Sunday, October 31, 2010

Supper, Song and Prayer on Wednesday Nights at 6pm

click on to see the slide show
Photos by Diana Leavengood, Walt Jaap and Chris Stiles

I look forward to Supper Song and Prayer each Wednesday. It is a time of the real meaning of community within the church. It brings out the true meaning of the church family with God as Father. There is so much joy and sharing with one another. It is much like my own family when as a child we all gathered at the supper table and the chatter of the day’s activity allowed each one to express their thoughts and we were all bound closer together by doing so.

Each week our speakers are different and interesting. I find something in each one that I can relate to, whether they grew up in Montana, Michigan or Alabama. It is always a joy to share with them. Everyone’s life is a story book. Some are just not written down on paper, but we can learn something from each story.

If you have been missing supper with the church family I invite you to join us. It is enjoyable and you will be home by eight o’clock to watch your favorite TV program. As we say in the South, “You’ll come now".

Submitted by Mary Hochadel

Photos by Diana Leavengood

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Confirmation Service with Bishop Smith

Please click on the link to see the slide show:
Photos submitted by Georgia Mattern

Friday, October 29, 2010

Women of the Word, Oct. 28


--Abram defeated Kedorlaomer. After this the kings (which were minor-type kings of small tribes) allied with Abram who refused to take gifts as Abram only wanted people. We read for the first time the term "a tenth of everything" which will remind us of the term, "tithe" which we will hear more about in the New Testament.

-- In Chapter 15, the important thing to remember is the term "Covenant". Unlike in modern day law, covenant in the Old Testament means something different as it relates to God's covenant relationship with His people. There were two types of covenants. The one that God had with Noah was one kind. But, Noah did not respond back to God in the same positive way that God was in covenant with Noah.
In the second kind of covenant, we have to actually do something that God commands us to doto be in a covenant relationship with God.

-- God made a promise and we HAVE TO BELIEVE THIS PROMISE (vs.6) to be considered righteous in His eyes.
We learned about the animal sacrifice to complete the contract with God. The flaming torch and fire pot were symbolic in a vision that Abram had and these two things represented God sealing the covenant with Abram.

--In chapter 16, we learned about Abram's wife (Sarai) being infertile and how very important it was in early Biblical times that women give birth and give birth often. It was common practice then for an infertile woman to allow her servant woman (Hagar in this case) to become pregnant by her husband. By allowing Hagar to bear an heir showed that Abram was impatient and did not want to wait for God's promise to be fulfilled. Sarai then mistreats Hagar who runs away. An angel appears to Hagar and tells her that she needs to return to her mistress and that she will have "descendants too numerous to count". Ishmael would later lay the foundation for the beginning of Islam. Hagar did give birth to a son and he was named Ishmael which means "under God's domain".

Submitted by Vicky Steinwender


Thursday, October 28, 2010

From the Men's Bible Study, Oct. 27

Habakkuk 1:1-4;2:1-4

In vv. 1-4, Habakkuk asks God why he is not listening or acting. “Violence” is being done to us; our basic human rights are being violated. The state is in confusion and near anarchy (“law becomes slack ... justice never prevails ...”, v. 4). The “wicked”, fellow Jews or foreigners, have taken over!

God responds: make my message “plain” (2:2) so all hear it: my justice will come at “the appointed time” (2:3), in the “end” times. But God’s time may not be human time, so “wait for it”. “The proud” (2:4, the enemy), those who are self-sufficient, don’t endure (“their spirit is not right”), but those who trust in God, “the righteous”, continue to “live”, to keep the faith, even in these difficult times. God has a plan for the future: the faithful will be rewarded, the wicked punished.

2 Thessalonians 1:1-4,11-12

V. 1 indicates that “Paul” is the principal author of this letter; “Silvanus, and Timothy” share in writing it. (“Silvanus”, called Silas in Acts, worked with Paul in Thessalonica and Corinth. “Timothy” joined him at Lystra, in central Asia Minor.)

Paul gives thanks for the Christians at Thessalonica on two counts:
their growth in “faith” (v. 3, trust) and love – for faith works itself out in love; and their example to other churches of remaining faithful in spite of sufferings (v. 4).

With this objective (“to this end”, v. 11), Paul continually petitions God in prayer
to make the Christians at Thessalonica worthy of being called by God, and to support to completion (through the power of, “the name of our Lord Jesus”, v. 12) whatever intentions (“resolve”, v. 11) and acts of trust in God they initiate. Thus Christ’s godliness (goodness) will be seen in them, and theirs in Christ. This will be achieved through the Father’s and the Son’s “grace” (v. 12), his gift of love.

Luke 19:1-10

Now we meet Zacchaeus, a tax collector working for the Romans and therefore also rich – a despised person and an outcast from Jewish society. He is curious about Jesus (v. 3). Jesus senses his presence up in a “sycamore tree” (v. 4). He even invites himself to Zacchaeus’ home! The crowd grumbles (v. 7), for Jesus has crossed social and religious barriers: good people don’t associate with sinners. Zacchaeus, unlike the rich ruler, is prepared to give generously, and to recompense anyone he has defrauded, as the Law requires. “Salvation has come” (v. 9) to Zacchaeus’ house, indeed to his whole household: Jesus chose to stay with him, Zacchaeus accepted him and has changed his life. Being saved is the same spiritual experience as inheriting eternal life and entering the kingdom of God. In spite of the crowd’s grumbling, thinking him “lost” (v. 10), the tax collector is a “son of Abraham” (v. 9), a true member of God’s people.
Submitted by Dick Nelson

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy 100. Birthday Addie Kaple

Addie Kaple celebrated her 100th birthday on October 23, 2010. A small gathering of immediate family joined her at Bon Secours Maria Manor on the actual day. On Sunday October 24th, the 10:00 service connected with Addie by telephone and sang her a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday. Addie wished us all a happy day when our birthdays come around.

Submitted by John and Barbara Suhar

Women of the Word, Oct. 14 and 21

Genesis 10:5-11
Written by the Non-priestly or J writer, Chapter 10 begins by enumerating mostly the male descendants of Noah’s sons Shem, Ham and Japheth, “children who were born to them after the flood.” They became the coastland peoples of the Fertile Crescent stretching from Egypt to Babylon, from the Nile to the Tigris and the Euphrates. This genealogy served as an explanation to themselves and to others around them of their world as they knew it. They did not know that the world extended beyond what they knew. Often a person’s name was interchangeable with their home town or place of birth; the name of a tribe could the name of a nation. In essence they were saying, “We are Mesopotamia.” It is interesting that these creation stories were not about Israel, the Holy Land, but about an entirely different area.
The non-priestly writer continues in Ch. 11 explaining that all the people of the earth spoke the same language and some of them migrated to the east settling in Shinar. Because this area does not have natural stones for building, they made bricks in order to build a city and “a tower with its top in the heavens.” This tower was actually a ziggurat, many of which were built in this area. Ziggurats were large monuments, maybe temples or shrines, with stepped, receeding tiers having a flat shrine on top. The people’s purpose was to “make a name for ourselves.” This did not please God so he scattered them over the face of the earth and confused their language so that they no longer understood each other. They quit building the tower which was called Babel for this was where their language was confused.
In previous stories, such as Adam and Eve and Noah, there has been redemption; but not here. However, in the New Testament at Pentecost, everyone can understand each other’s language. It takes a long time to get redemption in this case. The Towel of Babel and Pentecost become bookends in the Bible.
In 11: 26-32 we dealt with the descendants, wives and progeny of Terah who was a son of Nahor, a descendant of Shem. As written, this family tree is confusing. It includes Abram, son of Terah, who had a wife Sarai who is childless.
In Genesis 1-11 there is no indication that God created the world for Israel. The world has a universal beginning; it was created for everyone. Next we will become focused on one tribe with one leader, Abraham. This tribe did not have a name for themselves.
Submitted by Rene Clark

Women of the Word, Oct.21

This week we looked at Genesis 12 & 13. Specifically we learned about God’s call to Abram who was originally called Avram. God called him to leave his country and his people and go to “the land I am going to show you.” There were promises of many descendants and of Abram becoming a “great nation.” You would think that Abram was some sort of holy man but in fact he wasn’t. As my mother would say “he was no better than he had to be.” A bit of a loser. And so in calling Abram, God did something new. Instead of calling upon a holy and blessed man like Moses, God called on an unholy man and by doing so made him blessed.

It may at first seem like no big deal but back then you didn’t leave your family. You stayed together. Food and other natural resources were scarce and it took a tribe to keep things going. So this leaving home was a very big deal. Abram took his wife Sarai (later Sarah) and his nephew Lot. Why? Who knows why Lot went along? But we all know that doesn’t end well.

