Dear St. Thomas’,
The question on everyone’s mind is about when we’re going to meet together again. This is a good and important question, and also a complicated one.
We still await approval from the Diocese for our re-opening plans. The vestry is not of one mind about re-opening: there are a variety of concerns and opinions among the leadership of St. Thomas’ just as there are among everyone else.
The course forward we are plotting is this:
- First we must await Diocesan permission to move ahead.
- With a plan approved by the Diocese, we will then gather the supplies, train the volunteers, and practice the procedures called for by our plan.
- We are looking to begin regular Saturday and Sunday meetings in person to celebrate the Holy Eucharist beginning after Labor Day.
This plan, like all plans in this era, is provisional, assuming that public health metrics in New Jersey continue to hold steady or improve.
Some of you will be disappointed that it will be another six weeks before we begin meeting together regularly. We are not rushing! Our goal is to do this right and to show our love for one another with our careful preparations.
Some of you will not feel comfortable or safe meeting with the church even six weeks from now: perhaps not until you have received an effective vaccine against the Corona virus. I commend your caution and affirm you in this decision. In deciding this, you are honoring God and neighbor. Some entire congregations are making this choice, and it is not a bad choice at all.
Most of us find ourselves somewhere in the middle between these positions. There is some ambiguity in this time about the right thing to do in the face of a threat that is new to all of us. So we will continue forward, making careful plans and carefully executing them. In this way we will love God and neighbor, provide ample grace for one another, and be the Church Christ calls us to be in this place and time.
Adult formation continues this week! Join us on Sunday, 26 July, at 10am as Jonathan Wilson countinues 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. See the bibliography of suggested reading.
Care of the soul and care of the planet are imperative to our lives as people of faith. In Just and Proper Use: A Small Study in Eco-Spirituality, we will talk about ways that we can practice the “Just and Proper Use of Creation” in our daily lives and work. We will also learn how St. Francis and St. Hildegard of Bingen are inspirations for us in the modern day in the care of our beautiful world, and how our actions can and do impact others. Our Deacon Intern, Jeannie Marcucci, will lead this two-week class following Jonathan’s. 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. (Dates subject to change depending on our schedule adjusting to re-opening the campus! Adult Formation will remain online.)
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: if you have little ones, check it out!
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 this weekend (25 July) and on two different Saturdays in August: the second and the fourth (8 August and 22 August). 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!
Need some more encouragement in this unsettling time? See weekly sermons from Bishop Stokes!
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
Camp CrossRoads is an Episcopal/Lutheran camp serving the Diocese of New Jersey and the Diocese of Newark. This year they are offering week-long “virtual camps” for younger children (Completed grades K-5, 13-17 July, 10am-noon), middle schoolers (Completed grades 6-8, 27 -31 July, 10am-noon), and high schoolers (19-25 July). Learn more at https://www.crossroadsretreat.com/summer-2020/
Announcements for the bulletin or parish email are due into the office by noon on Wednesday of each week. You can email them to email@example.com or call the office at 856-881-9144. Announcements are subject to editing due to limited space.
Lectionary readings for this week: Genesis 29:15-28, Psalm 105:1-11, 45b, Romans 8:26-39, Matthew 13:31-33,44-52
Lectionary readings for next week: Genesis 32:22-31, Psalm 17:1-7,16, Romans 9:1-5, Matthew 14:13-21
Please continue in your daily prayers for: Dennis, Marge, Brad, Joann, Ruth, Medical Personnel threatened, sickened, and dying from their service to patients with Covid-19, Joan, Steven, Nancy, Tamara, Donna, Sandy, Freidel-Kramer Family, Rona, Joan, Kathy, Marie, Dawn
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.
This week St. Thomas’ hosted our second Red Cross Blood Drive of the summer. Many thanks to those who gave generously of their time and effort to host this event. And thank you to those who rolled up their sleeves to give blood for those in need in this time!
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.
- 7/24: Stephanie Porter Quartet
- 7/31: Jeremy Bacon Quartet
We celebrate the saints:
Apostle (25 July 41)
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: