Poet’s Corner on Sat., Feb. 17 at 4 p.m.

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Just a reminder that the first reading of the Poet’s Corner series this semester will take place at St Thomas’s this coming Saturday, February 17, at 4 p.m. The chair of the English Department at the University of Delaware, John Ernest, will be reading aloud his favorite poets and poems. This wonderful event is free and open to the public, although a free-will offering is happily accepted. Please join us then.

The Rev. Edward E. Godden, Interim Rector beginning January 1, 2018

The Wardens and Vestry of St. Thomas’s Parish are pleased and honored to announce that the Rev. Edward E. Godden has accepted our call to serve as Interim Rector beginning January 1, 2018. Father Ed has been in the area for many years, serving parishes in Delaware and Cecil County, Maryland. He is also well acquainted with St. Thomas’s, most recently as supply priest twice this past summer. Father Ed is trained and experienced in interim ministry.

Father Ed will serve the parish on a half-time basis. His focus will be on worship, pastoral care, and guiding us through the transition process. In order to make the best use of his time, and to expose the parish to a broad variety of experiences in worship and preaching, supply priests and guest preachers will supplement his liturgical ministry.

Father Ed is looking forward to being with us, helping us to grow into a stronger parish during the interim period as we seek our next full-time rector. Please keep him and the parish in your prayers. We also encourage you to maintain–and perhaps increase and deepen–your commitment to the ministry of St. Thomas’s during the very interesting time that lies ahead for all of us.

Connie Cooper
Senior Warden

2017 – 2018 Advent and Christmas Worship

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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

Pilgrimage Windows Booklet online

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Life is a journey for every human being, but for believers of all stripes it is also a pilgrimage with a Purpose and a destination. Christians are called to a life of love and service here on earth, with the Hope of salvation in the next life.

On the north wall or left side of the nave of St. Thomas’s Church is a continuous glass bank of unique stained-glass windows at eye level, vividly reminding us not only that we are all sojourners, but also that we are not at all alone. Indeed, among this great “crowd of witnesses” are traditional saints whom we can venerate but often prefer to think we cannot possibly emulate, but also less heroic women and men who can inspire and guide us along our own path.

Enjoy the Pilgrimage Windows Booklet online. To purchase a printed copy, please call the Parish Office at (302) 368-4644. A copy is $10, which includes postage and handling.

See the windows in person by visiting the north wall or left side of the nave at St. Thomas’s Parish at 276 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19711. Since the procession and the inscription move from left to right (as one faces the windows) and it is suggested that the viewer also proceed this way. Each of the five groups is chronologically ordered, moving from the recent to the ancient. As one moves from one bay to the next, therefore, one will find one self propelled from Apostolic to modern times.

Booklet contributors:
Text by Lawrence G. Duggan, Professor of History, University of Delaware. Member of St. Thomas’s Parish (1982-), Head of the Liturgy Guild (2003-), and Grand High Thurifer.
Photos by Robert Gilley, Member of St. Thomas’s Parish (1996-)
Graphic Design and Layout by Jason J. Malago

Poets’ Corner Reading Series presents Celeste Doaks

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Poets’ Corner Reading Series presents Celeste Doaks reading poetry by her favorite poets.

Saturday, November 18, 4:00 p.m.
St. Thomas’s Episcopal Parish, 276 S. College Ave., Newark, DE

Free-will offering.

Poet and journalist Celeste Doaks is the author of Cornrows and Cornfields (Wrecking Ball Press, UK), and most recently the editor of Not Without Our Laughter (Mason Jar Press). Cornrows was listed as one of the “Ten Best Books of 2015” by Beltway Poetry Quarterly. Her accolades include a Lucille Clifton Scholarship to attend Squaw Valley Writers Workshop, the 2010 AWP WC&C Scholarship. Her journalism has appeared in the Huffington Post, Village Voice, Time Out New York, and QBR (Quarterly Black Book Review). Her poems have been published in multiple on-line and print publications such as Chicago Quarterly Review, the Rumpus.net, and the City Paper. Doaks is currently the Visiting Assistant Professor in Creative Writing at University of Delaware. For more, visit her on Twitter and Instagram @thedoaksgirl or at www.doaksgirl.com

Co-sponsored by St. Thomas’s Parish and the University of Delaware Department of English.

St. Thomas’s–the next chapter now begins

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A Message from the Vestry November 2, 2017

Dear Friends,

THANK YOU to everyone who helped to make Father Paul and Marilyn Gennett’s last Sunday at St. Thomas’s a special day. And thanks to everyone who came out on a rainy, dreary day to show your love and appreciation for the Gennetts.

We all have our own thoughts and feelings about the retirement of Father Paul and what it means for us, both individually and as a parish. We’re sad, we’re anxious, we’re wondering. It will take time to sort through all of this, and it will be different for each one of us. This normal, so accept whatever is in your heart.

What comes next for St. Thomas’s? Most importantly, our Sunday celebrations of the Holy Eucharist will continue at 8:00 and 10:30. The Rev. Elizabeth Masterson will lead all of our regular and special services in November and December. She will also be doing pastoral care. Please wear your nametags so that she can get to know you. She looks forward to seeing everyone on November 5—and please remember to FALL BACK on Saturday night so that you get to church on time!

The vestry is committed to keeping St. Thomas’s active and healthy during the interim period. But doing this will require everyone’s participation. We are all of us entrusted with the care of this particular portion of God’s kingdom here in Newark, Delaware. Keep up with the Google groups messages and the Carpenter’s Helper to learn about opportunities for worship, fellowship, and service.

The transition process will be a major focus in the months to come. The process will take time and patience, for we must follow diocesan procedures. Here’s an update on where we are:

  • The vestry is making progress on securing an interim rector to serve the parish beginning in early 2018. Since this is a personnel matter, we can’t say anything until we have something to say. As soon as arrangements with the interim rector are finalized, we will make a public announcement.
  • The vestry and transition committee will be meeting with our transition consultant on November 11 to learn more about the process.
  • The vestry will be selecting the search committee, which will begin work shortly after the interim rector arrives.
  • Once we know more about the process, we will provide a road map of what is involved and keep the parish updated on progress.

We’re on a journey into new territory—there will be some twists and turns along the way–and we hope that everyone will join us. With God’s help, the days ahead will be interesting and rewarding as we move Forward in Faith, one step at a time.

Thank you for your support of St. Thomas’s Parish. Please keep the church in your prayers.

Connie Cooper
Senior Warden