A few days ago, we commemorated the terror attacks on 9/11. As I walked over to the Church in the morning, the construction workers at MOMA and the new tower were gathered in the street; they had set up speakers and were listening intently to the inter-faith service being held at the memorial downtown. The sound of the bagpipes of FDNY filled the air – it was very moving. Inside the Church people were praying; we had placed the American Flag near our own memorial to 9/11 and a lamp was flickering that illuminated the poignant words of Queen Elizabeth II, “Grief is the price we pay for love.”
Our memorial to 9/11 was created by our Rector Emeritus, Father Mead, who turned the plain cross made of stones from Jerusalem into a crucifix. A medieval corpus was given by a family of parishioners who lost loved ones in the twin towers on that fateful day. It is a reminder to all that Jesus carried all our griefs and sorrows to the Cross and beyond the grave, and that his Resurrection brings hope into a sometimes dark and cruel world.
It is an ancient tradition that a cross is placed near the pulpit for the congregation to look at during the sermon because of the words of St. Paul, “We preach Christ crucified.” (1 Corinthians 1:23). There is an even earlier tradition of a cross being placed in such a way that the preacher would be able to see it. I remember visiting the beautiful 20th century church of St. Wilfrid in Harrogate, in Yorkshire, and seeing the two crosses – one for the preacher and the other for the congregation.
On Sunday we are going to celebrate the Feast of the Holy Cross. The origins of that feast are in the conversion of the Emperor Constantine and the pilgrimage of his mother, Helena, to the Holy Land. There she visited the holy sites associated with the life of the Lord and built churches, including the original Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In Jerusalem, she found a cross believed to be the cross on which Jesus died. The historian Eusebius records that Constantine had a vision in which he saw a vision of a cross and the Greek words “In this conquer.” This later was translated into Latin as In hoc signo vinces or “In this sign you will conquer.” Shortly after, the decisive battle of Milvian Bridge ended the age of the Caesars, and Constantine became the sole Emperor.
The late Anglican priest, Kenneth Leech, once said “The Cross is not a problem to be understood, but a mystery into which we enter.” On Sunday, we have the chance to think about the cross of Jesus by which he brought forgiveness and salvation to all. In this sign, which many of us trace on our bodies during the liturgy, we will conquer all our fears and our failures through the love of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Your Priest and Pastor
A Joyful Patronal Feast Day!
This past Sunday we celebrated our Patronal Feast Day, a “homecoming” day when we celebrated Saint Thomas, our patron saint, and welcomed back the Boys of the Choir for a new school year, and also introduced several new staff to the congregation. The 11:00 am service included The Celebration of a New Ministry for both Mother Alison Turner (in her new role as Associate Priest for Children and Family Ministry) and Father Patrick Cheng (who joins us as our Theologian in Residence). We also welcomed Sister Promise Atelon, SSM, our Wisdom Year seminarian, and Nicholas Quardokus, our new Assistant Organist.
Visiting Lecturer for 2019-20
Saint Thomas Church is pleased to announce an upcoming lecture series featuring our Guest Lecturer, Dr. Christopher Wells. Throughout the coming program year (2019-2020), Dr. Wells will travel from his home in Dallas, Texas to present his lecture series in Andrew Hall on the theme: “An Introduction to Anglicanism.”
Over the course of a total of nine lectures following Evensong, he will paint a broad and engaging picture of our Anglican history and heritage.
Save the dates below for the first portion of this engaging series. The complete information about our guest lecturer and the full series may be found by following this link.
An Introduction to Anglicanism: The Long Shadow of Augustine
A Lecture Series in Andrew Hall
Tuesday, Sept. 24; 6:30-8:00pm
Wednesday, Sept. 25; 6:30-8:00pmThursday, Sept. 26; 6:30-8:00pm
Ministry Fair and Volunteer Commissioning Sunday
At Saint Thomas Church, there are a wide variety of parish ministries and opportunities for service, some more visible than others. On Sunday, September 29 after the 11am service in Andrew Hall, we will host a Parish Ministry Fair where the various ministries of our community will present themselves to all those who come. It will be a great time to discover more about the full life of Saint Thomas and consider new ways to be involved.
Our 11am service on Sunday, September 29 is also a time when our Parish Volunteers will be recognized and commissioned for the new program year. If you serve on a parish guild, committee, or group, please be sure to come!
Join us for this festive day!
Annual Appeal 2020 Sermon Series
For the Fall season, our parish will take part in a sermon series as a part of our parish’s Annual Appeal for 2020. This series will include our clergy and guests who will preach on themes exploring the joys and responsibilities of our common life. Join us at our 11am services for this fine array of preaching.
- Sept. 22 – The Rector – Worship (Stewardship Sunday)
- Sept. 29 – Father Spencer – Pastoral Care
- Oct. 6 – Father Moretz – Community
- Oct. 13 – The Rector – The Choir School
- Oct. 20 – Mother Turner – Children and Families
- Oct. 27 – Father Cheng – Adult Education
- November 3 – The Rev. Andrew C. Mead, Rector Emeritus (All Saints Sunday)
- November 10 – The Rev. Dr. Daniel Heischman (Remembrance Day)
- November 17 – The Rector – The Strategic Plan
- November 24 – The Rev. Dr. Sam Wells (Commitment Sunday)