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.

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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

St. Thomas’s–the next chapter now begins

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A Message from the Vestry November 2, 2017

Dear Friends,

THANK YOU to everyone who helped to make Father Paul and Marilyn Gennett’s last Sunday at St. Thomas’s a special day. And thanks to everyone who came out on a rainy, dreary day to show your love and appreciation for the Gennetts.

We all have our own thoughts and feelings about the retirement of Father Paul and what it means for us, both individually and as a parish. We’re sad, we’re anxious, we’re wondering. It will take time to sort through all of this, and it will be different for each one of us. This normal, so accept whatever is in your heart.

What comes next for St. Thomas’s? Most importantly, our Sunday celebrations of the Holy Eucharist will continue at 8:00 and 10:30. The Rev. Elizabeth Masterson will lead all of our regular and special services in November and December. She will also be doing pastoral care. Please wear your nametags so that she can get to know you. She looks forward to seeing everyone on November 5—and please remember to FALL BACK on Saturday night so that you get to church on time!

The vestry is committed to keeping St. Thomas’s active and healthy during the interim period. But doing this will require everyone’s participation. We are all of us entrusted with the care of this particular portion of God’s kingdom here in Newark, Delaware. Keep up with the Google groups messages and the Carpenter’s Helper to learn about opportunities for worship, fellowship, and service.

The transition process will be a major focus in the months to come. The process will take time and patience, for we must follow diocesan procedures. Here’s an update on where we are:

  • The vestry is making progress on securing an interim rector to serve the parish beginning in early 2018. Since this is a personnel matter, we can’t say anything until we have something to say. As soon as arrangements with the interim rector are finalized, we will make a public announcement.
  • The vestry and transition committee will be meeting with our transition consultant on November 11 to learn more about the process.
  • The vestry will be selecting the search committee, which will begin work shortly after the interim rector arrives.
  • Once we know more about the process, we will provide a road map of what is involved and keep the parish updated on progress.

We’re on a journey into new territory—there will be some twists and turns along the way–and we hope that everyone will join us. With God’s help, the days ahead will be interesting and rewarding as we move Forward in Faith, one step at a time.

Thank you for your support of St. Thomas’s Parish. Please keep the church in your prayers.

Connie Cooper
Senior Warden

2017 Annual Christmas Bazaar

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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.

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.

Chapter 22, Page 175 – Forward in Faith, October 2017

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Chapter 22, Page 175 – Forward in Faith

“The place God calls you to be is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

++++++++

“What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning…
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”                                                                                                                T.S. Eliot “Little Gidding V”

I was 13 years old, launching into my teen years and all the joys and heartbreaks these years can bring. It was a warm September Sunday morning as we gathered for worship at Chews Landing United Methodist Church. There were thousands of people – at least to my teenaged eyes – staring at me as I stood on the chancel steps with Pastor Bridges.  Typical for teens of this age, I was still physically morphing toward maturity, so acne was very much the vogue on my face, and my hair was then full and blazing red as was my face I am sure.

You see, on this warm September Sunday, I made my profession before everyone that I felt God was calling me to ministry! This is how it was done in the Methodist Church in those days. After worship, I was grateful that more people than not offered their prayers and support for the journey ahead. And then at my sixteenth year Pastor Bridges was transferred to another pastorate, and Pastor Long came to our church. Pastor Long was older, longer serving in ministry, and had seen it all in life. His commendation to me was to “go to college, grow up some more, then come back to see if this call is REALLY God’s work.” How stupid I thought Pastor Long was that day … how angry I was that day … yet how wise and discerning he truly was that day. I never had the chance to thank Pastor Long in person for this wisdom, so I do so now.

Graduation from high school led to college years in Western Pennsylvania. A “Christian” college by formation and foundation required chapel weekdays and Sunday evening. By the way, it was the late 1960’s, so if you watched the recent Ken Burn’s documentary The Vietnam War you will know what that time was like! While Steven Nash wailed “Love the one you are with” we studied, partied, partied, studied some, partied more … well, I did graduate I suspect because they wanted me out of there! The blessing was meeting Marilyn in my third year, her first, and 46 years later, she still considers renewing my one year contracts.

Moving into the working world with my wife, my Dad’s venerable wisdom was heard – “Have a family, you take care of them. Be responsible!” This wisdom was formed in his life of responsibility for my mother and me, and I could not ask for a better model of this way of living. To my father’s credit, there were many other wisdom offerings, such as be compassionate … be fair … be generous … be humble … be helpful to those who need it. Paul W. Gennett, Sr. left my life much too early for my liking, but his wisdom has never left me. I began a career in business, first in sales, then management locally to management corporately, 20 years surrounded by “people” in human resource management and consulting. It seemed working with people in sharing my gifts, guidance, and encouragement that I encountered in those teenage years never left me. I just simply followed another path. And then …

Moving to Pittsburgh in 1985, we quickly became actively immersed in worship, service, and parish life of Christ Church. Then one cold and damp February evening in 1987, our priest, the Reverend Rodger Wood, asked to meet with me after work. We met in his office, and after a somewhat rambling prayer, Rodger stared at me in silence. And then he pointed his finger toward me saying, “Well, let’s get on with this. Everybody sees it – you should become a priest.” Suddenly I was a 13 year old teenager standing on the chancel steps all over again … but this time, it felt right round again. So another two years through the Episcopal aspirant process, then on to Virginia Seminary at the tender age of 40 — wait, when was the last course paper I wrote, and how did I do that again?? Returning to Pittsburgh for ordination as deacon to priest in 1992, and then …

Twenty-five years of seeking to serve God and the people who called me to care for them and share in ministry echoes the words of T. S. Eliot for me — “What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning …”
On November 1, the journey to Chapter 22 begins for you, the people of St. Thomas’s, and Volume 3 of my life journey opens to a new, blank page for us both. Yet not so blank when we think of it as we bring the richness of lives and faith lived fully from our nine years together into this next ventures. As result of our life and time together, I pray those I have hurt or offended, please forgive me. To those I have blessed, bless others. Those whom I have helped, help others. To all who have invited into your homes, your lives, your joys and sorrows, your hopes and dreams, I am humbled and thankful for our time together.

The words of blessing from John Donohue echo joyfully for us both I pray, with a little awe and wonder mixed in as well. Yet I pray you embrace this blessing as my prayer for you all in the days to come, and ask you embrace them for the journey ahead for Marilyn and me …

“Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.”
John Donohue. “To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings

With gratitude, love, and hope for you all, my thanks for inviting me to share  these nine years of mutual ministry together. May God, our loving and lover God in Christ, bless you, bless you, bless you!

With gratefulness always, your servant in Christ

Fr. Paul+

 

Sermon for the Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost & Completion of Mutual Ministry between St. Thomas’s Parish & the Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.

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“What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning …

++++++++

“What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you came to believe … I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.”

I cannot recall how often this passage from First Corinthians has been part of my life, my serving, my teaching, and my preaching. I simply know it has been an essential part of my life, and I pray it has been evident through me many, many times in our life together. You see, for me  it is the hallmark and touchstone for living the faith that Jesus gives us to live forward as MOVERS in the Jesus Movement. It is the hallmark and touchstone for lives shared in mutual ministry, together. It is the hallmark and touchstone that I pray that has been our mutual ministry these nine years at St. Thomas’s.

See The Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.’s Sermon for the Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost & Completion of Mutual Ministry between St. Thomas’s Parish & the Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr. in its entirety.

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Sermon for the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost – October 22, 2017

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Show me the money!! I am guessing most everyone born before 2000 is familiar with this famous line. Of course, it is from that classic event of our time – the annual stewardship campaign! Not really, although some campaigns have taken on this strident slogan much too often for my experience of ministry.

Show me the money is actually the classic and most often quoted line from the movie Jerry McGuire featuring Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., Rene Zellwegger, and other notable stars of the day. The premise of this movie was about a hot-shot sports agent who falls from favor in a larger agency and loses his job. He presses on independently, striving to represent Gooding Jr. who is about to enter the free agent market. He meets Zellwegger and her young son, falls in love and finds his anchor of humanity and morality again. The “gods” they chase and worship are, of course, football. Well, some things just do not change all that much it seems.

Show me the money!! In Matthew’s Gospel, the controversy conversations between Jesus and the Pharisees continue around the issue of living in the world and being faithful to God’s Word and work in the world as well. As I prayed these words, I was reminded of another movie Pay It Forward. A lovely movie about a young boy who took on a teacher’s challenge by helping one person, and then requesting that the person pay it forward by helping at least three other people.

It seems to me that for God and Christ Jesus, our faithful living calls us to live out the mind and heart of show me the faith … show all the Love!

See The Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.’s sermon for the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost – October 22, 2017/Year A in its entirety.

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Stewardship Cottage Meetings UPDATE

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I regret to inform you that the two Cottage meetings scheduled for this weekend are canceled due to very low sign-up. The two meetings previously announced, and now canceled, are:

Friday Pizza Night: Hosted by Kristin & Justin Sausville and Judy & Mike Grabowski
Sunday Luncheon at St. Thomas: Hosted by Rich & Jean Wadman

Please note that there are still 3 more cottage meetings scheduled. Please check the Cottage Meeting Board at the Sunday Rally table to sign-up! Thanks.

— Richard Wadman

Date: Friday, October 20, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.
Theme: Family Pizza Night – CANCELLED
Hosts: Judy & Mike Grabowski and Kristin & Justin Sausville

Date: Sunday, October 22, 2017 at 12:30-2:30 p.m.
Theme: Luncheon Gathering – CANCELLED
Hosts: Rich & Jean Wadman
Location: St. Thomas’s Parish Hall

Date: Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.
Theme: Light Dinner
Hosts: Jerry & Peggy Schultz

Date: Tuesday, October 31, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
Theme: Tea & Scones
Host: Sue Houghton

Date: Saturday, November 4th at 6:30 p.m.
Theme: Fall Supper
Host: Rejane DeMoraes

Poets’ Corner Reading Series – Saturday, October 21, 2017

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Poets’ Corner Reading Series presents Phillip Bannowsky reading poetry by his favorite poets.

Saturday, October 21, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.
St. Thomas’s Episcopal Church, 276 S. College Ave., Newark, DE

Free-will offering.

Phillip Bannowsky is a retired autoworker, international educator, and human rights activist. His most recent work, now seeking a publisher, is Jacobo the Turko: a Novel in Verse, which earned him the 2017 Delaware Division of the Arts Established Artist Fellowship in Literature: Poetry. Published works include The Milk of Human Kindness (poetry), Autoplant: a Poetic Monologue, and The Mother Earth Inn (novel). Recent poems have appeared in Dreamstreets Magazine, Broadkill Review, Currents, The Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies News, and the anthology Bad Hombres and Nasty Women. Having spent thirty-one years on Chrysler’s assembly line, Bannowsky retired to teach high school English in Ecuador and Lebanon and now teaches The Poetry of Empowerment at the University of Delaware.

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