Saturday, December 17, 2005

Narnia Recording

Listened to the Reading Narnia with C. S. Lewis presentation by Leland Ryken and Bryan Glass' dramatic reading of the chapter about Aslan's death. I've been told that the movie's version of Aslan's death is fairly mild. Well, my skin was tingling listening to Bryan's enactment. If I were five, I would have been terrified. Anna Taylor and (I think) Kira Fallon read the parts of Susan and Lucy. I was taken aback by their professionalism. For copyright law reasons, we can't post the reading (evidently due to recorded music used). But if you want to hear it, email me. Maybe we can make a deal.

I also enjoyed the lectures. A long time ago, when in college, I did an independent study for two professors (one in literature and the other in religion) on Lewis. By far, one of the smartest moves I've ever made. I appreciated the remarks about taking time to receive the author's work before trying to make use of it for your own agenda. The secret of all good scholars and of all enjoyers of literature and anything, for that matter, is being a good listener and observer above all else.

A Program, a Party, and a Wedding

Ginger and I attended the first part of CCA's annual Christmas program. There was a mime performance of Silent Night (like watching Roz sign interpret a song). Then a performance of A Christmas Carol. It was a delight to watch these students perform.

We then rushed over to the Diaconate party at the Warburtons. There was a modified Yankee swap of cds. The one that exchanged hands the most was a cd by Sam Hsu called Great is Thy Faithfulness. The bookstore sells it, if you are interested. There were three cds of Charlie Brown Christmas music. I managed to snatch a Johnny Matthis Christmas recording.

This morning we attended the wedding of Lin Brown and Javkhaa Ganbaatar. It was a beautiful ceremony with Mongolian traditions mixed in such as a blessing by the parents and lighting candles. A special treat was the prelude music played by Paul Jones and Margaret Claudin, featuring Christmas music. Christina Corbett also beautifully sang Psalm 23 during the ceremony. It took three pastors to do the job - Bruce officiated, Phil gave the homily, and Carroll gave a charge and a blessing. And, I almost forgot, great reception food afterwards. I saw what I thought were chocolate balls, then thought they were large olives, and discovered they were boiled quail eggs stuffed with some kind of paste. Delicious!

Friday, December 16, 2005

On the Market

We have a 1996 Ford Taurus Station wagon, in what Amy calls eggplant. The family mobile has 125,000 miles and has been well maintained. We are asking $2000 for the car.

Also, we have a home in University City, 217 South Melville Street, that is available. The home was recently rehabbed and has 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a library. It really is a great space, perfect for a family or 3-4 individuals. We are leasing the home for $2200/ per month plus utilities.

Call Manny and Amy Delgado at 215-787-9665.

Giving Info

Clive Stockdale, chairman of the Trustees sent this info to me to pass on (sent to him, I think, by Brian Esterly):

The Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act of 2005 created included some provisions that can benefit some donors to charitable organizations. These benefits expire at the end of 2005.

The IRS site giving details is:,,id=149391,00.html
that site also refers to
Your tax professional can supply details.

If you are wondering about deadlines to send in your big contributions, our policy is to accept for this year mailed checks postmarked 2005. If the enveloped is postmarked January 1 or later, we cannot accept it for 2005 (IRS rules). The church office, by the way, will be closed December 30 (and 23rd).

Crown Ministries

In an upcoming mailing regarding stewardship, Crown Ministries will be pitched as a good resource for help with finances. Check out their website at

Congregational Meeting

Calling all members to attend the congregational meeting immediately following the 11:00 worship service. The purpose is to elect new elders, deacons, deaconesses, and nominating committee members, and to adopt the three budgets. We need 230 present. Phil says the meeting should be about a 1/2 hour. I think it will be shorter. Since we have given presentations at two meetings, we do not intend to repeat them. Hopefully there will be few or no questions. Please do you best to attend. We cannot install new officers without this election.

Marriage, Stress, and a Dream

I will speak on all three subjects Sunday: "Marriage" at the Foundations SS class, "Stress" at the Bridge-Builders luncheon (all invited), and "Joseph's Dream" Sunday evening.

CCA Christmas Celebration

Tonight CCA is having a Christmas celebration at the church in Fellowship Hall, beginning at 7:00. All are welcome. If like the previous years, it will include singing, music performance (often with Curtis students who attend), maybe the school chorus, and a small play.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Roof, Roof

The sanctuary roof is receiving its final touches this week and probably into next week. Now that the tower scaffolding is down, copper and materials are being laid where the scaffolding was.

Field Report

Sylvia Duggan sent this in. To read the report she shared with me, click the Comments section.

Marion: you share a lot on your blog with all of us about the things going on in the life at the church that we don't always get to see. I have really appreciated this because it makes me feel more a part of and in connection with the full body of the church. So, I wanted to share with you what went on in West Philly today as part of the body functioned there in a way that struck me as both natural and extraordinary all at the same time. I think we often serve God best when we are doing it with out fully realizing it.

