ALLELUIA … ALLELUIA … ALLELUIA!!!

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“How do we put on the mind of Christ? How do we learn to respond to the world with that same wholeness and healing love? That’s what Christian orthodoxy really is all about. It’s not about right belief; it’s about right practice. The hallmark of this awareness is that it sees no separation—not between God and humans, not between humans and other humans. These are indeed Jesus’ two core teachings, underlying everything he says and does. “Love your neighbor as yourself”—as a continuation of your very own being. It’s a complete seeing that your neighbor is you.” The Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault

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

Blessings of Easter joy to you & your family from the staff and parish family of St. Thomas’s Church.

Holy Week: Our Three Sacred Days begin tonight

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Blessings in Grace to all, into our Holy Week, our “Triduum” of Three Sacred Days.

Please prayerfully join us in worship this Maundy Thursday at 7:30 p.m., followed by the Nightwatch in the sanctuary throughout the night into Good Friday. Good Friday Solemn Collects & Sermon will be at 12 noon, and Journey the Stations of the Cross at 7:00 p.m.

Come, can you be with Jesus and all for just one hour?

Grateful always, your servant in Christ,
Fr. Paul Gennett, Jr.+

MAUNDY THURSDAY

On Maundy Thursday, we commemorate the institution of the Lord’s Supper.  The Epistle reading for this service gives St. Paul’s account of the institution of the Eucharist.  We experience the Gospel account of Jesus’ washing his disciples’ feet, acting out his own call and of those who would follow him, “not to be served, but to serve.”  He gave a new commandment to all:  “Love one another as I have loved you.”  “Maundy” is the old English word derived from the Latin phrase mandatum novum, meaning “new covenant.”The Eucharist is about our table fellowship – God present with us, and we present to each other.  Following the Eucharist, the sanctuary is stripped of all ornaments and furnishings, symbolically expressing Jesus’ utter abandonment.  We are invited to stay with Jesus “for just one hour” through the night watch vigil until noon on Good Friday.

GOOD FRIDAY
“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.

Sermon for The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday – April 9, 2017/Year A

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Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? This question continues to invite me deeper in the journey that is THIS Holy Week which we enter this day in the Sunday of the Passion or Palm Sunday. At one time, these were separate days in the journey to Holy Week. Over time have been conflated as it seems so many people cannot, or do not, walk the Via Dolorosa, the Pathway of the Tears, with Jesus. Without this story, the empty tomb come Easter Day is just … empty.

See the Sermon for The Sunday of the Passion: Palm Sunday – April 9, 2017/Year A in its entirety.

See all Sermons for Liturgical Year 2016-17, Year A.

Eastering St. Thomas’s!

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Karen Krauss & our Flower Guild Angels can use your help to decorate the church on Saturday, April 15 at 10:00 a.m. We need sweeper uppers, plant wrappers technicians, and doers of other small tasks that will glorify God and beautify the sanctuary into our Easter Day.

We do need extra hands and are very grateful for the help, a wonderful time of fellowship & service. Light refreshments will be provided along with coffee, tea, and juice. We will be finished by 1pm with your help. Any questions, please contact Karen at krauss831@yahoo.com

The Passion to the Glory – Holy Week at St. Thomas’s Parish

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Blessings of Grace to all, into our Holy Week yet again, yet new to be renewed. I have attached two items for your journey into Holy Week.

The Journey of Holy Week provides descriptions of our worship pattern and experiences offered at St. Thomas’s. The schedule for each day is on the last page of the booklet. I invite you to participate in as much of te mystery & majesty that unfolds through Holy Week. If life & work schedules preclude your participation, use this as your daily prayer walk along this most holy week of our faith life.

The April Clergy Corner article continues my journey in reflection of the “fruits of the Spirit” as illuminated by St. Paul in his Letter to the Galatians.

May you be filled in the power and glory through the Cross of Good Friday into the empty tomb of Easter Day. May you walk with us, or on your own, the Path of Christ’s glory that you may find the true power that is life, life everlasting!

Grateful to all, your servant in Christ,
Fr. Paul Gennett, Jr.+

Easter Egg Hunt

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There will be an Easter egg hunt and special goodies available after the 10:30 service on Easter Sunday, April 16. This event will be hosted by St. Thomas’s Children’s Ministry.

Everyone is welcome to attend!!

Things to know or do:

  • Toddlers to children aged 5 years will hunt in the courtyard.
  • Children ages 6 -11 will hunt in the Grove.
  • Each family should bring at least 10 eggs per child, filled with age appropriate edible or non-edible items
  • Each child should bring a basket or bag to use in the hunt.
  • Don’t worry we’ll have extras for anyone who forgets!

See our Easter Egg Hunt Flyer!

Holy Week & Easter Season 2017

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Holy Week & Easter Season 2017 (see schedule)

“Over time, I have learned two things about my faith journey. First of all, that it is God who is seeking me, and who has a myriad ways of finding me. Second, that my most substantial changes, in terms of my [faith] conversion, comes through other people … I recall the scene at Calvary, when Jesus sees his mother standing near a disciple. ‘Woman, here is your son” and to the disciple ‘Here is your mother.’ It is through Jesus Christ, and the suffering [and resurrected] Christ at that, that God seeks us out and gives us to each .other.” Kathleen Norris. Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith.

Dear friends in Christ,

Peace be with you in this most holy time of our Christian faith journey. I pray you may be filled with the awesome power of this story each day in Holy Week, and that you may rise in the new life and faith of Easter joy with our Risen Lord Jesus Christ, with people like you, together.

Join us in the many rich worship experiences that this holy time offers. Our festal celebration of Palm Sunday through the deeply moving foot washing and the final Eucharist on Maundy Thursday, stripping the sanctuary bare and the Night Watch in the Garden of Repose. Gather at the foot of the Cross through the Good Friday Liturgy, and the meditative and interactive walk with Christ through the Way of the Cross on Good Friday evening. Then join the grand celebration of new light and life at the Great Vigil of Easter and on Easter Day. It is my prayer that these worship experiences, and the spirit and love of God, will touch you in new and profound ways. May this Easter Season be your time when God who seeks you in the myriad of ways find you, and you find God in our risen Lord Christ, together.

As you know, this will be my last Holy Week and Easter Season serving the people of St. Thomas’s as I will retire on October 31 of this year. Over these almost 9 years, we have grown in life and faith, caring for God’s temple both in our physical space and our spiritual spaces as well. Your next chapter now has The Grove property fully paid and owned by the parish for your future. I am so grateful to so many who have shown me God and Christ in skin through your lives, and for that I am deeply, deeply grateful!

May the love of God and Christ be reflected in your heart and living now and always. Alleluia! Christ is Risen! The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

With holy affection,
Paul+

The Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.

Easter Flowers

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The Easter Flower Memorial forms are available beginning this Sunday, April 2. Please fill out the bright green form along with your check. Please note Easter flowers in the memo line. These forms can be put in the offering plate, in the Parlor mailbox of Adele Meredith (our new Church Administrator), in the box on the church office door, or mailed in. All forms must be received by the church office by April 10 to be included in the Easter bulletins. Thank you for honoring your loved ones in a way that is a gift to us all, here at St. Thomas’s.

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.

THE GREAT VIGIL OF EASTER

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.

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