News Newsletter

St. Philip Invitation – December 2020


Celebrating Christmas in 2020

At its heart, Christmas is a celebration of the wondrous power of God’s love breaking into the weary world through the birth of a savior. Christmas is a celebration of hope, of joy! It’s a celebration we await with hopeful expectation every year, but perhaps with even more longing this year. 

While it may not be exactly as years past this year, St. Philip will joyfully celebrate the coming of our savior again this Christmas Eve. There will be two different opportunities for worship. Please make plans to attend!

At 7:00pm there will be a Community Candlelight Celebration on the lawn beside the church. The whole Roanoke community is invited to come for a short service where folks will hear the Christmas story and sing Silent Night by candlelight. This will be an outdoor, masked, and socially distant event.

Then, at 9pm, join on Zoom for a live Christmas Eve worship service. This service will look more familiar to a traditional Christmas Eve service and will be accessible through computer or phone. The Zoom gathering will open at 8:30pm to allow for a half hour of fellowship before the service begins. To access the meeting go to and enter meeting i.d. 875 0473 1483. The passcode is 24019. Please You do not need a computer or internet to join! Just call into the meeting from your landline or cell phone at 13017158592. At the prompt use the meeting i.d. and passcode above.

On December 27, the congregation will celebrate the First Sunday of Christmas with a service of Lessons and Carols. This service will be shared in our typical digital and conference call formats. 

While it may look different than we’re used to, celebrations this year will be as joyful and meaningful as ever. Please make plans to attend worship at St. Philip.

Worship Events

Postponement of Indoor Worship

Dear beloved St. Philippians:

We are writing to inform you that at the November 10 meeting of the St. Philip Church Council, the leadership body voted to postpone a return to indoor worship.

This decision was not made lightly, as numerous communications have already gone out and preparations had been made for the planned November 15 return date. Unfortunately, since council met and approved the November 15 plan at the October meeting, the coronavirus situation in our Roanoke area has changed. Roanoke and much of Southwest Virginia are now “hot spots,” and our local positivity rates are now running between 10-12%. Roanoke Memorial Hospital has its highest numbers of Covid19 patients yet and now has two floors dedicated to treating Covid patients. 

This was a weighty decision. Council is aware that every single one of us longs to be back to worshipping in the sanctuary. We are certainly all feeling the frustration, fatigue, and sadness of not being able to gather in our traditional ways. But, we are called to care for our St. Philip community and our neighborhood community and gathering in groups in an enclosed space, even briefly, risks those we love. Again, this decision was not made lightly. We – your pastors and your church council – very much miss worshipping as we did prior to this pandemic season.  We miss you and eagerly await the time when we can gather again!

As has been the case throughout the pandemic, remember always that we continue to be a community of faith. Our mission has not and does not stop – we will always seek to Live Like That, like Jesus, as we love, feed, and serve. At this time, we plan to continue to worship in creative ways using our online resources and conference calls, as well drive-up options. While worship brings us much comfort and joy, worship is primarily about God, who is the audience. So while worshipping in these formats may not be our preference, we are indeed still giving thanks and praise to God. If you have not yet connected with the worship options available, we do encourage you to do so.

As we continue through this season, feelings of isolation and loneliness are so prevalent. We all very much need each other and ask you to connect with one another. The St. Philip family is such a gift and we encourage you to check in with one another. We, your pastors, also want to connect with you and encourage you to connect with us. Most importantly, as challenges and disappointments are prevalent, remember always you are not alone. Nothing in all of creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. 

In God’s Promise,
Pastor David and Pastor Laura

Feast at Philip's

Feast at Philip’s is On!

On November 28, St. Philip will again host the Feast at Philips event to love, feed, and serve the Roanoke community in the holiday season. As with many things, the Feast will look different to ensure we are serving safely, but we are grateful for the opportunity to serve. This year, the congregation will be serving to-go meals only. All meals will be packaged at St. Philip and then distributed throughout the community – first responders, assisted living centers, apartment communities and other members of the community.

Additionally this year, St. Philip will be partnering with Trinity Lutheran on Williamson Road to distribute meals to community members from their location. To accomplish this, the Feast team will certainly need your help! Information will be sent out soon on how to help, but go ahead and mark the date on your calendar.

Cooked hams, turkeys, food packagers, trucks for delivering food, food deliverers, and financial donations will all be needed. You may volunteer to help or make financial contribution at this electronic sign up form and as always offering, including ones designated for Feast at Philips, can be made using the the Give Now link. Thank you in advance for the awesome ways you support this important community ministry.


St. Philip Invitation – November 2020


St. Philip Invitation – October 2020

Council Notes

Announcing Congregational Meeting – September 27

Dear Fellow St. Philippians:

This letter is to inform you of a Congregational Meeting, which Council has schedule for Sunday, September 27, after the 9:30AM “parking lot” worship service.

The meeting will take place in the parking lot.

The purpose of this meeting is to vote on Council’s recommendation for changes to the St. Philips Constitution.  This will be the sole item on the agenda, and approval of the recommendation will require a majority of the voters present at this meeting.

It is VERY IMPORTANT that we have a quorum present for this meeting, so PLEASE make every effort to attend.

The changes being proposed are mostly to align our Constitution with the Congregational Constitution currently in effect in the Virginia Synod of the ELCA.  The Virginia Synod Constitution has had seven (7) updates since St. Philip last updated its Constitution in April 2013, so we need to get current.  The most important provision in the update to us right now would allow St. Philip to conduct Congregational Voter meetings digitally, without having an “in person” gathering.  The lack of this provision in our Constitution is beginning to hamper Council’s ability to effectively manage the affairs of our congregation.

It is NOT Council’s intent to adopt digital voter’s meetings as a preferred practice.  I think most would agree that in-person gatherings remain the preferred practice because it allows effective communication and important exchanges of ideas and viewpoints in a meeting.  However, we have learned that the ability to conduct a digital voter’s meeting is indeed an important option to insure effective management of congregational business in extreme circumstances.

A copy of the recommended updates can be found below.  Please review prior to our meeting on the 27.

God’s Peace to all of you,
Gary Sahm, Council President


St. Philip Invitation

Blood Drive

Fall Blood Drive

St. Philip will host its annual Blood Drive on October 12 from 10am-4:00pm and October 13 from 1:00pm to 7:00pm. These dates are to accommodate the large number of donors the St. Philip drive serves while maintaining social distancing practices.

Please note that because of COVID-19 NO WALK-INS WILL BE ACCEPTED. All donors must make appointments. To schedule an appointment, you may go to and search for blood drives in 24019 zip code or contact Debbie Kanode at We are excited for this opportunity to serve our community!

“It feels good to save a life.”


St. Philip Invitation