2021 BMPC Advent Messenger

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Advent | 2021

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LETTER FROM THE PASTOR “Who do you say that I am?” Jesus asked his followers one day. They had given him several answers, a bit earlier, when he asked how other people identified him. Peter gave the right answer. We can almost hear it exploding from the tongue of the fisherman: “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” Over the centuries Jesus’ followers have spoken of him by many names. Each one is a kaleidoscope of richness and meaning. Each provides its own specifics of interpretation, origin and its own special understanding to each believer who reads or speaks it. Advent, with glorious texts from the prophets and amazing testimonies of the Gospels, describes Jesus by many names. Here are just a few that may tease our imaginations about how great and good Emmanuel, God with us, really is. Rose, as in the beautiful Christmas hymn, “Lo, how a rose e’er blooming, from tender stem has sprung,” is an affirmation of God coming to us in the person of Jesus Christ, a thing of beauty among the thorns of life, like death and destruction. Messiah means so many things such as “anointed,” “deliverer,” “promised,” “expected savior.” The prophets sought to prepare us for his coming just as Handel’s Messiah builds to a great crescendo to exclaim the greatness of Jesus as Lord of lords and King of kings. Holy One reminds us that Isaiah’s characteristic name for God is Holy One of Israel, which means the children of God also are called to live lives set apart for the purposes of God. In the New Testament the demons that possess people recognize Jesus as the Holy One before they are healed. Lily of the Valley is a name for Jesus that arose from the natural world around Palestine where wild flowers are abundant. The Way was one name Jesus called himself when he said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” In the Acts of the Apostles we hear how the earliest Christians described themselves as people of the Way. So many names: Christ, Redeemer, Savior, Word, Light, Lord, Root of David, Morning Star, Dayspring, Wisdom, Door, Alpha and Omega, Lamb of God, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. As we celebrate Advent and Christmas, amid the ongoing uncertainty of this long pandemic season as well as the usual hustle and bustle of the season, we remember that so much joy comes through the trust of a young father named Joseph, and through the womb of a young mother named Mary, a Holy Child was born, so great that not one name can contain the goodness. Grace and Peace,

INTERESTED IN BECOMING A MEMBER? Want to know more about BMPC? We invite you to get to know our community better by becoming a part of our Discover BMPC classes on Mondays, November 29 and December 6, with our New Member Sunday scheduled for December 12. These classes will give you the opportunity to learn about our denomination, our Reformed tradition, and our sense of Christian Ministry. For more information or to register, contact FrankPottorff@bmpc.org.

Christmas Flower Donations

Contributions may be given in three categories for listing in the Christmas Eve bulletin: “In memory of,” “In honor of,” or “In celebration of (marriage, retirement, birth, baptism).” Forms are available online at www.bmpc.org/flowerdonations.

The deadline is Sunday, December 5. Monies received are used year-round for our floral decorations and Deacons’ flower ministry.

A WEEKDAY SCHOOL CHRISTMAS TRADITION Learning the joy of giving is as an important lesson at Christmas time. While children are full of anticipation about what Santa will bring them, the Weekday School students have an opportunity to experience the joy of giving each Christmas at an annual outreach event sponsored by the Weekday School Home and School Association.

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Before visiting a petting zoo on the lawn, the children deliver new books they have brought in to place into brightly wrapped boxes, knowing that they will be helping make someone else happy with this gift. The smiles on their faces makes it clear that their “joy of giving” lesson has been well-learned. Past recipients of the donations have included Arch Street Preschool, Reach Out and Read, and the Timothy School.


New Name for a

New Classroom P


rior to the pandemic windows, carpeting and reflection that places male scholars. and the renovation lighting. One of the most the religious and moral Cannon died in August of the Ministries Center, dramatic changes is that perspectives of Black you might have attended the Gloucester Room has women at the center of its 2018, and the tributes to her legacy were a class in the Fullerton been divided into two method. numerous. Oluwatomisin Room, named after Anna rooms to better suit the Cannon served on the Oredein, theologian at and Mary Fullerton, needs for smaller meetings faculties of Temple Brite Divinity School, missionary sisters who and classes. University, Episcopal wrote, “She, along with served respectively as This shift has given us Divinity School and the other progenitors doctor and teacher in the opportunity to name Harvard Divinity School. of Christian womanist India at the turn of a new room for this new She moved to Union religious scholarship, the 20th century; in moment in the life of our Presbyterian Seminary reminded us of the the Gloucester Room, in Richmond, Virginia, fragility of oppression – named after the Rev. John church. The Session has unanimously decided in 2011 and established how it needs silence to Gloucester, pastor of the Center For Womanist continue announcing First African Presbyterian to name the newlyconfigured room after the Leadership there. itself. She encouraged Church in Philadelphia Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Black women to open and the first AfricanCannon significantly Cannon. She was the their mouths, to say American something sharper, man ordained identify the in the “The reason we need a variety of theological educators to bitter, to usher in Presbyterian and a variety of thinkers from various backgrounds is the possibility of Church in sweetness.” 1807; or because it represents God’ s creation.” maybe the We will spend time Witherspoon in 2022 dedicating – Katie Geneva Room, this new room to named after the legacy of Katie first African-American John Witherspoon, a influenced generations Geneva Cannon. Look woman to be ordained in Presbyterian pastor in of womanist theologians for information soon the Presbyterian Church New Jersey and the and pastors who came to on how we all can learn in 1974 and receive a PhD only clergyperson to value the ways that she more about her work and from Union Theological sign the Declaration of helped connect the lived its impact on the whole Seminary in New York. Independence in 1776. Cannon was a theologian experience and knowledge church. of Black women to a field Those rooms have been and ethicist and one of greatly improved with the founders of Womanist that for centuries has been dominated by white and the addition of new Theology, a form of

A New Home for the Converse Library


transformative element of renovations to the Ministries Center is moving the Converse Library from the Converse House itself into an enlarged and upgraded Fullerton Room on the ground floor of what used to be called the Activities Building. As a church we are especially grateful for our Librarian Kat MacMurray and her years of commitment to managing the Converse Library along with a group of volunteers. During the heart of the pandemic and in the midst of preparing to begin renovations on the Ministries Center, Kat spent countless hours packing up over 4,000 items to be kept in storage until they will be relocated to the Fullerton Room this winter. The Converse Library also will have a new virtual home online where you may browse through all the books and other resources on our shelves from your own home. Starting in January 2022, we will need volunteers to help prepare the library for church and community members to once again use the collection to explore issues of faith, elements of scripture, and topics such as prayer, ethics and mental health. Classics by Walter Bruggeman, Henri Nouwen, Barbara Brown Taylor and Reinhold Niebuhr have been patiently waiting in their boxes to be rediscovered again. The Converse Library, as in the past, will be the place to find reading recommendations from such groups as our Anti-Racism Taskforce, Environmental Justice Committee and adult education classes. ADVENT 2021 • 5

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Alicia Franklin at AliciaFranklin@bmpc.org to find out more about how you can help. Because of the nature of this work and pandemic concerns, you can arrange to volunteer with others or alone.

Stories of God PAGE 6


Love a good story? If so, you are invited to join Paul Burgmayer in a seven-week exploration of John Shea’s imaginative, challenging and thought-provoking book, Stories of God. A brilliant biblical storyteller and narrative theologian, Shea argues that we are the story God tells. Our lives are the words that come from God’s mouth. And the stories we tell one another in response are not incidental, but essential to our lives together.

we might be changed by listening to these stories. A BMPC member, Paul has a master’s degree in holistic spirituality and a certificate in spiritual direction from Chestnut Hill College, and certificates in supervision of spiritual direction from Together in the Mystery and the Mercy Center in California. A retired high school chemistry teacher, Paul has an active spiritual direction and supervision practice in his home as well as two local spirituality centers, and around the world via Zoom.

