Dear St. Thomas’,
Thank you for your many expressions of sympathy on the death of my grandfather last week. He, like so many of your loved ones, was isolated from his family and friends for several months before his death. This season of the Corona virus is brutal in a variety of ways.
Funerals without hugs and handshakes are strange and difficult. Funerals that don’t invite the larger church family impacted by the death are sad and painful. Yet in all this strangeness, difficulty, sadness and pain, we continue to honor the living (with our social distancing) even as we honor the dead (with our attendance or our thoughtful absence from a funeral service).
What we’re experiencing in this season is unlike anything in living memory. Our responses, as individuals and as communities, have been halting, unsure, and too often inadequate. We’ve gotten some things wrong. We will get more things wrong. That’s how we learn. But we’ve gotten some things right, too.
One thing we’ve been getting right is the work of loving one another in practical acts of service and quiet expressions of concern. Through cards and phone calls and even drive-by parades. Sometimes by our presence and sometimes by our distance. Loving one another is God’s call to us in sickness and in health, on good days and on bad days. God doesn’t call us to be perfect. (We can discuss the translation options on Matthew 5.48 at a different time!) But God does invite us to love as best we can.
Thank you for expressing your love toward my family and me. Please continue to keep in mind, in prayer, and in expressions of care, others of our parish community who are losing loved ones, whether to Covid-19 or to the more pedestrian realities of our mortality.
This is a season of testing, no doubt. But together we can meet the challenge and find that we have drawn closer to God in the process.
Adult formation is back this week! Join us on Sunday, 12 July, at 10am as Jonathan Wilson begins a four-week online series on Light in the East: Exploring the Wide World of the First Christians. The Jesus movement has always called believers from diverse nations and cultures. Yet sometimes Americans imagine that the church’s diversity is the work of modern missionaries. Join us in a four-part historical series as we uncover the original “bigness” of our faith by exploring the surprisingly vast world of Jesus and his early followers.
Our Deacon Intern, Jeannie Marcucci, will lead a class following Jonathan’s: two weeks on Just and Proper Use: A Small Study in Eco-Spirituality. You can download a copy of the booklet or email or call the church office if you would like us to mail you a paper copy. Then stay tuned to study with Jeannie on 9 and 16 August.
Sunday School for children at St. Thomas’ is taking the summer off, as is our normal rhythm. However, the Diocese of New Jersey is continuing to offer an online option: check it out!
If you’re looking for something else to do with your little ones, Father Todd’s friend Nicole is posting a weekly Bible story and craft series called Wade in the Water all summer long!
Kitchen of Hope’s mission of combating food insecurity is more important than ever during this time of mass unemployment. Therefore we will be offering food distributions on two different Saturdays in July: the second and the fourth (11 July and 25 July). Volunteers are needed but you must sign up with Vivian H. and come only during your assigned shift so that we may continue to comply with state and Diocesan guidelines on social distancing! KoH will operate a little differently this week due to the Food Bank’s scheduled being altered by the Independence Day holiday.
The Stay Safe Committee has released an initial report which is being reviewed by the Vestry and will then be submitted to the Diocese of NJ. We continue to work our careful, methodical way toward meeting in person once again. Thank you to everyone who is contributing to make sure we as a parish act in a responsible, safe, loving way! If you’re curious, you can see the training video (about 30 minutes) and/or the video with instructions for communion (about 4 minutes), both provided by our Diocese to guide our work in re-opening our campus. Also, the NY Times published a story this week about outbreaks associated with re-opening churches: it’s a serious issue!
Barb J. is looking for her black quilt display rack. The last time it was used was in the Parish Hall for our Black History Month celebration on 23 February. Please let her know if you have seen it.
Do you need a haircut? Let Aden C. show you how it’s done!
New Jersey Together is gathering more than 300 people from across the state to to ratify a non-partisan agenda focused on racial equity and criminal justice. Our Bishop and the Diocese of NJ have played a significant role in this effort. The group is laying the groundwork for a virtual action in August with 1,000+ across the state. Their desire is for at least five people from St. Thomas’ to join their planning team on July 27th. All you need to do is register at http://www.njtogether.org/july27
Announcements for the bulletin or parish email are due into the office by noon on Wednesday of each week. You can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office at 856-881-9144. Announcements are subject to editing due to limited space.
