This was the first Easter that I have celebrated with this parish, as it is still my first year at Saint Thomas Church on the clergy staff. The anticipation had been building for some time, even before Lent had begun. When I had asked people about this time in the life of the parish, certain members would widen their eyes with awe and offer little beyond something along the lines of “Just you wait!” And I understand their reticence. Like many of the blessings of our lives, so much of the power of excellent worship lies beyond the reach of language. After experiencing Holy Week in all of its fullness, I can tell you that it was well worth the wait. And the most festal of feast days, the Solemn Eucharist of the Resurrection, was the grand culmination of a magisterial sequence of services, a bright liturgical burst of silver and gold to complete the set. The common life of worship we share together is a treasure made ever more visible during times like these.
The running theme of my prayer life this past Holy Week has been that of gratitude: firstly, gratitude for all that God has done for us in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, coupled with gratitude to be able to live and serve among a community like Saint Thomas Church that can so ably and beautifully proclaim these great works of old that have made all things new. Easter may serve as the end of Holy Week, but in every other way Easter is our beginning. It is the moment of new Creation, the Eighth Day of the Week, that continues into our day. In Christ, we have witnessed the power of God’s life and love to have ultimate power over sin and death, and this experience is the cornerstone of our Church’s ever-growing spiritual edifice.
More signs of that growth will be seen at the 11am service on Sunday, May 12, when our bishop, the Right Reverend Andrew M. L. Dietsche will make his Episcopal Visitation to confirm and receive several members of this parish. Please join us for this banner day of our Easter season to support these persons in the vows and promises that they will make!
Alleluia! The Lord is Risen, indeed!
Sunday, May 5: Welcome to Dr. Jeremy Filsell
Be sure to “Save the Date” for our Welcome to Dr. Jeremy Filsell on Sunday, May 5 at our 11am service of Festal Eucharist. This will be followed by a special coffee hour to meet and greet our new Organist and Director of Music.
You can read more about Dr. Filsell by following this link.
Our Guest Preacher for Sunday, May 5: Dean Greener
We will welcome the Very Reverend Jonathan Greener, Dean of Exeter Cathedral, to be our guest preacher for Choral Eucharist at 11am on Sunday, May 5.
After completing his studies in Theology and Religious Studies at Trinity College, Cambridge, he served as Curate at St. Matthew, Elephant and Castle, in the diocese of Southwark before becoming the Bishop of Truro’s Domestic Chaplain. He also served as Vicar at Good Shepherd, Brighton in the Chichester diocese and then as Archdeacon of Pontefract in the Wakefield diocese. In 2007, he became Dean of Wakefield, and he was most recently installed as the 71st Dean of Exeter in 2017.
He is married to Pamela, a retired international tax accountant, now a freelance musician.
Our Guest Preacher for Evensong on Sunday, May 12: Bishop Holtam
Please join us for 4pm Evensong on Sunday, May 12 when we will welcome the Right Reverend Nicholas Holtam, the Bishop of Salisbury, as our guest preacher.
Bishop Holtam was ordained deacon at Michaelmas in 1979 by Gerald Ellison, Bishop of London, at St. Paul’s Cathedral, and ordained priest the Michaelmas of 1980 by Jim Thompson, Bishop of Stepney, at St. Mary’s, Islington. In 1983, he moved to Lincoln Theological College, where he was a tutor in Christian ethics and mission. In 1988, he became the vicar of the Isle of Dogs.
Beginning in 1995, Holtam was the vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, which is located in the busy Trafalgar Square area of the Diocese of London. St. Martin’s has a ministry to homeless people as well as being the Royal Parish Church. While in this position, he was a regular broadcaster and the author of many articles and two books, A Room with a View: Ministry with the World at Your Door (SPCK 2008) and The Art of Worship: Paintings, Prayers and Readings for Meditation (National Gallery London with Yale University Press, 2011).
He was installed Bishop of Salisbury in 2011.
Bishop Holtam is a trustee of the National Churches Trust and chairs the Church of England Ministry Division’s Committee for Ministry with and among Deaf and Disabled People. He is a vice-president of the Royal School of Church Music and in 2013 was made an Honorary Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians.