little did she know that it would get THIS small. My sister told me that they are allowed to have nine people gathered for the dinner “reception” afterwards, and they decided not to increase the party. They could have increased the numbers somewhat, but how much fun is it to sit apart? Weddings in the time of the Coronavirus are not exactly dream weddings; they throw us back to the most important meaning of this public ritual: two people vowing to be faithful to one another until “death do us part.” That’s the core of it and the rest is dressing, very nice dressing, very exciting and enjoyable dressing, but not “essential” as they would say these days. (Hey, I remember stories of people getting married in the garage during less prosperous times…) I wish her and her husband Jonathan well from afar. Nina grew up in Ewersbach, one of the villages where members of our travel group stayed in 2012. These days she lives in the northern town of Einbeck where she works in agro-biology, developing seeds and stuff like that. The small town of Einbeck also happens to be the birthplace of a man you may have heard of before: Henry (Heinrich) Melchior Muhlenberg, the father of American Lutheranism. Small world!
At St. Peter’s we have only one wedding still on our calendar for this year. Elizabeth D. was supposed to get married in the month of June, but that has been postponed until August 22. We still hope it can take place. Elizabeth was one of my confirmation students a few years back and she has gone through some very rough years and dark moments in her life. I have often prayed for her. She is now on much better footing, living in Florida, working hard and planning to marry her soulmate Dominic V. here in Pennsylvania in August. Back in April, she sent me this note: “Also my parents have been forwarding me the emails you’ve been sending with prayers and encouraging words about the world’s current situation and I would love to receive those emails myself. If you could please include I’m in what you send out I would greatly appreciate it during these tough times. Much love from Florida, Elizabeth D.”
Please, let us pray for Elizabeth. She has had a rough journey finding herself and dealing with difficult stuff. Those things have the a tendency to revisit us from time to time, and I think it would mean a lot to her if the church family where she was raised prayed for her at this time.
Earlier this week, I shared that supremely hopeful quote from 14th-century mystic Julian of Norwich. “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” Episcopal scholar Bruce Epperly wrote about her: “Scholars believe that unnamed mystic Julian, whose name came from her cathedral home, lived through three plagues and may have lost her husband and children to the dreaded Black Death. Despite the tragedy and loss she experienced, Julian affirmed that God will redeem all things, all sin will be forgiven, and everyone will find wholeness in God’s everlasting realm…” (I continue to try to keep our lock-down in perspective.) Anita B. wrote me about her take on Julian of Norwich this Monday: “When I was diagnosed with GCA and started researching the disease I also happened to discover Julian of Norwich while reading my favorite study book – Devotional Classics. It took a bit of soul searching to admit fear of the probability that, though I may go into remission there is probably no stopping the progression that will continue to build scar tissue in my arteries, some of which are inoperable. I realized there are things in life that are inevitable and if we are to continue living for as long as we’re alive we need faith. I found great comfort in Julian’s deep faith and her quote at a time when all I could do was resign myself to my new reality. It is also what comes to mind as we travel this strange and troubling pandemic journey. “
Here is the official obituary for Lois G. Later this morning I will conduct a graveside service with family members at Union Cemetery in Flourtown. Again, if you would like to send a card, please contact the church.
“Lois Lutz G., 87 passed away May 2020, at Springhouse Estates in Ambler. She was the beloved Wife of the late Rev. Frederic B. G. and treasured Mother to Lisa R. (James) J., Kirsten G. (John) F., and Ethan F. (Shelley) G.; sister of Sally C. of Fort Collins, Colorado, and the late MaryJane W. and Martha S. Also survived by 4 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren, and 12 nieces and nephews. Mrs. G. was a graduate of Moravian College for Women. She worked for many years as a Senior Copy Editor and Associate Managing Editor for the Division of Parish Services of the Lutheran Church in America. She also worked as a free-lance copy editor for many church publishing houses, working with many prominent theologians. Lois was a champion of women’s rights and was known for her fierce pride in her Welsh heritage as well as her beautiful soprano voice. She sang in local choirs as well as the church choirs at Zion Lutheran Church in Flourtown, PA, and at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in North Wales. A memorial service will be held at a later time. Interment at Union Cemetery in Whitemarsh is private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Moravian College Scholarship Fund.”
This Sunday we will feature many of our deacons in the recorded church service: Brooke A., Sharon B., Bethany C., Maryann L., Peg M., Judy J. will all participate. You will also get some musical specials with Roy S., Liz A., Jenn G., Mia W., Brendon S., and Cindy L. As always, the service will be posted on our website and Facebook page on Sunday morning, no later than 9:00 a.m.
On Sunday at 11:00 a.m. we invite you for a special virtual Adult Forum featuring the work of the Interfaith Housing Alliance, which was initiated by First Presbyterian Church in Ambler a number of years ago. As the name suggests, the agency works across denominations and religious lines to help with persisting housing and homelessness problems in Montgomery County. Because it can be so difficult to find housing for homeless families in our rich county, churches and synagogues have taken turns welcoming families for a month at a time in their houses of worship. We were planning to do just that in the month of June, but something called COVID 19 has altered the landscape radically. Our Social Ministry Team decided however, to use this time and inform our people about the work of this organization. You can participate in this session via Zoom. Here is the invitation:
Our graduation students are all facing very interesting scenarios this June and you could say they will have an “UNFORGETTABLE” graduation, something that they can tell their children and grandchildren about, “the year we graduated virtually”. We would like to honor all of them on Sunday, June 14. That includes graduation from all kinds of schools: Elementary, Middle School, High School, College, Vocational School… Please send us pictures by May 31. That will give us plenty of time to make sure we really have EVERYONE’S Picture included in our tribute presentation. Please send them directly to Jennifer Bodolus (email@example.com) and copy in Lisa Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Be safe and be well!Pastor Andreas Wagner