Please see St. Thomas’s 2019 Advent-Christmas schedule. We hope you will join us this joyous season.
Advent makes innkeepers out of all of us, asking each of us to make room for the arrival of the Christ Child. On Sunday, December 22, 2019 following the 10:30 a.m. service, the flower guild will be GREENING the Sanctuary, and they would LOVE your help! If you can, bring a pair of gardening gloves as the sap can be sticky. Everyone can help: tall people are needed to hang boughs up high, but so are eyes below to guide them. Strong hands are needed to carry heavy flowers, and so are gentle hands to carefully arrange them.
Use the Christmas Flower Dedications form to send in your Christmas flower dedications. I’m asking that these be turned in by Monday, December 9, 2019 by placing in the collection plate, dropping off at the Parish office, sending in by mail, or sending me an email. Forms will be in this Sunday’s leaflet, and also by the name tags.
Holly and ivy, along with pine, and fir are called evergreens because they never change color. They are ever-green, ever-alive, even in the midst of winter. Thus they can well symbolize the unchanging nature of our God. This year, as you see the splendor of a Christmas tree or the greens around St Thomas’s, remember that it is a continuing witness to everlasting life as offered to us in Christ Jesus – and that far from a commercial enterprise, it speaks a deeply spiritual message . . . “O Christmas tree, O Christmas Tree, thy leaves are so unchanging” — Just like God’s love.
On Sunday, December 9, we will be having our service of lessons and carols as is our tradition. The service will begin at 4:00 p.m. in the afternoon. Come out and be a part of this Advent tradition of retelling the story of our Savior’s birth as foretold in the Old and New Testaments.
The angel came to Mary and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.
Luke 1: 28-31
To the people of St. Thomas’s Parish,
Greetings to you and your family as once again the year has come round to Advent and Christmas. Just as Mary was perplexed by what it might mean when the angel Gabriel visited her, we wonder, too. We wonder at God’s love in sending us His only son, who entered the world just as all of us do, as a baby. It’s beyond human understanding—so we wonder, and we celebrate and give thanks. We know that God has shown favor to us.
At St. Thomas’s, 2017 has given us much to reflect upon and be thankful for. We celebrated 175 years of mission and ministry to Newark and the University of Delaware with worship, fellowship, and service, thanks to the leadership of the 175th Anniversary Committee. Our Episcopal Campus Ministry has continued, with strong support and commitment from the University of Delaware, to develop its Blue Hen Bounty program, which provides food to students in need. We also said farewell, with love and gratitude, to the Rev. Paul W. Gennett, Jr., who concluded nine years of mutual ministry with us at the end of October. God has indeed been with us for 175 years, and we trust that God’s presence will continue.
In our diocese, we have just elected the Rt. Rev. Kevin Brown to be our next bishop. We’re wondering what his ministry might mean for St. Thomas’s, for all Episcopalians in Delaware, and for our church’s role in the community. Again, we believe that God’s favor will be with our new bishop and our diocese.
But as we wonder about all of these things, just as Mary wondered at the visit from the angel, we aren’t always sure what they mean for us, for our church, for our world. And we’re not always sure about God’s favor—how can we experience it or know it? One way to find God’s love is by participating in the regular and special services that will be offered at St. Thomas’s during the Advent and Christmas seasons—a listing of those services is enclosed with this letter. Your presence, in wonder, celebration, and thanksgiving, will enrich our parish family’s observance of this holy season.
We also give thanks for the wonderful generosity of the people of St. Thomas’s, who unsparingly give their time, talents, and treasure to fulfill our mission and vision of a community “nourished at Christ’s table and stepping forward in faith” as “instruments of God’s love, serving our parish family, the University of Delaware, our community, and God’s creation.” Every contribution, whatever it may be, is a reflection of God’s grace to us. We invite you to prayerfully consider making a special offering this season to support our continuing mission and ministry, using the envelope enclosed with this letter.
May god bless you and your family at Christmas and in the New Year. We look forward to your presence and participation at St. Thomas’s in 2018.
In the peace and love of Christ,
Connie Cooper, Senior Warden
The Rev. Deacon Cecily Sawyer Harmon, Episcopal Campus Minister
Come and enjoy our ceremony of Advent Lessons and Carols on Sunday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. The choir and congregation will participate by hearing Bible passages that tell about the coming of Christ. All will sing carols and the choir has prepared some anthems that further enhance the experience. It’s a quiet hour in which you can anticipate the arrival of our Savior. Refreshments will be served afterward.
The Newark Area Welfare Committee’s Holiday Food Box Program requests your help in acquiring frozen turkeys and/or non-perishable food for the estimated 350+ food boxes we expect to assemble for local families in need this season. We hope the centerpiece of each basket filled with canned goods and other non-perishable food will be a 10-15 lb. frozen turkey.
You may store the non-perishable food items and/or frozen turkey in your home or contact the person listed below who will gladly arrange storage for you.
If you would like to participate by donating a turkey, canned goods and/or to help with SORTING, ASSEMBLING, or ASSISTING with PICKUP at First Presbyterian Church of Newark, please fill out the sign-up sheet and return it to Laura Greene or call Laura at 302-737-5455.
If you purchase and store a turkey, please bring it to First Presbyterian Church of Newark, 292 West Main Street, Newark between 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. Saturday, December 17th.
If you are collecting non-perishable food for us, please deliver it to the church listed above by 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 15th or simply contact the person above and we will gladly pick it up.
If you would like to volunteer help sorting, assembling or assisting with pick up, please volunteer for ONE TIME SLOT ONLY. We have numerous volunteers and would like everyone to be able to help.
If you would like to make a monetary donation to this project, please mail it to: Newark Area Welfare Committee, P.O. Box 951,Newark, DE 19715-0951.
You may also donate online at our secure website newarkareawelfare.org.
Thank you for your kind consideration and generous help.
Have you always wanted to be one of those generous anonymous people who do wonderful things for people they’ve never met? Here’s your chance. St. Thomas’s will help several area families have a good Christmas by providing gifts for them. Look for the Angel Tree. Take a tag or two or three. KEEP THE TAG. Purchase the items and wrap them. Please put the tag with the gift so that we can get the right gifts to the right people. Please bring your gifts to the church by Sunday, December 18. It’s that easy and our neighbors will appreciate your generosity. If you have any questions, contact Cami Seward at the church office or Connie Cooper at 302–731-7595 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I pray you will join us for worship throughout the Advent & Christmastide events, and that God will brighten your heart and soul to continue in the days to come in worship, fellowship, and service with our parish family. See St. Thomas’s schedule of worship for this holy season.
A most blessed Advent and Christmas seasons to you and your family. Fr. Paul+