Sermon for The Second Sunday of Easter – April 3, 2016/Year C

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Every Second Sunday in Easter we meet our namesake Thomas. The crest for Thomas the Apostle on our banner might be an appropriate slogan for any tee-shirts, mugs, cozies, or other promotional products prepared for our upcoming 175th celebration of our ministry in Newark in 2017 – How can we know the way???

See Father Paul’s sermon for The Second Sunday of Easter – April 3, 2016/Year C. See sermons for this liturgical year.

2016 ECM Mission Trip: Journey to Costa Rica — Last Days & Arriving Home Again!

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Blessings to all in Eastertide Grace! I heard from Deacon Cecily that she & the ECM Mission students are back in USA again safe, sound, and truly blessed by their experience & service in Costa Rica! Here is the last word …
Fr. Paul Gennett, Jr.+


Dear Father Paul and the St. Thomas Community,

Hard to believe it’s our last day and it ended with an amazing view. We went to the Poas Volcano National Park, where we viewed the most acidic lake in a volcanic crater.

as well as a lagoon of collected rainwater. It was a physical challenge but the view was worth it.

We concluded our volcano adventure with a taste of the local strawberries and lunch.

I’m sending this email over our last dinner here. While we were eating, the power went out in a small part of San Jose. The restaurant carried on business as usual. I guess that’s what it means to live “pura vida”! Alex even called it “the full Costa Rica experience”. 🙂

We’re on our way to Newark, NJ and eventually DE. Thank you so much for helping us get here and we’ll see you soon!

Pura Vida!
Matanda Mondoa

2016 ECM Mission Trip to Costa Rica: Day 4&5 — Work, work, work … ahhhh, REST & RESTORATION :-D

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Blessings in the Grace of the Easter Saturday! To think we were waiting in the screaming silence of Holy Saturday at the tomb of Jesus, and then …. RESURRECTION HAPPENS! This is exactly what the missals from our ECM students & Deacon Cecily have sounded like. There are more pictures to come, so stay tuned for their return … and pray for safe travel back to us over the night tonight into tomorrow morning!


With gratefulness, your servant in Christ,




Dear Father Paul and the St. Thomas Community,
Our final day of work has been completed and it went quickly. Yesterday, we helped the Hogar Escuela in Heredia by painting one of the classrooms, a jungle gym in the playground, and entertaining the kids during their sports day. It was an emotional day; on the one hand, we completed all the jobs we set out to do. But on the other, we had to say goodbye to all the people and children we bonded with the past few days. The children gave us thank you cards before we left, which was a great reminder of the lives we touched.


Bishop Héctor did a Eucharist mass when we got back to the Diocesan home. He preached about how he was elected and how our work and the church is similar to surfing. Coming across the right opportunities to help the most people is like catching the perfect wave. We came to Costa Rica at the right time and my hope is that we can apply this to many other locations, including Delaware. He gave us handcrafted cross pendants to remember our time here.


We concluded our day with an energizing dance lesson, learning various Costa Rican and popular techniques from the bachata to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. We’ve got a talented bunch out here! It was a lot of fun and gave us some much needed R&R. Today we went to the beach in Manuel Antonio. It was a long drive (3 1/2 hours!) but it was worth it.

Our prayers are with you, especially during our last day here in Costa Rica. Here’s to living “pura vida”! 🙂

Matanda Mondoa
PS – I’ve attached a few photos here and I’m compiling more to put on a website by the time we get back.

Children’s Ministries Family Breakfast

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Join the children and youth of St. Thomas’s for the annual Children’s Ministries Family Breakfast on April 24, 9:30 a.m. Please try to arrive a few minutes early so we can gather our food offerings before we begin. The Breakfast will be held in St. Thomas’s Great Hall. Everyone is welcome to attend but children, youth and their families are encouraged to attend!

Please bring a dish or breakfast item to share. Beverages will be provided.

