News from Saint Thomas week beginning May 26

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Dear Friends,

SAVE THE DATE! Thursday, May 30 is Ascension Day. This is a principal feast in the Episcopal Church (what used to be called a ‘red-letter’ day in the old Prayer Book) and we should all try to attend mass. There will be three services at Saint Thomas Church: 8am, 12:10pm, and the 5:30pm Solemn service, sung by the Gentlemen of the Choir. If you are not in midtown Manhattan on Ascension Day, why not support your local Episcopal Church? Our preacher at the 5:30pm service will be Father Mark Brown, one of our honorary assistants who was, until retirement, a member of the Society of St. John the Evangelist.

Some words of Rowan Williams, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury:

“One popular hymn for the Feast of the Ascension contains these lines: ‘Thou hast raised our human nature, in the clouds at God’s right hand.’ The ascension of Jesus in this context becomes a celebration of the extraordinary fact that our humanity in all its variety, in all its vulnerability, has been taken by Jesus into the heart of the divine life. ‘Man with God is on the throne,’ that hymn goes on. Quite a shocking line if you start thinking about it. And that of course is first of all good news about humanity itself – the humanity that we all know to be stained, wounded, imprisoned in various ways; this humanity (yours and mine) is still capable of being embraced by God, shot through with God’s glory, received and welcomed in the burning heart of reality itself: ‘to the throne of Godhead, to the Father’s breast,’ as another hymn puts it.” (Sermon preached at Westminster Abbey, 2009)

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you all on Sunday for the Sixth Sunday after Easter.

Alleluia! Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

your priest and pastor.

“Tongues of Fire,” an Evening Theology Class with Father Spencer

God spoke and Creation happened. Jesus spoke and the sick were healed. The Apostles spoke and the church spread. And we too are sent to preach the Gospel, to share the Good News. Author Jonathan Merritt, in his book “Learning to Speak God from Scratch: Why Sacred Words Are Vanishing–and How We Can Revive Them,” argues that the language of faith is an endangered form of speech in our culture. As our society has become more secular, it can be difficult to talk about our faith with others. The meaning of and premises behind religious words like “grace” and “sin” and “salvation” can no longer be automatically assumed in conversation. We may also have our own personal reticence about “speaking God.” Jonathan Merritt’s book provides a starting point for a conversation about what we mean when we say these sacred words and how we might speak more comfortably about our faith in our everyday lives.

Please join Father Adam Spencer for an Evening Theology Class on the Fifth Floor of the Parish House for two more Tuesday nights, May 28 and June 4, from 6:30-8:00pm as we explore Jonathan Merritt’s book and our own language(s) of faith together.

“Learning to Speak God from Scratch” will be available for purchase in the Saint Thomas Church Bookstore.

Pentecost Hat Design Day

It is a custom at Saint Thomas Church, and in many churches, for the ladies of the congregation to wear a red hat on the Day of Pentecost to remind us of the fire of the Holy Spirit.

You are invited to join us Sunday, June 2 from 1:00-3:00pm in the Parish House Living Room to decorate your own red hat to wear to church on Pentecost Sunday, June 9. Kady Dalrymple, of Kady Blooms, will be on hand to graciously offer her expertise and advice.

We will have red hats to purchase for a suggested donation of $10.00. You may also bring your own hat to decorate. For more details, please see Damara Greene during coffee hour, or email Linda at [email protected].

Reformation Pilgrimage

In August 2020, the Rector of Calvary-St. George’s parish in Manhattan, the Rev. Jacob Smith, will be leading a “Reformation Pilgrimage” to Germany and Austria to explore some of the greatest historical sites of the Protestant Reformation. A highlight of the trip will be a visit to “Oberammergau” for its epic Passion Play.

For more information, and to express interest, please follow this link.

“A New York Lamentation” A play about Slavery in New York

Please “Save the Date” for a special dramatic presentation entitled “A New York Lamentation” on Sunday, June 16 at 4:00pm at Saint Thomas Church.

This play will bring to life the tragic history of slavery that existed in New York City and the Hudson Valley for more than 200 years. The characters in the play are real historical figures from the early nineteenth century, including slaves, slave owners, clergy of the Episcopal Church, and abolitionists of the region. This production is an initiative of the Episcopal Diocese of New York’s Reparations Committee, which is tasked with addressing the legacy of slavery and its ongoing impact on our society and our Church.

The play was written by an Episcopal priest, the Rev. Chuck Kramer, Rector of Saint James Episcopal Church, Hyde Park. And it will be directed by Jeannine Otis, music director of Saint Mark’s in the Bowery.

The play will be free, donations will be welcome.