Seven classes will be offered via Zoom on Sundays, January 16 to February 27 at 1:00 p.m. After the first class, we’ll spend two weeks exploring Shea’s idea that when Christians gather, we tell stories that try to make sense of the world that God created. In the following three weeks, we’ll discuss and consider how Shea’s identification and exploration of three types of biblical stories – hope and justice, trust and freedom, and invitation and decision – help us grow in our understanding of God and our Email Paul at burgmayer@verizon.net if you are relationship with God. In our final week, we’ll interested in joining this lively conversation. “gather the graces” of the book and discuss how

Advent Gift Market Begins November 14 Each year, the Advent Gift Market (AGM) supports numerous charitable organizations that directly assist persons in need, thanks to the generosity of our many BMPC members and friends. Online AGM orders may be placed beginning on Sunday, November 14 via the website: www.brynmawragm.com, mailed in, or dropped off at the church office. Contact Marian Chitester if you have any questions: mmcthistle@verizon.net.

A Return to In-Person Mission Activities

As a church we engage in mission for a variety of reasons. Of course it is to help others, but it is also to be in community with one another, to witness to the community the values that shape us as Christians, and to challenge ourselves to give not just of our financial resources, but of our time and talents as well.

Casserole blitzes also have returned to a monthly schedule this fall, as volunteers and members of the congregation come together to make approximately 130 casseroles each month. The casseroles are distributed to organizations like West Kensington Ministries, University City Hospital Coalition and Bethesda Project.

As we have returned to in-person worship, we also have returned to gathering in person for Even with masks and increased social mission activities. distancing in the kitchen and Congregational Hall, there is a comforting sense of a return to On Sunday, October 3, we welcomed staff normal church work as 30 BMPC members from Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia to come together for a couple of hours on a lead more than 75 children, youth and adults Saturday morning to make casseroles. in building 20 step stools and two Adirondack chairs that will be given as gifts to families If you wish to participate in one or more of living in new Habitat homes or participants our upcoming blitzes this year, please reach in Habitat’s home repair programs in out to Alicia Franklin at AliciaFranklin@bmpc. Philadelphia. Throughout the pandemic org to sign up to receive regular reminders and Habitat has invited individuals and families more information about the good work of our to build these stools at home while volunteers Hunger Committee. were unable to help at housing sites. We are pleased to say that we never stopped A special highlight of the afternoon was having being the church during the pandemic, but this year’s Confirmation students and their there were important ways that we live out our mentors work together as building teams. Our mission and calling as a community of faith fourth and fifth graders pitched in as builders that had to be set aside over the past year and a and helped clean up after the event. We look half. We give thanks that we are back together forward to finding other creative ways to be of again in mission. service outdoors in the coming year.

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By Betty Wu For 25 years, Gemma Services and its legacy organization, theVillage, have held a special place in my heart. I have a vivid memory of my then three-year-old daughter (now in her 20s) buying gifts for children through Christmas Angels. Her joy helped lead me to co-chair Christmas Angels for the past 20 years, serve on Gemma’s Faith in Action Council for four years, and ultimately join Gemma’s staff in 2008. This has given me a firsthand look at Gemma’s work to promote hope and healing for children in our region. In 2019, theVillage merged with Silver Springs – Martin Luther School to form Gemma Services. Both organizations were founded as orphanages within faith-based communities in the 1800s and evolved to meet the growing needs of children and families. The merger enabled them to expand the ways they each could serve children and families. Today, Gemma provides community-based programs (foster care, adoption, outpatient mental health, services for children with autism spectrum disorders, and prevention programs), which BMPC has supported through Christmas Angels, backpacks, grants, service, and more. Gemma provides these programs through the Preheim Center in Southwest Philadelphia and an office in Mount Airy. Thanks to the expertise of both legacy organizations, Gemma added a new program, Family Based Mental Health Services (FBMHS). FBMHS is an intensive program to help families care for their children who experience significant emotional and behavioral challenges. Additionally, in Plymouth Meeting, Gemma operates a residential treatment program for youth with emotional and behavioral difficulties too acute for them to live at home, and the Martin Luther School, a special education school for students in grades K-12 with social and emotional needs that interfere with their academic progress. Sadly, the residential program in Rosemont closed in January 2021 after many years of financial struggles accelerated by the pandemic. Gemma believes the future is bright, however, and has launched a strategic planning initiative to explore the next three to five years and beyond, which possibly will include expanding services in Southwest Philadelphia. Watch for updates! My job at Gemma isn’t work. It’s my calling! Every child deserves a bright future, and Gemma is there to help.