Lectionary readings for this week: Genesis 25:19-34, Psalm 119:105-112, Romans 8:1-11, Matthew 13:1-9,18-23
Lectionary readings for next week: Genesis 28:10-19a, Psalm 139: 1-11, 22-23, Romans 8:12-25, Matthew 13:24-30,36-43
Please continue in your daily prayers for: Dennis, Marge, Brad, Joann, Ruth, Chuck, Medical Personnel threatened, sickened, and dying from their service to patients with Covid-19, Bryan, Dave, Debbie, Charles, Pat, Mike, Kim, Joan, Tommy, Riley, Steven, Kate, Tracy, Sofia, Bobby, Mary, Andrea, Nancy, Tamara, Ginny, Tal, Sr., Elsie, Donna
This Weekend Online
- Saturday, 5.30pm: Evening Prayer
With Sunday lessons & homily.
- Sunday, any time: Morning Prayer (pre-recorded)
- Sunday, 9.00am: Online Sunday School with the Diocese of NJ
- Sunday, 10.00am: Adult formation: Light from the East led by Jonathan Wilson
- Sunday, 11.15am: Holy Eucharist with Spiritual Communion
at the Washington National Cathedral
- Daily Morning Prayer (Monday through Saturday)
- Nightly Compline with our neighbors at St. Stephen’s, Mullica Hill
(Monday through Friday)
- Monday, 4pm: Centering Prayer
- Tuesday, Noon: Coffee Hour
- Wednesday, 6.30pm: Prayer in the Evening
Check-in and a brief (5-minute) service of prayer.
- Wednesday, 7.00pm: Bible Study with Bishop Stokes
Events hosted by St. Thomas’ are accessed via Zoom: instructions here.
What do you see in this picture? Not much? That’s because Carl K. came and spent the morning (again) cutting down all the weeds and brush that had grown up. Thank you, Carl! But Carl’s not alone. St. Thomas’ is still keeping busy, taking care of the campus, taking care of each other, and taking care of our community.
Jazz: Songs of Resilience and Strength
“Much of the power of our Freedom Movement in the United States has come from [jazz]. It has strengthened us with its sweet rhythms when courage began to fail. It has calmed us with its rich harmonies when spirits were down.” The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Watch this concert series from a parish in Seattle live on Youtube every Friday in July at 9:30pm. Or view the concerts archived at this playlist.
- 7/10: LaVon Hardison Quartet
- 7/17: Nichole Walters Quartet
- 7/24: Stephanie Porter Quartet
- 7/31: Jeremy Bacon Quartet
We celebrate the saints:
Founder of Western Monasticism (11 July 540)
This Week at St. Thomas’
- SINCE FRIDAY, MARCH 13 BUILDINGS CLOSED – NO EVENTS ON CAMPUS
- MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY DAILY OFFICE The Daily Office is the cycle of prayers traditional to Christians (and Jews before us!) that we see hinted at in the Psalms and elsewhere. Join St. Thomas’ as we pray, Monday through Saturday. Morning Prayer is posted online each morning at 5am. You can listen to it at whatever time suits you. Compline (bed-time prayers) is at 9pm.
See a list of upcoming events or check them out on a calendar.
Saturdays, 5:30pm: Evening Prayer
Sundays, 8am: Morning Prayer (recorded)
Sundays, 9am: Sunday School (Diocese of NJ)
Sunday School for children
Sundays, 10am: Adult Formation
Sunday School for adults – some Sundays in summer
Sundays, 11.15am: Holy Eucharist at the National Cathedral
Mondays, 4pm: Centering Prayer
Tuesdays, Noon: Coffee Hour
Wednesday, 6.30pm: Prayer in the Evening
Wednesdays, 7.00pm: Bible Study with the Bishop
Daily on Weekdays: Morning Prayer and Compline
Emergency Pastoral Care: