Worship with Bishop Brown this Sunday, June 7, 2020

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The bishop is thrilled that you and your parish will be joining us for worship on Trinity Sunday, June 7, 2020, at 11:00 a.m., via Facebook Live. It will be wonderful knowing that we will all be together, even if only virtually, and seeing the chats from across our diocese. Below are the ‘directions’ to the service and additional information that may be helpful:

  • The service will be broadcast on Facebook Live (only)
  • Our Facebook link is: https://www.facebook.com/episcopaldelaware
    • To join us, go to The Episcopal Church in Delaware (same link as above) and scroll until you find the video image that indicates, LIVE (in red) in the top left of the video image frame. We plan to go live at 10:55 a.m., to allow you time to find our feed.
  • You can download the worship bulletin at https://bit.ly/bulletin6-7. It is also on the Diocese of Delaware website under Worship with Us and will be provided in the description of the live feed on Sunday.
  • We do not recommend a Facebook Watch Party for this service. If you begin a Watch Party you will not see others across the diocese and you will not be able to pass the peace with everyone watching — rather, just with those that are in your Watch Party.
  • Facebook Live is easy and free for anyone.
    • You do not have to join Facebook to watch a Facebook Live video. And, if you’re already a Facebook user, you do not have to log in to watch, either.
    • LEARN HOW!

We look forward to worshiping with you in celebration of Trinity Sunday.

See you then,
Cynde Bimbi, Diocese of Delaware
Director of Communications

Spiritual, learning opportunity: “The Saint John’s Bible Series”

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For five weeks in June, pray with the illuminated manuscript of The Saint John’s Bible, through a collaboration with The Urban Well at Saint James; Rev. Jim Strader-Sasser, Priest-in-Charge at Christ Memorial Episcopal Church in Danville, PA and The Rev. Dr. Howell Sasser, Rector at St. Thomas’s.

The series is free. You must register to receive the Zoom invitation. “The Saint John’s Bible Series” series will be held on five Tuesday evenings beginning at 7 p.m., starting tomorrow Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Each session will be about 75 minutes and will include learning, guided viewing of art, and contemplative worship. 

“I have contributed to the content, along with others who are much smarter than I am!  And best of all, it’s free!”, says Fr. Howie.  To register, anyone can go to saintjameslancaster.org and click on the spiritual growth tab. And, if they have any questions, they can contact Fr. Howie at StThomassRector@googlegroups.com or the Parish Administrator at StThomassOffice@googlegroups.com.   

Kind Regards,
Cana Hartman, Parish Administrator

Feeding the homeless – June 4, 2020

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Dear family of St. Thomas’s and St. Nicholas,

Last Thursday, May 28, 2020, with your help, we fed 40 homeless friends in the parking lot of the Red Roof Inn. They were all VERY grateful to you. I am also grateful for your generosity and your help! MANY thanks to Jill Jensen for packing all the bags, to Teresa Coons and Susan Hechter for cleaning up after our “scoop and dash”, to our wonderful bakers and our food and fund donators AND those who pray for this ministry! I am also very grateful for my partner in “crime”, Kelly Tompkins, who comes to help scoop the hot food onto the plates, load the cars and dash off to serve it hot!   We are getting very practiced at this!

Here is the plan for June 4, 2020:  substantial nachos (with meat, cheese and salsa) and tossed salad, complimented with a fruit cup, cookies and a soda. Below, is the sign up genius.  As always, only look at the black and yellow part. https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10C0A4DACA72AAAFF2-feeding8

If you would bring your items to St. Thomas on Thursday, June 4, 2020 between 2 and 4 p.m., that would be great! If you can’t do that, give me a call and I will pick it up at your door.

MANY Blessings for your care of our homeless friends,
Madeline Johnson

A Pastoral Note on Recent Events

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Dear Friends,

One of the things lost in our technical problems this morning was a chance to pray together about the events that have rolled across our television screens in the past few days.  As Christians, that should be our first instinct – to pray for the dead, for the living, and for the justice of God that we are told will roll down like waters.  

