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,
Howie+

The Reverend Dr. Howell C. Sasser, Jr.
StThomassRector@googlegroups.com

Carpenter’s Helper newsletter for May 24, 2020

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Hello faith family! See the Carpenter’s Helper newsletter for the week of May 24, 2020.  In it you will find the most recent message from our Bishop on reopening church buildings. Next week the Carpenter’s Helper newsletter will feature some of our congregations academic achievements.  I’d also like to add a section featuring all of the educators – they certainly have had a year like no other, and we should celebrate their service.  Many have already sent in names and a few pictures of graduates.  Please continue to send them in, and also help me collect a list of educators. Please let me know if you have suggestions for what should be in our Helper. The Diocese of Delaware weekly newsletter called The Net, is always interesting, but I especially enjoyed this week (children’s worship, the fashions Jesus may have worn, and much more).

I have only received a handful of #SpiritSelfies.  Please send them in ASAP.  I’m willing to come and snap the selfie (from 10′ away with a mask) if you’d like.  I’d welcome the excuse for a quick visit!

Two dates to add to your calendars: Deacon Cecily will be offering Compline every Thursday, beginning June 4, 2020 at 7 p.m.  I will be sending info about a Zoom link and leaflet for this service early next week. And, on Sunday, June 7, 2020,  we will join with most other churches in the diocese 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.   

If there are any groups who would like to meet virtually, know that I’m here to help.  I have a Zoom account I’m happy to share, but also would be interested in exploring Facebook Rooms or any other meeting tool. 

Please send in those graduate and educator names and pics, and I’ll see you Sunday on YouTube!

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
StThomassOffice@googlegroups.com

Worship service on Sunday, May 24, 2020

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This Sunday, May 24, 2020 is the Seventh Sunday of Easter. 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!   

On Sunday, June 7th, we will join with most other churches in the Diocese of Delaware to “attend” Bishop’s Brown’s livestream service. Consequently, there will not be the usual 9 a.m. service at St. Thomas’s. Details about time and how to connect to the Bishop’s service will be sent soon.   

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

As always, please share your thoughts. What did you find meaningful, and what suggestions do you have for the next service?  Thank you for all of the suggestions and comments sent- they are very helpful.

Kind Regards,
Cana Hartman, Parish Administrator
StThomassOffice@googlegroups.com

Compline service on Thursdays

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Compline Prayer on Thursdays Beginning June 4, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. please join Deacon Cecily for evening Compline via Zoom.⁠ Please email Cana, Parish Administration at StThomassOffice@googlegroups.com for an invitation to this prayerful end to the day. ALL are Welcome!
.⁠
Compline is a simple office including a confession of sins, one or more psalms, a short reading from scripture, versicles and responses, the Lord’s Prayer, collects which ask for God’s protection during the night to come, and the canticle Nunc dimittis. A hymn for the evening may follow the short reading from scripture. The collects may be followed by a time of silence, along with free intercessions and thanksgivings.⁠

#SpiritSelfies for Pentecost 2020

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Happy Monday family!  Pentecost is a Sunday we all look forward to, and this year should be no different.  We are celebrating celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus.  Typically we come together waving streamers, processing, and picnicking in our fun RED clothes.

This year, we are getting extra creative in how we join together to mark this important event.  Here is your assignment: write in BIG LETTERS on a piece of paper – I SEE THE SPIRIT MOVING IN (fill in the blank).  It might be in your own life or in the world more broadly.  Then get dressed in something spirit-colored (red!) and take a selfie picture with the sign, and send it to Cana or Fr. Howie to be added to a photo-montage to be streamed during church on Pentecost.

It would be fun for couples and families to do this together, and those with pets to get them in the picture, too. We will try to work any other creative ideas.  If you just can’t decide on one, please feel free to send in multiple.  Anyone who needs technical advice or help can contact Fr. Howie or Cana at StThomassOffice@googlegroups.com or contact pretty much anyone under the age of 20, lol.  St. Nicholas will be joining with us to create this powerful testament.  ALL are Welcome!  Send pictures to StThomassOffice@googlegroups.com by May 25, 2020.  

Kind Regards,
Cana Hartman, Parish Administrator
StThomassOffice@googlegroups.com

Episcopal Campus Ministry (ECM) Report for May 2020

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O most mighty and merciful God, in this time of grievous sickness, we flee unto thee for succor. Deliver us, we beseech thee, from our peril; give strength and skill to all those who minister to the sick; prosper the means made use of for their cure; and grant that, perceiving how frail and uncertain our life is, we may apply our hearts unto that heavenly wisdom which leadeth to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (1928 BCP, 45).

This prayer aptly captures much of what Episcopal Campus Ministry (ECM) continues to try to do during this Covid-19 season. As grace would have it, the students who are members of ECM are largely unaffected by some of the struggles other students have had to confront. As a result, we are not trying to support our students as they confront difficulties with food, housing or other challenges occasioned by the pandemic. Instead, we are supporting our students as they deal with the stresses of completing classes that rapidly went online, develop their own spiritual practices all while trying to navigate a rapidly changing environment from the familiarity of their childhood bedrooms.

To that end, we have continued to meet via, zoom where we check-in with each student and discuss what is going on in their lives and with their studies, the ways they are coping with the pandemic and working with Father Howie’s, St Thomas’s Virtual Lent Retreat text, Into the Desert.

Blue Hen Bounty (BHB) food pantry continues to serve the community and Cana, our Parish Administrator, (again!) helped BHB and the University of Religious Leaders Organization (URLO) by printing the labels for the organized Insomnia cookie drop to the International House.

We have one graduation coming up, Susan Zaccaria, who has served in leadership and on the E-board with ECM and is a key team member of BHB. Susan will be graduating from the UD School of Nursing (yea!!!). Susan will be sorely missed during weekly meetings and in indefatigable service with BHB.

Please do keep the members of ECM in your prayers as students move into Finals week with exams, papers and projects. This is an unsettled time for students and the necessity to continue to produce and meet expectations during this period of global instability is challenging.

God’s peace,

Denise Burgher
ECM Graduate Convening Adviser

Children’s Ministries at home for May 17, 2020

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Happy Sixth Sunday of Easter, Everyone, 

Alleluia! Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

I hope this finds you and your family well and safe. I miss seeing you all but I know that our stay at home efforts are helping keep our communities safer.

I pray for all of you who are still working in the public, that God may keep you safe. I thank God for your dedication and service to your families and our community.  

This week, we continue with stories of Jesus’ appearances to his friends after his Resurrection. I have posted a lesson which includes the story of Jesus Appearance at the Sea of Galilee on YouTube.  Here is the link to that video:  https://youtu.be/1RszWylJcuA

The scripture for today, according to the Revised Common Lectionary, actually goes back a bit further and tells of Jesus’ promise to the disciples during the Last Supper that He will send the Holy Spirit to comfort them after he is “gone”.  I have attached a kid-friendly version of that scripture as well as activities that correspond to both stories. Please use what works for you and your family. There is something for everyone.   

Blessings,

Ms. Belinda, Children’s Ministries

O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Worship Service on Sunday, May 17, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.

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Good morning faith family!  It’s wonderful to be worshiping together this morning! Please join us LIVE on YouTube for this morning’s service at 9 a.m.  May 17, 2020 is the Sixth Sunday of Easter.

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.

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

As always, please share your thoughts. What did you find meaningful, and what suggestions do you have for the next service?  Thank you for all of the suggestions and comments sent- they are very helpful.

Kind Regards,
Cana Hartman, Parish Administrator
StThomassOffice@googlegroups.com

Carpenter’s Helper newsletter for May 17, 2020

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Hello faith family!  See the Carpenter’s Helper newsletter for the week of May 17, 2020. In it you will find an update from our Bishop on reopening church buildings, as well as an interesting article on Julian of Norwich (for whom I believe the Julian porch was named?) who lived through the Black Plague.  This content was suggested to me by Kristin. Thank you so much Kristin!  Please let me know if you have suggestions for what should be in our newsletter by writing to StThomassOffice@googlegroups.com.

I need your help. In two weeks, the Carpenter’s Helper newsletter will feature some of our parishioners academic achievements.  I’d also like to add a section featuring all of the educators as they certainly have had a year like no other, and we should celebrate their service.  Many have already sent in names and a few pictures of graduates.  Please continue to send them in, and also help me collect a list of educators by writing to StThomassOffice@googlegroups.com.

This Sunday will be LIVE from St Thomas’s.  If you missed Wednesday’s worship service, you are in for a treat when you see the major camera upgrade!  All of your feedback helps as we continue to improve online worship.

Right after the service, Novel Theology will be meeting via Zoom at 10:15 a.m. Write to StThomassOffice@googlegroups.com if you’d like the link.  The book this month is Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.  Reading this book is not a requirement to participate in the discussion, but it is a great read and available for download!

Monday night at 6 p.m., we will have the second Ladies’ Night IN, via Zoom.  Ladies, write to StThomassOffice@googlegroups.com if you need the link.  Last month was a hoot!  It was so wonderful to see faces and share laughs.  I can’t wait for Monday!

If there are any other groups who would like to meet virtually, know that I’m here to help.  Please send in those graduate and educator names and pics, and I’ll see you Sunday on YouTube!

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
StThomassOffice@googlegroups.com

Ladies’ Night IN on Monday, May 18, 2020

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This Monday, May 18, 2020 at 6 p.m., we will have another Ladies’ Night IN!  Ladies, please send email to the parish office at StThomassOffice@googlegroups.com requesting your ZOOM invitation.

I am looking forward to seeing your faces and sharing some laughs.  My wish is that in the next few months, we might be able to set up lawn chairs in the lawn, maybe 10 feet apart, and enjoy each other’s company in person.  Until we can safely meet in person, let’s plan to continue Ladies’ night IN once a month. 💟

Kind Regards,
Cana Hartman, Parish Administrator