News from Saint Thomas Church Week Beginning October 20

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In this week’s news…

Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear,
Things I would ask him to tell me if he were here.
Scenes by the wayside,

tales of the sea,
Stories of Jesus,

tell them to me.

Words: W. H. Parker, 1845-1929
Music: Frederic A. Challinor, 1866-1952

This weekend as we approach the fifth Sunday of our 2020 Annual Appeal, our focus turns to Children and Families.

At our recent Open House as part of the Ministry Fair, many of you too have shared your own reminiscences of Sunday School, and of the places, the people, the prayers and the songs you sang. Many experiences of Sunday school have changed over the years and yet telling the stories of Jesus remains at the heart of our Sunday gatherings. This weekly telling of stories reconnects us to our past, affirms the present and leads us forward that we may live or become the story.

“The Enduring Power of Storytelling” was recently expanded upon in the Living Church: Serving the One Body of Christ by the Reverend Dr. Daniel McClain (Chaplain to the College of William and Mary and Associate Rector of Bruton Parish Episcopal Church). He reflected on Aristotle’s anthropological insights, to refer to us as narrative and story-telling creatures. He continues, “Stories help shape the way we narrative animals see the world. Stories, both sacred and secular, give us a shared language, a means to relate to one another, to collaborate.”

One of the children’s programs we have recently explored at Saint Thomas is Godly Play for our younger children. McClain goes on to quote the founder of Godly Play, the theologian and researcher the Reverend Dr. Jerome Berryman, who asserts that “Storytelling and story-hearing as a way of making mutual meaning is a matter of existential importance for me as well as for all of us.”

He began to teach them many things in parables. (Mark 4:2)

Approximately a third of Jesus’ teaching was filled with storytelling. In our Gospel reading this Sunday, from Luke 18, once again we will encounter Jesus sharing stories in the form of parables. We will hear afresh the Parable of the Unjust Judge and the Widow, persistent in prayer. I wonder: Do we mirror passion in our faith and prayer?

As part of our sermon series, we will also reflect on Jesus’ radical insistence on the centrality of children within the Kingdom of Heaven. What might these famous sayings and actions mean for us as a Christian Community?

Many of you have had children, grandchildren, or godchildren pass through our Nursery. Others know a great deal about children from first hand long and dedicated professional experience. Whatever your background, we all know a little about children and have ideas about their place in the church. For as one parishioner regularly reminds me, “I was once a child myself.”

You may have seen the poster prepared for this coming week, demonstrating how our Children and Family Ministry is not simply about stories or Sunday school, but is a wider expression of growing in faith together, alongside many other aspects of life within Saint Thomas Church.

To continue to grow we need your support in time, talent and treasure. As we focus on Children and Families this week, we especially ask for your prayers for this growing ministry.

Faithfully yours,
Mother Alison Turner


(Please note that we updated our website over the summer, including our pledging system. If you previously had a user account, you will need to create a new user account and password. If you have any questions, please email [email protected])

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Guest Preacher: Fr. Michael Lapsley SSM

Please join us for Choral Evensong at 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 20 as we welcome our guest preacher, the Reverend Michael Lapsley SSM. Father Lapsley is a South African Anglican priest and social justice activist who established the Institute for Healing of Memories. He founded IHOM after suffering a brutal attack from a letter bomb, losing both of his hands and an eye. Since that time, the Institute’s work has become a global movement that recognizes the emotional and spiritual traumas of this world as it works to redeem the past through prevention, empowerment, and healing. The Institute celebrates that which is life-giving, while laying to rest that which is destructive.

After our service of Evensong, please join us for a light reception in Andrew Hall at 5:30 p.m. to greet our guest who will have have time for questions and answers about his powerful ministry.

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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 – Father Turner – Worship
  • Sept. 29Father Spencer – Pastoral Care
  • Oct. 6Father Moretz – Community and Belonging
  • Oct. 13The Rector – The Choir School
  • Oct. 20 – Mother Turner – Children and Families
  • Oct. 27 – Father Cheng – Education and Formation
  • Nov. 3 – The Rev. Andrew C. Mead, Rector Emeritus – All Saints’ Sunday
  • Nov. 10 – The Rev. Dr. Daniel Heischman, Executive Director of the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES) – Remembrance Sunday and Choir School Centennial Alumni Weekend
  • Nov. 17 – The Rector – The Strategic Plan
  • Nov. 24 – The Rev. Dr. Sam Wells, Vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Field, London, UK – Commitment Sunday

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Special Annual Appeal Coffee Hour

The 2020 Annual Appeal Committee will be hosting a special coffee hour for the parish in Andrew Hall after the 11am service on Sunday, October 20. This time is set aside at the halfway point of the campaign to say thank you for all those who have pledged for the coming year and to encourage all those who have yet to pledge to do so.

You may discover more about the Annual Appeal here.

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Fr. Turner and Fr. Spencer invite members of the Society of Mary, the Society of Our Lady of Walsingham, and those who are interested, to join them for Mass on Saturday, November 23 in the Chantry Chapel.  Then, at 12:45pm, the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary will be prayed at the Shrine of our Lady of Fifth Avenue.

Following the praying of the Rosary, a simple lunch will be served in the Living Room of the Parish House with a presentation on the Shrine of our Lady of Walsingham and a discussion on re-establishing a prayer cell here at Saint Thomas.  Contributions of $10 for the lunch are invited.

Because of the provided lunch, we are asking for all those interested in taking part to sign up at the Reception Desk of the Parish House starting this coming Sunday, Oct. 13.  Alternatively, click on the register for lunch via email.

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Do you have an extra seat or two at your Thanksgiving table? We are matching parishioners that will be looking for company this Thanksgiving with parishioners that would like to host a guest or two for dinner.

For more details, please contact Linda Morfi via email or at 212-757-7013.

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