Christmas Angels:



here did these gifts come from?” asked one residential child at Gemma Services upon receiving a stack of generously donated holiday presents. When told the gifts were indeed for them and came from people who care about them, the child responded, “I never knew so many people loved me!”

Thank you for making this Christmas special! For more information, contact Betty Wu at BMPCAngels@gmail.com. SignUp Genius Link:


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Marshalls/TJ Maxx, ShopRite and Best Buy are preferred. You also may purchase gifts for a specific child through SignUp Genius (https://bit.ly/2021-christmas-angels) or buy a general gift for a child (Legos, toiletry sets, Rubik’s Cubes, makeup, cards and card games, board games, fidget toys, basketballs or footballs, remote-controlled Far too many of the children and families cars) or from Gemma’s Amazon Wish List: that Gemma serves believe they do not https://bit.ly/GemmaNeeds. matter and feel alone and forgotten. With your help, Gemma is making sure they know Gift cards and unwrapped gifts may be that they do matter, and they are loved – at delivered during the Drive-thru Drop Off Christmastime and throughout the year. (location TBA) on Sunday, December 5, With your generosity, we will once again between 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.; in the church’s ensure that the holidays are bright and filled secure mailbox at the entrance facing the with joyful memories for the deserving youth Radnor Street parking lot; or by appointment. in our care, and for their families, too! PLEASE NOTE: Access to Gemma’s offices is restricted. Donation delivery is held at Due to the continuing pandemic, Christmas Gemma’s Plymouth Meeting campus and Angels will be hybrid this year. Several of is by appointment only. All gifts are due by Gemma’s programs remain virtual. For those Tuesday, December 7. children, gift cards in $25 increments from Target, Walmart, Amazon, Five Below,


S A M T s I Chr


Christmas is our favorite holiday! The main reason is that there is a lot of family time during the holiday season. One special Christmas tradition we enjoy every year is going over to my grandmother’s house with our cousins, aunt, uncle, and the rest of our family, where we eat a big Christmas brunch together. We open presents and hang out for the morning. We all love it because we get to celebrate Christmas with our family! 01 S2 MA CHRIST

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we could only do this via Zoom this past year, but without the breakfast feature. It is always special to see one another in person, and we are grateful we could spend time together on Zoom. We opened presents and had a great time videoconferencing three different times on Christmas day!

Overall, our whole family loves Christmas morning because we all get to hang out together, eat lots of great food, and get Christmas gifts, all in celebration of Christ’s birth!


RACHEL STOY One of our favorite family traditions is decorating our Christmas tree together the first weekend in December. Our children love turning up the Christmas tunes and getting to work! They enjoy pulling out their homemade ornaments, many made from popsicle sticks, pom poms and lots of glitter. It’s nice to slow down together during such a busy season and reminisce about when they created each of their ornaments. Our favorites are always the ones that include their photos. We love seeing their sweet faces hung on the tree. Every year we also enjoy creating new ornaments to add to our growing collection.

OLIVIA BLUSIEWICZ, YOUTH ELDER My family and I have a variety of traditions that we do every year, but a bulk of our traditions happen on Christmas Eve. It is on this night that we go to the BMPC Children’s Christmas Eve Service and watch the Nativity Tableau every year, eat pizza fondue to our heart’s content, and at the end of the night sit around the fire while my grandmother reads The Night Before Christmas. Before Christmas Eve, however, we have another tradition that involves our Christmas tree. Every year at the beginning of December, we pick out the perfect tree, unwrap ornaments that my brother and I have made and ones from our family vacations, and reminisce about old memories, all while listening to Christmas music at full volume.

