The Church’s Response to COVID-19 – December 2020 update

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Dear Friends,

Greetings to you as we reach the middle of the second week of Advent.  I’m sure that, like me, you have been following with concern reports of the rising number of COVID cases and hospitalizations.  So perhaps it will come as no surprise that the Bishop has decided once again to suspend in-person worship at Episcopal churches in Delaware, effective December 14, 2020.  This seems wise, given the advice we are getting from the Governor and others that we should stay at home just as much as possible.  This is especially hard in a season when we would most like to be with family and friends, and to be gathering with our church family.  Please be assured that St. Thomas’s will continue to worship.  We will return to our pattern over the summer – “broadcasting” services on YouTube with the smallest possible number of people in the building.  We will not reduce the number of services we had planned for the remainder of Advent and Christmas, and Communion at the curbside will continue to be available.  Other meetings and events in the church will also be curtailed, but our service to the community – through Blue Hen Bounty and our new project with the Tarbiyah School, among others – will go on without interruption.

Please know that you are in my prayers as we make our way through this strange time.  I remain grateful for all the ways that we are remaining strong as a community, and I am confident that we will emerge from our COVID experience as a vital part of the Kingdom of God.  Please keep St Thomas’s and the work we do in your prayers.
I wish you health and happiness – and all joy for Christmas.

Peace and be well,
The Reverend Dr. Howell C. Sasser, Jr., Rector

Worship service sign-up for December 13, 2020

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Third Sunday of AdventGood morning faith family.  Here is your link to sign up for in-person worship for this Sunday, December 13, 2020 at 9 a.m.  As always, we will continue to stream each service on our YouTube.  All are welcome; please worship in whatever way is comfortable for you. Here is the  service program and the service program in large print  for your preview. This is the Third Sunday of Advent. There are paper copies available to be mailed.  If you would like one, please let me know. 

This Sunday, and each Sunday in Advent, at 10:00 a.m., Drive Through Communion and Prayers will be offered for those who have not received the Sacrament in-person during the service.  You do not need to sign up for this.  ALL are WELCOME!

And then, at 5 p.m., there will be Advent Evening Prayer live on YouTube and in-person with precautions.  You do not need to sign up to attend this service. Here is the accompanying worship bulletin.

The Lord of the Rings adult education class has been postponed until January, so we can focus on celebrating the Advent season in new and meaningful ways during this unprecedented year.  This gives you plenty of time to dust off this awesome trilogy, or enjoy them for the first time!

On December 27, 2020, Novel Theology will meet via Zoom to discuss “Where Courage Calls” by Janey Oke and Laurel Oke Lagan.  There is still plenty of time to dig into this good read.

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. 

Please continue to share your impressions and ideas for both in-person and online worship.  Your thoughts are appreciated!

Kind Regards,
Cana Hartman, Parish Administrator or (302) 368-4644

Christmas 2020 Outreach items with Tarbiyah due Dec. 10, 2020

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Our wish list is filling out and the enthusiasm for the project with Tarbiyah School is spreading through the Parish.  Thank you everyone who has shopped and donated. Our coat collection is growing and our diaper donation, with the exception of pull-ups, has been met.  There is still room for hats, gloves, candy, books, toys!  And of course – coats!  It’s cold outside. 🌨

The date by which we need your donations is December 10, 2020*.  We will be putting the goody bags together 🎁 and doing final shopping this coming weekend. Everything will be delivered to Tarbiyah on December 15, 2020. 

 2020 has been an unusual and difficult year.  Whatever you can give is meaningful and appreciated. GIving brings both the giver and the receiver sparks of joy- something we all need at this time.  The joy we give and get brings this season’s meaning close.

Again, thanks to all at St. T’s, you are wonderful!

* if you have ordered something that has not yet arrived, let us know so our shopping lists reflect your gift. If you need something picked up, that can be arranged.  See more information at Tarbiyah or how to give.

Jill Englund Jensen

Small hotel-size toiletries for Hope Dining Room

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Good Morning families of  St. Thomas’s and St. Nicholas,

On December 18, 2020, Hope Dining Room gives each person who comes to pick up lunch, a goodie bag. The items in the bag are being provided by all the churches that serve, during the month. We are donating hotel-size toiletries and cookies.

I think we have the cookies covered, but we are still in need of small toiletries. There is a box just outside the office at St. Thomas’s, labeled “Hope Dining Room”.  If you have any small toiletries to share, the door at St. Thomas’s is open Monday – Thursday from 9 a.m. – noon. If you can’t make that schedule, give me a call, and I will pick them up at your house.

Many Blessings to all,
Madeline Johnson  

Solar panels installed

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Greening of the Church - Solar PanelsIt is this time in Advent when we typically “Green” the church building. Fragrant boughs of pine and gorgeous leafy green poinsettias with cheery pops of red flowers are an outward showing of the preparations that we make for the birth of our Savior.

Of course, 2020 has to be different. This year, St. Thomas’s Parish is getting green with SOLAR PANELS! That’s right; the long anticipated project has begun. This long anticipated move was sparked by the generous memorial donation from our family member, Jerry Schultz, and has been continued by a wonderful team from the Property Committee and supported by the Vestry. You may remember Jerry Schultz made a generous donation upon his death to St. Thomas’s to be used for solar panels.

