Dear St. Thomas’,
I can feel the weight of these times dragging me down: COVID-19, extra-judicial executions, protests, looting, the appropriation of Christian symbols for partisan purposes, continued closure of our church campus: all of it! I find myself tired, anxious, reactive. It makes it harder to hold things in proportion.
It’s a times like this that we need a return to the basics. Loving God. Loving our neighbor.
Many of us have police officers in our families. Some of you are are officers yourselves, retired or active. This week we celebrate a Saint of the Church who was a police officer (see below)! What do we do with all the anger being poured out about bad policing?
Many of us identify as white, or have white people in our families. I can tell stories about times when I witnessed blatant racial discrimination from which I personally benefitted, however unwillingly. And those are only the few times I actually happened to notice. What do we do with cries of injustice and inequity in which we have been knowingly or unknowingly complicit?
Some of you (I’m pulling the age card here) lived through the Civil Rights movements of the 1960’s. You’re asking, why are we still talking about this? What a great question! Why are these issues still lingering, still unresolved, still sparking conversation, debate, and protest?
Some of us met Wednesday night to listen to each other. To love each other. To affirm our continued care and fellowship with one another. When we do that, despite all the bad news out there the Kingdom of Heaven will keep seeping in. Watch for it: it doesn’t get enough press! Police officers and protestors kneeling together. Marches full of peaceful protestors of every ethnic group. A nation, even a globe, full of people clamoring for racial equality and the dignity of every human being.
It may look like chaos. But often that’s where God is at work. From the violent wind and fire of Pentecost come new life, tender love, an authentic peace. In the very end, thanks to the unstoppable love of Jesus Christ, the chaos will give birth to the Kingdom of God.
This week is Trinity Sunday, another principle feast of the church year. Our schedule is changing accordingly. We will have live liturgies online both Saturday night at 5.30 and Sunday morning at 10am. One of those will be posted online for you to view if you don’t use Zoom. Sunday School for children will meet as usual online at 9am Sunday.
This week is the first Sunday of the month: join us on Saturday night or Sunday morning as we celebrate Birthdays and Anniversaries!
The annual Diocese wide ECW meeting, which was to be hosted by St. Thomas’ this year, is proceeding via Zoom at 10 AM this Saturday, 6/6. Anyone interested should probably contact Linda K. or Donna F.
The St. Thomas’ Stay Safe Committee has begun its work together! Their mission is to use Diocesan and state guidelines to design a process for St. Thomas’ to begin to open our campus once more. The work will be slow and painstaking, not hurried. Lives are on the line and we want to do this right. If someone from the committee calls to ask your opinion or for your assistance, please consider lending them a hand as we work through this unprecdented time in St. Thomas’ life together. Even as we hope to open up our buildings a little this summer, we will continue to offer online options for worship for quite some time going forward.
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 June: the second and the fourth (13 June and 27 June). 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!
Last week we announced Anna Marie W.’s 90th birthday, asking you send cards. Her birthday isn’t until 1 July, so you still have time! We’ll provide the address again in a couple weeks.
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 1:1-2:4a, 2 Corinthians 13:11-13, Matthew 28:16-20, Psalm 8
Lectionary readings for next week: Genesis 18:1-15, (21:1-7), Psalm 116:1, 10-17, Romans 5:1-8, Matthew 9:35-10:8(9-23)
Please continue in your daily prayers for: Dennis, Marge, Don, Brad, Joann, Ruth, Chuck, Jim, Medical Personnel threatened, sickened, and dying from their service to patients with Covid-19, Roy, Bryan, Tracy, Sandy, Catherine, Michelle, Kris, Owen Family, Tom, Gwendolyn, Simkins Family, Family of Dorothy Johnson, Tracy, Karen, Dave, Eunice, Darrell, Janet, Jade, Chris, Jimmy, Andrea, Leann, Family of Adriel, Jimmy, Debbie, Pat, Mike, Kim, Joan, Charles, Stormy, Tommy, Riley
June Birthdays and Anniversaries
|1 Cecilia R.||6 Bryan and Sarah A-W|
|1 Jim M.||7 Charles and Nancy F.|
|1 Chase B.||10 Joe and Andrea R.|
|1 Sandy O.||11 Dan and Mary Jo H.|
|2 Kaitlyn M.||19 Eric and Nicole S.|
|3 Rich D.||27 John and Mary Esther F.|
|3 Chris H.|
|5 Jim G.|
|7 Myles H.|
|7 Jonnell H.|
|8 Marie L.|
|9 Matthew W.|
|11 Rachel C.|
|15 Wendy S.|
|15 Susan H.|
|16 Agnola V.|
|18 Terry D.|
|19 Evelyn R.|
|23 Pat W.|
|23 Claire B.|
|27 Mark H.|
|28 Nancy F.|
|29 Eli F.|
|30 Richard V.|
This Weekend Online
- Saturday, 5.30pm: Ante-Communion for Trinity Sunday
- Sunday, 9.00am: Sunday School for Children
- Sunday, 10.00am: Ante-Communion for Trinity Sunday
- Sunday, 11.15am: Holy Eucharist with Spiritual Communion at the Washington National Cathedral
- Daily Morning Prayer (Monday through Saturday)
- Podcasts (currently: Sheer Christianity)
- 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.
St. Thomas’ had a socially distant, drive-through retirement party for Jimmy M., retiring after 34+ years service in the USPS.
An opinion piece published by our Bishop and other religious leaders in the Star-Ledger on 4 June 2020
N.J. religious leaders: Resist Trump’s advice ‘to do retribution’
By Matthew Gewirtz, W. Deen Shareef and William Stokes
Our nation is in grief and turmoil. In less than six months in the United States, there have been nearly 1.8 million diagnosed COVID-19 cases and more than 104,000 deaths resulting from the disease. The COVID-19 catastrophe has also laid bare the virus within the virus: racism.
In New Jersey and around the nation, COVID-19 has claimed a significantly disproportionate number of Black Americans revealing the inherent systemic and structural inequities built into the fabric of our society. This has resulted in understandable anger among Black Americans and other People of Color as well as all people of goodwill who are concerned about justice.
This anger reached a boiling point on Monday, May 25 when Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin asphyxiated 44-year-old Black American George Floyd by applying his knee, and most of his body weight, to the helpless Floyd’s neck, pinning him to the ground, even as Floyd cried out multiple times, “I can’t breathe,” all this while three other police officers looked on.
NOTE: The flyer below is for an event that is not sponsored by St. Thomas’. You are urged to consider carefully your own motivations, boundaries, and responsibilities for the health of yourself and others. Protests are a time-honored tradition for societal renewal and reform; but they are extra dangerous in the era of Covid-19. Please use extreme caution in deciding whether this is something in which you are called to participate. For more details, see the event page on Facebook.
Are you looking for ways to get involved from the safety of your home? Fear not! The Episcopal Church has tons of ideas you can act on to make a positive response against racist violence!
Founder of the Melanesian Brotherhood, 1945
Ini KopuriaIni Kopuria (died 1945), a police officer from Maravovo, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands formed the Melanesian Brotherhood in 1925. He and the Bishop of Melanesia, the Right Reverend John Manwaring Steward, realised Ini’s dream by forming a band of brothers (known in the Mota language as ‘Ira Reta Tasiu’) to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the non-Christian areas of Melanesia. He is commemorated in the calendars of the Church of the Province of Melanesia and of the Church of England.
- Psalm 31:19-24
- Zechariah 1:7-11
- Revelation 14:13-16
- Matthew 8:5-13
Loving God, we bless your Name for the witness of Ini Kopuria, founder of the Melanesian Brotherhood: Open our eyes that we, with these Anglican brothers, may establish peace and hope in service to others; for the sake of Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
sourced from satucket, Wikipedia, and A Great Cloud of Witnesses
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) meets live online at 9pm.
