Sunday, November 22, 2020

Advent Resources: "Reverse Advent Calendar"

 "Reverse Advent Calendar"

Canticle: A Song to the Lamb


Canticle: A Song to the Lamb
Revelation 4:11, 5:9-10, 13

Splendor and honor and kingly power *
are yours by right, O Lord our God,
For you created everything that is, *
and by your will they were created and have their being;
And yours by right, O Lamb that was slain, *
for with your blood you have redeemed for God,
From every family, language, people, and nation, *
a kingdom of priests to serve our God.
And so, to him who sits upon the throne, *
and to Christ the Lamb,
Be worship and praise, dominion and splendor, *
for ever and for evermore.




See how this infant boy
lifted himself down
into his humble crèche
and laid his tender glove of skin
against splintered wood—
found refuge in a rack
of straw—home
that chilly dawn,
in sweetest silage,
those shriven stalks.

This outcast king lifted
himself high upon his savage cross,
extended the regal banner
of his bones, draping himself
upon his throne—his battered feet,
his wounded hands not fastened
there by nails but sewn
by the strictest thorn of love.

Pamela Cranston

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Online Worship Links for November 22, 26, and 29

Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church - Cathedral Road ☩ 

Online Worship Links for November 22, 26, and 29


22 November 2020 ~ 10am ~ Online

Service of Morning Prayer for Christ the King Sunday at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church

Click HERE or 

Prayers, Sermon by The Rev. Peter M. Carey and music from Jonathan Stark 


26 November 2020 ~ 10am ~ Online

Service of Thanksgiving at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church

Click HERE or


29 November 2020 ~ 10am ~ Online

Service of Morning Prayer for Advent 1 at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church

On our Church’s YouTube channel, click HERE 

The Collect for Christ the King Sunday

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Collect for Thanksgiving Day

Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them.  Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

The Collect for the First Sunday of Advent

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


22 November 2020 Service for the Feast of Christ the King 

from St. Paul’s Cathedral, London

Click HERE

22 November 2020 Service of Holy Eucharist 

in the Diocese of Pennsylvania with Bishop Gutierrez 

Click HERE    or

Click HERE on the Diocese’s YouTube Channel 


Carols from King’s College Cambridge


Handel Messiah

Full Concert performed in Sydney Town Hall, Australia


Morning Prayer on Christ the King Sunday at St. Mary's Episcopal Church ~ 22 November 2020

 Morning Prayer on Christ the King Sunday at St. Mary's Episcopal Church

Friday, November 20, 2020

20 November Letter from Bishop Gutierrez on Philadelphia In-Person Worship Changes

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ (Colossians 4:2-3)

My Siblings in Christ,

This morning, I received the latest information regarding the spread of the Coronavirus in Philadelphia. Thus, I am taking the step to follow the maximum occupancy limits requested by city government.  Effective today, all churches in Philadelphia, if they choose to hold in-person services, will be limited to the maximum occupancy of 5%.  We have reiterated over these last months that we will make necessary adjustments and changes to protect all those in our churches; this is one such instance. 

Please make whatever adjustments may be necessary to ensure that your worship services are in compliance with the occupancy limits. Please note, the occupancy limit is the only thing that has changed. All other aspects of the guidance I issued in my most recent letter still apply both in Philadelphia and in the rest of the diocese. I must reiterate that the safest option is to be patient, suspend services and take care of yourselves and one another.

If you have questions or need assistance please contact Canon Shawn Wamsley at or Canon Kirk Berlenbach at

We press onward with resilience, prayer and hope. May our Lord bless you and keep you.

Your Sibling In Christ,

Bishop Daniel

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Nothing will separate us

‘For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’ 

Romans 8:38-39

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Psalm 87


Psalm 87

Her foundations are upon the holy hills:
the Lord loveth the gates of Sion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Very excellent things are spoken of thee:
thou city of God.
I will think upon Rahab and Babylon:
with them that know me.
Behold ye the Philistines also:
and they of Tyre, with the Morians; lo, there was he born.
And of Sion it shall be reported that he was born to her:
and the most High shall stablish her.
The Lord shall rehearse it when he writeth up the people:
that he was born there.
The singers also and trumpeters shall he rehearse:
All my fresh springs shall be in thee.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

14 November 2020 ~ Online Worship Today

 Blessed Friends,

I hope that you are well, and that you are staying healthy and safe in this rather strange time.  Today, we will worship in a virtual mode, and several options are below for worship.  Please pray for one another, and know that you are in my daily prayers.  I also wanted to share an update from our Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Daniel Gutierrez, which he sent out to the Diocese last night.  You can find this update HERE on our church’s website.  Essentially, he is preparing us all for the likelihood of further restrictions on worship in weeks ahead.  We may know more this coming Tuesday. 

Attached to this email is the service bulletin for today.

I am sending out blessings to each of you, and praying for patience and strength.

In Christ,


Collect for the Day

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Many options for Online Worship this morning.  

Please stay safe, and pray for one another.

