St. Philip’s Episcopal Church will open its doors from 6-7:30 p.m. Nov. 9, for the visit of the Rt. Rev. Daniel G. P. Gutièrrez, bishop of Pennsylvania.
Rather than officiating at a special service, though, Bishop Gutièrrez will be at the landmark church simply to connect with people in the New Hope-Solebury community.
Food and drink will be provided and—as always—all are welcome at St. Philip’s, a former one-room schoolhouse at 10 Chapel Road, New Hope (Solebury Township).
“There’s no agenda per se,” said the Very Rev. Michael R. Ruk, rector of St. Philip’s, better known as Michael. “Too often, we don’t realize the importance of just being with each other to share food, conversation, a hug or a laugh.” In fact, he noted, it’s more important than ever, as many of the bonds that once held people together have frayed in the years since the pandemic.
The Nov. 9 event—part of the Episcopal Church’s “jubilee ministry”—fits with St. Philip’s expansive sense of community. In addition to its weekly church services (Sunday mornings at 8:15 and 10:15 a.m. and Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m.), St. Philip’s hosts a variety of cultural and community events during the year and has fed hundreds in the six months since its mobile pantry opened in the church parking lot on Thursdays from 3-5 p.m.
“As much as we’re fighting hunger,” Ruk added, “we’re fighting an epidemic of loneliness.”
November’s visit will be Bishop Gutièrrez’s third to St. Philip’s since he was installed as Bishop of Pennsylvania in 2016. He previously served as Canon to the Ordinary in the Diocese of the Rio Grande, which encompasses New Mexico and the far western corner of Texas bordering Mexico.