A Word from the Pastors

It looks like one of Aesop’s Fables, “The Tortoise and the Hare” (or, in Trump’s case, the “hair”) was dramatized in the recent Pennsylvania election. Everybody knew that Democrats, especially in the urban areas, were doing mail ballots because of COVID-19 health concerns, rumors and threats of violence, moved or missing poll places, etc. President Trump pushed for his voters to show up in person. Then he tried to dismantle the postal system, condemned mail ballots as fraud, and criticized the character of Philadelphia, all in advance of Election Day. The Pennsylvania legislators helped by preventing any mail ballots from being handled in any way before Election Day. Unlike some states, those votes would not be counted, or even prepared, in advance at all.

Once the election tally race officially started on November 3, the “hair” ran out to a big lead during the day, then declared in the evening that the race was totally over. But it wasn’t. It was kind of like the hare in Aesop’s Fables – confident of winning – taking a nap midway through the race. Or a sports team, far ahead sometime in the third quarter or the seventh inning or leading the relay before the final handoff – pausing to brag of its victory. The tortoise, moving forward slowly but steadily as mail ballots started to be counted, began to catch up – bit by bit – and even threatened to pass the “hair” down the road. The “hair” was very agitated by this. As the official votes, received by November 3, continued to be processed and counted in the days that followed Election Day, the “hair” sent his children and lawyer friend Rudy to yell about “fairness” and “fraud” and an earlier “victory”… to say that the tortoise was cheating… and I thought that I even heard Trump himself use the word “integrity” in a sentence. While the “hair” hopped about in a rage, the tortoise kept moving forward, getting farther and farther ahead.

And, by Saturday morning, the race was deemed to be not too much of a contest anymore. The tortoise was declared the winner in Pennsylvania, having caught up from a deficit of about 700,000 votes and steadily forged ahead. As of late morning on Veterans Day, November 11, President-elect Biden now leads current President Trump by 45,484 votes in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. And legal votes submitted by November 3 are still being tallied. The tortoise continues to widen the gap. But the “hair” shouts that he has really won because, after all, he was far ahead earlier in the race.

Those of us from Philadelphia or from Pennsylvania who voted, who encouraged others to vote, can feel proud that we voted. And we can be grateful that, for the most part, every vote has counted… give or take a delayed or misplaced or officially excluded ballot or two. Maybe we’ll feel good that Pennsylvania seemed to have played such a decisive role in the drama of this past Election Day. Maybe, if we were looking for positive change in our nation, we’ll imagine that our particular vote, when tallied, tipped the scales or padded the victory in our state and in these United States. We ought to pray for healing and a healthier nation, for God’s peace and justice and mercy and love to prevail all over our land and in our hearts.  

With over 151 million votes across the nation tallied as of Tuesday afternoon, November 10, the 2020 presidential election was not overly close. President-elect Biden leads the popular vote by almost 5 million votes. With significant numbers of votes yet to be counted in some heavily Democratic areas, Biden’s lead seems likely to grow. Regarding electoral votes, Biden currently has 290 electoral votes and is expected to win Georgia’s 16 votes (he leads the popular vote in that state by more than 14,000). Current President, Mr. Trump, has a lead in North Carolina and is expected to win its 15 votes. And he has triumphed in Alaska, getting its 3 electoral votes and winning that popular vote by 6,544 at last count. No one has yet taken legal action to challenge this Alaska result, to bark about “fraud” and “fairness” and “unofficial”. Republicans are actually excited about this, even though only three-fourths of the total vote have been tallied, no votes have been officially “certified”, and the report comes from the hated unfair news media. The “hair” probably feels good about closing the gap a few tiny steps.

The “hair” ought to be proud of helping to bring out so many voters for this heated election race of 2020, more than any other presidential election in the past 100 years! This election seems to have been affected especially by personality and character rather than party and policy.

Well done, good and faithful servant… enter into the joy of your master.

Justine Patterson, already a baptized Christian, affirmed her faith and formally became a member of St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on October 27, 1985. And what a member she was! During these past 35 years, she offered her time and talents in many ways: elected Church Council servant-leader for several terms, Sunday School teacher for many years, Vacation Bible School teacher, Prayer Group participant, Adult Choir singer, Women’s Day Choir singer, Praise Dancer, Worship and Music Committee member and sometime chairperson, Altar Guild volunteer, Sunday morning “Joys and Concerns” facilitator in worship, and frequent Youth Group supporter. Justine was an active participant in most activities of the congregation, whether it was worship, fellowship, or service to others. It did not matter to her whether she was helping to lead or helping to serve. Her community of faith will continue to thank God for the gift of her life and to celebrate her faith and faithfulness. Our sister in faith Justine completed her earthly life’s journey on November 6. A funeral in West Philadelphia (with COVID-19 restrictions) will be held on November 16.

