Interactive Stations of the Cross throughout Lent

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The Interactive Stations of the Cross are a way to meditate on Christ’s journey from Pilate to the Tomb: one literally washes one’s hands as Pilate did. You make a cross and carry it with you. You stop where he stumbled and think on things that make you stumble. Where Jesus met his mother,you remember things that are on your heart. You pray for folks who are ill at another stop. You make an image of the cross where Veronica legendarily wiped Jesus’ face and where he left his image on her cloth. You mourn with the women of Jerusalem and stop to mark hurting places in the world. You drink vinegar and drive nails. You experience the torn curtain of the Temple. You imagine how it would feel to have your dead son laid in your arms. You smell spices at the Tomb. And, there is a Fifteenth Station that shows the promise of the Resurrection.

Available daily during office hours (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.) and any time the building is open. Call 302-368-4644 for group visits or to arrange for a guided tour or merely to arrange to have someone else present while you experience the Stations.

ECM dinners – sign up now!

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The signup sheet is posted so you may sign up to provide dinner for the hungry and appreciative UD students whom we will welcome to take a break from campus life and sojourn for a while in our building.

You can do it as an individual or with a friend or two. Plan to stay to eat and to get to know the kids.

Thank you. Sally Price <sallyeymanprice@gmail.com>

Collect for our Search for a New Rector

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Our Heavenly Creator, who has blessed this dedicated church family for 175 years serving our community in your faith and love, we ask for guidance for our Parish, Search Committee and Vestry as we embark on the journey to mutual ministry with our next Rector. Bless us with your grace and fill us with knowledge and fortitude throughout this process. In the Holy Name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, and of the Holy Spirit, AMEN

Carpenter’s Helper Newsletter for the week of May 20, 2018

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See St. Thomas’s Carpenter’s Helper newsletter for May 20, 2018. See all newsletters.

Pentecost Parish Picnic takes place this Sunday, May 20 after the 10:30 a.m. service. St. Thomas’s will provide hamburgers, veggie burgers and hot dogs a well as paper products and drinks. There will also be games and activities for all ages.

WE NEED VOLUNTEERS to help set up, clean up and help facilitate games. We also NEED YOU to bring a side dish or dessert to complete our celebration meal. (Donations will also be accepted toward the cost of the entrees and paper products.) Signup sheets to get an estimate of how many people are coming, who can help with setup and/or cleanup, and who is bringing what will be on the Great Hall door beginning on May 6.

One more thing … you are welcome to bring chairs or picnic blankets for your comfort and enjoyment. Thanks in advance for your help in creating another great fellowship opportunity for our St. Thomas’s family, especially during, this, our 175th year!! Please feel free to e-mail me at belmar43@aol.com or call me at 302-832-8834 with questions or to volunteer to help plan or facilitate the picnic.

Christmas Pageant preparation

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Hello Families,

Thanks to all who helped with the Trick or Treat for UNICEF campaign. I am hoping to collect the last of the little orange boxes this Sunday, 11/13. Then, I will announce the grand total we collected and send it off to UNICEF. If any boxes come in after that, I will send it as a separate donation on behalf of St. Thomas’s Children’s ministries.

Our next big project is the annual Christmas pageant, which will serve as the gospel and sermon during the Christmas Eve service on 12/24.  We will be doing a traditional pageant this year and will need a narrator, 12-14 children with small speaking parts (most a sentence or two) and 4+ participants with no speaking part. I have some ideas about who would be good for the parts and will begin assigning the parts this week and next. I would like to begin rehearsals during Sunday School very soon and in December there will be some practices at time outside of Sunday School.

Please let me know if your child will be available for the pageant and willing/able to play a part. I will be talking to the children myself when I see them. So it would be greatly appreciated if families could make their best effort to attend church for the next few weeks.  The Christmas pageant is one of the greatest gifts that the children give to their church each year and I would love to have everyone be a part of it..

Peace to all,
Belinda Young-Payne
Director of Children’s Ministries, St Thomas’s Parish

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

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Chapter 22, Page 175 – Forward in Faith

“The place God calls you to be is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

++++++++

“What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning…
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”                                                                                                                T.S. Eliot “Little Gidding V”

I was 13 years old, launching into my teen years and all the joys and heartbreaks these years can bring. It was a warm September Sunday morning as we gathered for worship at Chews Landing United Methodist Church. There were thousands of people – at least to my teenaged eyes – staring at me as I stood on the chancel steps with Pastor Bridges.  Typical for teens of this age, I was still physically morphing toward maturity, so acne was very much the vogue on my face, and my hair was then full and blazing red as was my face I am sure.

You see, on this warm September Sunday, I made my profession before everyone that I felt God was calling me to ministry! This is how it was done in the Methodist Church in those days. After worship, I was grateful that more people than not offered their prayers and support for the journey ahead. And then at my sixteenth year Pastor Bridges was transferred to another pastorate, and Pastor Long came to our church. Pastor Long was older, longer serving in ministry, and had seen it all in life. His commendation to me was to “go to college, grow up some more, then come back to see if this call is REALLY God’s work.” How stupid I thought Pastor Long was that day … how angry I was that day … yet how wise and discerning he truly was that day. I never had the chance to thank Pastor Long in person for this wisdom, so I do so now.