To RSVP, ask questions or  volunteer to help, email Belinda Young-Payne at or call at 302-832-8834.

See the Children’s Ministries Family Breakfast.flyer.


2016 ECM Mission Trip to Costa Rica: Day 3 — Bishop & Babies!

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Blessings in the Grace of Easter Thursday, the fourth day of our making resurrection happen in our life, in our world … and our ECM students & Dazzling Deacon Cecily continue to serve, share, and grow in Spirit of Love in their ministry in Costa Rica. Today’s update from Carson Hanna.


With gratefulness, your servant in Christ,
Fr. Paul Gennett, Jr.+

Buenos tardes Father Paul y St. Thomas!

      Today was our fourth full day in Costa Rica, and our third day of work! We visited Hogar Escuela Episcopal in Heredia. On our trip to the school, Obispo (Bishop) and Sarah, took us on a tour through the neighborhood the school serves. This neighborhood consists mostly of Nicaraguan immigrants that attend Hogar Escuela Episcopal. We were struck by the  contrast between the shiny new mall down the hill, and the streets the children live on.
       When we arrived at the school, some of the young children playing outside came to wave hello! Once inside, we learned that 60% of the school was built my mission work trips like ours, and the other 40% was by paid professionals from Costa Rica. The president of Costa Rica gave them a grant to complete the school, and Obispo says that it was built on faith, they were never sure if they would raise the money to finish construction and fund the program. When the school first opened, there were less than 10 children in attendance, by day 40, there were 150. Today, there are 160 students regularly attending. Even though there is no air conditioning the openness of the building makes it feel cool and comfortable to the students.
     Before we began our work, we observed Kate, a YASC teacher who lives in the diocesan house, teach her class a new letter, the letter “H”! As our work began we were chipping paint on an outdoor wall, and a few of us began to tap up an empty classroom to re-paint. We put a fresh coat of blue paint on the outside wall, and completed the first layer of paint inside, tomorrow we add the second!
     Since tools were limited, a few of us decided to see if you could assist some teachers. The youngest class, 6 months to 1 year old, was having lunch, and we had the opportunity to help feed them! We had some fun playing peekaboo, and being extra hands for the teachers. Watching ‘los enfantes’ fall asleep in our arms was definitely a highlight of the day!
      After a wonderful lunch of enchiladas and fried plantains prepared by the staff, we departed Hogar Escuela Episcpal and headed to Britt, a coffee plant near by. We got to visit a butterfly garden on the property. A few of us tried to get butterflies to land on our fingers, but we’re very unsuccessful. We tried various flavors of coffee and chocolates, and purchased some yummy treats for our families back home, and some for our ride back to Zapote.  🙂
    We’re now back in the diocesan house, having some fellowship and resting. Something we really enjoy is playing with the puppies, Bisbo, Manchas y Stinky! Tomorrow we will be attending the same school, helping out with sports day! We appriciate your continued prayers as we continue our journey in Costa Rica! We agree we are helping them, just as much as they are helping us!
Attached are some pictures from today!
Abroazos y Besos,
Carson Hanna

2016 ECM Mission Trip to Costa Rica — Painting & Playing Power!

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Blessings to all in Easter Week! Here is the latest update with pictures of our ECM students with working hands & hearts at the school in Costa Rica as they are making resurrection happen in being the blessing of Christ, and being blessed by the same in the children, teachers & hosts. Thanks to Hannah for the latest news from sunny and warmer Costa Rica!


With gratefulness, in peace always,
Fr. Paul Gennett, Jr.+

Dear Father Paul & St. Thomas,

Hola! Day 3 in Costa Rica is complete, and today we wrapped up our work at the Escuela Hogar Episcopal.  We finished some painting jobs and disassembled a flowerless flower bed, giving the children some more color and space to play in their home away from home. We’ve discussed as a group that it’s been very satisfying to have sore muscles and paint-covered hands after a long day of work with such visible results. We also got to enjoy one of the teacher’s grateful smiles seeing her newly-painted classroom, and more of us played with some of the children today. As we tossed balls and shared smiles the language barriers diminished and it was not long before a class of students shared their English singing songs for us!

