Spiritual, learning opportunity: “The Saint John’s Bible Series”

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For five weeks in June, pray with the illuminated manuscript of The Saint John’s Bible, through a collaboration with The Urban Well at Saint James; Rev. Jim Strader-Sasser, Priest-in-Charge at Christ Memorial Episcopal Church in Danville, PA and The Rev. Dr. Howell Sasser, Rector at St. Thomas’s.

The series is free. You must register to receive the Zoom invitation. “The Saint John’s Bible Series” series will be held on five Tuesday evenings beginning at 7 p.m., starting tomorrow Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Each session will be about 75 minutes and will include learning, guided viewing of art, and contemplative worship. 

“I have contributed to the content, along with others who are much smarter than I am!  And best of all, it’s free!”, says Fr. Howie.  To register, anyone can go to saintjameslancaster.org and click on the spiritual growth tab. And, if they have any questions, they can contact Fr. Howie at StThomassRector@googlegroups.com or the Parish Administrator at StThomassOffice@googlegroups.com.   

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

A Pastoral Note on Recent Events

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Dear Friends,

One of the things lost in our technical problems this morning was a chance to pray together about the events that have rolled across our television screens in the past few days.  As Christians, that should be our first instinct – to pray for the dead, for the living, and for the justice of God that we are told will roll down like waters.  

George Floyd and Derek Chauvin – we must say their names, make them real – collided in a way that cannot have any place in the heart of a follower of Jesus.  By one man’s action, the image of God was vandalized in both of them in those moments.  For the one, we pray for peaceful rest.  May his soul find perfection in the presence of God, and the honor as a child of God that he was denied in his last moments.  And for the other, we pray for a turning of his heart, honest repentance and acknowledgment of the terrible consequences of the power he chose to claim. 

In the days since, we have seen anger flow out of houses and apartments – places of isolation in recent times – and into the streets.  The anger is righteous, but the way it mutates into further violence risks the loss of additional lives, which can only compound the injustice it is trying to bring to an end.  As of when I write this, it appears that two people have been killed in the riots in Minneapolis.  That is already two too many – let us pray there are no more.

Too often, events of this kind seem to leave us having learned little.  I ask you to renew your prayers that we as a society will have a turning of heart, that the horror of the scenes played and replayed on television screens all across the United States (and, to our shame, around the world) will awaken in us a new will to work for justice.  Perhaps by the grace of God, anger will lead to constructive change and confrontation to understanding.

O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

God’s peace to you all
Howie+

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

Carpenter’s Helper newsletter for May 31, 2020

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Hello faith family! I am in shock that we are coming to the end of May.  The school year is wrapping up, and with that comes celebrations of academic achievement!  Some of our own scholars are noted for their accomplishments in this week’s Carpenter’s Helper newsletter. 

  • May 31, 2020 is Pentecost Sunday!  I am so looking forward to seeing our #SpiritSelfies together.  
  • Wednesday noon Intercessory Prayer service continues via YouTube.  
  • On Thursday, June 4, 2020, Deacon Cecily will be offering evening Compline prayers at 7 p.m.  Please write to me at StThomassOffice@googlegroups.com if you would like the link to this new weekly Zoom worship service.
  • The following Sunday, June 7, 2020, we will join with most other churches in the Diocese of Delaware 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.

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

A Day of Mourning for those who have died during the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Dear Friends in Christ,

In response to the call for a day of mourning and lament as described in this article titled “After 100,000 COVID-19 Deaths in U.S., Interfaith Leaders, Mayors Call for Day of Mourning and Lament,” I invite you to join me on Zoom Monday, June 1, 2020, at 10 a.m., for a time of prayer and reflection as we commend to Our Father in Heaven those who have died during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Write to the Parish Office of St. Thomas’s at StThomassOffice@googlegroups.com or St. Nicholas for Zoom instructions.

Fr. Bill
The Very Reverend William B. Lane

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

Compline service on Thursdays

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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.⁠

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

Robert Bennett remembrance

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Robert Bennett who was a parishioner at St. Thomas’s was also a professor of English at the University of Delaware. The University posted a lovely tribute in his honor. He was a Shakespeare scholar, environmental activist, and a runner.

A celebration of Dr. Bennett’s life will be held at St. Thomas’s Episcopal Church in Newark, to be announced at a later date. In the meantime we pray for the repose of his soul and for the comfort of Joan and the extended Bennett family. Even while we are apart, we hold one another in love and concern.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Thomas’s Episcopal Church or The Nature Conservancy.