Graduation from high school led to college years in Western Pennsylvania. A “Christian” college by formation and foundation required chapel weekdays and Sunday evening. By the way, it was the late 1960’s, so if you watched the recent Ken Burn’s documentary The Vietnam War you will know what that time was like! While Steven Nash wailed “Love the one you are with” we studied, partied, partied, studied some, partied more … well, I did graduate I suspect because they wanted me out of there! The blessing was meeting Marilyn in my third year, her first, and 46 years later, she still considers renewing my one year contracts.

Moving into the working world with my wife, my Dad’s venerable wisdom was heard – “Have a family, you take care of them. Be responsible!” This wisdom was formed in his life of responsibility for my mother and me, and I could not ask for a better model of this way of living. To my father’s credit, there were many other wisdom offerings, such as be compassionate … be fair … be generous … be humble … be helpful to those who need it. Paul W. Gennett, Sr. left my life much too early for my liking, but his wisdom has never left me. I began a career in business, first in sales, then management locally to management corporately, 20 years surrounded by “people” in human resource management and consulting. It seemed working with people in sharing my gifts, guidance, and encouragement that I encountered in those teenage years never left me. I just simply followed another path. And then …

Moving to Pittsburgh in 1985, we quickly became actively immersed in worship, service, and parish life of Christ Church. Then one cold and damp February evening in 1987, our priest, the Reverend Rodger Wood, asked to meet with me after work. We met in his office, and after a somewhat rambling prayer, Rodger stared at me in silence. And then he pointed his finger toward me saying, “Well, let’s get on with this. Everybody sees it – you should become a priest.” Suddenly I was a 13 year old teenager standing on the chancel steps all over again … but this time, it felt right round again. So another two years through the Episcopal aspirant process, then on to Virginia Seminary at the tender age of 40 — wait, when was the last course paper I wrote, and how did I do that again?? Returning to Pittsburgh for ordination as deacon to priest in 1992, and then …

Twenty-five years of seeking to serve God and the people who called me to care for them and share in ministry echoes the words of T. S. Eliot for me — “What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning …”
On November 1, the journey to Chapter 22 begins for you, the people of St. Thomas’s, and Volume 3 of my life journey opens to a new, blank page for us both. Yet not so blank when we think of it as we bring the richness of lives and faith lived fully from our nine years together into this next ventures. As result of our life and time together, I pray those I have hurt or offended, please forgive me. To those I have blessed, bless others. Those whom I have helped, help others. To all who have invited into your homes, your lives, your joys and sorrows, your hopes and dreams, I am humbled and thankful for our time together.

The words of blessing from John Donohue echo joyfully for us both I pray, with a little awe and wonder mixed in as well. Yet I pray you embrace this blessing as my prayer for you all in the days to come, and ask you embrace them for the journey ahead for Marilyn and me …

“Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.”
John Donohue. “To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings

With gratitude, love, and hope for you all, my thanks for inviting me to share  these nine years of mutual ministry together. May God, our loving and lover God in Christ, bless you, bless you, bless you!

With gratefulness always, your servant in Christ

Fr. Paul+

 

Sermon for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost – August 20, 2017/Year A

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“If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention.” These words are spoken by Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer, the young woman killed in Charlottesville VA last Saturday. These words framed the prayer service on Wednesday at Bethel AME Church in Wilmington. These words frame the ongoing call to living into our faith as the ones who call Jesus as our Lord.

We continue to allow too much polarizing speech about the others of our country and our world to rule our minds and hearts. Media and political voices dominate the floods of words, words, words, while too many good Christian folk paddle right along these vile streams of thinking and acting. After our remembrance of the Transfiguration and the first atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6, who of good faith would agree with a Christian pastor’s statement that God desires the “nuking of North Korea?” Is this what the God we worship and the Jesus we follow looks like today?

Brian McClaren is Christian pastor, writer, speaker, and advocating voice for the emerging church of open faith dialogue and living together. His book I am currently reading gives pretty clear hint to this faith stance. It is titled Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road? I will give you a spoiler alert – it is NOT to separate themselves from the others but to gather in togetherness, one with another, and to move forward into our world.

For me, there are no “the others” when we live and act out of a mature faith. There are no “the others” in the Jesus Movement.

See Sermon for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost – August 20, 2017/Year A in its entirety.

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Sermon for Feast of the Transfiguration – August 6, 2017/Year A

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This is one of those “special” days in our church year, a day the usual Sunday lectionary gets bumped. Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration. The altar hangings and our vestments shift from the “long green season” to our “dazzling white” versions to reflect God’s holy, radiant, and radical encounters absorbed into the very being of Moses, and revealed from what was always within of Jesus. While this is a great story, our techno-virtual 21st century short-term attention spans may say “Yeah, yeah, big whoop! So what comes next?” A seeming not that big of a deal moment that can be recreated in a minutes with sparks shooting from Jesus, his eyes bulging in radiance … and zombies galore, of course!”

We can choose to follow Jesus, or ….

See the Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.’s sermon for Feast of the Transfiguration – August 6, 2017/Year A.

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