No need to worry about us being comfortable and well-fed. It’s Costa Rica’s “dry season” here, so we’ve been avoiding any rain, and the highest the temperature climbs is around 80 degrees, but always with a breeze. We’re fed beautifully-seasoned, generously-portioned meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and we’re always surrounded by the good company of each other, the Bishop, or Sarah and Kate (our guides here).

I’ve attached some of the pictures we snapped today. Tomorrow we’re off to another school with similar-aged children, and I’m looking forward to be meeting some new people and serving a new community. Please continue to pray for us and especially for the people we’re serving, that we may know how to best support them and show them God’s love!

Abroazos y Besos (Hugs & Kisses),
Hannah Watts

2016 ECM Mission Trip to Costa Rica

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Blessings to all in Eastertide days, our resurrection happening living!

2016 ECM Mission Trip to Costa Rica
ECM has landed safely in Costa Rica, and has begun their work with the people of the diocese and schools in San Jose! The following is first report from ECM President Catherine Morse, along with pictures of their Easter Day celebrations at Church of the Ascension, and then out to the fresh air market for natural cocktails!!! Continue to hold them all in your daily prayers that God’s lovely work in the world, people together, will be a blessing through them and a blessing to them!


With gratefulness, your servant in Christ,

Fr. Paul Gennett, Jr.+


Hi Father Paul,

Just keeping you updated! ECM had a great day yesterday. We went to the market first thing in the morning for some breakfast that included coconuts, mangos, and other tropical foods. We then went to Ascension Church for Easter service which was very nice. We then went to downtown San Jose to have a late lunch, which was quite delicious, followed by some shopping in the artisan market, and we finished our trip with churros. We were all extremely tired when we got back such that we went to bed before 10 pm haha but that was good because we got up early this morning to start work which you will be hearing about from Hannah (I believe). Hope all is well with you and St. Thomas back home and looking forward to seeing you all again.


Easter Living = Resurrection Happens Through Us!

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Blessings in Easter promise this Monday of Easter Week … ALLELUIA!! I am grateful to all who served and worshiped through Holy Week at St. Thomas’s to make Resurrection Happen in our lives and the lives of those who join us!
Now, the work of the Church — and that would be you and me — now goes out into our world to SHOW how resurrection happens in our lives. Here is one way you might consider being the church for our now & future generations. On April 8-10, our diocesan summer camp, Camp Arrowhead, holds a Work Camp Weekend. You can go down and stay overnight on Friday & Saturday, helping with their Open House on Sunday, April 10 if able … or, since I have to work on Sunday’s [only day  of the week, of course :-D] I will be driving down early Saturday morning, April 9, to lend my hands & hearts to help prepare for another amazing life & spiritual time for so many young persons, many of our own children who attend camp each year. I suspect there are NEVER enough hands, and they are very grateful for some SKILLED folks in carpentry, plumbing, and building stuff. I used to qualify for some of those categories, but now I mostly pick up and throw the remains in the dumpster. So that is proof that EVERYONE is welcome!
I hope to see some there on Saturday April 9, joining hearts & hands to MAKE RESURRECTION HAPPEN through us!
With grateful heart, in peace,
Fr. Paul Gennett, Jr.+

The Journey of Holy Week – HOLY SATURDAY

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On this day the Church continues to mourn the death and burial of Christ and to commemorate the mystery. In this holy time of rest and waiting, the Eucharist is not celebrated nor is Communion received. Saturday is our day of spiritual preparation, pointing the way to a new focus. In the Eastern Christian tradition, this is the time for gathering and blessing of the Easter foods to be shared with friends and family at the Easter feast.


