Parish Email for Friday, 4 March 2022

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Dear St. Thomas’,

I wish you a holy lent! I hope that most of you received my Lenten letter in the mail already. If you did not, please let me know so we can add you to the mailing list.

In that letter, I suggested adopting or re-affirming a set of practices for Lent, calling them “20-1-4“. This is not my clever invention, but a suggestion from the Rev. Christopher Martin, author of The Restoration Project: A Benedictine Path to Wisdom Strength, and Love. These practices suggest:

20 minutes of prayer per day
1 hour of worship per week
4 hours of service for month

This is not a moon-shot project. Its demands are modest. But if you are like me, even these modest suggestions can prove difficult in our over-scheduled lives. That’s why Lent is the perfect time to slow down, make some hard choices, and protect time to rest and remember the God who loves you without regard to “productivity.”

This is like fasting — from activity.

This is like tithing — from our time.

20 minutes of prayer is just a little piece of your day. But if you don’t decide ahead of time which piece, and where it will be, and hold firm to your purpose, it may just slip away until you find yourself falling asleep without having prayed. I speak from experience!

How do you pray for 20 minutes? We have a whole book about that! If you don’t have a copy of the Book of Common Prayer in your home, please let me know so we can fix that. If you are new to using the BCP by yourself, I suggest you start with page 136, “Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families.” These are simple, on-page guides to prayer in the Morning, at Noon, in the Early Evening, and at the Close of Day.

If you are more familiar with the BCP, you might prefer to use Morning Prayer, Noonday Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline.

You don’t need a prayer book to pray, though. You can pray with Scripture, maybe starting with the Gospels or the Psalms. You can pray extemporaneously, talking with God as you would talk with a close friend or loved one.

Some people prefer to structure their prayer by following patterns like ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. Likewise the Rosary or Anglican prayer beads can be faithful companions in prayer.

You can even pray just by quieting your mind with an intention to listen to the silence of God.

Finally, there are various podcasts that will walk you through praying in all sorts of ways, from formal prayer-book liturgies to simple times of scripture and conversation with God. My two favorites right now are:

Morning Prayer at St. Thomas’
20-30 minutes, six days a week, prayer book optional

Pray as You Go
10-13 minutes, six days a week music, scripture, and reflection

Whatever method or practice you choose, it is just that: a practice. Relationships take effort and attention. Our relationship of God likewise invites effort and attention in order to receive the good things God wants for us. What could be move worthwhile than that?

This Lent, I encourage you to devote at least 20 minutes per day to prayer. Thus may Lent be a season of grace for you.




Blessings for Birthdays & Anniversaries are offered the first Sunday of each month. Come to church this Sunday to receive a birthday blessing!

March Birthdays
2       Susan C.
3       Andrea R.
15      Bill M.
18      Marie J.
20      Brandon D.
26      Lois M.
27      Tom V.
30      Kate A.
30      Matthew O.
31      Dot B.

March Anniversaries
17      Chuck and Valerie S.
29      Dcn John and Vivian H.

Join us this Sunday night at 7pm on Zoom as we begin our Lenten series, “Growing in the Wilderness.” Each week we will begin with a video from the Diocese of Atlanta, followed by conversation in prayer. We will close with Compline at 8pm. See the video preview/invitation.

To all the Ladies of St. Thomas’:
We will be having an ECW meeting on Zoom on Monday, March 7th at 7 pm.  There will be a little bit of business and a lot of fellowship and reconnecting!  To join the meeting, go to and click on the Zoom button. (Ask a fellow member for the password!)

Covid protocols are changing in New Jersey and across the nation as infection rates sink. This weekend we will continue wearing masks, covering mouths and noses, and we will announce changes planned for later weeks.

Diocesan Convention is this weekend beginning at 9am. This convention will be all-online and you are invited to watch at

The survey for the Bishop Search closes on 8 March! Your opinion matters!  The Bishop Search and Nomination Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey invites you to complete this assessment in order to help us find our next Bishop. We ask you to prayerfully respond to the questions and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance as you do. Thank you for your contribution to building the future of our diocesan family. Please continue to pray for the Search Committee and Diocesan Leadership.


Many of us are deeply concerned about Russia’s violent aggression in Ukraine. How can you help? One personal connection we have is through Father Todd’s previous parish, Epiphany, Seattle, which has shared its worship space with Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church for more than 60 years. Holy Trinity is collecting relief funds for the people of Ukraine. You can donate to them here.

Pledge Report for February
Feb  pledge: $13,766.33
Feb given: $11,745.00                   85%
YTD pledge. $28,786.66
YTD given. $29,119.00              101%

January Attendance
Saturdays:  6  9  15  11  3  (Total 44)
Sundays:  35  47  33  50 45  (Total 210)

Daily Covid Cases can be found for Gloucester County here.

Lectionary readings for this week: First Sunday in Lent – Deuteronomy 26:1-11, Romans 10:8b-13, Luke 4:1-13, Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16

Lectionary readings for next week:  Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18, Philippians 3:17-4:1, Luke 13:31-35, Psalm 27

Please continue in your daily prayers for:  Dennis, Marge, Joann, Jennifer, Lou, Mary Esther, Lois, Deborah, Joe, Josh, Chuck, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Nancy, Ethan, Mack Family, Don, Amrila, Andrea, Gene

Announcements for the parish email are due via email by noon on Wednesday of each week. You can email them to

The church calendar can be seen at for a list of upcoming events. Please help us keep it current (and avoid hurt feelings) by sending updates to the church office (

Are you serving in liturgy? Check the rota!

Watch us live on Twitch Saturdays at 5:30pm and Sundays at 10:30am!

Full-text of the liturgy is available at


Winter 2022 at St. Thomas’

  • Holy Eucharist in the Parish Hall and Streaming online: Sundays, 10:30am
  • Lenten Series “Growing in the Wilderness”:  Sundays, 7pm
  • Centering Prayer Online: Mondays, 4pm
  • Holy Eucharist in the Nave: Wednesdays, 5.30pm
  • Holy Eucharist in the Nave and Streaming online: Saturdays, 5:30pm


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