Dear St. Francis Family,
In our continued efforts to do our part in mitigating the spread of Coronavirus, all ancillary gatherings and meetings at St. Francis scheduled over the next several weeks are cancelled or postponed.
During this time of community convalescence and social distancing, I want you to know that the Parish Office at St. Francis will remain open, and the work of the parish will go on. Among other things, I will be working on a new teaching series that I hope to present to you online very soon.
Furthermore, please keep the following in mind:
• If you have a pastoral emergency, need to see or meet with me, or if you would like to sit with me and have a cup of coffee and conversation at the church, please give me a call.
• Assuming you are well, please feel welcome to stop in at the church for private prayer.
• The picnic tables and outside benches at St. Francis are available during the day, and the weather has been excellent. The churchyard at St. Francis is a great place to sit and read a book.
Remember, our emphasis for 2020 is "Community, Community, Community!", and that has not and will not change because of Coronavirus. In fact, if nothing else, this crisis is challenging us to be more creative, and find new ways to be a community of faith. As a parish, and hopefully as a society, we will emerge from this stronger, wiser, and more loving.
Upcoming EventsApril 5 at 10 am: Palm Sunday service on Facebook Live
April 9 at 7 pm: Maundy Thursday service on Facebook Live
April 10 at noon: Good Friday service on Facebook Live
April 11 at 7 pm: Easter Vigil service on Facebook Live
April 12 at 10 am: Easter Sunday service on Facebook Live
Ongoing EventsWednesdays at 10 am: Bible Study (via GoToMeeting)
St. Francis continues to function during the pandemic, offering livestream worship, conference call meetings, online Bible studies and (physically distant) pastoral care. Keeping our parish connected, and building community however we can, is a top priority. However, we also know that, during this crisis, many are facing unexpected financial challenges.
If you can continue your pledge or regular giving during this period, it is much appreciated. If financial constraints make giving or maintaining your pledge a hardship for you or your family, that is completely understandable.
For giving, personal checks and online bank transactions are still accepted. Also, for convenience, an online giving option is now on the front page of our website (stfrancisfields.org). Just look for the "Give" button toward the bottom of the page. Or you can go to tithe.ly
, click on "give online" and search for St. Francis-in-the-Fields.
Finally, if any individual or family finds themselves in a particular hardship, please contact Fr. Kevin. Assistance may be available through the Rector's Discretionary Fund.
Lectionary Bible Study
Lectionary Bible Study meets on Wednesdays mornings at 10 am to pray and discuss the readings for the following Sunday. Anyone is invited to attend.
Currently, Bible Study is meeting remotely, using GoToMeeting online (akin to Zoom). Information about connecting to GoToMeeting on Wednesday morning is sent to the parish a few days prior to the meeting. A GoToMeeting app is available for tablets and smartphones. Dial-in is also available for those who wish to join without video.
Lenten Book Study: The Sabbath
NOTE: The Lenten Book Study has been postponed.
"The main themes of faith lie in the realm of time." (Rabbi Heschel). Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Does life ever seem so busy, so over-filled with things and obligations, that you lose sight of the joy and purpose of it all? From the earliest pages of Genesis, God offers humanity a gift, a remedy for this common ailment, in the practice of Shabbat (the "Sabbath"). Over six weeks, as we journey toward the Paschal Feast (Easter), we will explore the gift of Sabbath using renowned Jewish Scholar Abraham Heschel's short but important work on the practice of Sabbath. Heschel's wisdom on this ancient practice of our Jewish sisters and brothers will speak to us, inspire us ... and challenge us to ask the question: "To whom (or what) are we beholden?"
Copies of the book are available for purchase at St. Francis for $8.00 (see Fr. Kevin). All are welcome to attend.
Discipleship: Lenten Studies at St. Francis - Caring Hands: Understanding Hospice care. Guest Speaker: Bobbi Castellan, Hospice Care Specialist
- The Last Celebration: Episcopal Burials and the Book of Common Prayer. Includes a Funeral Music Sing-Along with Joe Perry!
- Final Things Workshop: Plan your funeral over dinner with friends! Forms will be provided to choose readings, hymns, and other important details. Copies will be made and kept on file in the St. Francis Office.
NOTE: The Sunday night Lenten program has been postponed for the next several weeks.
Get Your House in Order - Every person eventually takes the same mysterious journey. In this fun, interactive program, we will look at the practical matters of preparing for death. What legal documents should have you have in place? What do others need to know about our wishes? What burial options are available? Also, how is the Episcopal Burial Service constructed? What are the options? What readings should I choose? What hymns? Answering these questions in advance can be a tremendous blessing to your family in a time of great emotional and mental stress. The last meeting will be a workshop to plan our own funeral service! A light supper of soup & salad will be provided. A sign-up sheet is in the Narthex.
