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.

March 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!

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Pastor's Notes
Our Lenten Journey during these 100 Days of Resistance

At Tabernacle, we continue to help one another in our work to BE the church during these 100 Days of Resistance. The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, March 1st. We gather to mark the beginning of this season with a Taizé service of prayer and song. We will put ashes on our foreheads in the sign of the cross to remember that we are mortal and that one day we will die. "Memento mori," the early Christians would say in Latin, meaning "remember your death." This act is about remembering the truth of who we are--that we are frail and fragile people, that we are broken and always in need of a power and a strength that is beyond ourselves. It is remembering our reliance on our Creator for everything we do. It is remembering that we live so much of our lives by grace and gift. And so we begin our Lenten journey with this reminder literally on our foreheads!

It might seem at first like all this Lenten repentance talk is simply too morbid and depressing! But really, the good news is that repentance and remembering our brokenness is part of our liberation and salvation journey. Our resistance to the death-dealing ways of Empire is connected to our willingness to be people who can walk the journey of repentance. Repentance is about being willing to see where we have gone astray and where we need to turn around and change. Am I willing to see where I have gone astray? Am I willing to look at the areas in need of change in my life? If we are going to be people of the resistance, we have to be willing to be people of repentance too. And this is not easy work!

Some of the hard work we'll be doing in this season of Lent is studying racism and white privilege as an act of repentance and resistance. We want to look at some of the ways that white supremacy has captivated us as a society and captivated our hearts. During our sermons, as well as in our adult education series (, we will be looking at racism and white privilege and how it functions in us and in our society. In our sermons we will be reflecting on the questions, Who is Jesus? Was Jesus Black? We will reflect on why the question of Jesus' Blackness is so important and why we should talk about it! Does the skin color of Jesus matter? Why? And why talk about it?

The Lenten journey is often about learning to see. And learning to live in repentance of our racism is also about learning to see. How do we see Jesus? Why does it matter? What we may discover is that how we see Jesus says a lot about how we see God. And how we see God says a lot about how we understand ourselves. We will hopefully discover in this season that this work is not just theological or even primarily political. It is deeply spiritual work. It cuts to the core of who we are. And it can be joyful work, because it is part of our collective journey of liberation. Creating change outside of us means we must also be willing to create change inside ourselves. As is the case with any sin, we have to begin to see it and confess it, in order to then choose an alternative path. Part of the sin of white privilege is that it is so blinding. Meaning that those of us who are classified as white have trouble seeing our privilege in the first place. So repentance begins with learning to see. In our worship and in our study together, we will be working hard to take notice of white privilege in our lives. Will you take part in this journey as we continue in our work of resistance in these 100 days?

We give thanks for the leadership of Susan Wargo and Nicole Diroff who will serve as facilitators for our education series on White Privilege. We also give thanks that we will get to hear our own Rev. Susan Teegen preach on March 19th. We will also hear from another guest preacher who has been a mentor of mine since my time in seminary – the Rev. Nibs Stroupe. Nibs will preach on March 26th and will also lead a workshop on race that same day during Nibs is recently retired as Pastor from Oakhurst Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Oakhurst Presbyterian is well known in Presbyterian circles for being an anti-racist and multicultural church. Nibs and his partner Caroline helped to create this vibrant community.

Let's continue to stay awake, to dig deep in our faith during these 100 days, and to follow the Black Jesus of Nazareth!



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Join Tabernacle in 100 Days of Resistance

  • Worship - Sunday mornings at 10 am we gather to worship the God of Life and Liberation, remembering who we are and whose we are.
  • Community - Creating safe spaces for prayer, reflection, and support of one another in community.
  • Action - Join with the Tab community to live out our faith in word and deed.
  • Share - About what you are doing during these 100 Days of Resistance.

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Council Corner

The February meeting of Tabernacle's Council centered on plans for outreach events, and various projects designed to make the church work more smoothly. Discussion included the following items:

  • Todd Koser has researched and purchased a church management system that will track giving, membership and other key statistics.
  • Andy Lees has created a comprehensive manual for the Building Team, including information on the various systems and on the use of space.
  • Jim Gerhard, our Clerk, reported that both average attendance and membership numbers have been stable for the past two years.
  • Don Wargo has created a detailed report on real estate rates and trends in this area to be used in negotiating our lease with Penn.
  • A new nursery caregiver has been hired, Lisa Jacobs, and will begin work soon.
  • Ken Gritter was accepted as a returning member of Council. He remarked that he continues to see Tabernacle as a haven, and wishes to work toward increasing its membership and its capacity to welcome new people.
  • Katie Aikins asked that we pray for a prisoner whom she met through the Tabernacle Prison Ministry. He was sentenced to life in prison when he was seventeen and has been incarcerated for over thirty years. He recently had a hearing that may result in his release.

~ Deb Burnham

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Service & Bulletin Roles

Date Preacher Prayers Liturgist Children's TimeSunday School A/V Tech Quote
Mar 5 Katie Aikins Chris Purdom Geneva Butz Pauline Abernathy Trudy Kawal Fletcher Chmara-Huff Katie Aikins
Mar 12 Katie Akins Lauren Giaconne Russ Baldwin Ken Gritter Lucinda Megill Legendre Fletcher Chmara-Huff Deb Burnham
Mar 19 Susan Teegen Lucinda Megill Legendre Chris Purdom Katie Aikins Geneva Butz Fletcher Chmara-Huff Pauline Abernathy
Mar 26 Nibs Stroupe Katie Aikins Angela Kent Todd Koser Verona Stern Fletcher Chmara-Huff Dick Fernandez

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Supporting Roles

Date Greeters Coffee Hour Counters Recycling Food Transport
Mar 5 Ann Whiting & Michael James Ken & Martha Gritter Lucinda Megill Legendre & Ginny Rice Deb Ahrens Anna Demaree
Mar 12 Ken & Martha Gritter Verona Stern & Deb Burnham Jean Erb & Chris Purdom Ginny Rice Verona Stern
Mar 19 Susan Wargo & Lucinda Megill Legendre Vic & Charlene Compher Ken & Martha Gritter Jim Gerhard Lee Pugh
Mar 26 Barbara Purdom & Susan Teegen Andy & Lynn Lees Lynn Lees & Susan Teegen Verona Stern Barbara Purdom

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Communion Rotations

Date Officiating Set-up & Serving Clean-up & Serving Picking up Bread +
Mar 5 Katie Aikins & Dick Fernandez Ginny Rice Susan Teegen Lee Pugh

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

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March Lenten Study on White Privilege

There will be a Lenten Study on White Privilege offered beginning on February 26. The curriculum we will be following is offered from the UCC. There will be a bit of preparation for each session. If you'd like to read the curriculum, you may go to If you prefer not to print it out a hard copy will be provided. We will also be sharing with you the segments of the curriculum that we will be talking about.

The study begins on Sunday, 2/26 and continues on the following Sundays: 3/12, 3/19, 3/26, 4/9, 4/30 and 5/7. It would be great to attend all sessions, but it is not necessary. Come when you are able. We are asking that you sign up just so we know the size of the group. To sign up, please either email or call Susan Wargo or 610-688-7542.

Understanding white privilege is a lifetime process. We look forward to beginning the journey with this study.

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

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TAB Songleaders

If you enjoy singing with a group and leading the congregation in song, join the TAB Song-Leaders! We meet to rehearse at 9:15am before select Sunday services to add beauty and leadership to music and worship at TAB. Join us at 9:15am on March 5, March 19, April 2 and April 16 (Easter). Contact Thank you for lending your voice! ~Pax Ressler

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Homeless Outreach

Sunday, March 5 the Tab community is invited to gather during Coffee Hour to assemble sandwiches and other items to distribute to homeless people in the area of our church, as we look to extend Christian hospitality outward to our neighbors in need. If you have any questions, please see Lauren Giaccone.

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Bible Study

On March 8 we will discuss Genesis 12:1-4a; Romans 4:1-5, 13-17, and John 3:1-17. On March 22 we will discuss 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Ephesians 5: 8-14; and John 9:1-41.

Join us Wednesdays at 5:30 pm in the Community Room. Contact Jean Erb with questions.

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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

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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.)

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Newsletter Deadline

The April newsletter will be in Tab mailboxes on APRIL 2; send all material for the April newsletter to the church office by MONDAY, MARCH 20.

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Guest Preacher

On March 26 we are excited to welcome guest preacher, Gibson (Nibs) Stroupe who was the Pastor of Oakhurst Presbyterian Church from 1983 to 2017. He retired in January of this year. Nibs has long been an outspoken voice for racial and social justice within the PC(USA) and nationwide, along with his wife of 40 years, Caroline Leach. He is the author and co-author of four books, leads numerous workshops on race across the denomination, and is a frequent guest speaker on racial issues. In 2013, he was invited to deliver the opening prayer during President Barack Obama's visit to Decatur. Nibs grew up in Arkansas, attended Rhodes and Davidson Colleges, and earned his M.Div. from Columbia Seminary in 1975. He has a grown son and daughter, along with two grandchildren.

Fun fact: Pastor Katie did her seminary internship at Oakhurst in 2006 and served as the Middle School Youth group leader in 2007. She led the Middle School Youth in a "trash drumming" project and the group performed some groovy beats at the church! You can ask her about this. Nibs and Caroline have been important mentors in Katie's life since her time in seminary.

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