Solar panels installedAmy Keach provided this picture taken from the intersection of South College and Park Place this morning. The panels blend right in with the roof!

We are all in this together as stewards of our Earth, and everyone’s efforts are truly appreciated. On Tuesday, December 1, 2020, Clean Energy USA began the installation. They have been hard at work all week. If you drive by the church building, you may see them up on the roof. Please keep Jerry’s love of the earth and St. Thomas’s in mind when you see the panels on the church.

Now, don’t worry, the church building will still be decorated for the season. The beautiful advent candles and wreath can already be seen at every service. The flower guild will be adding more to the display in the coming weeks. We are also participating in Newark’s Festival of Lights, so please, continue to bring in your donations of outdoor Christmas lights and decorations so we can let our light shine!

Kind Regards,
Cana Hartman, Parish Administrator or (302) 368-4644

Youth Confirmation for 2021

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This is a call and invitation for Youth Confirmation Class, a unique session in early 2021.  If you’re at least 12 years old or 7-8th grade, you’re welcome to join this spirit-filled journey centered around worship, learning, service, witness and fellowship.  Given the COVID pandemic, the class would meet primarily on Sundays from mid-January thru June 2021 via Zoom.   It’s a few months shorter than usual for us and we require a minimum of two youth for class.  We expect no compromise in content nor to the growth experience for candidates.  There will be loads of prayerful dialogue, laughter and fun as always!

So, what do we do in confirmation class?

  • Relate God’s teachings and Christian faith to our daily living
  • Share life stories to connect with God and one another
  • Give of our time and talent to service projects within the church community
  • Discover what it means to make a personal decision for Christ and meaningful relationship with the church

So, what questions do you have or interested in confirmation?   Drop us a note, text or phone call and we’ll get right back to you!


Teri Quinn Gray <>
Bob Rys <>


Service Saturday is canceled

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As all in-person children’s and youth ministries activities have been suspended until further notice, unfortunately, Service Saturday has been cancelled. However, the supplies are still needed. So, please continue to sign up and donate any items that are needed.  And, please stay tuned for updated instructions about how to donate cookies for Hope Dining Room. 

Blessings, Belinda

Family Fun Night and Cookie Exchange

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Hello Everyone!

Due to growing uncertainty about the safety of in-person gatherings, we have decided to make Family Fun Night on December 18, 2020 a virtual event. We will still be able to do most of the planned events, just on Zoom instead of at St. Thomas’s plus some other surprise activities! Some of the activities will require some supplies, materials, and game pieces. I would like to be able to mail or deliver what you need. Please let me know ASAP if you would like these materials.  You can email, text or call.

I will send out the Zoom link to the event next week. In the meantime, let me know if you want the game and activity materials and….just for fun…lets join the Carews in making or finding our most fun Christmas hats and wear them to the party on December 18, 2020!

Peace, Ms. Belinda

Carpenter’s Helper newsletter for December 6, 2020

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Happy Friday faith family!  I hope this finds you all well.  See the Carpenter’s Helper newsletter for the week of December 6, 2020.  In it you will find a reminder about Drive Through Communion and Prayers, a blurb about the Advent guide and activity you will receive this week, and some EXCITING news about going green.

This week, we continue the busy Advent season, preparing our hearts and minds for the arrival of our Savior:

  • Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 9 a.m. – Rite I with music, live on YouTube and in-person
  • Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. – Drive Through Communion and Prayers
  • Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. – Advent Evening Prayers, live on YouTube and in-person  
  • Wednesday at noon – Intercessory Prayer live on YouTube
  • Thursday at 7 p.m. – Compline evening prayers live on ZOOM
  • Sunday, December 13, 2020 at 9 a.m. – Rite I with music, live on YouTube and in-person
  • Sunday, December 13, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. – Drive Through Communion and Prayers
  • Sunday, December 13, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. – Advent Evening Prayers, live on YouTube and in-person

ALL are Welcome in our community!  Please let me know if you’d like a paper copy of any of the leaflets mailed to you.  Please do not feel pressure to return to the church building until you are comfortable.  We may be in different locations, but we are celebrating TOGETHER.

Please let me know if you have any meetings – virtual or otherwise – that you would like to included on the Parish calendar.   

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 or (302) 368-4644

Christmas 2020 Outreach with Tarbiyah update

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Greetings St Thomas’s People!

Thank you to everyone who is working to fill the wish list of our neighbors who are in need.  Our box in the Church foyer has new goodies added daily, but… We still have needs that haven’t been met.  Please see info for this project and check out specific information about giving items or donating money.

We still need candy (miniature candy bars, candy canes), crayons, and washable markers to fill our 50 Goody bags. And, with the coming of cold weather, any donation of a new coat, mittens, hats (male and female, sizes children’s 4-adult) are really welcomed by our friends who are not only dealing with winter, but with COVID and record unemployment.  This is a year unlike any other in terms of needs. 

I am asking all of you to prayerfully consider how you can help.  Tarbiyah is doing good work in our community – let’s join in!

Best,  Jill
Jill Englund Jensen