Parish Email for Friday, 20 November 2020




Dear St. Thomas’,

This Sunday marks the completion of the main part of our pledge campaign. Very many of you have already made generous pledges to support the mission and ministry of St. Thomas’ in 2021. For those of you who have not done so yet, it’s not too late! You can download the form here and send it in. Or, if you attend church in person this weekend, you’ll find that same form on the back of the worship bulletin.

Our goal this year is to encourage “100% participation.” We don’t invite only some families to celebrate the Eucharist. We don’t invite only some persons to pray. We don’t think Bible reading is just for the scholars. It’s not just Deacons who carry out service activities. Neither do we invite just certain persons to give of themselves financially. All of these things are involved in that peculiar way of life we call “Christian” and I invite you to take part.

I felt a ray of hope this week with the announcements of two (so far) vaccines showing good effectiveness against the coronavirus. That’s amazing! That’s also a great analogy.

A vaccine, you probably know, teaches the body how to defend itself against a deadly disease by introducing the body to a weakened, or already dead, form of the foreign body. That way our bodies can learn how to defend themselves and be prepared when the real thing comes along.

A vaccine is like a little taste of death: not enough to hurt, but enough to learn from. All sorts of Christian disciplines can feel like little deaths, little losses, as we learn to let go of our own preferences and adhere to God’s direction instead. Fasting, giving, serving, praying: all of these are little surrenders, little deaths to self, that help us to learn and prepare to make the bigger surrender to God’s work in our lives when the time comes.

Physical vaccination brings freedom from being subject to the physical disease. Spiritual disciplines bring freedom from the ways of spiritual death. As I look around, I see the financial and economic captivity in which I, and many of my neighbors, live. Giving of my finances is like a vaccination, teaching me how to live freely, even as I practice good stewardship of the resources that have come my way.

That is a freedom to which we invite 100% participation. This vaccine is for everyone.




St. Thomas’ was there for me when…

In July, 2003, we had our first encounter with the St. Thomas’ community: our son had died, hundreds responded at his service at St. Mark’s – but while there was a large sanctuary, the Parish Hall was small. We knew the Rector at St. Thomas’. The members there went out of their way (as ever) to clear out Yard Sale goods and set up and serve all of us and those hundreds for a funeral reception luncheon (after the interment at Manahath) at St. Thomas’ Parish Hall, working with and welcoming St. Mark’s people who helped. There have been so many times since.

(This story was written on the back of a pledge card, to be shared with the parish.)


Join us Thursday, 26 November, for Thanksgiving Eucharist at noon in the nave. Seating is limited! There will be no parish potluck this year.

An Advent Retreat Day, Praying through the Hymnal, is being offered on Saturday, 28 November, from 9am to 1pm. Register at to receive the Zoom link. See the flier below.

Grungy Sunday has been delayed to 6 December from 11.30-2pm (or when we’re done). Bring a sandwich and a rake (or leaf-blower!): water and snacks provided! Together we will rake up all the leaves at St. Thomas’ and prepare our beautiful campus for the winter months.

The Children’s Ministry will host our 3rd Annual Gingerbread House Decorating event on Sunday, December 13 at 12:30pm in the Parish Hall. All of the pandemic protocols will be followed and you will need to RSVP by contacting Barbara K. or Gretchen O. by December 6.

A children’s Christmas Pageant with carols will be recorded via Zoom and shared with the congregation on Christmas Eve. If your children would like to participate, please contact Dan O. right away to be included in the script!

The next day set aside for baptisms is 10 January: the Sunday after Epiphany and the Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you or someone you know is interested in baptism at that date, please speak with Fr. Todd right away.

Whether indoors or out, St. Thomas’ is taking steps to express our love for one another with safety precautions to prevent the spread of Covid. But no precautions are perfect. If you are especially vulnerable, around someone who is vulnerable, or just feel worried, you will not be judged for staying home. Listening to those concerns and acting prudently is exactly what you are called to do in this season. If gathering in person is not the right thing for you, join us for worship online instead!

Bishop Stokes is releasing weekly recorded versions of his sermons. New sermons are usually released Saturday evenings on Youtube. Tune in to hear a great preacher who is in touch with the pulse of our life together as the Diocese of New Jersey.

Every day you can join St. Thomas’ as we observe Morning Prayer together. You can listen in on the St. Thomas’ website Monday through Saturday, and join us live on Zoom on Sundays, with a sermon, at 8am.

St. Thomas’ offers weekly Sunday School for children online Sundays at 9am. Youth Group is offered for teens on Sunday evenings at 6pm: contact Daniel O. (or leave a message at the church office) for connection details for teens.

Join us online for Centering Prayer on Mondays at 4pm.

Coffee Hour will be online Tuesday at noon.

Roll up your sleeves for the Red Cross Blood Drive coming back to St. Thomas’ on 24 November from 2-7pm! Space is limited; register at or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Join the Diocese of New Jersey and Episcopal Community Services at an online Summit on Building and Equipping the Beloved Community on Saturday, 12 December, from 10-11.30am. Register at

Rowan University and some Glassboro businesses are teaming up to provide food assistance to residents of Glassboro this season! You can pick up meals or they will deliver to Glassboro street addresses. For more information, and to sign up each Monday, go to:

Announcements for the bulletin or parish email are due into the office by noon on Wednesday of each week. You can email them to or call the office at 856-881-9144. Announcements are subject to editing due to limited space.

