Episcopal Campus Ministry (ECM) is requesting food donations

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Episcopal Campus Ministry (ECM) is requesting food donations for our Blue Hen Bounty food pantry for food insecure University of Delaware students who cannot provide ample nutrition for themselves. Food donations of cereal, peanut butter, jelly, and instant soups are most in need right now. Other non-perishable food and personal hygiene item donations are also welcome.

Blue Hen Bounty donations may be left in the clear bin labeled ECM food closet located near the windows in the great hall. ECM thanks you for your support!

The Rev. Edward E. Godden, Interim Rector beginning January 1, 2018

The Wardens and Vestry of St. Thomas’s Parish are pleased and honored to announce that the Rev. Edward E. Godden has accepted our call to serve as Interim Rector beginning January 1, 2018. Father Ed has been in the area for many years, serving parishes in Delaware and Cecil County, Maryland. He is also well acquainted with St. Thomas’s, most recently as supply priest twice this past summer. Father Ed is trained and experienced in interim ministry.

Father Ed will serve the parish on a half-time basis. His focus will be on worship, pastoral care, and guiding us through the transition process. In order to make the best use of his time, and to expose the parish to a broad variety of experiences in worship and preaching, supply priests and guest preachers will supplement his liturgical ministry.

Father Ed is looking forward to being with us, helping us to grow into a stronger parish during the interim period as we seek our next full-time rector. Please keep him and the parish in your prayers. We also encourage you to maintain–and perhaps increase and deepen–your commitment to the ministry of St. Thomas’s during the very interesting time that lies ahead for all of us.

Connie Cooper
Senior Warden

2017 – 2018 Advent and Christmas Worship

posted in: Advent, Christmas, News | 0


The angel came to Mary and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 

Luke 1: 28-31


To the people of St. Thomas’s Parish,

Greetings to you and your family as once again the year has come round to Advent and Christmas. Just as Mary was perplexed by what it might mean when the angel Gabriel visited her, we wonder, too. We wonder at God’s love in sending us His only son, who entered the world just as all of us do, as a baby. It’s beyond human understanding—so we wonder, and we celebrate and give thanks. We know that God has shown favor to us.

At St. Thomas’s, 2017 has given us much to reflect upon and be thankful for. We celebrated 175 years of mission and ministry to Newark and the University of Delaware with worship, fellowship, and service, thanks to the leadership of the 175th Anniversary Committee. Our Episcopal Campus Ministry has continued, with strong support and commitment from the University of Delaware, to develop its Blue Hen Bounty program, which provides food to students in need. We also said farewell, with love and gratitude, to the Rev. Paul W. Gennett, Jr., who concluded nine years of mutual ministry with us at the end of October. God has indeed been with us for 175 years, and we trust that God’s presence will continue.

In our diocese, we have just elected the Rt. Rev. Kevin Brown to be our next bishop. We’re wondering what his ministry might mean for St. Thomas’s, for all Episcopalians in Delaware, and for our church’s role in the community. Again, we believe that God’s favor will be with our new bishop and our diocese.

But as we wonder about all of these things, just as Mary wondered at the visit from the angel, we aren’t always sure what they mean for us, for our church, for our world. And we’re not always sure about God’s favor—how can we experience it or know it? One way to find God’s love is by participating in the regular and special services that will be offered at St. Thomas’s during the Advent and Christmas seasons—a listing of those services is enclosed with this letter. Your presence, in wonder, celebration, and thanksgiving, will enrich our parish family’s observance of this holy season.

We also give thanks for the wonderful generosity of the people of St. Thomas’s, who unsparingly give their time, talents, and treasure to fulfill our mission and vision of a community “nourished at Christ’s table and stepping forward in faith” as “instruments of God’s love, serving our parish family, the University of Delaware, our community, and God’s creation.”  Every contribution, whatever it may be, is a reflection of God’s grace to us. We invite you to prayerfully consider making a special offering this season to support our continuing mission and ministry, using the envelope enclosed with this letter.

May god bless you and your family at Christmas and in the New Year. We look forward to your presence and participation at St. Thomas’s in 2018.

In the peace and love of Christ,

Connie Cooper, Senior Warden
The Rev. Deacon Cecily Sawyer Harmon, Episcopal Campus Minister

Pilgrimage Windows Booklet online

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Life is a journey for every human being, but for believers of all stripes it is also a pilgrimage with a Purpose and a destination. Christians are called to a life of love and service here on earth, with the Hope of salvation in the next life.

On the north wall or left side of the nave of St. Thomas’s Church is a continuous glass bank of unique stained-glass windows at eye level, vividly reminding us not only that we are all sojourners, but also that we are not at all alone. Indeed, among this great “crowd of witnesses” are traditional saints whom we can venerate but often prefer to think we cannot possibly emulate, but also less heroic women and men who can inspire and guide us along our own path.

