Sermon for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost – July 30, 2017/Year A

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In 1492, Columbus sailed the oceans blue. In 1842, St. Thomas’s opened in faith new, too … in Newark! I suspect Devon Miller Duggan might have a word or two to say about my poetic prowess, or lack thereof. I guess will take off  the next great American poet off my post-ministry bucket list. Yet my somewhat poetic attempt is to point us toward the beginnings of St. Thomas’s on August 1, 1842. On Tuesday, we celebrate 175 years in the seed planting business.

We were founded by a vision of a few men, with mustard seed faith, to bring an Anglican/Episcopal worshiping community to Newark and then small Newark College student body. In the words of the article about St. Thomas’s written in the Delaware History pamphlet in 2010, St. Thomas’s was formed on the need to bring “a true religious experience to Newark.” The article notes at the time there were two Presbyterian churches along Main Street, while the “rowdy” Methodists were put off onto a side street. The community wanted to provide religious experiences that offered “reasonable and refined expressions of faith.” Our liturgical practices fit the bill, and the property at the point of Main Street and Delaware Avenue was purchased to build our church.

175 years later, and here we still are bearing the “mustard seeds” of faith, seeking to live into and out of God’s grace and love in this new/old home of St. Thomas’s. The call to our living faith is as powerful now as it was August 1, 1842 when we incorporated. To paraphrase a favorite theologian Dr. Seuss, “Oh, the places we have been … Oh, the places we will go and grow, together!

See The Reverend Paul W. Gennett, Jr.’s sermon for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost – July 30, 2017/Year A in its entirety.

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