During this season of coronavirus infections, we love others as Jesus loves us by following a simple guideline:
Those not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 must wear a mask and practice social distancing while on church grounds.
Masks are optional for those who have been fully vaccinated.
Dear St. Thomas’,
Our first reading this coming Sunday recounts Samuel anointing a replacement king after Saul proved unfaithful to God. Just hear those words: “replacement king.” That’s sedition. It’s no wonder Samuel was frightened, unsure, responding to God’s instructions with “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me!” (1 Sam 16.2 NRSV) It’s no wonder the elders of Bethlehem came to meet Samuel quaking in their boots, asking, “Do you come peaceably?” It’s no wonder that, when the deed was finally done, Samuel high-tailed it out of there and went to Ramah, never to see the first king, Saul, again. If he had, Samuel would have been killed – for sedition.
As the founding fathers of the United States would tell you, sedition is called for sometimes. Unfortunately, those behind the Confederate States would tell you the same thing. Likewise those who attacked the Capitol on 6 January this year. So the urgent question is when and for what cause is sedition the order of the day?
Samuel heard a clear call from God. Not from party. Not from self. Not even from family! From God. Samuel enacted that call without perpetrating violence against others, but in doing so certainly made himself vulnerable to violence from the state directed against him.
How do we recognize a call from God? It is a call in which we see God’s values embodied. It is a call which reflects the values we read about in the prophets and see enacted in the life of Jesus. When it was Jesus’ turn to read in the synagogue, Jesus read:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Jesus claimed this mission as his own. He didn’t receive applause or a warm reception for it. Jesus chose an unpopular mission, serving unpopular people. Like Samuel, Jesus engaged in rebellion against the dehumanizing ways of the world around him in non-violent ways, and Jesus suffered the consequences of that rebellion.
Even today, God continues to call us to join that mission of liberation and healing. God calls us to take a risk. God calls us to love our enemies and to care for those who have not received the benefits we have. As we do these things, we will find that the Kingdom of God has come near.
This weekend will be the last day of Sunday School this year.
This weekend our Sunday service times remain unchanged. Next weekend (19-20 June), we will change to our summer schedule.
If you can, getting vaccinated is the surest, quickest way to end the destructive power of the Covid-19 virus. As Christians, we are about life and health and wholeness. Unless you have been advised otherwise by a medical professional, getting vaccinated is an important Christian response to a hurting world. Do you need assistance finding an appointment? The Diocese can help!
From the mail: Thank you for your contribution of $330 to the Lenten Series Fund benefiting St. George’s College, Jerusalem. Your contribution to the North American Committee helps to ensure that the College will come through this challenging time able to continue its mission. Dean Richard Sewell and the dedicated staff of the College are extremely grateful for the support of people like you. They look forward to the time they can again welcome pilgrims to the Holy Land.
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.
Download this week’s bulletin or see the online version.
Lectionary readings for this week: 1 Samuel 15:34-16:13, Psalm 20, 2 Corinthians 5:6-17, Mark 4:26-34
Lectionary readings for next week: 1 Samuel 17: 1a, 4-11, 19-23, 32-49, Psalm 9:9-20, 2 Corinthians 6:1-13, Mark 4:35-41
Please continue in your daily prayers for: Dennis, Marge, Joann, Andrea, Bob, Jimmie, Bill, Floss, Mary-Esther, Jackie, Richard, Taylor, Sid, Becky, Dorothy, Chuck, Jo-Ann, Sally, Ethan, Chrissy, John, Jessica, Jennifer, Lou, Sharon, Vivian, Gage, Butch
This Weekend at St. Thomas’
- Saturday, 6.00pm: Holy Eucharist in the Nave (limited capacity: RSVP here)
- Sunday, 8.00am: Holy Eucharist in the Parish Hall and on Zoom (limited capacity: RSVP here)
- Sunday, 9.00am: Online Sunday School for pre-school to pre-teens
- Sunday, 10.30am: Holy Eucharist Outdoors at St. Thomas’
- Sunday, afternoon: Holy Eucharist at St. Thomas’ (recorded)
- Sunday, 6.00pm: Youth Group
Contact Dan O. for details.
Weekdays at St. Thomas’
- Daily Morning Prayer (Monday through Saturday)
- Monday, 4pm: Centering Prayer (online)
- Monday, 7pm: Book Group (online – contact the office for link)
- Tuesday, 7pm: Small Group Bible Study: Hebrews (online)
- Wednesday, 5.30pm: Holy Eucharist (outdoors at Lychgate)
Online events hosted by St. Thomas’ are accessed via Zoom: instructions here.
What do you think of when you hear the word “reparations”? What does that word really mean? You might be surprised!
When a wrong has happened, how do we effect “repair?”
Hear a conversation within the Diocese of New Jersey.
Or come hear Bishop Stokes speak as a part of a march and rally in Newark on 19 June. Click here for more information.
Summer 2021 at St. Thomas’
Last day of Sunday School: 13 June
Summer Worship Schedule begins on 14 June:
- Holy Eucharist on Lawn: Sundays, 10am (note change in time!)
- Centering Prayer Online: Mondays, 4pm
- Holy Eucharist at Lychgate: Wednesdays, 5.30pm (except in July)
- Holy Eucharist in Nave: Saturdays, 6pm (Evening Prayer in July)
- Live-streaming of Holy Eucharist: Saturdays, 6pm (Evening Prayer in July)
Adult Formation (all online):
- Book Group: Mondays, 7pm (except July)
- Bible Study: Tuesdays, 7pm
- Presentation to St. Thomas’ by Episcopal Community Services of New Jersey: Wednesday, 30 June, 7pm.
- “Seeing Dead People”: Historical Controversies of the Christian Faith, led by Jonathan Wilson: Wednesdays, 7pm (7, 14, 21 July)
VBS in person: See registration info. below (18-22 July)
Church Picnic at Camp Sun N’ Fun: 7 August, Noon (Holy Eucharist at 2pm)
Family Movie Night on the Lawn: 27 August, 7.30pm
Rally Day & Picnic: 12 September, Picnic follows 10am service
See a calendar of Saints of the Episcopal Church.
Which Saint will you remember today?
See the official St. Thomas’ calendar or a list of upcoming events.
Are you serving in liturgy? Check the rota!
Saturdays, 6pm: Holy Eucharist in the Nave: limited to 12 pews of up to two people each
Sundays, 8am: Holy Eucharist
in the Parish Hall and online
Sundays, 9am: Sunday School
online: for children
Sundays, 10.30am: Holy Eucharist
outdoors, rain or shine
Sundays, 6pm: Youth Group
online: for teens
Mondays, 4pm: Centering Prayer online
Mondays, 7pm: Book Group online
Tuesdays, 7pm: Small Group Bible Study online
Wednesday, 5.30pm: Holy Eucharist
outdoors, rain or shine
Daily on Weekdays: Morning Prayer
Emergency Pastoral Care:
Call this number if you have a pastoral emergency, such as an alert about an ailing parishioner, a hospital stay, a death in the family, or to request last rites. Leave a message with a phone number for your call to be returned.