James Edward Hines, already a baptized Christian, affirmed his faith and formally became a member of St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on April 25, 1976. And what a member he was for more than 54 years! Jim served on our elected Church Council, sometimes as president. He was an active member of the Men of St. Peter’s, many years as president. He was very involved on the Property Committee, in meetings, organized tasks, and personal projects. He was a volunteer with our “Food Share” ministry. He was active in our community, both as a political committeeman and as a concerned neighbor. He led prayers in worship and ushered. He had a passion for mercy and for justice in our nation and world. His financial support of the ministry that happened at and through St. Peter’s was exceptional. The word “steady” describes Jim’s faith and faithfulness. As one example, almost every single Sunday for many, many years Jim prepared and set up coffee and baked goods for Sunday morning fellowship… in any given year, he might have missed a total of one Sunday because he was out of town. It was difficult to watch Jim journey through the last seven years battling the decline and burdens that illness brings, and God’s mercy was fulfilled on November 8. A funeral at a funeral home (with COVID-19 restrictions) will be held on November 17.

Guest Preacher

Pastor David Maddox II, “son” and friend of our St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church family, was with us twice in August, once in October. He will also be our 10:00AM Zoom preacher on the Sundays of November 22 and December 27. Tune in.

Sunday School

On most Sundays, immediately following Zoom worship and beginning a bit after 11:00AM, there will be Zoom Sunday School for children and teens. Tune in. Invite.

 

A waterfall in the Church Kitchen?

    Sometime on Saturday, November 3 we discovered a fair amount of water dripping from all of the fluorescent light fixtures in the kitchen, ponding up on the floor but also draining some through two kitchen floor drains. It wasn’t Election-result tears flowing but leaking water dripping from a completely busted rusted radiator pipe up near the altar in the Sanctuary that was the cause. Damage upstairs in the worship area was minimal. The “crawl space” between floors is full of moisture and will need to be professionally dried; then light fixtures will need to be replaced and other areas repaired. All of this is being attended to, and our insurance will help cover the water remediation and repair (not the radiator itself).

 

A modified COVID Holiday Season

We seem to moving forward with vaccines, and changes in national political leadership may lead to a more serious attitude and better organized response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both of these might cause us to have much more hope. But the truth is that we are suffering more right now, with alarming rates of infection, than we did months ago… and we are just entering into an especially dangerous period of colder weather, treasured holidays, and coronavirus social fatigue. Please consider NOT traveling and gathering for the holidays! Even if it will be sad and lonely. Please carefully weigh “how often” and “how big” you come into physical proximity and interaction with others during the next several months! Even if you think you are being pretty careful. Please wear a mask, keep your distance, wash your hands. Even if you are weary of all this.

    Governor Murphy of New Jersey recently suggested that the next 3-6 months might be especially challenging. Let’s continue to be wise, careful, and loving as we deal with the reality of a pandemic that has come into our world, into our daily living. Protect yourself. Protect others.

Pastor Neil & Pastor Gwen

Upcoming Events

Jun
19
Wed
2024
10:30 am Whole Foods Distribution
Whole Foods Distribution
Jun 19 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Whole Foods Distribution Use entrance on Briar Rd. to access the lower classroom area. Need more information? Check out this event’s ministry page.
Jun
23
Sun
2024
10:00 am Sunday Worship Service
Sunday Worship Service
Jun 23 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be gathering together for worship service on Zoom using the following information: MEETING ID: 5977365682 MEETING PASSWORD: 204934 You can also join us for...
Jun
30
Sun
2024
10:00 am Sunday Worship Service
Sunday Worship Service
Jun 30 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be gathering together for worship service on Zoom using the following information: MEETING ID: 5977365682 MEETING PASSWORD: 204934 You can also join us for...
Jul
3
Wed
2024
10:30 am Whole Foods Distribution
Whole Foods Distribution
Jul 3 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Whole Foods Distribution Use entrance on Briar Rd. to access the lower classroom area. Need more information? Check out this event’s ministry page.
Jul
5
Fri
2024
8:30 am Senior Food Box Distribution @ St. Peter's Rhoda Hall
Senior Food Box Distribution @ St. Peter's Rhoda Hall
Jul 5 @ 8:30 am – 10:00 am
Check out the Senior Food Program’s page for more information.