Enjoy the Pilgrimage Windows Booklet online. To purchase a printed copy, please call the Parish Office at (302) 368-4644. A copy is $10, which includes postage and handling.

See the windows in person by visiting the north wall or left side of the nave at St. Thomas’s Parish at 276 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19711. Since the procession and the inscription move from left to right (as one faces the windows) and it is suggested that the viewer also proceed this way. Each of the five groups is chronologically ordered, moving from the recent to the ancient. As one moves from one bay to the next, therefore, one will find one self propelled from Apostolic to modern times.

Booklet contributors:
Text by Lawrence G. Duggan, Professor of History, University of Delaware. Member of St. Thomas’s Parish (1982-), Head of the Liturgy Guild (2003-), and Grand High Thurifer.
Photos by Robert Gilley, Member of St. Thomas’s Parish (1996-)
Graphic Design and Layout by Jason J. Malago

2017 Annual Christmas Bazaar Update

posted in: Christmas, Outreach | 0

Join us for our 2017 Annual Christmas Bazaar at St. Thomas’s Episcopal Parish, 276 South College Ave., Newark, DE on

Friday, December 1 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday, December 2 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sunday, December 4 after the 8:00 and 10:30 a.m. services

We will be selling unique holiday crafts – many under $10, fresh baked goods, cookie trays, quarts of homemade soups, St. Thomas’s t-shirts and hoodies, second-hand Christmas decorations, and exclusive new items.

Breakfast buffet on Saturday 9 – 10:30 a.m. (See breakfast details.)

Lunch available for purchase from 11 – 1 , Fri. & Sat.

All proceeds go to St. Thomas’s Outreach Ministries

Please share our 2017 Annual Christmas Bazaar flyer! Hope to see you at the bazaar.

Sermon for the Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost – November 12, 2017/Year A

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Here are some lyrics from a Christian camp song or vacation Bible school song very loosely based on the gospel lesson this morning: “Give me oil for my lamp keep me burning/give me oil for my lamp I pray/give me oil for my lamp keep me burning/keep me burning til the break of day.” I cannot remember when I first learned this song and it meant nothing really—well, I guess just another happy, clappy song to have fun singing with my peers and counselors.

Most songs of this genre have fairly shaky theology, and this one certainly misses the main point of Jesus’ parable. But if you step outside the world of the parable for a moment and think about what the lyrics mean for us, there is an important message for our petitionary prayers.

See The Reverend Elizabeth Masterson’s sermon for the Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost – November 12, 2017/Year A or view the video from Facebook.

See all sermons.

Poets’ Corner Reading Series presents Celeste Doaks

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Poets’ Corner Reading Series presents Celeste Doaks reading poetry by her favorite poets.

Saturday, November 18, 4:00 p.m.
St. Thomas’s Episcopal Parish, 276 S. College Ave., Newark, DE

Free-will offering.

Poet and journalist Celeste Doaks is the author of Cornrows and Cornfields (Wrecking Ball Press, UK), and most recently the editor of Not Without Our Laughter (Mason Jar Press). Cornrows was listed as one of the “Ten Best Books of 2015” by Beltway Poetry Quarterly. Her accolades include a Lucille Clifton Scholarship to attend Squaw Valley Writers Workshop, the 2010 AWP WC&C Scholarship. Her journalism has appeared in the Huffington Post, Village Voice, Time Out New York, and QBR (Quarterly Black Book Review). Her poems have been published in multiple on-line and print publications such as Chicago Quarterly Review, the Rumpus.net, and the City Paper. Doaks is currently the Visiting Assistant Professor in Creative Writing at University of Delaware. For more, visit her on Twitter and Instagram @thedoaksgirl or at www.doaksgirl.com

Co-sponsored by St. Thomas’s Parish and the University of Delaware Department of English.

Christmas Pageant preparation

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Hello Families,

Thanks to all who helped with the Trick or Treat for UNICEF campaign. I am hoping to collect the last of the little orange boxes this Sunday, 11/13. Then, I will announce the grand total we collected and send it off to UNICEF. If any boxes come in after that, I will send it as a separate donation on behalf of St. Thomas’s Children’s ministries.

Our next big project is the annual Christmas pageant, which will serve as the gospel and sermon during the Christmas Eve service on 12/24.  We will be doing a traditional pageant this year and will need a narrator, 12-14 children with small speaking parts (most a sentence or two) and 4+ participants with no speaking part. I have some ideas about who would be good for the parts and will begin assigning the parts this week and next. I would like to begin rehearsals during Sunday School very soon and in December there will be some practices at time outside of Sunday School.

Please let me know if your child will be available for the pageant and willing/able to play a part. I will be talking to the children myself when I see them. So it would be greatly appreciated if families could make their best effort to attend church for the next few weeks.  The Christmas pageant is one of the greatest gifts that the children give to their church each year and I would love to have everyone be a part of it..

Peace to all,
Belinda Young-Payne
Director of Children’s Ministries, St Thomas’s Parish