George Floyd and Derek Chauvin – we must say their names, make them real – collided in a way that cannot have any place in the heart of a follower of Jesus.  By one man’s action, the image of God was vandalized in both of them in those moments.  For the one, we pray for peaceful rest.  May his soul find perfection in the presence of God, and the honor as a child of God that he was denied in his last moments.  And for the other, we pray for a turning of his heart, honest repentance and acknowledgment of the terrible consequences of the power he chose to claim. 

In the days since, we have seen anger flow out of houses and apartments – places of isolation in recent times – and into the streets.  The anger is righteous, but the way it mutates into further violence risks the loss of additional lives, which can only compound the injustice it is trying to bring to an end.  As of when I write this, it appears that two people have been killed in the riots in Minneapolis.  That is already two too many – let us pray there are no more.

Too often, events of this kind seem to leave us having learned little.  I ask you to renew your prayers that we as a society will have a turning of heart, that the horror of the scenes played and replayed on television screens all across the United States (and, to our shame, around the world) will awaken in us a new will to work for justice.  Perhaps by the grace of God, anger will lead to constructive change and confrontation to understanding.

O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

God’s peace to you all

The Reverend Dr. Howell C. Sasser, Jr., Rector

Saints Nicholas and Thomas 2020 Pentecost service

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Hello friends.  There were some technical issues this morning, that stopped us from streaming LIVE.  Never fear – it was put together in a recording AND IT’S WORTH THE WAIT!

See the 2020 Pentecost service for Sunday, May 31, 2020. It will also be available on YouTube, with links from St. Thomas’s website, Facebook, and InstaGram.  Please feel free to share the GOOD NEWS!  

Kind Regards,
Cana Hartman, Parish Administrator

Carpenter’s Helper newsletter for May 31, 2020

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Hello faith family! I am in shock that we are coming to the end of May.  The school year is wrapping up, and with that comes celebrations of academic achievement!  Some of our own scholars are noted for their accomplishments in this week’s Carpenter’s Helper newsletter. 

  • May 31, 2020 is Pentecost Sunday!  I am so looking forward to seeing our #SpiritSelfies together.  
  • Wednesday noon Intercessory Prayer service continues via YouTube.  
  • On Thursday, June 4, 2020, Deacon Cecily will be offering evening Compline prayers at 7 p.m.  Please write to me at StThomassOffice@googlegroups.com if you would like the link to this new weekly Zoom worship service.
  • The following Sunday, June 7, 2020, we will join with most other churches in the Diocese of Delaware to “attend” the bishop’s livestream service. So, there will not be the usual 9 a.m. worship service at St. Thomas’s. Details about time and how to connect to the Bishop’s service will follow shortly.

To see all events or news, visit our website, check FaceBook, or check out the posted events on the board next to the name tag station. Recent Newsletters, Sermons, or Announcements are also available.

Kind Regards,
Cana Hartman, Parish Administrator

A Day of Mourning for those who have died during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Dear Friends in Christ,

In response to the call for a day of mourning and lament as described in this article titled “After 100,000 COVID-19 Deaths in U.S., Interfaith Leaders, Mayors Call for Day of Mourning and Lament,” I invite you to join me on Zoom Monday, June 1, 2020, at 10 a.m., for a time of prayer and reflection as we commend to Our Father in Heaven those who have died during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Write to the Parish Office of St. Thomas’s at StThomassOffice@googlegroups.com or St. Nicholas for Zoom instructions.

Fr. Bill
The Very Reverend William B. Lane

Worship service on Sunday, May 31, 2020

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This Sunday, May 31, 2020, is Whitsunday, the Day of Pentecost! We will be streaming LIVE from St. Nicholas at 9 a.m.  On Sunday, connect to our service at St. Thomas’s YouTube channel. Please subscribe and ring the notification bell (twice) so you never miss a presentation. Here is the service leaflet  that accompanies the service.  I look forward to worshiping together on Sunday!   

And then, beginning on June 4, 2020, Deacon Cecily will begin offering evening Compline at 7 p.m. via Zoom.  Please email me for an invitation to this prayerful end to the day.  ALL are Welcome! 

On Sunday, June 7, 2020,  we will join with most other churches in the diocese to “attend” Bishop Brown’s livestream service. So, there will not be the usual 9 a.m. worship service at St. Thomas’s. Details about time and how to connect will follow shortly.

In this strange time, the church is aware that some of its members are struggling to make ends meet. If you are in this situation, please let the clergy know of your needs, pray for the church, and feel no guilt about your giving. But if you are able to give, options for giving include mailing a check to your church or online giving. See our Giving page

Kind Regards,
Cana Hartman, Parish Administrator

2020 Confirmation Class Hasn’t Missed a Beat

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Dear St. Thomas’s Parish,

We’re writing this note with much gratitude for the opportunity to work another year with Youth Confirmation.  As we wind down the 2019-20 term, we thought it would be fitting to provide a brief update on the status of this year’s class.  Since the onset of “shelter-in-place” on March 15, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve missed only one class and extended the course calendar three weeks to conclude on Pentecost Sunday, June 7, 2020.  It’s hard to believe that there have been 3.5 technology apps and four syllabus revisions over the last 10 weeks.  Our confirmands have surveyed the Old Testament, journeyed through the Gospel of Mark and currently exploring the formative questions, “Who is God for You? and Who are You for God?”   The Confirmation Class now meets via Skype at 10 – 11:30 AM on Sundays, immediately after church service LIVE on YouTube. They haven’t missed a beat over the last 9 months.

Furthermore, we quickly adapted our learning plans to the reality of the current crisis.  Recent class discussions have pivoted toward coping with “so much homework”, “missing friends and teachers”, “computer issues” and “good (and not so good) things happenings because of COVID-19”.  The class has spent considerable time on habits of faith over fear, usually capped with marvelous student-led prayers that honor essential workers or those who are adversely impacted by the pandemic.  Although Night Watch in NYC was cancelled and Confirmation Sunday postponed, the confirmands remain highly engaged during these uncertain times.

The Confirmation Class of 2020 is simply amazing and smart, and forgetful, and curious, and stubborn, and courageous, occasionally worried, and funny, and frequently tired, and caring, and opinionated, and super creative and sometimes downright passionate all in a span of 90 minutes!   They keep us on our toes, for sure.  We’re truly blessed to learn and grow with these wonderful young people.

Let’s continue to pray for our confirmands as they wind down formal confirmation classes.  Their ultimate decision for confirmation is imminent and we wish them all the best on this next step toward adulthood.  Special thanks to parents, families and the entire St. Thomas’s Parish for all of your support this past year!

#StayHome and Be Well,

Bob Rys and Teri Quinn Gray
Youth Confirmation Leaders

St. Thomas’s Worship Update for May 2020

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Dear Friends,

You may have read that the Governor has issued guidelines under which churches may begin to resume worship with in-person congregations.  These new rules take effect on June 1st, but no Episcopal church in Delaware, including St Thomas’s, will be able to start that quickly.  A task force of the Diocese is reviewing the guidelines (which are extensive and quite stringent) and working out how they might be implemented in the context of our style of worship.  I anticipate that there will be additional steps, including diocesan review, that will be required of any church that decides to re-start worship “live” in its building.  This will come to different parishes at different speeds.  Please be assured that the leadership of St Thomas’s will act prudently in making decisions about how and when we may move in this direction.

In the meantime, we will continue to have YouTube worship on Sunday mornings and Wednesdays at noon.  Deacon Cecily will also be offering the service of Compline one evening per week – look for more details on this to come soon.  We continue to make improvements in our capacity to live-stream our services, and plan to continue doing this even when in-person worship resumes.  We are very much aware that some in our community will be observing health precautions longer than others, and we do not want anyone to feel excluded. 

I will close by letting you know about one other special event.  On June 7, 2020, Trinity Sunday, there will not be the usual 9 a.m. Eucharist so that we can join with most other churches in the diocese in “attending” the Bishop’s on-line service.  This sign of our unity will give us all a chance to hear from Bishop Brown and remind us that we share a common mission, even as we worship in living rooms and dens and kitchens all over the state.

Please be assured of my continuing prayers for you all.

Peace and be well,

The Reverend Dr. Howell C. Sasser, Jr.