Lectionary readings for this week: Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24, Psalm 100, Ephesians 1:15-23, Matthew 25:31-46

Lectionary readings for next week: Isaiah 64:1-9, 1 Corinthians 1:3-9, Mark 13:24-37, Psalm 80:1-7,16-18

Please continue in your daily prayers for: Dennis, Marge, Joann, Sandy, Sally, Oscar, Kelly, Lillian, Susan, Kass, John, Keisha, Holly, Paul, Gary, Colleen, Kelly, Bob, Dan, Virginia, April, Carlene, Andrea, Joan, Jimmy, Lou, Marie, Helen, Bob, Bryan, Dot, Tracey


This Weekend at St. Thomas’

Weekdays at St. Thomas’

Online events hosted by St. Thomas’ are accessed via Zoom: instructions here.



Our own Donna F. was made an Honorary Canon of Trinity Cathedral at our (long-delayed) Diocesan Convocation this past weekend! In doing so, the Diocese is recognizing the extensive, consistent, generous service Donna has offered to our Diocese, including to St. Thomas’. Congratulations to Canon Donna for a well-deserved honor!



Rachael O. was busy this week, helping St. Thomas’ and all our local Episcopal Churches represent our care on campus at Rowan University. Due to Rachael’s leadership, TEC@RU was present for “Consent Week,” which reflects our baptismal covenant’s concern for the dignity of every human being. Then we had a TEC@RU-sponsored “Netflix Party” where we watched an episode of “Queer Eye” that centered around a Lutheran parish in Philadelphia, and talked about all kinds of important theological issues we saw reflected. Thank you Rachael, a freshman at Rowan, for stepping up to represent the Episcopal Church and show the love of Christ in the midst of the strangest academic semester in 100 years!



Washington National Cathedral and the National Institute for Civil Discourse invite you to hear from two of America’s most respected religious leaders on how we find a way forward healing our divisions through faith and compassion.

Friday, Nov. 20, 2020, 11:00am ET


  • The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church
  • Dr. Russell Moore, Executive Director of the Ethics & Religious Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
  • Hosted by Krista Tippett, broadcaster and host of On Being

As the nation gives thanks for the enduring strength of our democracy, we invite you to draw inspiration and practical tips on how to engage our neighbors with dignity and respect.

This online event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.



Join the Diocese of New Jersey and Episcopal Community Services at an online Summit on Building and Equipping the Beloved Community on Saturday, 12 December, from 10-11.30am. Register at


Limited Capacity!

A few services at St. Thomas’ have begun meeting in our beautiful nave once again. Saturday nights we celebrate the Eucharist at 6pm. Unfortunately, seating is limited to 12 pews with a maximum of two people per pew as we continue practice social distancing.

What this means is that, if we’re full, anyone else who shows up must be turned away. That’s a difficult and disappointing thing to do.

To try to minimize disappointments, we are trying out a system of RSVP’s. If you would like to attend the Saturday night service, please find the link to RSVP over on the St. Thomas’ website.

If the RSVP’s are already full, please know that we record these services and post them on the website (usually by the next morning) for all to see.

We miss being together in larger numbers. But this pandemic isn’t going away in the next few months. Until then, we strive to follow Jesus’ example in our love for one another.


Thanksgiving is next week: a holiday that we for many of us centers around meals with extended family. The CDC recommends reconsidering that practice this year. The same technologies that we have used to be present to one another this season (especially telephones and computers) are suggested for re-connecting with family in safe ways.

If you do choose to travel or to be with people from outside your own household over Thanksgiving, please consider refraining from coming to church for the following week: skipping in-person church one week is all it takes to get in the recommended two-week quarantine! Join us online instead: 8am via Zoom!

Online isn’t as good as live, either for family or for church, but this, too, is how we love one another in this season.


During this season of coronavirus infections, when attending events on campus at St. Thomas’, please demonstrate your love for your friends and neighbors by:

  1. Wearing a mask (covering both mouth and nose)
  2. Remaining six feet apart from anyone you don’t live with
  3. Refraining from touching, hugging and shaking hands – even during the Peace
  4. There will be no singing
  5. Service bulletins you have touched must be taken home
  6. After the service everyone must disperse with no lingering
  7. No sharing of common objects such as pens, paper, etc.





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, 6.00pm: Holy Eucharist With Sermon
in the Nave: limited to 12 pews of up to two people each

Sundays, 8am: Online Morning Prayer with Sermon

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

Tuesdays, Noon: Coffee Hour

Wednesday, 5.30pm: Holy Eucharist
outdoors, rain or shine

Wednesdays, 7.00pm: Bible Study with the Bishop

Daily on Weekdays: Morning Prayer
online: recorded



Office telephone:

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 and with a phone number for your call to be returned.


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