The Rector’s Message for the Week of December 20, 2020

Rector Turner
The Reverend Canon Carl Turner

Dear Friends,

After three mild winters, New York City is enjoying a lovely snow for a few days. On our move to Saint Thomas from a county in the south of England with one of the most temperate climates (the coast around Torquay was known as ‘The English Riviera’), one of the joys for our Cairn Terrier, Bertie, is leaping around snow drifts in Central Park. He is a happy pooch of late!

Thank you to our volunteers!

Thank you to our children and families who have, yet again, stepped up to deliver parcels to our shut-ins and frail parishioners. The Sunday School created lovely homemade Christmas cards which have been hand-delivered with some Christmas goodies and plants.

This Sunday, we have our Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. It will be quite strange to have the gentlemen and boys spread out at safe distances throughout the gallery and choir stalls. Nevertheless, I am so grateful to the parents of our local boys for allowing them to sing two services this Christmas. Because we are so limited in capacity this year, we have decided to add a few Christmas services. COVID-19 has changed everything, so although it is not strictly correct, we are going to anticipate Christmas a little earlier and turn the lunchtime mass on Christmas Eve into the Vigil Mass. That allows the 6:00pm to be the first mass of Christmas. In addition to the 10:00am Solemn Mass, there will also be a 12:00pm said mass at the High Altar. The schedule is as follows:

Christmas Eve

  • 12:00pm — Vigil Mass of Christmas
  • 6:00pm — The First Mass of Christmas

Christmas Day

  • 10:00am — The Mass of the Day
  • 12:00pm — Said Mass

All services will be available via livestream except the Christmas Day noon mass.

Please pre-register for all services

This year we have TWO Sundays after Christmas so we can all enjoy the twelve days of Christmas. The gentlemen will sing a beautiful mass for the Epiphany on Wednesday, January 6 at 12:00pm.

We are still taking donations for our Angel Tree through the end of the month. This years ‘Virtual Tree’ will support parents, children, and disabled adults. When you donate, be sure to note that your gift is for the 2020 Angel Tree in the order notes field on the checkout page.

It was a joy to see some of our children and young people participating with a chorister at the Blessing of the Crèche service. The service is only 40 minutes long, so do encourage friends and family with children to watch it over the Christmas period.

As many of you know, our dear friend Hope Preminger died recently. Hope had a companion dog, a sweet natured short haired Dachshund called Tibet. Tibet used to like to sit on my lap took her to Holy Communion. Tibet is a spritely 12-year-old looking for a loving home. If anyone would like to take her in this Christmas, please contact me or my assistant, Lizette.

To end, a portion of John Chrysostom’s great Christmas sermon, which is quite inspirational:

“What shall I say! And how shall I describe this Birth to you? For this wonder fills me with astonishment. The Ancient of days has become an infant. He Who sits upon the sublime and heavenly Throne, now lies in a manger. And He Who cannot be touched, Who is simple, without complexity, and incorporeal, now lies subject to the hands of men. He Who has broken the bonds of sinners, is now bound by an infant’s bands. But He has decreed that ignominy shall become honor, infamy be clothed with glory, and total humiliation the measure of His Goodness.

“For this He assumed my body, that I may become capable of His Word; taking my flesh, He gives me His spirit; and so He bestowing and I receiving, He prepares for me the treasure of Life. He takes my flesh, to sanctify me; He gives me His Spirit, that He may save me.”

Affectionately,

Your Priest and Pastor,
Carl