ELIZABETH BARROWS Every year we enjoy decorating our house for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving. It is a struggle to even wait that long! Ava and Zach love unwrapping and placing the ornaments on the tree, setting up the Nativity scenes, and decorating the Christmas village. This all takes place while listening to music, reminiscing on past Christmases, and drinking hot chocolate. It is a joyous and busy day!

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Once our house is decorated inside and out, we begin making homemade gifts for our family and friends. Ava and Zach carefully cut out Christmas shapes from Air-Dry Clay and then paint and decorate their favorites. They love wrapping the ornaments for their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins and talking about who will appreciate which color or shape or tons of glitter! There are always a few left over that get labeled with the year and packed away in January to await their turn to be unwrapped and carefully placed by excited and loving hands.


Longest Night Worship Service

Tuesday, December 21, 7:00 p.m., Sanctuary, and via Livestream


ometimes the holiday season can be too much. The lights, the decorations, the festivities – the joy – for some, this time of year is anything but celebratory and joyful. While we are assured of the birth of our Savior, some suffer without the birth of their desired child. While we proclaim the beauty of the holy family, some can only remember the difficult relationship they have with their own family. For some, Christmas is not jolly, and it can't end quickly enough.

those struggling to make sense of our world and their lives. It’s also for their friends and loved ones, for all those journeying alongside someone who finds the season cold and lonely.

The name of the service – Longest Night – comes from its proximity to the winter solstice: the longest night of the year. Yet the name also serves as a testimony for all those experiencing their own season of extended darkness. It’s a service of gathering for all those who think The Longest Night Worship Service they walk this difficult journey is for all those who feel the darkness alone. more than the light during the Christmas season. It’s for those You are invited to come just as with questions and concerns, you are. Come with your doubts and pains, your questions and

frustrations. Come and lay them before the God who truly is Emmanuel, God with Us, even if we cannot believe it right now. On this evening we will sing and pray, express our doubts and our hopes, confess and spend time in silence. In all these things we will be reminded that we are not alone, that Christ is with us, and we are here for one another. This is the true joy of Christmas – that God became human to be with us, and that we can bring all of who we are before God. All are welcome to attend this service in person in the Sanctuary or participate virtually via livestream at www.bmpc.org/livestream.

Caring Corner: Journeying through Advent in Prayer


e all know the Advent story: the census that sparked the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, and the great crush in that city. This Advent we stand on the threshold of the Inn with no rooms available. Are we standing like the innkeeper, overwhelmed and unable to perceive the invitation in front of us? Are we open like the manger, ready to receive the gift of the Christ child? How do we prepare our hearts to welcome the Baby this season? Advent can be a time of quiet reflection, of anticipating the long-awaited Christ child. The poet Rumi said, “The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.” This year there are two offerings to help calm and center you throughout the Advent season:

QUIET PRAYER Wednesdays in Advent: December 1, 8, 15 7:00 - 7:45 p.m. Via Zoom A virtual quiet time for contemplative guided prayer will be offered weekly. Amidst the busyness of the season these prayer sessions will include Scripture readings, space for reflection, and a time of communal silence. The guided portion of the evenings will be recorded and available on the Caring Ministries webpage. Members of our congregation will lead these sessions. All are welcome.

Story Path Labyrinth and Quiet Prayer.

The Story Waiting to be Told Advent Story Path Labyrinth by Anne Montgomery Schmid On the church campus are numerous hidden treasures. Many people know the Sanctuary and Chapel have stained-glass windows that tell various stories. But did you know that there are other stories being told in the Chapel during the season of Advent?

Come to the Chapel during this season of Advent. There you will find the canvas labyrinth, scripture cards, and a booklet to guide you on your Advent Labyrinth Journey. What stories are waiting for you?

Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

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For the past few years, a 12-foot canvas labyrinth has been placed in the Children’s Chapel during Advent. On that labyrinth, footprints have been left as well as Oreo crumbs! Children have gathered with Pastor Rachel to hear stories and explore their own sense of wonder. A teenager sat in the quiet space to write the eulogy he shared at his father’s memorial service. Two women sat in the center to share their personal stories of grief and listened to one another’s hopes for healing. An older woman walked the sacred pathway, praying with each mindful step she took. It is an intimate space in which to pray, breathe deeply, and admire the beauty of the stained-glass windows.


