About

Outreach

Saint Thomas Church is a far larger community than the names in our Parish Register. Our location in the heart of Midtown presents us with an obvious opportunity to engage the people of our great city, and for the people of our great city to engage us.

Our Open Doors

We are pleased to be able to offer our magnificent house of worship as a place of prayer, peace and beauty to be enjoyed and enriched by anyone and everyone who cares to step inside. If you ever find yourself in the middle of Midtown with some time on your hands, you are always welcome to come and present yourself to the altar of the Lord, regardless of whether a worship service happens to be underway at the moment. During worship services, we invite you to sit in the pews and to participate in the service or to sit quiety. Between the services, you can sit in the pews to pray, or think, or clear your head, or you can walk around and quietly explore the wonders of the space. On most weekdays (except federal holidays), our church doors remain open after the 8am Morning Prayer and Mass all the way through the 5:30pm service. We invite you to come whenever you want.

If you happen to come along during a worship service, please do come in. Simply enter the doors and sit in one of the pews. Leaflets with the order of service may be obtained from one of the ushers, or, if the service is in the Chantry Chapel, are available on a table as you approach the center aisle. Please turn off your mobile phones and other devices. The use of cameras and recording devices is strictly prohibited during worship.

Soup Kitchen

Every Saturday morning at 9:30 parishioners and friends gather in the Parish House living room and dining room to prepare approximately 300 bag lunches of soup (in winter) or fruit cup (in summer), sandwiches, and cookies. Volunteers depart at 11:00 walking along nine routes in mid-Manhattan distributing lunches to the homeless. Twice a month toiletries are distributed. Volunteers return to the Parish House about 12:15. Volunteers are welcome to participate in any portion or all of this important ministry to the homeless. Participation in the Soup Kitchen fosters Christian community and friendship amongst the volunteers and the homeless.

Our boy choristers founded the Soup Kitchen at the Choir School in 1984. Parish participation in this outreach program began the summer thereafter and continues to this day. Financial support is received from public and private sources with the difference being made up by the church.

Our church is a major donor through an annual grant to Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, which serves over one thousand meals every weekday. This soup kitchen is located in Chelsea.

Angel Tree

Our annual Angel Tree helps children who stay at the Safe Horizon Shelter, children from San Andreas Episcopal Church in Yonkers and Holy Rood Episcopal Church in Washington Heights.

Prayer Shawl Ministry

Knitters and crocheters, beginners or experts, are all invited to join this enthusiastic group which is continuing its work of creating lovely prayer shawls that are being distributed to shut-ins, those in hospital or who have lost a loved one. Won't you join in making someone feel loved and cared for? Simply show up and be ready to work. And if you have extra yarn in a closet (in good condition), we'd love the donation. The group generally meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at 1pm. Check the calendar regularly for upcoming dates.

Grants

Each year, the Grants Advisory Committee distributes funds to worthy programs and organizations throughout the city and around the world. Funds are divided between church-related organizations and social welfare organizations. Recent grant recipients have included Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, United Neighbors of East Midtown, The AIDS Project of St. Luke in the Fields, Petra Schools in Zimbabwe, Center for Conflict Relief and Reconciliation (to support St. George’s Episcopal Church in Baghdad), Nashotah House; Berkeley Divinity School, Virginia Theological Seminary, Diocese of Louisiana. We are also a donor to Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York.

12-Step Programs

We have been honored for many years to provide meeting space for programs that help individuals maintain a life free of addiction. While we have surprisingly little meeting space for a church of our size, it is a great privilege for us to be able to offer space in the heart of the city to such worthy programs.Check the calendar for meeting times.

Other Programs

Throughout the year, our parishioners reach out to the larger community both individually and through parish-wide projects and events. Some examples include:

  • The Women of Saint Thomas yearly out-do themselves in projects for needy children, including the Back to School Drive, The Angel Tree Christmas Drive, and the Easter Basket and Clothing Drive.

The youth of the parish volunteer in service days for various causes, which have included mission trips to the Diocese of Tennessee and Albany to work on parish projects.

  • Many of our members participate each year in the AIDS Walk as part of the larger Episcopal Response to AIDS.
  • While some of our concerts are by necessity ticketed events, we are also pleased to offer many free music events for anyone who wishes to come, including an impressive organ recital series on Sunday evenings (September through May) and musical meditations in Holy Week.

Our adult education classes are free and open to anyone who would like to come. If you are new to the Christian faith, or curious about the faith, you might give special consideration to coming to the Rector’s Christian Doctrine class, which is offered each year on Tuesday evenings from January through May.