SATURDAY, JUNE 6, 5:30 PM ANTE-COMMUNION FOR TRINITY SUNDAY Join us online as we worship together.
SATURDAY, JUNE 6, 7:00 PM ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS https://zoom.us/j/689139278?pwd=bFBlUjF2NzRIeHJ1YmxIV3BiVTBMUT09
SUNDAY, JUNE 7, 9:00 AM SUNDAY SCHOOL FOR CHILDREN If you have little ones (younger than middle school), join us for Sunday School via Zoom.
SUNDAY, JUNE 7, 10:00 AM ANTE-COMMUNION FOR TRINITY SUNDAY Join us online as we worship together.
SUNDAY, JUNE 7, 11:15 AM HOLY EUCHARIST ONLINE at the National Cathedral
SUNDAY, JUNE 7, 6:00 PM YOUTH GAME NIGHT via Zoom
MONDAY, JUNE 8, 4:00 PM CENTERING PRAYER Meet via Zoom.
MONDAY, JUNE 8, 6:00 PM BOOK GROUP Reading Moltmann’s, The Crucifixion
MONDAY, JUNE 8, 9:00 PM COMPLINE Broadcast by our friends at St. Stephen’s
TUESDAY, JUNE 9, 12:00 PM COFFEE HOUR ONLINE Meet via Zoom. Hosted by Jo-Ann T.
TUESDAY, JUNE 9, 6:30 PM SMALL GROUP Convened by Cole B. online.
TUESDAY, JUNE 9, 9:00 PM COMPLINE Broadcast by our friends at St. Stephen’s
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10, 12:00 PM STAFF MEETING
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10, 2:00 PM CLERGY BIBLE STUDY
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10, 6:30 PM PRAYER IN THE EVENING Join us online for a check-in and brief service of evening prayer before the Bishop’s Bible Study.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10, 7:00 PM BIBLE STUDY WITH BISHOP STOKES Register at: http://bit.ly/StokesBibleStudy
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 10, 9:00 PM COMPLINE Broadcast by our friends at St. Stephen’s
THURSDAY, JUNE 11, 11:00 AM CLERGY TOWNHALL
THURSDAY, JUNE 11, 9:00 PM COMPLINE Broadcast by our friends at St. Stephen’s
FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 8:00 AM KOH SETUP (PHLL)
FRIDAY, JUNE 12, 9:00 PM COMPLINE Broadcast by our friends at St. Stephen’s
SATURDAY, JUNE 13, 8:00 AM KOH (PH)
SATURDAY, JUNE 13, 10:00 AM FOOD DISTRIBUTION
SATURDAY, JUNE 13, 5:30 PM EVENING PRAYER Join us online for Evening Prayer with a homily.
SATURDAY, JUNE 13, 7:00 PM ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS https://zoom.us/j/689139278?pwd=bFBlUjF2NzRIeHJ1YmxIV3BiVTBMUT09
SUNDAY, JUNE 14, 8:00 AM MORNING PRAYER WITH SERMON During the pandemic lockdown, the church buildings are closed. This service is pre-recorded in the nave by a minimal crew. Starting Sunday morning, find it on the church website.
SUNDAY, JUNE 14, 9:00 AM SUNDAY SCHOOL FOR CHILDREN If you have little ones (younger than middle school), join us for Sunday School via Zoom.
SUNDAY, JUNE 14, 10:00 AM COFFEE HOUR
SUNDAY, JUNE 14, 11:15 AM HOLY EUCHARIST ONLINE at the National Cathedral
Saturdays, 5:30pm: Evening Prayer
Sundays, 8am: Morning Prayer (recorded)
Sundays, 9am: Sunday School
Sunday School for children
Sundays, 10am: Adult Formation
Sunday School for adults
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: