Sermon for The Third Sunday after the Epiphany – January 22, 2017/Year A

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“As the mission and ministry of Jesus unfolds in Epiphany season, we see different perspectives through the different lenses the Gospel writers were looking through about the call of Jesus to those first disciples.

The first lens was Matthew’s story of the baptism of Jesus by John, John’s witness to this revelation of the prophet’s word, and Jesus saying “yes” to God into the wilderness temptations. The second lens was John’s Gospel, with John the Baptist pointing to “the Lamb of God come into the world” which encourages Andrew and another unnamed disciple to follow and hear that eternal question posed by Jesus, “WHAT are you looking for?” The third lens this day again returns to Matthew as Jesus picks up the mantle of ministry from John the Baptist and calls those ordinary fishermen to become extraordinary fishers of God’s people by their living witness.”

See The Reverend Paul W. Gennett’s sermon for The Third Sunday after the Epiphany – January 22, 2017/Year A in its entirety.

Sermon for the The First Sunday after the Epiphany: The Baptism of our Lord – January 8. 2017/Year A

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“I find the First Sunday after the Epiphany a shock to the system. The sanctuary, adorned with the wonders of light and greens reflecting the Christmas Season, is now barren. Becoming fuel for the Epiphany fire, and WHAT A FIRE it was again this year! Our homes are likewise now stark and cold like our winters day. Christmas is over, and based on the renewed comments and actions of past week in the plethora of media sites and sources, so is the essence of Love come down to dwell amongst us it seems.”

See The Reverend Paul W. Gennett’s sermon for the The First Sunday after the Epiphany: The Baptism of our Lord – January 8. 2017/Year A in its entirety.

Martin Luther King Sunday, Jan. 15: A Very Special Guest Preacher

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Blessings in Grace to all this day!

On the third Sunday of January, we remember nationally and spiritually the life and witness of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On this day, I have invited Dr. Teri Quinn Gray as our preacher. Teri was born in Jackson, MS and raised in an extended hyper-functional family steered by a matriarchal regime of activists. Even though a cradle Episcopalian, Teri’s spiritual formation dipped from Southern Baptist and Nation of Islam to Buddhism and Hoodoo sometimes all congregating over a Quinn family supper on a Sunday evening. Yes, a lot of praying required just to get through the first course of the meal.

This childhood experience led to a very personal practice of the platinum rule – treat others as they want to be treated – and family directive to “be of consequence” in the world. Teri left Mississippi in the late-80s for graduate school in Maryland, married Bernard Carl Gray in 1990 followed by birth of their only son, Zhalen, in 1995, before fully transplanting to Delaware in the early 2000s. As of January 2015, Teri transferred from DuPont Crop Protection (after 17y) to DuPont Performance Materials as Technology Senior Manager leading cross-functional teams that span the USA, Canada, Mexico and Brazil. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees at University of Delaware, recently the Board of Directors for the U.S. Education Delivery Institute, and founding chair of the American Chemical Society (ACS) Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board. She holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Jackson State University; a PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Maryland, and worked as National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institute of Standards & Technology prior to joining DuPont in 1997. Teri is President of the Delaware State Board of Education, appointed by Governor Jack Markell in 2009, and co-chair of the Delaware STEM Council since September of 2012. At St. Thomas’s, Teri has actively lived her faith, serving on Vestry, as People’s Warden, co-leader of our Confirmation Program, and a member of the Standing Committee and Disciplinary Board for the diocese.

Please join us for a very present and powerful witness on this Sunday, January 15, 2017 at the 8:00 and 10:30 a.m. services.

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

Sermon for the First Sunday after Christmas & Feast of the Holy Name – January 1, 2017/Year A

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“From the Catechism of the Roman Church –“God calls each one by name. Everyone’s name is sacred. The name is the icon of the person. It demands respect as a sign of the dignity of the one who bears it.” We remember the Holy Name of Jesus this day. We remember everything is in a name!”

Learn more! Learn about the Feast of the Holy Name. See the sermon for the First Sunday after Christmas & Feast of the Holy Name – January 1, 2017/Year A.

Sermon for the Fourth Sunday in Advent – December 18, 2016/Year A

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Sometimes things just don’t seem to work out the way we expect. This might be a reasonable assessment of the feelings of some after this recent election cycle. We may think that this is the ONLY time in history something like this has happened, and we are the ONLY people that have ever had to deal with circumstances like these. It is probably not the first or the last time in our human history where events like this have happened. We are not that unique.

Over countless conversations held in prayerfulness with many these past six weeks, I have been asking the question that emerged out of my prayer early in this time of kerfuffle – “So, what do you think God is up to in all this kerfuffle?” I suspect this might have been the question of Joseph and Mary emerging from their enlightening encounters, just without so much of the kerfuffle feelings.

While the first three Sundays in Advent typically looks to the future coming of Christ, the Fourth Sunday of Advent always looks through the lens of the promise fulfilled in the birth of Jesus. See The Reverend Paul W. Gennett’s Sermon for for the Fourth Sunday in Advent – December 18, 2016/Year A in its entirety.

Sermon for the Third Sunday in Advent – December 11, 2016 / Year A

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Are We There Yet? No Not Yet
Are We There Yet? Just Be Still
Are We There Yet? Be Patient

We are in week three of Advent. Advent is a season of waiting, expectation and preparation for the coming of the Messiah. The season of Advent can be confusing. In it we anticipate both the coming of the Christ Child at the first Christmas and the second coming of Jesus at the end of the world. The readings for this season focus on the paradox between the sometime harsh reality of the earthly world and the hopeful dreams of the heavenly realm to come. These are contradictions which are held in heavenly tension in our faith particularly during Advent.

See the Reverend Deacon Cecily Sawyer Harmon’s sermon for the Third Sunday in Advent – December 11, 2016 / Year A.

Sermon for the Second Sunday in Advent – December 4 , 2016/Year A

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“Perhaps we can make space at our Advent table for John the Baptist as well. Perhaps John offers words of hope, empathy, and encouragement that we miss hearing because we stop listening too soon. I hear John’s word to spiritual preparation and renewal as a compassionate call. One that reminds me we come each year to REMEMBER the birth of Jesus as the Christmas celebration, Love come down to earth, what we are PREPARING for every day is what we proclaim each week in the Nicene Creed – “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.”

So what John the Baptist has preached to this preacher, on this day, is the compassionate call of John
to ignite … to invite … to excite. Because being compassionate always requires taking responsibility to do something about it.

See Father Paul’s sermon for for the Second Sunday in Advent – December 4 , 2016/Year A in its entirety.

Sermon for the First Sunday in Advent – November 27, 2016/Year A

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“What are you waiting for?” I stood on the bank of the creek that ran behind our family farm, some fifteen feet above the meandering water below. The rope in my hands held tightly, I had watched two other friends swing wide off the ground and over the creek, let go of the rope with a large splash in the water below, and then surface again with laughter. The surface again part was the most important for me at that point.

“What are you waiting for?” Buddy was a neighborhood friend, a little older and a lot bigger than me in physical stature. He was a good friend, although at times could be pretty mean and a bully too. He continued chiding me while the others began to echo his taunts – “Are you chicken? You are a skinny stinky chicken, that’s all you are!” I grasped the rope tighter, took a few steps backward, closed my eyes, and then … waited a little bit longer!

Advent is much like this moment in time from my childhood. I hold on to the rope of life tightly, feeling the push and pull of world demands on our time, in this season of the year. I should swing into action. I should be doing SOMETHING, ANYTHING to move whatever needs moved forward, if even I can. So, I take a few steps backward, grasp the rope of life demands tighter, and then … I wait, with God.

Wait no longer and read the rest of The Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.’s Sermon for the First Sunday in Advent – November 27, 2016/Year A.

Sermon for Thanksgiving Day – November 24, 2016/Year C

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“We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessings …” This favorite hymn of Thanksgiving Day gathers us together in our parish home of St. Thomas’s with I pray grateful hearts. I know I am grateful to complete this eighth year of mutual ministry with you, and stand on the threshold with you to enter this coming year in celebration of our 175th year of ministry to Newark, the University of Delaware, and to one another.”

“For all that has been, THANK YOU … For all that will be and becoming, YES!” I did say they may feel ill-fitting for our days and times right now. However, what I hear in these words are invitation to living and being in more excellent ways. The ways that our faith invites, informs, and if we are to claim this one Jesus as our Christ and Savior, they demand. For me, these words open the door to our 175th year of ministry to live, and move, and have our being in intentional ways that can only leave us resonating the words of St. Paul we read this day – “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice!”

Rejoice in the Lord and see the Sermon for Thanksgiving Day – November 24, 2016/Year C in its entirety.

The Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.

Sermon for the Last Sunday after Pentecost: Christ the King – November 20, 2016/Year C

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“And then we have Jesus. The last Sunday after Pentecost is also known as Christ the King Sunday.

This day bookends the Three Holy Days of Easter’s promise, and bears the eternal question of faith — Is God like this? Or can this day be our renewed affirmation of faith to face these changing times — God IS like this!

This day bears this question of faith – Who is OUR King of glory?”

See Father Paul’s sermon for the Last Sunday after Pentecost: Christ the King in its entirety.