So there they are traveling through Canaan and God said to him “This is the place.” And Abram built an altar and made a sacrifice. Then he moved onto Bethel and did the same thing. Then he moved onto the southern part of Canaan and built yet another altar. He was a traveling fool. At one point he is in a part of Canaan that is famine stricken so he went all the way down to Egypt. And therein lies our first true glimpse at what a toad he was. Sarah was pretty. Abram knew that Pharaoh would desire her and if she were a married woman he would kill her husband so that she would be free for the taking. So Abram said (and I am paraphrasing here) “If anyone asks, you are my sister. This way I get to live and you will bring us a good fortune.” Which Sarah did. Whilst she was in the harem, her “brother” Abram was showered with gifts of gratitude for bringing such a beautiful woman to court. God was upset. Abram had strayed from the mission. To show His displeasure He sent terrible diseases. Pharaoh realized he had been duped so he turned Sarah and Abram out into the desert but let them keep all the wealth that Abram had accumulated during Sarah's indentured servant stint there at the palace.

Things get even stranger.

First, Lot shows back up in the desert there. He has a lot of wealth and livestock as well, the source of which we are not told. Things seem to be going good but, as we know, things are never as they seem. Lot’s men and Abram’s men are quarreling. Abram says that they should separate out their property and part friends. He lets Lot chose his piece of land first. Lot took the entire Jordan Valley and headed down to Sodom.

Abram stayed in Canaan. God told him to look around and that as far as he could see this was now his. So Abram built an altar to God and moved his camp near the sacred trees of Mamre.

We never hear from Sarah what she thinks of all this. Did she suffer in silence? Did she actually enjoy her time away from Abram and was sorry to have to go back with him? In reading Genesis as an adult I find all the wonderful songs I was taught at VBS to be lacking in the whole truth. Sure they are catchy but they leave important things out like Noah going on a bender; Giants living on the earth who are descendants of human woman and heavenly creatures; Abram being a complete scumbag. These are really important things to know and understand as we begin to weave the tapestry of our story from Genesis to Revelations. Maybe we can work this into the curriculum somewhere. Or not.

Then Noah he went on, he went on a drunky, drunky
Noah he went on, he went on a drunky, drunky
Tan Que Ray and Asti Spamante, mante
Children of the Lord


Father Abraham has many sons and many sons has Father Abraham
I am one of them, and your mother too, so lets all be confused

Submitted by Diana Leavengood

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

St. Thomas Youth Ministry’s core values

St. Thomas Youth Ministry’s core values are Faith, Fellowship, Friendship, and Fun. We believe that the acceptance and love we have for each other is what builds our unity in Christ and develops life long friendships.

click on to see the slide show

Photos submitted by Diana Leavengood and Tammy Zybura

Sunday, October 24, 2010

From the men's Bible study, Oct.20

Joel 2: 23-32; Second Timothy 4: 6-8 and 16-18; Luke 18: 9-14

Welcome Back Steve Smith!

"Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.
And also on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
“ And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth"

The above passage is from Joel, an Old Testament Prophet living around 800 to 837 BC post Babylon exile. His words are words about the goodness of God. We can relate to the words of reconciliation; that although we have stumbled from the path, God is still there with us. Don’t give up hope and keep your faith.

“I am Jehovah your God." By these words the Prophet reminds us, that the deliverance of the people from their evils was to be wholly ascribed to the gratuitous mercy of God; for we have already seen, that things would have been past hope, had not this consolation been added — ‘Turn ye even now to me.’ The Prophet therefore repeats that there would be no other reason why God would deal so kindly with his people, and so mercifully spare them”. “The Prophet’s design: he intends not to threaten the faithful, but rather to warn them, lest they should deceive themselves with empty dreams.” Commentary taken from the Ethereal Library.

Thanks for the discussions and comments and for Father Suhar’s good summary and background on this lesser known Prophet.
Submitted by Walt Jaab

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

From the Men's Bible Study, Oct.13

Jeremiah 31:27-34
The people of Judah have failed to follow God’s ways for generations. Despite Jeremiah’s appeals, they have refused to return to his ways. God has sent the Babylonians to punish them for these sins by deporting many and destroying Jerusalem. Israel, the northern kingdom, suffered a similar fate at the hands of the Assyrians over a century earlier. Now, through Jeremiah, God tells the people that restoration of both Israel and Judah will come. Recalling God’s commission to the prophet; Jeremiah now foretells the building and the planting. In early Israelite history, sin was largely collective: if a person sinned, it affected the whole nation. Jeremiah now explains, using a proverb, that henceforth “all shall die for their own sins”. The sin of one generation will no longer be inflicted on the next. Responsibility will be personal.