2022 Stewardship Campaign PAGE 14

How is God calling you to serve the world?

This has been a strange season for us as a church. Yet even in the midst of anxious and uncertain days, our faith points us to the One who is certain. As our theme for the 2022 Campaign proclaims, “God is calling us.” With the good news of God’s faithful prompting, we look forward with great anticipation to an engaging program year with offerings that are both inperson and virtual. What an exciting time to be called together as a people! With newly-created opportunities for engagement and worship, reimagined and renovated spaces opening across the church campus, and new faces continuing to join us, we remember our many blessings as a congregation: »

We kept our programming at a high level throughout this season, through expanded digital access and creative video recordings. Who can forget the Rev. Rachel Pedersen’s Christmas and Easter “pageants” or the Rev. Leigh DeVries’ outdoor Rainbow Reindeer Games with the youth?


Thanks to the Rev. Frank Pottorff’s creative leadership we have grown in membership and strengthened our giving programs to allow giving and pledging to be done online and even through text messaging and QR codes.


How fortunate we are to have the gift of music in this season, thanks to Jeff Brillhart, Director of Music and Fine Arts, and Edward Landin Senn, our Assistant Director.


Throughout this year, our church has heard life-giving and inspiring sermons and educational programming under the Rev. Dr. Agnes Norfleet’s talented leadership and vision.

What an outstanding staff we have! It is a pleasure, as co-chairs of the Stewardship Committee, to request the congregation’s full support for our programs and the staff who make them possible. The size of our gifts matter less than the act of giving. If you have never pledged, make this year your first. If you have committed financially in the past, we thank you for your commitment and ask you to consider raising your pledge amount for 2022. Although Dedication Sunday was held on October 31, you are invited to bring your pledge card to worship, mail it, or pledge online, to make your pledge as an act of faithfulness as we dedicate our future gifts to God.


Our Deacons, with the Rev. Brian Ballard’s prayerful guidance, reached out to our homebound and hurting members with gifts, cards, prayer squares, phone calls and prayers.


Under the Rev. Rebecca Kirkpatrick’s guidance, we were blessed with our mission programs local, regional, national and international that have Called as God’s people, we are invited to make continued to expand during a difficult a pledge so that we may continue to learn and year. Her efforts to create a growing grow together and go out into the world to serve. small group ministry have expanded On behalf of the committee, participation. Craig Johnson and Flo Zeller

Save the Date: Advent Concerts

Join us during the season of Advent for the return of our Tuesday noon concert series! We hope to offer these concerts for both in-person and virtual audiences this year, but more details will be forthcoming. In the meantime, please save the following dates:

Joy Abounds:

Singing City Choir in Holiday Concert

By Jeffrey Brillhart, Director of Music and Fine Arts Philadelphia’s famed Singing City Choir, under the direction of its Music and Artistic Director Jeffrey Brillhart, will present its holiday concert on Sunday, December 12 at 3:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary. The concert will feature works by André Thomas, Rosephanye Powell, Ariel Ramirez, G.F. Handel, Roland Carter, Kim Arnesen and much more. Titled Joy Abounds: Singing City at the Holidays, the concert will showcase jazz organist Pat Bianchi. Grammy-nominated organist, winner of Downbeat Magazine’s 2016 rising star poll and Hot House Magazine’s 2019 poll, Bianchi has established himself as one of the premier organists on the international scene today. His command of the iconic Hammond B3 organ, harmonic prowess, rhythmic intensity and versatility are rivaled by few. Singing City was founded in 1948 to be a force for social change. With a mission of uniting white and black singers in a choir, Singing City was one of the first integrated choirs in America and remains passionately committed to inclusivity and diversity. For more information and tickets, visit www.singingcity.org. BMPC members receive a $5 discount (enter BMPC as the discount code.)




