2017 Annual Appeal
As Saint Thomas Church begins its 2017 Annual Appeal (formerly known as the Every Member Canvass), we have much to be thankful for – growing programs, Daniel Hyde’s arrival this summer as our new Director of Music, work on the installation of our exciting organ project finally beginning, and the reinstallation of our restored stained glass windows, among other things.
It is easy to look around at our beautiful church building with its majesty and grandeur and think that we are a wealthy parish that can easily prosper and flourish long into the future. In the Book of Genesis, (41:1-36) Pharaoh has a dream that only Joseph can interpret. It is a simple dream – there will be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. The story tells us that Pharaoh made plans to prepare.
Not unlike Pharaoh’s dream, the building alone with its brilliant windows and the promise of our magnificent new organ gives us a false sense of security. But in fact, generous donors and prudent saving have paid for these projects. Similarly, as a Church relying on our endowment, we are at the mercy of market forces and recession.
For our operating expenses of over $12 million a year, we still have excessive reliance upon our invested funds – and are to some degree living off the generosity of past generations of parishioners. We now need to balance our operating budget.
Each year we set a target for giving. We have been pleased when we simply exceed the giving over the previous year. Last year, I asked you to consider increasing your pledge by 10% and one third of you responded by increasing your pledges by 10% or more. Currently the 2016 Annual Appeal is at a record high of $1.6 million, and this is indeed very good news. Together we must keep the momentum going. Alison and I will again tithe, giving 10% of our pre-tax income to the church and school. I hope many of you will join us. If it is not possible to tithe, try increasing your pledge by 10%. If all of us were to increase our pledges by 10%, in two years we will near the $2 million mark. That will not solve all our financial concerns, but it will significantly help reduce the draw on our invested funds.
Our 11 a.m. Sunday Mass is the pinnacle of our weekly schedule. In addition, all of our choral services – typically five per week while the Choir School is in session – are heard around the world via the webcast. We are blessed to have a choir with perhaps the finest sound and repertoire anywhere in the Anglican Communion.
I am pleased to report that a small committee under the leadership of Professor Jeremy Waldron is now working with Father Joel Daniels to plan and provide an adult education program at Saint Thomas Church. I am delighted that Father Daniels will have responsibility for this area in the clergy team at this time. His book Theology, Tragedy, and Suffering in Nature: Toward a Realist Doctrine of Creation has just been published in the series “Studies in Episcopal and Anglican Theology.”
I know from talking with many of you how important and how central Saint Thomas Church is in your lives. Let us come together now to build our own legacy, and ensure that we and generations to come are blessed to be drawn into the Spirit’s tether through Saint Thomas Church, and “that by caring, helping, giving, we may true disciples be.”
With best wishes,
The Reverend Canon Carl F. Turner, Rector
Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue
Saint Thomas Church Fifth Avenue is a parish church of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. Renowned for its liturgy and choral music, our Rector, The Reverend Canon Carl F. Turner, leads a team of clergy and staff who are committed to excellence in preaching, education and pastoral care. The church is open every day of the year and the Eucharist is celebrated daily.
The Saint Thomas Choir School
The Saint Thomas Choir School was founded in 1919 and plays a vital role in the life of the church. The school is the only church-affiliated residential choir school in the United States and one of only two such schools for boys in the English-speaking world. Headmaster Charles F. Wallace ensures that the 30 boys in grades 3 through 8 receive a stimulating and nurturing education in a Christian environment. In addition to academics and sports, each boy receives musical training in the Anglican tradition and participates in special travel and extra-curricular activities. Choristers attend regardless of ability to pay and their lives are transformed through this extraordinary experience.