News from Saint Thomas Church Week Beginning November 10

In this week’s news…

Dear Friends,

Rector Turner
The Reverend Canon Carl Turner

The weather man has just announced the first snow of the season, and those with me in the staff kitchen of the Parish House shuddered. There is something very particular about November, coming with the change of the clocks and the shortening of days – the month of Remembering.

On Sunday at 11am, you will be able to worship with the Fauré Requiem, undoubtedly one of the best-loved settings of the funeral liturgy, with its glimpses of hope shining through the rich texture of its composition. At 4:00pm, we will remember our war-dead and, in particular, the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings of the Second World War.

The Church, in her wisdom, places All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day next to each other. Here, at Saint Thomas Church, we keep All Saints’ Sunday and then Remembrance Sunday. They are Sundays of great contrast – All Saints with its gold vestments, processions, flowers and Alleluias; and Remembrance Sunday with its black vestments and somber solemnity, when even the color of the candles reflect a change of mood.

Life and death – they are the only two things that are certain in our lives. And yet, as St Augustine proclaimed:

“We are an Easter People and Alleluia is our song!”

The Church needs All Saints and All Souls – Celebration and Remembrance – because we live in the light of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and yet, as mortals, fear death and miss those whom we love. I remember in the 1970’s when the liturgical color of black was abandoned by many churches and mass of the Resurrection became commonplace. I understood the theology, even the logic, but it did not resonate with my emotions. As a wise old priest once said to me at a funeral, “Yes, we believe in the joy of the promise of resurrection, but you cannot escape the fact that the person – your friend whom you loved – is dead and you miss him.” Yes, the liturgy can hold both of these truths in tension so that, as the Lord reminds us, our joy may be complete. Let me share a beautiful poem by Malcolm Guite, entitled “Sonnet for All Saints”:

Though Satan breaks our dark glass into shards
Each shard still shines with Christ’s reflected light,
It glances from the eyes, kindles the words
Of all his unknown saints. The dark is bright
With quiet lives and steady lights undimmed,
The witness of the ones we shunned and shamed.
Plain in our sight and far beyond our seeing
He weaves them with us in the web of being
They stand beside us even as we grieve,
The lone and left behind whom no one claimed,
Unnumbered multitudes, he lifts above
The shadow of the gibbet and the grave,
To triumph where all saints are known and named;
The gathered glories of His wounded love.

Affectionately in Christ,

your priest and pastor


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Sunday, November 10, Remembrance Sunday and Choir School Centennial Alumni Weekend

  • 8:00am Said Mass and 9:00am Sung Mass
  • 11:00am Solemn Requiem Mass sung by the Choir of Men & Boys with the Fauré Requiem
  • 4:00pm Choral Evensong
    Annual Flag Service sung by the Choir of Men & Boys and attended by the Patriotic and Historical Societies of New York
    Preacher: The Reverend Carl F. Turner, Rector

Monday, November 11, Veterans’ Day

12:10pm Said Mass at the World War II memorial altar in the Narthex

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Guest Preacher for Remembrance Sunday

The Reverend Daniel R. Heishman, DD

This coming Sunday is Remembrance Sunday, the day when we honor all those who have died because of war and conflict. This is also a day of celebration for the centennial anniversary of the Saint Thomas Choir School. Our 11am service will be a Solemn Requiem and our guest preacher will be the Reverend Daniel Heischman, DD, Executive Director of the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES).

Prior to his work with NAES, Father Heischman was College Chaplain at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut for four years. He was head of the upper school and assistant headmaster of St. Albans School, Washington, DC from 1994 through 2003. From 1987 to 1994 he was executive director of the Council for Religion in Independent Schools (CRIS), now the Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education (CSEE). He served as chaplain and then assistant headmaster of Trinity School, New York, New York from 1979 until 1987. He began his ordained ministry in 1976 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Englewood, New Jersey.

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The Middlers’ Group

Saint Thomas Church is introducing a new fellowship group into the life of our parish community. The Middlers’ Group (parishioners bordering their 40’s and 50’s) is a new initiative designed to foster community for people in this age bracket across the parish. For our first official gathering, we are hosting a simple meal in the Living Room of the Parish House, on Saturday, November 23 at 6.30pm. 

If you would like to know more about this group please contact Fr. Bennett at Please RSVP for dinner by Thursday, November 21st. $15 dollar donation appreciated.

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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.

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Our Lady of Fifth Avenue

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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