Nelly Berman School of Music students The Mirage Trio featuring: Miro Raj, violin; Apollo Murray, cello; Sasha Murray, piano

Anna Kislitsyna and Torsten Fras, harpsichord

Jeffrey Brillhart and Edward Landin Senn, organ duet program

Alyssa Gabrilovich, piano




The BMPC Carillon

By Jeffrey Brillhart, Director of Music and Fine Arts Since its dedication in October 2005, the Middleton Family Carillon has rung forth every Sunday morning and at many concerts, weddings and funerals. This remarkable instrument consists of 48 bells, the largest of which weighs more than 2,000 pounds. The entire carillon weighs around 30,000 pounds. Its bells were cast in the Netherlands at the Royal Eijsbouts bell foundry in Asten, Netherlands. A carillon is a musical instrument composed of at least 23 carillon bells, arranged in chromatic sequence, tuned to produce resonant harmony when many bells are sounded together. It is played from a keyboard that allows expression through variation of touch. The keys, called batons, are

struck with the half-closed hand. Although the keys are played with a closed fist, the carillonneur does not pound or beat the keys. The larger bells are connected to foot pedals, similar to the pedalboard of a pipe organ. Carillons first appeared in the Netherlands in the early 17th century. The world's greatest concentration of carillons is still in Belgium, the Netherlands, northern France, and northwest Germany. Today, while traveling through that region, one is rarely out of earshot of a carillon. The first modern carillons in North America were installed in Toronto, Canada, and Gloucester, Massachusetts, in 1922. Here in the Delaware Valley region, we are blessed with a handful of major instruments. In addition to BMPC’s carillon, St. Thomas Whitemarsh, Valley Forge Memorial Chapel, and

Longwood Gardens all boast magnificent carillons. Elsewhere in our denomination, Kirk in the Hills Presbyterian Church in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, boasts the second largest carillon in the world, with 77 bells in its tower. (The largest carillon is Hyechon College Carillon, Seoku, Taejon, South Korea, with 78 bells.) The art of the carillon has spread worldwide, with instruments on every continent except Antarctica. There are more than 180 carillons in North America and more than 450 elsewhere in the world. BMPC’s carillon is played by a core of volunteers who are coordinated by Rob Mygatt. Rob has been playing for about six years. When asked what he liked most about playing the carillon, he responded, “It's A LOT of fun! The carillon is a special instrument because the range of what it can express is limited only by the creativity of the carillonneur. I love that, through

music, the carillon allows me to greet each person coming to worship, help them prepare for worship, and then also send them out.”

You can see Wade in action here:

Another volunteer, Brian Middleton, wrote, “Playing the carillon is part of my calling to serve God through musical leadership. I encourage anyone who has some background in music, especially piano, to learn this new skill, experience the excitement of being in the middle of the sound as it reaches across our church grounds, and use this talent to the glory of God through musical offering.”

We are pleased to announce that a new Facebook group has been created for the carillon:

During this past summer, Wade FitzGerald, a professional carillonneur, moved to the region and has joined our team of carillonneurs. Wade, a native of Tampa, Florida, began playing the piano at age five. He started playing the carillon as a student at Gainesville College and was drawn to the instrument in part because of its fascinating repertoire. Watching Wade play, you would never know that the biggest challenge for him was learning to play using both hands and feet. He admitted that he is still challenged with the realities of playing an instrument whose largest bell weighs several tons and the smallest bell only a few ounces. “Because of the difference in the amount of strength needed to strike such a variety of bell sizes, getting all the notes to sound at the same time can be a struggle!”

https://bit.ly/wade-playing-carillon, in a performance of

a delightful Argentinian tango.


We also encourage anyone with some piano or organ experience to consider taking lessons. For information, contact Wade at w_fitzgerald12@yahoo.com. The carillon is an extraordinary musical instrument with a history as rich as it is long. For several centuries the carillon has been a voice for the hopes, aspirations and joys of humankind. The Middleton Family Carillon will forever be that musical voice for BMPC.


Youth - Save the Date! • December 12 This year we’ll be having our second annual Rainbow Reindeer Games – a COVID-safe afternoon of fun, games and rainbows for our Youth! For more information reach out to Jack Liskey at jliskey@bmpc.org.