Timothy 3:14-4:5
In Palestine, based on popular books, people thought that a time of moral decay would precede the end of the world. The author of this book sees the decadence resulting from false teaching as contributing to this. Timothy has Paul’s example to follow, particularly the “persecutions he endured. Suffering for Christ is part of being Christian. While true Christians will be shown to be godly, false teachers “will go from bad to worse, deceiving others and being deceived” by the devil.
But the writer encourages Timothy to “continue”, and stand fast in what Paul and your family have taught you! Remember that the Old Testament, interpreted in the Christian community tells you about “salvation”, about Christ. “All scripture” has authority rooted in God and so gives a basis for human conduct. It enables all who speak for God, equipping them for good works, including “teaching". Thinking ahead to Christ’s second coming, “his appearing" when he will “judge” and begin ruling all creation, the writer now urges Timothy to “proclaim the good news", whether the time seems propitious or not. False teachers are undermining the faith now; perhaps “the time is coming” when no one will adhere to the true faith.

Luke 18:1-8
In Jewish society, a “widow” had no legal status; she was powerless. The story tells us twice that the judge is a rogue: he neither respects God nor cares about other people. So why would Jesus tell an absurd story? Because such stories are easily remembered and are likely to be retold, Jesus uses this incongruous story to teach the disciples a lesson. If even this rogue listens to a petition, how much more so will God, loving as he is, hear and answer the prayers of the faithful, those whom he has “chosen", by again sending Christ, to judge. He will grant them justice soon after he comes, however, they cannot know when he will come. But, Jesus wonders, will any still be faithful then, or will they all be preoccupied by other matters?

Submitted by Dick Nelson

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Yoga Pose of the Month

Warrior I/ Virabhadrasana I


Stretches the chest and lungs, shoulders and neck, belly and groins

Strengthens shoulders, arms and muscles of the back

Strengthens and stretches the thighs, knees, calves and ankles.

Yoga at St Thomas: Mondays at 6:30 pm, in the Parish Hall

Submitted by Teri Plumridge

Friday, October 8, 2010

Women of the Word, Oct.7

Genesis 6:11- Genesis 10

Here we learn that the story of Noah and the Ark is not necessarily the one we have been taught from childhood. Was it 2 pairs of every animal or 7? ( The thought is that they had to allow for attrition in the sacrifices following the venture.) Was it 40 days and nights or 150 days? Or seven months? We are reminded that this is a book of theology, not history, and that Genesis and Gilgamesh differ in their views. But all reports from that time agree that SOMETHING happened in regards to a big flood. There is nothing in recorded history about a world-wide flood at the time, but we must remember that the Tigris & Euphrates Valley comprised the "world" of that day. Yes, something big happened and it was the fault of mankind. God created us and we messed up. We have choices and choices have consequences.
Which brings us to the hero of our story, Noah.
Noah was a righteous man, "tsadig", a popular word in the Old Testament, meaning "good", the way God meant Creation to work. Note that Noah never spoke. Abraham was also a righteous man, but he had a lot to say.
There are other inconsistencies in these accountings, i.e. a raven first being released from the Ark, when all this time we thought it was a dove which was the second bird sent out. Maybe. And when the rains came "all the fountains of the great deep" also burst forth in addition to the rain, which was news to a lot of us. We are curious, also, as to how the dove came back with an olive leaf which certainly must have come forth in a hurry.
We note, also, that in entering the Ark, Noah and his sons went first, followed by their wives and the animals. When they came out, they came out together and as "families." We attribute this to all that time in there and no television and all.
Once on dry ground, Noah and his sons are put on notice that mankind is now in charge and animals shall hold him "in fear and dread." In interpretation of chapter 9, it is noted that "blood" equals "life."
Happy to have arrived back on land, Noah, "a man of the soil," plants a vineyard and is so satisfied with his wine production that he really ties one on and passes out naked in his tent. Son Ham sees him and was horrified, not at his drunkenness, but at the fact that he's in his altogether. Brothers Shem and Japheth back into the tent so they won't see this fact and cover their father. For whatever reason, Noah curses Canaan, son of Ham, not hapless Ham who has done his best to "cover" for his father. The Canaanites were condemned to be slaves, a passage that was, sadly, used to exemplify inferiority of the black race, and to justify slavery.
In retrospect, the whole point of the story of Noah is that God was not ready to give up on humankind.
Submitted by Deenie Miller

