Tabernacle United Church

Progressive Christianity for a change

United Church of Christ and Presbyterian Church (USA)

3700 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19104 - 215-386-4100 - Worship Sundays at 10 AM

We are called into compassionate community, Following Christ, Advocating for peace,
justice and reconciliation And celebrating God's loving embrace of all creation.

January 2017 Newsletter

Note on Using the Online Newsletter

In the version of the newsletter that is posted online and sent in email, every month you will find links in the articles, and these links are not all created equal.

  • In the Bible Study article there are links to Bible Passages so that you can immediately see what the topic(s) of discussion will be.
  • In many articles, you will be directed to contact the the church office or a member of the congregation. If you click on one of these links your default email program will automatically open up, with the email address for the office (or another peron) in the "To:" field and an appropriate subject line already filled in, allowing you to begin composing an email to exactly the right person with exactly the right subject line. So if you thought that just that person's name appearing in the article (or just the words "the church office") meant you had to go hunting for the email address for that person, hunt no more! Everything is right there for you, with a click of your mouse!
  • Other articles have links to other websites, to the Tab Blog, or to things on the Tab website, like the Mailing List FAQ, which has clear, easy instructions for subscribing to Tab's various email lists. (The FAQ file also has clickable email links--everything is so easy!) Other links allow you to open up the current version of the Rotation schedule, current Pledge and Time & Talent Forms, etc.
So if you were wondering what all of those links in the newsletter were for, now you know!

[Back to Top]

Pastor's Notes
Joining the Resistance: The First 100 Days

When the church has been most faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout history, it has been a church at odds with the Empire. When the early Christians proclaimed "Jesus is Lord" they were making a spiritual claim. They were also making a deeply political claim. "Jesus is Lord" means Caesar is not! "Jesus is Lord" means Herod is not! "Jesus is Lord" was a courageous and bold proclamation which moved people to do things that the Empire did not believe in doing: welcome refugees and strangers, feed the poor, cloth the naked, set prisoners free.

It is no different today. If the church is to be faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ today, we will inevitably be at odds with the Empire and its ways. There is just no way around it.

We are nearing the time of a new presidency when "Emperor" Trump's agenda will unfold before our eyes. The one who used misogyny, racism, and greed for his own advancement and built his campaign around a vow to build a wall to keep out foreigners, will soon take the seat of the President of the United States.

The same people already most vulnerable to violence, harassment, prejudice and poverty will be even more vulnerable in the days to come. Though it has always been a good and right time for the church to take a stand, we need to renew our commitment to take a stand now. Can we proclaim "Jesus is Lord" today? What will it mean for us?

I was inspired when I read a short article by Rev. Cory Sanders, a Baptist minister, who is calling his church community to "join the resistance" and commit to a 100 day counter-agenda for the church. I thought to myself, Tab is gonna' do this too! We are going to join the resistance and call for a 100 day counter-agenda for the church. During the first 100 days of the Trump presidency we are going to worship, work and witness to a counter-movement. It is the counter-movement of God's reign.

During these 100 days we will commit to being vigilant, to staying awake. We will be prayerful, we will practice our faith by deepening our spiritual practices, strengthening our relationships and support of one another, stepping out to offer welcome and hospitality to others who feel threatened, and engaging in bold political action. We will point to the world as it should be (God's reign) not as-it-is, or as the Trump administration will call for it to be.

Tabernacle!! Are you in? Are you in this with me?

Here are some of our initial plans (more details to come):

Saturday, Jan. 21:

The Women's March on Washington, DC and Philadelphia. Tab folks will be going to both! Then we will kick-off the 100 days on this evening with the amazing Asha Lindsey in concert at Tabernacle 7 pm. (See below.)

Sunday January 22:

Official kick-off the 100 Days of Resistance in worship at Tab. Join us at 10 am!

The 100 days will then take us through the season of Epiphany, Lent, Easter Sunday and two Sundays after Easter. We will be exploring themes of sanctuary (Epiphany), anti-racism and reparations (Lent) and Resurrection-as-resistance (Easter) in worship. We will conclude the season with a "Sing-Off" worship service and a Block Party in the late spring!

Every week we will put out an invitation for you to join the church (and the resistance) in the following ways:

1. Worship with us on Sunday mornings! Every Sunday at 10am we will be gathering together to worship and draw strength from the God of Liberation.
2. Deepen your connections with the Tab community we will offer weekly opportunities to engage with the community through prayer, study, conversation, or just hanging out.
3. Take action we will offer weekly opportunities to take political action and to serve through practicing welcome and hospitality.
4. Share! We will be encouraging you to share about what you're doing in your life or with the church in the work of resistance. Use the hashtag #100DaysofResistance on social media and share with us about what you're doing.

Let's stay strong together in love in this new season. Our God is with us.

In hope and peace,
Pastor Katie

[Back to Top]

Black Joy as Resistance

Join us at Tabernacle January 21 at 7 pm for a concert by our own Asha Lindsey, soprano, and Racquel Borromeo on piano, Black Joy as Resistance. Reception to follow. You don't want to miss this. Mark your calendars and plan to bring friends!

[Back to Top]

Council Corner

The January meeting of Tab's Council covered a considerable range of topics. We began with a prayer circle for Katie Aikins and Heather Bargeron as they face a new step in their adoption efforts. We then discussed the following:

  • The contract for the Ark of Refuge, a small inclusive church group who have been using our space since their church burned last year. We plan to include them more intentionally in Tabernacle's activities.
  • Pastor Katie's wish to focus on visitors during Coffee Hour.
  • Ways to implement the 100 Days of Faithful Resistance agenda.
  • Pax's offer of the music director's office for the youth group.

We re-elected Angela Kent as Vice Moderator, Jim Gerhard as Clerk and Todd Koser as Treasurer, with deep thanks to them all. Finally, we examined the 2016 Vision Report and evaluated our progress. ~Deb Burnham

[Back to Top]

Service & Bulletin Roles

Date Preacher Prayers Liturgist Children's TimeSunday School A/V Tech Quote
Jan 1 Katie Aikins Katie Aikins Heather Bargeron Katie Aikins Geneva Butz n/a n/a
Jan 8 Katie Aikins Barbara Purdom Todd Koser Don Wargo Trudy Kawal Chris Purdom Susan Wargo
Jan 15 Meagan McLeod Susan Wargo Lucinda Megill Legendre Deb Burnham Nicole Diroff Barbara Purdom Lucinda Megill Legendre
Jan 22 Katie Aikins Chris Purdom Jim Gerhard Nicole Diroff Verona Stern Barbara Purdom Don Wargo
Jan 29 Nicoklas O'Rourke Susan Wargo Ginny Rice Susan Pierce Geneva Butz n/a Chris Purdom

[Back to Top]

Supporting Roles

Date Greeters Coffee Hour Counters Recycling Food Transport
Jan 1 Lauren Giaconne & Geneva Butz Russ Baldwin & Lucy Miller Ginny Rice & Jim Gerhard Ginny Rice Jim Gerhard
Jan 8 Susan Wargo & Deb Ahrens Verona Stern & Susan Teegen Jim Gerhard & Deb Burnham Susan Teegen Anna Demaree
Jan 15 Andy & Lynn Lees Jim Gerhard & Ginny Rice Ken & Martha Gritter Andy Lees Lee Pugh
Jan 22 Michael James & Ann Whiting Barbara & Chris Purdom Pauline Abernathy & Geneva Butz Katie Aikins Verona Stern
Jan 29 Lucinda Megill Legendre Angela Kent & Mike Ehling Lucinda Megill Legendre & Lynn Lees Lynn Lees Jim Gerhard

[Back to Top]

Communion Rotations

Date Officiating Set-up & Serving Clean-up & Serving Picking up Bread +
Jan 1 Katie Aikins Chris Purdom Pauline Abernathy Lee Pugh

+ Bread donated by Four Worlds Bakery, 47th & Woodland.; it should be picked up the day before.

[Back to Top]


  • January 1 No TAB.EDU
  • January 8 Transgender Q & A - Chris Paige of Transfaith will lead a discussion of gender, while sharing perspectives on transgender issues, lived experience, and etiquette. Chris is an OtherWise-identified ( organizer who has called Philadelphia home for more than 20 years. Chris is executive director and co-founder of Transfaith (, a multi-tradition, multi-racial, multi-gender advocacy organization now based in Mt Airy. However, in a former life, they worked for nearly 10 years at the Germantown-based and award-winning The Other Side magazine, including time served as Publisher. Chris is a long-time member of Tabernacle United Church, but worships regularly with Living Water United Church of Christ in Oxford Circle with their 11 year old child.
  • January 15 Transgender and the Bible Chris Paige will return to help us celebrate gender diversity in the Church and scripture.
  • January 22 - Parenting Conversation, Part 2 - We'll gather for continued conversation around these questions: What are we hoping for our children in bringing them to Tab? What are we hoping for ourselves? For the community? What are we doing at home to continue to nurture the spirituality they're developing at church? All are welcome! ~Led by Nicole Diroff
  • January 29 Nick Lordi of Redemption Housing - The nonprofit startup in West Philadelphia seeks to offer faith-based programming and community support to people coming out of incarceration and homelessness. Mr. Lordi will share the organization's mission/vision and invite you to partner in this much needed work.

If you have ideas or suggestions for future sessions or series, please contact Deb Ahrens.

[Back to Top]

TAB Songleaders in 2017

If you enjoy singing with a group and leading the congregation in song, join the TAB Songleaders! We meet to rehearse at 9:15 am before select Sunday services to add beauty and leadership to music and worship at TAB.

Join us at 9:15 am on January 22, February 5, February 19, March 5, March 19, April 2 and April 16 (Easter). Contact Pax Ressler. Thank you for lending your voice! ~Pax Ressler

[Back to Top]

Philly Thrive Snack-Luck

Do you have Inauguration blues? Learn about the environmental justice work of Philly Thrive while enjoying delicious snacks and building community. We're excited for you to be a part of the movement!

On Saturday, January 28 at 1 pm, Pax Ressler and Philly Thrive are hosting a fun, family-friendly "snack-luck" (a potluck for snacks) at TAB. While snacking, we will share about the work of Philly Thrive, a multiracial coalition working for clean air and climate justice in Philadelphia. Philly Thrive is a people-powered organization that uses the energy and skills of its membership to resist fossil fuel infrastructure in Philadelphia, following the lead of those most affected by polluted air from the South Philly PES Oil Refinery.

(Did you know that Philadelphia is home to the largest oil refinery on the East Coast? Find out more at the snack-luck!)

Join us, bring a snack and invite your friends to learn more about how you can take action to give all Philadelphians the right to breathe clean air.

[Back to Top]

Bible Study

Join us Wednesdays at 5:30 pm. Contact Jean Erb with questions. On Jan. 18 we will discuss Isaiah 9:1-4; 1 Corinthians 1:10-18; and Matthew 4:12-23. On Jan. 25 we will discuss Micah 6:1-8; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; and Matthew 5:1-12.

[Back to Top]

Food Donations

Don't forget: food donations (NON-PERISHABLE, and with GOOD EXPIRATION DATES) are more needed than ever. Let's bring in something for the food donation basket next to the kitchen door each Sunday and help to keep those pantry shelves stocked! It's so easy to do. Whenever you shop, just buy and put aside a couple of small items for the pantry at the same time; if you drive, just leave them in your car to bring to Tab on Sunday.

Some suggestions: Remember that people who are desperately in need of food may not have great kitchen equipment, so consider items that can be prepared in the microwave OR on the stove. People may not have milk, butter, or vegetable oil, so try to include some items that can be prepared with just tap water. Single-serving portions are nice, so people don't have to refrigerate leftovers. Single-serving foil packs of potatoes or flavored instant rice can often be bought in store brands for about a dollar apiece. You can often find sales on instant oatmeal with eight single-serving packets.

Another thing to remember: Glass can break during transport to the food pantry, so it might be better to avoid glass jars. (We had a very small accident once.) Plastic jars of peanut butter are great, though.

We want to increase our donations to the food pantry, so let's all try to help. With even one or two small items a week from everyone who comes to worship, our weekly contribution to the food pantry will increase considerably. ~Mike Ehling

[Back to Top]

Tab Online

Tab's website has info about affinity groups, events, news, a calendar, sermons, and more! Go to the Tab Blog on Livejournal to stay up-to-date on the current worship themes, to download forms and schedules (the rotations schedule, Time & Talent forms, Pledge forms, the choir schedule), or just take advantage of the links to Tabernacle's Cafe Press shop, Artwell, the Christian Association and other groups. If you have any questions about the mailing lists, read the Mailing List FAQ! You can also go to the Tab Facebook page and "Like" us! (And then you can receive updates from Tab in your Facebook Newsfeed.)

[Back to Top]

Newsletter Deadline

The February newsletter will be in Tab mailboxes on FEBRUARY 5; send all material for the February newsletter to the church office by MONDAY, JANUARY 30.

[Back to Top]

[Previous]  [Newsletters]  [Next]

What's happening? When is the building occupied? Check the calendar!