Chapter 22, Page 175 – Forward in Faith, September 2017

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“The place God calls you to be is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Wishful Thinking: A Theological ABC by Frederick Buechner

“Then Jesus said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you … You are witnesses of these things. “ Luke 24:44, 48

We return to those routines of life after our summer rest. Vacation memories collected and stored for another season. School supplies purchased and children back to early-to-bed-to-early-to-rise school days [children say “aww” to parents … parents say “yay” to everyone]. Our 20,000+ neighbors of the University of Delaware return as does the rhythm of our campus ministry gatherings. We also return to those rhythms of worship in this place. Yet this time will be different in a few ways.

One way is the BIG celebration of our 175 years of ministry and mission to Newark on Sunday, September 24. PLEASE NOTE we will gather for ONE service this day at 9:30 a.m. We will remember our past while looking to our present and future for God’s onward call in this place, in our time, as this people of the Jesus Movement. We will bless and commission ALL ministries and ministers that serve our parish family! We will admit, bless, and pray onward our 2017-2018 Confirmation Class and their leaders, Bob Rys and Teri Quinn Gray. We will worship with a liturgy crafted especially for this day, and we will gather outside to bless our new welcoming signage at the exit of our driveway. We share our deep gratitude for the leadership of the events of our 175th anniversary year – Tom Fairchild, Laura Greene, and Nicole Cebula. We will remember … commit … bless … now and onward, together.

The other way is our coming closer to my taking leave as your companion in ministry and rector these nine years on October 31. As many have heard me say, I believe I have done, with your help and God’s help, the work and ministry I can in this time and chapter of your lives. The S.W.E.E.P.S. ministries are in place for future service. The finances are healthier for the near-term, while the work of a living stewardship is in the hands of the Vestry servant leaders. The property is in better structural condition, and the Grove is YOURS for the future. I have been blessed and am grateful to have completed these things with you and God in this time, in this place.

At the August 19th meeting of the Vestry, I provided a Covenant of Taking Leave from St. Thomas’s. This covenant is simply, in writing, a clear understanding of our life and relationship in the next pages and chapter of St. Thomas’s Parish. Here are the important points for the understanding of all in our parish family:

  • My resignation signifies that all my priestly, pastoral, liturgical, and administrative duties for the parish are completed. As St. Paul writes to his beloved Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
  • This completion is committed to the transition period before the next rector is called. St. Thomas’s needs time and space between rectors to discover who you are now, where God is calling you onward, and what type of leadership gifts are needed onward for mutual ministry.
  • I will not officiate or assist at any liturgical function in the parish [wedding, baptism, burial office] for at least one year. I may wish to attend a function as a member of the congregation only, and then with understanding of the Wardens, Vestry, and current transition minister. I will continue to exercise my priestly ministry at other parishes as invited at some point, but for a season I am looking forward to being a “pew sitter” with Marilyn.
  • The Rector Discretionary Fund will be returned to the Wardens and Treasurer of the parish to be used by appointed lay representatives as needed.
  • The keys to the church facility will be returned, and clearly marked, for use by future priests. I expect I will be the ONLY person in Newark not to have a key to St. Thomas’s!

This covenant simply gives appropriate space for you to move forward to Chapter 23 in this transitioning time, and gives Marilyn and I appropriate space as we take our steps into this next volume of our life and work together. As Frederick Buechner reminds me, the root of our word goodbye emerges from the 13th century Middle English expression when friends take leave from one another – God be with you!

God be with you, dear sisters and brothers of this place, in this time … God be with you!

With gratefulness always, your servant in Christ

Fr. Paul+

 

Poet’s Corner – JoAnn Balingit

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JoAnn Balingit reading poetry by her favorite poets
Saturday, September 16, 4:00 p.m.

Free-will offering.

JoAnn Balingit grew up in Florida and lives in Delaware where she served as poet laureate from 2008 to 2015. She’s the author of Words for House Story (WordTech, 2013) and was a 2017 VONA/Voices resident in prose, working on a memoir. She coordinates Delaware’s Poetry Out Loud program, and teaches poetry and creative writing at libraries and nonprofit organizations.Her latest poems appear at Poemeleon,TheRumpus, Vallum Magazine and www.poets.org or her web site at joannbalingit.org.

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

Come and See at Bible Study!

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St. Thomas’s offers TWO bible study groups to fit most schedules. The Early Risers group meets on Tuesday from 7:00 to 8:00 a.m. in the Parlor – a great way to start you day and make it to work or class at the university in plenty of time! This time of study will resume again on Tuesday, September 5. The Not-As-Early-Risers group meets on Wednesday from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Great Hall classroom, and will resume on Wednesday, September 6.

No preparation needed nor seminary training required – just bring yourself, your soul, your interest, your wonderings, your hunger for sharing and knowing YOUR story that is the Bible, and sharing this sacred story of you with others in this journey.

Blessing of the Backpacks

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On Sunday, September 3, Father Paul will be blessing backpacks for all students who bring them to any of our three services as a way to start and continue your school year on the right path. All who desire are welcome to participate, regardless of age or type of “backpack” you bring — briefcases will get blessed too! “The love of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility goes before honor.” Proverbs 15:3

Building use requests now due for St. Thomas’s ministry groups

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Grace and peace to all! We hope your summer is going along “swimmingly” (yes, pun intended…)

One of the ways St. Thomas’s lives into its ministry of welcome is by allowing it’s space to be utilized by the wider community. That being said, the first priority for space use is to groups that are connected to ministries here at St. Thomas’s. So, we need to know when our space is needed for these ministries. If you lead a ministry or group who meets in this building, please take a moment to complete a “pink form” for the coming program year. This will assist the office staff in determining what space is available and when for community use. “Pink forms” are also available on the parish website at StThomasParish.org.

Thank you for attention to this matter and we look for to hearing from you.

Peace,
Adele Meredith
Parish Administrator

Guest Preacher this Sunday, July 23

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This Sunday, July 23, Maryann D. Younger will be our guest preacher at both the 8 and 10:30 a.m. services.

Maryann is discerning a call to Holy Orders within our Diocese and has been studying theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Last year, she served as sacristan for the campus worshiping community and as a seminarian at St. Peter’s Church, Philadelphia, where her primary service was with the young children’s and family worship. She volunteers as a chaplain at the Nemours AI DuPont Hospital for Children and is a parishioner at Christ Church Christiana Hundred.

A life spent as an observational sociologist has provided opportunities for Maryann to be successful in Montessori education, youth volunteerism and service, mentoring, writing, and hospitality. Entrepreneurial in nature, it was during the founding of the Christ Church Episcopal Preschool that the call to ordained ministry first became clear.

We welcome Maryann and her husband Kris who are looking forward to being with us this coming Sunday.

Grateful always, your servant in Christ,

Fr. Paul Gennett, Jr.+

Welcome Maryann Younger on Pentecost 7!

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On Sunday, July 23, Maryann D. Younger will be our guest preacher at both the 8 and 10:30 a.m. services.

Maryann is discerning a call to Holy Orders within our Diocese and has been studying theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. Last year, she served as sacristan for the campus worshiping community and as a seminarian at St. Peter’s Church, Philadelphia, where her primary service was with the young children’s and family worship. She volunteers as a chaplain at the Nemours AI DuPont Hospital for Children and is a parishioner at Christ Church Christiana Hundred.

A life spent as an observational sociologist has provided opportunities for Maryann to be successful in Montessori education, youth volunteerism and service, mentoring, writing, and hospitality. Entrepreneurial in nature, it was during the founding of the Christ Church Episcopal Preschool that the call to ordained ministry first became clear.

We welcome Maryann and her husband Kris who are looking forward to being with us on July 23rd.

Grateful always, your servant in Christ,

Fr. Paul Gennett, Jr.+

A Message from the Vestry – June 2017

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To St. Thomas’s Parishioners,

As we move into the summer, your vestry would like to update you on several issues.

First, great thanks and appreciation to all for our big events in May and June—the 175th anniversary gala, the tribute to Bob Rys, and the Pentecost/175th anniversary picnic. All of them were wonderful expressions of joy and fellowship, the result of many hours of work by dedicated parishioners.

Many of you are probably wondering about the transition process as Father Paul prepares to retire. First, we have the gift of his presence until the end of October. It’s a time to reflect on and give thanks for what his ministry has meant for the parish and for each of us personally.

The vestry is beginning to work on transition plans. We’ve met with the Rev. Canon Gary Rowe of the diocesan staff and we’re studying the diocesan guidelines for parishes in transition. We are working on arrangements for a priest to be with us beginning the first Sunday in November.

Some things in the transition process will be as they have been in the past, but there have been some changes. One big change is the form of the parish profile. In the past, it has been a printed document. Now the diocesan procedure is for the profile to be on the parish web site, as a separate section of the site. Prospective candidates for the position of rector will first meet us through the web site. The web site is also how most visitors and prospective members get acquainted with us. That’s why a welcoming and accurate web site is essential—it’s our front door, in a manner of speaking, and we want to make a good impression on all who seek us out.

Finally, the transition process requires two committees, the transition committee and the search committee. These committees are appointed by and responsible to the vestry. The transition committee, with three to five members, will be in operation from late summer through the first year of the new rector’s tenure. It will handle tasks like farewells, welcomes, and assisting the new rector to settle in to life at St. Thomas’s. The search committee will begin its work after Fr. Paul leaves. It will develop the parish profile and handle the search and interview process, ending up with a candidate to recommend to the vestry. The search committee will have eight to ten members.

The vestry is in the early stages of developing these committees. If you have suggestions of people who might be possible members of the committees, please inform me or any vestry member. You don’t need the person’s consent at this point—once the vestry chooses the possible candidates for each committee, they will be contacted, given a full description of the task, and will be free to make their own decision on whether to accept the call. All suggestions will be held in confidence.

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

Connie Cooper
Senior Warden

Summer Coffee Hour

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The Hospitality Ministry is looking for volunteers (two persons each Sunday) to host Coffee Hour starting June 25, 2017 thru Labor Day weekend. This will be a down scale from the regular Coffee Hour. Finger foods such as cookies, donuts , fruit(grapes or strawberries). We will be using paper plates only. Juice, lemonade and coffee will be supplied by St Thomas. There is a signup sheet on the Hospitality board next to the kitchen. Please try to be at Church by 9:30 to 10:00 a.m. to set up.

If you have any questions, please contact :

Oneta Applewhaite
Joe Corsello
Regina McCann

Graduate recognition for the Carpenter’s Helper newsletter

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We are in the throws of the graduation season. What a wonderful time to celebrate the accomplishments of our youth and young adults as they move on to the next chapter in their lives. Your family that is St. Thomas’s Parish would like to celebrate with you!! We will be running the list of graduates through the month of June in the Carpenter’s Helper. So, there are only 2 weeks left to see your graduate’s name in print. Please let the office know as soon as possible by writing to adelemeredithstthomas@gmail.com about your family’s graduates so we can celebrate with you.

Peace,
Adele Meredith
Parish Administrator