It's Gospel, Oct.10... a preview

Gospel- Saint Thomas Adult Education Offering 10 October 2010, 9am in the Guild Room

The Nativity Story: Luke chapters 1 & 2 and Matthew chapters 1 & 2
Luke tells this very beloved story from Mary’s point of view to his audience of Jewish-Christians in the Roman Empire. Matthew is covering it from Joseph’s viewpoint and using the Old Testament prophesies to help explain the event to a mostly Jewish audience. Mark’s and John’s Gospels do not include the Nativity.
Luke gathered information directly from his main source, Mary. Matthew source was handed down information. Luke provides greater details on the birth and the first people to see Jesus were Sheppards. Matthew tells the story of the Magi as the first people to see Jesus.
• Why were outsiders (Sheppards and Magi) the initial witnesses to Jesus Birth?
• What is the importance of the Angels in the Nativity?
• What caused Joseph to honor his promise to Mary?
One of the most beautiful lines of poetic witness is found in Luke 1:46 to 55- Mary’s Song of Praise- “The Magnificat”, BCP, page 119. Take a moment and read and reflect on the thoughts and praise from a faithful servant that followed God’s will with a rejoicing spirit. Also take a look at First Samuel 2: 1-10 (Hannah’s prayer); what are the similarities between these verses that were written about 1000 years before the birth of Jesus?
Luke notes that Mary and Joseph went from their home near Nazareth to Bethlehem, a dangerous journey of about 80 miles, because of a decree from the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus regarding a census where each person was to return to their family home to register. Matthew does not include this in his Gospel.
The early Christian Church accepted the teaching of St. Athanasius and his allies, that Christ was the incarnation of God, the eternal second person of the trinity who was fully God and fully a man simultaneously.
Please come and participate in our study on Sunday, 9 AM, Guild Room.

Submitted by Walt Jaap

Thursday, October 7, 2010

From the Men's Bible Study, Oct 6

Jeremiah 29:1, 4-7; Second Timothy 2: 8-15; Luke17: 11-19

The Prophet Jeremiah is rebuking a, “false prophet”, Hananiah who was telling the captive exiles in Babylonia that he (Hananiah) predicted the downfall of King Nebuchadnezzar and the exiles would return to Judah in a short time. Jeremiah spoke that Hananiah’s words are false; the King of Babylon is holding the exiles in an iron yoke that will be in place for many long years. Jeremiah’s message to the exiles is: do not sit and wait for deliverance; he exhorts them to build houses, settle in, raise your families, do not pine away, build up your community in Babylonia, make it prosperous, if you do not, you will dwindle away.

In the context of today, we have many exiles from many conflicts; how do they respond to captivity in foreign lands? Of recent memory, we have earthquakes in Haiti, Hurricane Katrina, the conflicts in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan; thousands of displaced and often befuddled refugees. If you were in their circumstances, would your outlook be to sit and wait, or get on with life, putting your faith in God to show you a pathway and giving you strength to persevere. In the case of the captive community in Babylon, they did thrive and in some sense were given a gift; while in exile they compiled and wrote down most of the books of the Old Testament that previously were only known from oral tradition; many Old Testament writings were put into writing in Babylon.

Many thanks to all those present for the lively discussions.

Submitted by Walt Jaap
Photo Walt Jaap

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Youth Bake Sale and Ministry Fair

The Youth Group had an epic Bake Sale! It was a great time for fellowship and we collected over $250 towards our 2011 Mission Trip!

The youth would like to thank all of the parents and bakers as well as those who purchased the yummy baked goods. Because of you this event was a success! We would also like to give a special thanks to Elaine Patrick for her awesome guidance.

In addition to the Bake Sale the Youth Group Ministry Fair table was also a success! We had a lot of interest form parents and parish members and that made us very excited about the growth of our program. We thank you for your interest and we look forward to seeing you at some of our future events!

We hope you enjoy the following photos taken at both events.

God bless,
Tammy Zybura
Director of Youth

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Youth car wash

Enjoy these beautiful pictures taken by our own professional and award winning photographer Diana Leavengood. These pictures are amazing:

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Blessing of the animals, Oct 2

And God said, "Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky." So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind." And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.

--Genesis 1:20-25 (NRSV)

Pictures submitted by Walt Jaap