Weather Report

Thursday: Mostly cloudy and cold; a touch of snow and sleet with little or no accumulation this afternoon. Winds from the E at 7 mph.
High: 35° F
RealFeel®: 29° F

Thursday Night: Breezy; snow and sleet, up to 1" this evening, becoming seasonably cold late with rain. Winds from the ENE at 16 mph.
Low: 32° F
RealFeel: 20° F

In case you haven't noticed, you can click "Local Weather" on the right column to keep up with the weather.


This Sunday we are receiving new members - 32 in all, and we had to put a cap on that number. I have the pleasure of editing their testimonies to be read. Because of time restraints I have to edit them to about 100 words each. I try to keep the essence of each, but some of them are remarkable. There are three basic "plots": 1) raised in a Christian home (and making an early profession of faith), then wandering from the faith, and finally returning to faith that the individual owns for himself; 2) raised outside the Christian faith and through a combination of experiencing trials and being befriended by Christians received the gospel; 3) raised in Christian home and never wandered but grew spiritually in stages. The third is the least thrilling, but, of course, the best of all. It is the prayer of every Christian parent and of every church for their covenant children.

Aaron Away

Aaron and family have flown away to attend a wedding for Nancy's brother. I will be preaching Sunday evening in his stead. And a reminder that it is a communion service.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Here is an example of the kinds of questions I have to deal with as Executive Minister:

A question for your blogsite:
Is it true that Paul Jones is working on Limericks for a Modern Reformation?

Still Rising

The number of weekday visits to this blogsite has risen from 205 to 234. Keep spreading the word.

New Hymnals

When you sit down in the pew in the sanctuary this Sunday, you will find new green hymnals. The words are still the same!

Arlene's Potatoes

Here is the recipe for a delicious potato dish served at last night's party:

2 lbs hash brown (defrosted) frozen potatoes; 1 stick butter or margarine; 1 onion; 1 tsp salt; 1/2 tsp pepper; 1 can cream of chicken soup; 8 oz grated cheddar cheese; 1 pt sour cream

Cook onion in butter; mix soup and sour cream; add cheese and onions to soup & sour cream mix; combine with potatoes & season; put in rectangle (9x13) baking dish (well greased); sprinkle on top crushed crackers, cornflakes or plain bread crumbs & 1/2 stick melted butter or margarine

Bake about 1 hr (350 degrees) or till browned & bubbly

Move Over Edward Lear

One person got carried away with limerick writing. Christiana Fitzpatrick wrote about the entire pastoral staff. The full list is posted in the Comments section.

Contest Winners

Eighteen limericks were submitted for the Phillimericks Contest. They were all submitted before the distinguish panel of 27 judges at the pastoral staff Christmas party. We went through three rounds of reading, narrowing the finalists to three and then voting on the best of those.

Third runner up: Nancy Hala
Surely you’ve heard of Phil Ryken
Him to a Grinch I will liken
On tip-toes he’ll stand
With cookies in hand
And tease Marion ad infinitum.

Second runner up: Mark Brown
A preacher whom everyone knows
Thought the Redbirds could vanquish their foes.
He hoped they would conquer
The Sox for an encore --
But they couldn't quite handle the 'Stros.

The prize winner: Susan Russo and Kristen Schier
There once was a preacher named Phil
Who was taller than any windmill.
The whole congregation
saw no taller creation,
Till Messner appeared, bigger still.

Susan and Kristen will have to decide how to share the prize of a Narnia poster. Email or call me to arrange pickup. The complete list of limericks, including one turned in by Phil himself and one that Paul Jones hopes will conclude this exercise, will be posted in the Comments section.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Two from TIF

TIF invites you to participate in local mission outreach by opening your homes for internationals for a meal on Sunday, Dec. 25, 2006. Please register with Eunice Wong at x239 or asap.

"You are invited to join Tenth International Fellowship's Christmas Dinner on Sat, Dec 17, 5:30 pm in Fellowship Hall. Bring your international friend or meet one at the dinner. Dr. Tim Witmer, professor at Westminster Theological Seminary, will share "God's Gift Giving Guide". No registration needed. Please contact Eunice Wong at or x239 for more information."

Contest Judging Tonight

I've received several Phil limericks for the contest. Entries must be in by 3:30 today (not the 4:00 I posted yesterday). Judging will take place tonight at the pastoral staff Christmas party. The winner receives a large, cool Narnia poster courtesy of Phil. You can email your limericks to me at

Field Trip

The pastoral staff is visiting the pastoral staff of Korean United Church today from 11:00-2:00. KUC is a sister PCA church in north Philadelphia on 611 a couple blocks south of Cheltenham Avenue. Their choir sang recently at our missions rally. And, yes, they are treating us to lunch!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Narnia Reviews?

Has anyone seen Narnia yet? What did you think?

Contest Grand Prize

I have a nice big Narnia poster. I wonder: would you like to give it away as part of some sort of contest on your blogsite?

Hmmm...a contest? Let's see...who can bake the best chocolate chip cookies? the best essay on "My Favorite Blogsite" or "My Favorite Pastor"?

I've got it! The best limerick with Phil in it. Entries must be in by 4:00 tomorrow afternoon. Email them to me at We are having a pastoral staff party tomorrow night. I'll read them then and let the group vote on the best.

A limerick is a five line poem. Here are examples to get the rhythm or steal ideas.

There was a tall preacher named Phil,
Who played basketball all day until,
His wife called him home,
And his hair she did comb,
Then made him sit down for a meal.

A preacher and his wife had five kids,
Who at the table would make bids,
To see who would get,
The parents to let,
Them drink their milk without lids.

Said Phil one Sunday to his church,
"I'm afraid I'm stuck in a lurch.
My sermon, you see,
Got stuck in a tree,
And there, alas, it does perch!"

Miss K

Linda Boice sent this in:

One of the most encouraging aspects of teaching at City Center Academy is being part of a wonderful staff. Each is giving much more than any job description can describe.

Danya Kelberg has taught math, including our senior calculus course, for several years, coming right to CCA after graduating from The University of Pennsylvania. A member of Tenth Church, she has been an active advisor to the Honor Society, helping in the work of bringing that group into existence a year ago. She coaches the mime ensemble, part of our performing arts program, and just last week worked all afternoon at the Red Cross Blood Drive at the church, manning the registration table until well after 6 p.m. She is now a much valued volunteer for the Blood Drives.

What a blessing to have a gifted teacher and one who is so willing to help wherever help is needed. Miss K., as the kids call her, is one of CCA's treasures.

Christmas Delivery

Late on Christmas Eve, my husband and I both faced the facts. Tomorrow I would need to be checked out, whether it was a holiday or not. I remember feeling very uneasy both about the baby, but honestly probably more about the things I felt still needed to be done. Looking back I realize how foolish I was and to bed we went.

My water broke early Christmas morning around 4:30 a.m. and we knew this was from the Lord. After calling on a dear aunt and uncle to pinch hit here, we rushed off to the hospital where our dear, sweet Eleanor Jan arrived safely at 4:30 Christmas afternoon. How grateful we were to the Lord for His mercy.

Now with our fears laid to rest, Jeff and I wanted to be able to daily remind ourselves of His sovereign protection over our baby during those last quiet weeks in utero. That verse from Luke Chapter One came to mind and we toyed with different nicknames. How could we remember that particular part, "leaping in the womb?" Leapy Linton? That wasn't quite what we were after... But what about Skipping? or Skippy? Yes, that's it... Skippy Linton, the best Christmas present I've ever received.

Allison Linton

Christmas Expecting

(Author and ending to be revealed tomorrow)

Being pregnant in 1991 with our fifth child (due date December 20th) was both exhilarating and exhausting. Our oldest had just turned seven earlier that year and managing our busy household through the holidays was a bit of a challenge, especially when I'm the type that prefers spontaneity over routine.

Having been pregnant before, I knew to expect differences, but as I got closer to my due date, busy though I was, it seemed I was noticing less movement from this baby. I tried to reason with myself that maybe with all of my busyness, the baby was just lulled to sleep more often.

One of the things I love about my husband, however, is his love of books, especially the Bible. At bedtimes, his reading out loud with all of us huddled together in one of the rooms is always a treat but around Christmas, when it is time for the story of Jesus' birth to be read and reread, there's just something even more special. One night during family Bible reading, the section of scripture being read was from Luke Chapter One... "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb." Almost imperceptibly, the little one growing inside of me turned or rolled quietly, almost as if on cue. I was so grateful to the Lord. The odd thing was, however, that later that week while my husband once again read... "And the baby leaped in her womb," I felt that gentle rolling again of the unborn baby within. To me, twice on the same verse had to be a sign from the Lord. It was His peace that I felt and believe me, to that I clung.

However, the days were whizzing by. Why even our due date of December 20th had come and gone. The closer Christmas got, the longer my to-do list grew. I just wasn't accomplishing as much as I had hoped. Only one answer, keep moving! But the trouble was, I wasn't noticing much movement of the baby and now I began to secretly worry. (to be continued tomorrow)

Giving News

I am continuing my experiement with automatic giving to the church through my bank. I am set up for a payment to be processed the day after each paycheck. I've also informed the church collectors of how the checks should be distributed among the three budgets. I still leave some of the tithe to write personal checks or use cash to place in the offering plate or to give as so led. If you want to send in automatically and would like to designate how the money is to be distributed, send an email to

It is important to designate. If you don't, your contribution will go to the Church Ministry (General) Budget only. You must designate Missions and Building, for the money to go to those budgets. By the way, indicate dollar amounts rather than percentages, when sending in a payment or check.

Christmas Impromptu

I had a pleasant morning preparing for work. Listened to Paul Jones' cd "Christmas Impromptu." Paul plays more than 19 Christmas carols (70 minutes worth) in a reflective style. If you are desiring music for a quiet morning, (maybe in heavy commuting traffic), or in the evening by the fireplace, this is an excellent cd to have in your collection. Yesterday, Ginger and I were listening to a Christmas cd we like, but several of the numbers were too strong (and loud) for early morning and we had to turn it off. This has just the right touch.

Paul has other cds, as well as features other artists (The Westminster Brass, Celeste Golden, Stuart Neill, to name a few), through his music website. Check the site out at