At the heart of the Christian faith stands the Risen Lord, without whom, St. Paul declares, our faith is in vain. And at the heart of Christian worship of the Risen Lord, since the earliest centuries of the Church, is the Great Vigil of Easter. There is nothing more central to our life as members of Christ’s Body, the Church, than this service. It links us across time and space to our earliest brothers and sisters in Christ.

This ancient service, with its roots in the first century, combines diverse elements. The first is the elemental symbol of the New Fire, from which the Paschal (Passover) Candle, symbolizing Christ as the Light of the world, is lit through the darkness. As through the wilderness the people of Israel were guided by a pillar of fire by night, so the Paschal Candle leads us through the dark church building, and from it we light our vigil candles. The Exultet, our song of rejoicing in “this holy night” and remembering the central events of the history of God’s people, is sung to awaken our hearts. The Lessons are reminiscent of the ancient Jewish Passover Vigil, commemorating the liberation of the Hebrews from slavery, foreshadowing our own liberation through the passing from death to life in Christ Jesus. God’s mighty acts to save his people throughout human history are recounted, and we respond with songs of praise. In the ancient Church the baptismal initiation of candidates at the Great Vigil came at the end of a rigorous training period, intensifying during Lent.

We then extinguish the candles and wait in the darkness, symbolically joining Christ in the tomb and marking the death of the church year. We hear a deep pounding on the door of the sanctuary – Christ calling us to welcome him into our hearts and new life in Christ! A torch bears the new light for the renewed year in the church, the altar candles and sanctuary lights are lit. We joyfully “make a loud noise” with hand bells, sleigh bells, keys, whatever you have that makes a joyful sound as the glad proclamation is raised “Alleluia! Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore, let us keep the feast! Alleluia!” We celebrate the first Eucharist of Easter, from which our gathering around the altar of grace each Sunday is derived.

Come join your community of faith family as we remember this day of silence until … until … ALLELUIA returns and Resurrection happens! On Holy Saturday, join us at 10:00 a.m. for prayer & preparations for the Easter celebration with the Flower Guild & Altar Guild – many hands make work light & joyful! The Great Vigil of Easter, the FIRST celebration of the Easter feast will begin at 7:00 p.m. Come and see!

Walk with Jesus on the Way of the Cross.

Walk with Jesus who loves you to death into new life beyond.

Walk with Jesus …

The Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.


The Collect for Holy Saturday

O God, Creator of heaven and earth:  Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Collect for the Great Vigil of Easter

O God, who made this most holy night to shine with the glory of the Lord’s resurrection: Stir up in your Church that Spirit of adoption which is given to us in Baptism, that we, being renewed both in body and mind, may worship you in sincerity and truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Journey of Holy Week – GOOD FRIDAY

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“In all things God works for good to those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.” [Romans 8:28] Only in this sense can this day be called “good.” We walk with Christ to Calvary and his crucifixion, reflecting on the extent of God’s love for us. In the evening, the Liturgy Guild leads us in prayerful remembrance of the Good Friday events through The Stations of the Cross. As a sign of mourning, and in accordance with earliest tradition, there is no celebration of the Eucharist on Good Friday.

This Holy Week, I invite you to take a bowl in your home, fill it with water, and place it in a spot you pass by every day. Each day of Holy Week, make a sacred moment to be with Jesus by washing your hands with him in you. Wash your hands knowing the sacred love of Jesus for you, in you, and through you. Wash your hands not in dismissal or guilt, but in the cleansing power of repentance in all that this most sacred week of our life of faith is meant to be.

Come join your community of faith family as we remember this day of Jesus’ crucifixion and death as we pray the Good Friday Solemn Collects with Sermon at 12 noon, and walk the Way of the Cross at 7:00 p.m.

Walk with Jesus on the Way of the Cross.

Walk with Jesus who loves you to death into new life beyond.

Walk with Jesus …


The Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.



The Collect for Good Friday

Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.