Update from Jack Liskey, Youth Director

Jack is supervised and supported by the Rev. Leigh DeVries, Associate Pastor for Youth & Their Families, during his time working at BMPC.

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The beginning of my time at BMPC has been an absolute blast! I have met some incredible people and have had some fantastic experiences. My favorite so far was the Habitat Build in October. I spent a couple of hours getting to know the Confirmation students better while also building and painting step stools. Meeting these youth and learning more about them has been a tremendous blessing, and I am looking forward to the next three years here while I participate in the Center for Youth Ministry Training program.


Intergenerational Church Before a baptism a beautiful meeting takes place with a family, standing with a wiggly baby, a fifth grader with a highlighted copy of a script, an Elder graciously helping with introductions as proud grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends all arrive before the service begins. Sometimes unexpected connections occur: a shared baptism month, a common elementary school or an old friendship. I enjoy watching as people reconnect around a sacred moment. It is unusual to see five different decades of life represented in a single event, but here at church, it happens more often than not.

These relationships can be sustaining and refreshing. During the past two years, more than 90 adult prayer partners (we need 65 partners each year!) have volunteered their time to pray for a group of BMPC students. The cards and prayers that make up that ministry have created new points of contact. Our students know that the adults in our church care enough to pray for them by name and are investing in the faith of a new generation. the faith of a new generation. Confirmation mentors and their Confirmands study together and spend a year growing in faith.

These intergenerational experiences can sometimes be Each time we invest in these cross-generational fleeting – a shared conversation around the snack table relationships, we see the Spirit at work in a living, after church, but they can be transformative! When growing and thriving congregation. volunteers helped guide our fourth and fifth graders in a Habitat Build, our students learned about service, mission, patience and just how much they enjoy working with power tools!

A Different Christmas Eve The 4:30 p.m. Family Christmas Eve service is a beautiful tradition that gives children the opportunity to tell the story of Jesus’ birth. This year the story will be told in a new way. Children, youth and a few adult helpers will welcome the congregation to a “Walk Through Nativity” outside on the front lawn of the church.

Each part of the story will be shared as a tableau with actors, animals and readings.

If you wish to help create the Walk Through Nativity, please join us on Sunday, Dec. 5, during our Advent Workshop where you can help make sets, costumes and props for the Nativity. More information about the On Christmas Eve, you will be able to meet the prophets, logistics and participation will be shared soon with the see Mary and Joseph as they make their way to the stable, congregation. We are excited about this opportunity to bump into some shepherds and their sheep, and see the join our voices with the angels, shepherds, prophets and Magi as they travel to visit the Christ Child. Magi to proclaim the good news of Christ’s birth.

Renovation Update

As 2021 draws to a close, renovations on the Ministries Center also are nearing completion. The new atrium is almost finished; bathrooms are being completed; and new carpeting has been laid and walls have been freshly painted throughout the Ministries Center. The new circular driveway in front of the Sanctuary will make drop off/pick up much easier on Sunday mornings. We look forward to using the new spaces, including the atrium, the art gallery, and updated meeting rooms in the near future.

ADVENT 2021 • 19

The Messenger Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church 625 Montgomery Avenue Bryn Mawr, PA 19010 610-525-2821

The Messenger (USPS #341840) Volume #123, Issue #4, is published quarterly by the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. Periodical postage paid at Southeastern, Pennsylvania and additional offices. Postmaster: Send Address Changes To The Messenger Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church 625 Montgomery Avenue Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Christmas Eve Schedule 2:00 - 5:00 P.M. Live Nativity, Front Lawn 7:30 P.M. Christmas Eve Service of Lessons & Carols, Sanctuary and Livestreamed at www.bmpc.org/livestream.

Inclement Weather Policy If the church closes due to inclement weather and unsafe travel conditions, notice will be provided on our website, www.bmpc.org, on our social media channels, and with a recorded message at our main church phone number: 610-525-2821. Decisions to cancel scheduled BMPC programs will be made by the person in charge of the ministry area. For information, contact the person in charge.