Join me today for Morning Prayer at 9am on our YouTube channel HERE

Diocese of Pennsylvania Morning Prayer Service available on the Diocesan YouTube HERE

Washington National Cathedral Holy Eucharist Service ~ 11am on YouTube HERE

Canterbury Cathedral (UK) Wonderful Services of Morning and Evening Prayer and Holy Eucharist on YouTube HERE

Saturday, November 14, 2020

14 November 2020 ~ COVID19 Update from Bishop Gutierrez

 14 November 2020 ~ COVID19 Update from Bishop Gutierrez

14 November 2020

So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

My siblings in Christ,

A few weeks ago, during one of our large rainstorms, I looked out of the window and noticed a small bird resting on a branch. This beautiful creature had her small head tucked into her feathers, beak pressed upon breast and wings, folded, hugging her body. She was waiting, sheltered, under some leaves all the while the rain poured down. She trusted, waited, trusted and waited. Eventually, the storm abated and the sun began to break through the clouds.  She shook the rain off, stretched her wings and began to sing. In a few moments, she took off in flight.
During this second wave of COVID, the storm is unleashing upon us once again. We may feel caught in the whirlwinds, but we do have a place to rest, bow our heads and patiently wait out the storm. Together, we will find a place for shelter through the Almighty who protects, covers and provides a place of refuge. Once again, it is time to trust and wait for the storm to run out of rain. The sun will once again break through these clouds.

I am writing to update you on the possibilities that may occur over the coming weeks. Yes, we are all tired of COVID, however, we knew that a second surge would hit during the fall and winter. This time is upon us and while disappointing, we are far better prepared to meet this obstacle.

Over the past seven months, we have learned what it takes to adapt, adjust, strengthen, and persevere. We have creatively applied technology and our liturgy and music are reaching people throughout the world. More importantly, we have leaned on one another and trusted in the Holy One. We have also realized that the Church did not collapse, we did not become spiritually distant nor did our diocese fade away. The Holy One provided and will continue to provide shelter, protection and a way through this storm.

I have said all along that if the numbers started to move in the wrong direction, our diocese would revert back to previous phases of our protocols. I am now strongly considering taking that step.

While at this moment nothing has been mandated by state or local government, as Christians we must hold ourselves to a higher standard. Jesus showed us the way when he laid down his life for us. As his followers we must be willing to sacrifice for the good of others. Therefore, after much prayer, reflection and input from our Diocesan Health Committee, if the numbers continue to rise, we will consider the following for the sake of everyone’s health:
  • Starting on Sunday, November 22nd, we may revert to Phase II.
  • Depending on the numbers this may be limited to Philadelphia and Delaware Counties or may be diocesan-wide.  
  • If it is limited to Philadelphia and Delaware, then those in Bucks, Chester and Montgomery Counties should exercise the utmost caution and, wherever possible, consider limiting both the number of people attending and the number of in-person gatherings.
  • If the numbers continuing to rise after that, churches should be prepared to move to Phase I for the first two weeks of Advent.
  • Whatever precautions are taken, we will constantly monitor the numbers and re-evaluate the situation and make a determination on the path forward during the week of December 14th

I will make a determination about moving to Phase II on Tuesday, November 17th and announce it to the clergy as part of our regular call. A full communication will go out to the whole diocese the following day.

As you know, the safest course of action is to not gather in person at all. As you plan for Advent and Christmas, we strongly recommend you prepare contingency plans in case of greater restrictions. To assist you in this, a recorded workshop and list of resources will be posted to our website on Monday as part of Serviam.

If you have questions about how to interpret or apply the protocols, please contact Canon Shawn Wamsley at or Canon Kirk Berlenbach at They are also prepared to help with creative ways of engaging our churches and communities with Advent and Christmas planning.

I would also like to remind each of our churches that the Board of Trustees approved a plan to set aside emergency funds for any church whose finances have been adversely affected by the pandemic. There is a brief questionnaire (here). Requests are addressed immediately and with a minimum of administrative delay. Applications and documents requested in the questionnaire should be submitted to Canon Doug Horner at

Together, we will find a place for shelter through the Almighty who protects, covers and provides a place of refuge. Once again, it is time to trust and wait for the storm to run out of rain. The sun will once again break through these clouds.
I leave you with this quote from Julian of Norwich: Jesus wants us to trust that he is always with us. He accompanies us in three ways: in heaven, where in his rising he raises us up with him; on earth, where he leads us day by day; and in our innermost being, where he constantly dwells to guide and preserve us. And this is our comfort—that we know in faith that Christ is constantly with us. Knowing this, we shall never succumb to the pain and woe, but always hope for another glimpse of his presence.

Peace be with you,
Bishop Daniel

(Photo by Tanja Brandt)

James 1: 16-27


Friday, November 13, 2020

2020 Diocesan Convention

Diocesan Convention

2020 Diocesan Convention 

Thank you to all who made this year's virtual diocesan convention a success.  Here are some highlights:

  • You can watch Friday night's Eucharist at the Cathedral with Bishop Gutiérrez here.  "Let us make a commitment that this blessed diocese will have one distinguishing mark: not political correctness, moral superiority, or reliance on past glories. Let our identity be love. Found in Christ. One God. One Love. One Diocese."

  • Presiding Bishop Michael Curry provided an impassioned speech for healing and the way of love at the beginning of Saturday' Convention. You can watch that here. 

  • Convention election results can be found here.

  • You can review the 2021 Budget that was presented here. 

The LiveBinder contains all the information that was presented as well.

Every perfect gift is from above


James 1:16-27 (NRSV)

Do not be deceived, my beloved. Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing. If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

Collect of the Day: Proper 27


Thursday, November 12, 2020

Online services only on November 15th and 22nd

For Quiet Confidence

O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and

rest we shall be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be

our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee,

to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou

art God; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Dear Beloved Parishioners,

I hope you are well; quite the rainy days we've been having.

After conversations with the Bishop, and due to the dramatic spike in cases in Philadelphia and the region, we will be going to fully online services at St. Mary's this week and next.   

We am hoping that if we take this respite from meeting in person, the situation may be better after the 22nd.  We shall see.  

We will have Morning Prayer at 9am on our YouTube Channel on Sunday and we will have Morning Prayer with music and homily at 10am, also on our YouTube channel.

This is not what I had hoped to be doing at this point, and I am sad about not meeting in person, but the cases and the positivity rate give me much pause.  Philadelphia schools are remaining online only, and Montgomery County and Delaware County are also looking like they will be taking a step back due to the present health issues.  Many other churches in our Diocese are also taking steps to respond to the current situation as well. 

Please pass the word, especially to those folks who have joined us in person, but who may not be online.

Blessings to each of you,


The Rev. Peter M. Carey, Rector
St. Mary's Episcopal Church - Cathedral Road

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

For those in the Armed Forces of our Country

For those in the Armed Forces of our Country

Almighty God, we commend to your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

#AdventWord Gathers Christians for Prayer via a Global Online Advent Calendar

#AdventWord Gathers Christians for Prayer via a Global Online Advent Calendar

Media Contact: Elizabeth Panox-Leach  
Tel: 703-461-1764  

ALEXANDRIA, VA AND ONLINE – For the seventh year in a row, #AdventWord will gather prayers via a global, online advent calendar. Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) in partnership with Forward Movement is offering 27 daily meditations and images during this holy season beginning Sunday, November 29. During a year of disparate worship and communities of prayer, AdventWord offers a way to reflect and pause for the Advent season and await the birth of Christ. 

Gathering a worldwide community, #AdventWord provides a daily meditation, visual image, and invites your personal reflections via social media to share your own Advent journey. Thousands have participated each year, responding to the words with photos, written responses, crafts, drawings, poems, found art, and Holy Spirit-filled posts. 

“It is amazing to witness the prayers from around the world appearing on social media when Advent begins,” says AdventWord program director, Sarah Stonesifer Boylan. “I am really pleased to see that VTS has been able to continue to provide this offering consistently for four years, each time building on its success, and I’m excited to join with Forward Movement this year to expand the offering.”  

In addition to the short daily meditations via email and social media, Forward Movement offers a print booklet of scripture-based longer reflections, action items, and questions. Waiting & Watching: Advent Word Reflections is available for purchase and is a perfect personal prompt following the #AdventWords and Sunday lectionaries. Each day includes a “doodle prayer” prompt by Praying in Color author, Sybil MacBeth. Forward Movement also offers a package of Advent prayer calendars created by MacBeth to accompany your #AdventWord. 

“Forward Movement is delighted to be a partner in this year’s #AdventWord,” said Richelle Thompson, managing editor of Forward Movement. “Immersing ourselves in the Word of God is a wonderful way to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. #AdventWord offers many different ways to participate, enabling us to make this journey together.”

The Advent Sunday lectionary readings and The Way of Love inspire the word list for #AdventWord. Discover the visual and written meditations and give yourself the opportunity to dive deeper into the stories of this waiting season. 

The prompts for 2020 #AdventWord are: 

November 29 Tender
November 30 Deliver
December 1 Strengthen 
December 2 Earth
December 3 Rebuild
December 4 Fellowship
December 5 Glory
December 6 Speak
December 7 Comfort
December 8 Patient
December 9 Mercy
December 10 Baptize
December 11 Word
December 12 Honey
December 13 Go
December 14 Rest
December 15 Worship
December 16 Pray
December 17 Learn
December 18 Bless
December 19 Turn
December 20 Rejoice
December 21 Mystery
December 22 Wisdom
December 23 Holy
December 24 Proclaim

The #AdventWord Images and meditations can be experienced through, direct daily emails, as well as on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter, and ASL videos via YouTube. Meditations will also be available in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole via email and on Find Watching & Waiting on

For more information:


Founded in 1823 as a beacon of hope in a country new and finding its way, Virginia Theological Seminary has led the way in forming leaders of the Episcopal Church, including: the Most Rev. John E. Hines (VTS 1933, D.D. 1946), former presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church; the Rt. Rev. John T. Walker (VTS 1954, D.D. 1978), the first African-American bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; and theologian, author and lay preacher Ms. Verna J. Dozier (VTS D.D. 1978). Serving the worldwide Anglican Communion, Virginia Theological Seminary educates approximately 25% of those being ordained who received residential theological education. Visit us online at