2018 Diocesan Lenten Day of Prayer

As we observe Lent, we would invite individuals and congregations throughout the Diocese to join us in a 12-hour Day of Prayer on Friday, March 9, from 9:00 AM-9:00 PM.  Four congregations will be serving as host sites:

  • Church of the Ascension, Bradford (26 Chautauqua Place, 16701)
  • Holy Trinity, Brookville (62 Pickering Street, 15825)
  • St. Mark’s, Erie (4701 Old French Road, 16509)
  • St. John’s, Sharon (226 West State Street, 16146)

All host sites will have their sanctuary open throughout the day for prayer, and will join the Diocese in times of common prayer. In addition, each site may offer additional scheduled or on-going prayer including Stations of the Cross, healing prayer, a labyrinth, community prayerwalks, The Great Litany, or centering prayer.  The schedule (which could be updated with additional events) is as follows:

9:00 AM       All Host Sites and Trinity Memorial, Warren*: Morning Prayer (Psalm 88, Genesis 47:1-26, 1 Cor. 9:16-27)

11:00 AM     St. John’s: The Great Litany

12:00 noon   All Host Sites and Trinity Memorial, Warren: Noonday Prayer

12:05 PM     St. John’s: Stations of the Cross

2:00 PM       St. John’s: Centering Prayer

5:00 PM       St. Mark’s and Trinity Memorial, Warren: Stations of the Cross

5:15 PM       All Host Sites: Evening Prayer (Psalms 91-92, Mark 6:47-56)

5:15 PM       Holy Trinity: Taize Evening Prayer

7:00 PM       St. John’s: Eucharist

8:15 PM       Holy Trinity: Contemplative Compline

8:30 PM       St John’s, St. Mark’s, Ascension, & Trinity Memorial, Warren: Compline

During this day of prayer, we especially ask prayers for discernment in the Northwestern Pennsylvania-Western New York collaboration, for the mission and ministry of our diocese, for increased evangelism throughout our region, and for the needs of our local congregations.

Individuals and congregations are encouraged to participate by joining a neighboring host site for as much of the day as you are able or by joining in the common times of prayer from your own congregations or homes.

For more information, please contact Canon Vanessa Butler (814.456.4203) or the Rev. Adam Trambley (724.347.4501).

*Additional Addresses:

Trinity Memorial, Warren (444 Pennsylvania Ave. West, 16365)

Prayers for Church Growth and Development

A number of years ago, St. John’s in Sharon offered the following four prayers for the development of our church’s mission and ministry. The prayers are based on suggestions by Dick Eastman in his book The Hour That Changes the World.

Eastman suggests that as part of our world-changing intercession, we should ask God “to give more laborers into the harvest, to open doors for these workers, to bless them with fruit as a result of their efforts, and with the finances to expand their work” (page 79). These four prayer foci are also important prayers for the growth and development of our diocese and for our congregations. At St. John’s, we took each area and wrote a short scriptural prayer that we could use to pray for that intention.

Prayer for Laborers in the Harvest
Thank you, Lord, that the harvest is plentiful. We pray that you would send out laborers into your harvest. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
(From Luke 10:2)

Prayer for Open Doors
Thank you, Lord, that you promised what we ask for we will receive, what we seek we will find, and when we knock the door will be opened. We pray that you would open doors for our ministries and provide us opportunities for success in your work. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
(From Matthew 7:7-8)

Prayer for Fruit
Thank you, Lord, that we did not choose you, but you choose us, and you appointed us to go and bear fruit. We pray that we may abide in you and bear much fruit, and thereby glorify our heavenly Father. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
(From John 15:5,8,16)

Prayer for Financial Resources
Thank you, Lord, that every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights. We pray that you would gift us with everything we need in order to do the work you have given us to do. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
(From James 1:17)

The Rev. Adam Trambley is rector at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Sharon. 

This is the sixth installment in our Prayer series that will run up to the Diocesan Prayer Vigil in March. Click here to view other stories in the series, and here for more information on the Vigil.

Prayer Changed Me

Almost twelve years ago, I took a vow to follow a Rule of Life which required a daily discipline of prayer. With 5 other women, I promised to pray faithfully so that I might draw nearer to God and learn His will for me. And so, I began the Practice of Prayer. Brother Lawrence wrote in The Practice of the Presence of God, “It is a great delusion to think our times of prayer ought to differ from other times” and “There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful, than that of a continual conversation with God; those only can comprehend it that practice and experience it.” Like all good habits, the practice of prayer requires a commitment.

I don’t want to give the impression that prior to 2005 I didn’t pray. As a practicing Episcopalian I found the prayers in the BCP beautiful and helpful. They expressed my thoughts and desires much more eloquently than I could ever do on my own. I had my moments of praise and thanksgiving, (like grace before meals) and I would send up the silent “help me or help them.” I had a church life but what was going on between me and God? Were we actually communicating or was He communicating and I wasn’t listening? When I made that commitment to a Rule of Prayer I quickly learned that I needed to set aside a time and a quiet place to study scripture and converse with God.