Spring Fellowship Dinner - Saturday, April 25 (tentative)
Fellowship Dinner is a great way to get to know new and existing members of St. Francis, while having dinner in a small friendly setting at someone's home.
This year the Spring Fellowship dinners will be held on Saturday, April 25. You can sign up as a guest or a host for a dinner. The host will set the time, coordinate the dinner in their home and provide the main dish. The other guests will bring a salad, side dish, dessert, or wine. The host can invite a guest or two to join them - a new member or anyone they would like to know better - however many the host would like.
A sign-up sheet will be in the Narthex. If you need further information on the Fellowship Dinner, contact Sharon Fernandes.
Book Group has been cancelled for the month of April.
For more information on Book Group, please click here
or contact Elizabeth Pitt.
Circle of Friends
The first Wednesday of each month we gather in the Narthex to write notes of encouragement, get well cards, thank you notes, "missing you" notes, and even birthday cards. Cards, pens, stamps, etc., are provided.
This is a time of pastoral sharing and action - an easy way to get involved in the ministry of Pastoral Care. The evening concludes with the service of Compline from the Book of Common Prayer.
The next Circle of Friends is (hopefully!) Wednesday, May 6 at 6 pm.
Prayer Shawl Ministry
Prayer shawls are available in the library for pastoral use. Each one has a cross sewn on the bottom and a card with information about St. Francis on one side and a prayer on the other side: "May you who receives this shawl be cradled in hope, kept in joy, graced with peace and wrapped in love. Blessed Be!"
If you want to give a shawl to someone in need, please let Barbara Pearse or the church office know to help them keep track of the number of shawls available. We can always use more shawls. If you have one to donate, please contact Barbara for the cross and card to attach to the shawl.
The clear benefit of wearing your name tag on Sunday morning is that it helps us all learn to know each other better. In spite of knowing this, many of us simply forget. So, as the new year begins, the I-W-C Committee is going to help you develop the habit of wearing your name tag. Here's how it will work:
1. Pick up your name tag as you enter the building Sunday morning.
2. Wear it to the worship service and coffee hour.
3. When you're getting ready to leave coffee hour, take off your name tag and put it in the basket, which will be available at coffee hour on the table near the coffee pots. Name tags from 8 am and 10 am worshippers will go into the same basket - everyone has a chance to win!
4. Repeat steps 1-3 weekly. Diane will retrieve the basket and replace the name tags on the board in the narthex before the following Sunday.
Building new habits is hard. To encourage you to work on this one, we're creating a Name Tag Game. Every week when you wear your name tag and place it in the basket at the end of coffee hour, you are automatically entering yourself in a contest to win one of the new St. Francis mugs. Diane will randomly draw a winner each week as she replaces the name tags on the board in the Narthex. You have to play (i.e., Steps 1-4, above) to win a mug. And if you play, our St. Francis community wins, too.
If you do not have a name tag or you cannot find yours, please contact the church office.
Donation to West Chester Food Cupboard
In addition to donations from our vegetable garden, St. Francis collects on-going donations of non-perishable food items for the West Chester Food Cupboard. The collection box is in the corner of the Narthex (foyer) under the coat rack. As the donation box fills up, Michelle Samet and other volunteers take donations to the Food Cupboard. Donations are welcome any time.
How can you CONNECT with St. Francis?
by Cindy Claffey, IWC Committee
The Invite-Welcome-Connect Committee encourages you to consider how you can connect with St. Francis by joining a ministry or group. Opportunities abound for members, new and old, to get involved with the social, spiritual and service activities of our parish.
The IWC Committee has published a directory of ministries, which includes short descriptions of many groups within the parish, along with time commitments, contact information, and any training or background expectations. Look for this publication on the Welcome Table and the information table at the top of the steps in the Narthex. Or click here for Easy Opportunities To Get Involved
Flowers on the Altar at St. Francis
Please help support the flower fund by remembering and celebrating people in your lives. It may be someone who is deceased, or someone celebrating a special event. After the 10 am Sunday service, we break down the altar flowers into bouquets that are delivered to those who are sick or need the smiles that flowers bring.
The flower donation is $50 for a week. Click here
for the form to complete (or pick up a form at the back of the church) so we can acknowledge and celebrate your gift and people. For more information, please contact Sheila Rees.
Are you receiving the weekly Parish News that gets emailed to all parishioners each Friday? Do you receive the Fieldnotes newsletter each month? Are you receiving all the Special Anouncement emails? All these emails come via Constant Contact from St. Francis. If you are not receiving these emails, please contact Diane in the Parish Office at 610-647-0130. If you use Gmail, you may find the Constant Contact emails in your Promotions folder.
Have you had your picture taken for the online pictorial directory? Having your picture in the directory is a great help for old and new members alike. It connects names and faces, increases involvement, and helps avoid some awkward and embarrassing moments!
If you have not had your picture taken for the online directory, please see David Brooks or Fr. Kevin. If you do not have access to the directory, please contact the parish office.