He said: “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake, and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence— and then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:11-13

beach-1868772_1920Like Elijah, we strain to hear God over the cacophony of our world. Blaring TVs, traffic noises, the ping of our phones and the intrusion of our thoughts all work to obscure the voice of God. When we take the time to spend it with God, we begin to grow into a more intimate relationship with Him. The world is held at bay and we sometimes hear that still small voice.

As liturgical people, we have those beautiful prayers but when we want to converse with Him it should be in our own words. Where do we begin? We can use The Lord’s Prayer given to us by Jesus as a model. It contains all we need for a prayer: acknowledgement and praise of God, turning our wills over to Him, petition for necessities, request for forgiveness and the ability to forgive others. There are as many prayer formats as there are personalities but with practice our prayers will become uniquely our own.

As I become more experienced and comfortable with my time in prayer, I realize that prayer is not limited to a certain time, place or format. It is important for me to set aside that special time for meeting with God but I also know He is with me at all times. I do not need an appointment to talk with Him and I know I can call out to Him at any time. Prayer is about getting to know God better, to trust Him more and obey Him completely. Prayer is not about what we want and how to get God to give it to us. He already knows our needs. It is about relying on Him 24/7. It is an ongoing conversation with God by which we discover His will for us.

Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Kathy Paulo, a member of St. John’s, Franklin, is President of Grace Chapter of the Order of the Daughters of the King at St John’s, and 2nd VP for membership of the Daughters of the King, Province 3. 

This is the third installment in our Prayer series that will run up to the Diocesan Prayer Vigil in March. Click here to view other stories in the series, and here for more information on the Vigil.

St. John’s Franklin Hosts Mission Team from Middleham and St. Peters Episcopal Parish Lusby, Maryland

Middleham and St Peters Parish sent a mission team of 11 adults and 5 youths to live at St. John’s Franklin from July 12th to 11709618_481594032015694_2988476908830460694_nJuly 19th. St. Johns facilitated a partnership between the ecumenical group Mustard Seed Ministries of Venango County to rehab a house in Polk, Pa which was given to the local Ministerium by Polk Center. The intent is to use this house for transitional housing to help the disadvantage have a home till they can improve their economic position.

Father David Showers is rector at Middleham and St. Peters Parish 50 miles south of Washington D.C. and states that his congregation has been involved in mission work for more than 20 years. Father David said “They started doing missions with the Lakota Sioux Native American reservations in South Dakota, then going to help after Hurricane Katrina and several recent trips to West Virginia.” When the West Virginia trip did not materialize this year Pastor Erin Betz Shank, a daughter of St. John’s and assistant rector at Middleham, suggested that they come and stay at St. John’s and work with Mustard Seed Ministries.

The Mission team gutted the house in Polk doing intensive plumbing, rewiring, painting, installing new kitchen cabinets, 11731701_481466638695100_767802984925171630_obathroom fixtures and laid a new floor. Jim Yoe the mission team leader states that the team consists of two Priests Father David Showers and Father Skip Steiner, a doctor, an aeronautical engineer, a general contractor, a nuclear engineer, nurses and teacher. He continues that the real joy is passing the tradition to the youth. Kayla Jedry, 17, is the head of Middleham Youth Ministry and on her third mission trip. Kayla is a natural, Yoe states “ She leads the worship services and makes sure everyone’s working and gainfully employed” Kayla replies saying “I’ve learned how to use the nail gun and power saw, it’s a learning experience because we all learn different things we can take back and use at home.”

Several other youth mission team members had great experiences. Emily Carpenter, 13, says, “ We get along really well, I go to church with these people every Sunday but don’t really talk to them. And on this trip I got to know them. And I realize they are 11742754_481467085361722_1017505242233842835_namazing people who really want to help the community and give to people in need of protection and shelter.“ Abbi and Evan Leaf are on their first mission trip. “It’s been really fun,” Abbi said. “And I like being able to drill stuff to the wall, that was fun, my only other experience was helping my mom. You just see what other people do, pick up a tool and do it. This is really awesome helping people.”

Father David and Karl Garland run a five star kitchen in St. John’s kitchen, sending wonderful cooking aromas throughout the church with people sleeping in every corner of the Parish Hall. There was good food, good work and good fellowship. Emily Carpenter sums up the whole experience, saying, “That God is all around us an I am really grateful for the opportunity.”

St. Johns has hosted mission groups for the previous five years from Ohio, Connecticut, Oklahoma and our own diocese and have done numerous projects to help the low-income folks in our county.

David Betz, Member of St. John’s, Franklin and a postulant in the ordination process

Diocese has a New Youtube Channel

The Diocese of Northwestern Pennsylvania has a new Youtube channel where you can watch videos from across the diocese.  Current videos include all the videos from the “It’s A Great day In The Kingdom Challenge,” a video from Tim Dyer’s ordination, St. John’s Sharon’s Feeding Program, and Bishop Sean’s Convention 2014 address.  You can access the Youtube channel by clicking here. Be sure to subscribe once you are on the site so you get notified every time a new videScreen Shot 2015-04-16 at 4.52.59 PMo gets released.  You can also access the site from our web page (www.dionwpa.org) by clicking the youtube icon in the upper right corner.  Below is a sample of one of the “It’s A Great day In The Kingdom Challenge” videos.  Enjoy!