Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Yoga pose of the month

Child’s Pose/Balasana
Gently stretches the hips, thighs and ankles.
Calms the brain and helps relieve stress, anxiety, tension and fatigue.
Just what we need to help us through the holidays!

I’m thankful to share this journey with you.
Please invite your friends to join us.
Classes are Mondays at 6:30 pm, in the Parish Hall at St. Thomas Episcopal Church
Submitted by Teri Plumridge

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Celestial Choir

Thank you Louise Yardumian!

Photos submitted by Giggi Fleming

Sunday, November 28, 2010

From the men's bible study, Nov. 25

Isaiah 2:1-5
Isaiah wrote these verses about 740 BC, a time when spirits were low in Judah: Assyrian armies were bent on conquest, and many people doubted God's power to preserve the dynasty of David in accordance with his promise; others believed themselves to be invincible in the face of enemies.
Because Chapter 1 begins with similar words, it appears that this and the next few chapters originally formed a separate document. The ideas in vv. 2-4 are also found in Micah 4. In the future (“in days to come”, v. 2) God will launch a new era in which he will dwell on earth (“house”), at Jerusalem. His presence above all others on earth symbolizes his sovereignty. (Jerusalem began on the eastern hill or “mountain”. By Isaiah’s time it had expanded on to part of the western hill. “Zion”, v. 3, was originally the name of the southern slope of the eastern hill, the site of the first settlement. The name was later used for the whole city.)
The prophet foretells a time when all peoples will make pilgrimage to Jerusalem (“let us go up”, v. 3) to worship God – to learn the way of living revealed by God. The city will be the source of “instruction” in ethical living. (The Hebrew word for “instruction” is torah which is also a name for the first five books of the Bible, the Law.) In this future time, God will settle disputes among nations (“judge”, v. 4) and between people (“arbitrate”). It will be an age of peace and plenty: warfare being a thing of the past, agriculture (“plowshares”, “pruning hooks”) will prosper. In v. 5, Isaiah exhorts the people to adopt God’s ways now.

Romans 13:11-14
In vv. 1-8, Paul has written about the obligations we Christians have to civil authorities; he has continued his instructions on ethics for Christians. The only thing we Christians “owe” others – Christians and non-Christians – is love: this sums up the obligations of the Christian in life, of Christian ethics. But as Christians, love is part of the deal rather than an obligation, and can never be completely discharged. Love among Christians is something special: it is mutual.
Now Paul tells us another reason why ethical behavior is important for Christians. We know that we are living both in the present and in the age which is after the first coming of the Messiah and before the second: “salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers” (v. 11). Paul expresses it in terms of night and day: we should awake, pass from darkness to light, from evil to good. The image of armor is also found in contemporary Jewish writings about the end of the age; in 1 Thessalonians 5:8, Paul tells us that the “armor of light” (v. 12) is faith, hope, love for each other, fidelity, uprightness, etc. “Let us live” (v. 13), he says, as if the Day of the Lord is already here, “honorably”, not in ways that harm ourselves and our neighbors. Rather, let Christ be our armor, and let us not give in to the temptations of the flesh.

Matthew 24:36-44 Speaking to his followers, Jesus has foretold the destruction of the Temple; he has told them the signs of the coming of the end times. In the suffering and trials which will precede the End, society will break down, “many will fall away” (v. 10, from the faith) but “one who endures to the end will be saved” (v. 13). After these events, the “Son of Man” (vv. 27, 30) will come “with power and great glory”. This will mark the beginning of a new era, a new way of being. Followers should discern signs of the second coming of Christ (vv. 32-35).
But (v. 36), we do not know precisely when that coming will be, and neither does Jesus. The situation will be like that before the Flood: people were preoccupied with earthly matters (v. 38). When the Flood came, a small number “entered the ark” and were saved, but many were not. The dawn of the new era will also be like this; Jesus gives two examples: of men (v. 40) and of women (v. 41). Some will be “taken” to be with Christ (because they are prepared) but others will be “left”. V. 43 is an other example. “Keep awake” (v. 42) to the will of God: be ready for Christ’s second coming!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Be still and know that I am God (Ps 46:10) Sunday, Nov. 28 at 9am in the Guild room

Come and experience the “Peace that passes all understanding” this Advent season. Start your week by calming body, mind and soul with ancient prayers and meditations. Learn about these prayers/meditations, practice them and integrate them into your daily life without adding another time commitment to your day.
Give yourself the gift of a quiet hour during this hectic time and be better prepared for the coming of Christ and new birth within you. Give yourself the gift of relaxing body, mind and soul during this Advent season and experience closeness to God you might have never felt before. These prayers have been recommended by many scientists and doctors to lower blood pressure and help with all stress related physical and mental illnesses.
Sundays at 9am in the Guild room, starting Nov.28.
Led by Bettina Schuller
Submitted by Bettina Schuller

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

From the Men's Bible Study, Nov. 17

Jeremiah 23: 1-6, Colossians 1: 11-20 Luke 23: 33-43

Words about Words was a theme we captured in the discussions.

The metaphor of the Shepherd and the lost sheep in Jeremiah is typically inferred of the coming of a Messiah that will gather and protect his people. During Jeremiah’s writing, the message was one providing hope for those in Judah that were in the grips of being shipped off to Babylon. The terms justice, righteousness, safety, and deal wisely illuminate an image of a kingdom that is perfect in all ways. “I will bring them back to their fold and they shall be fruitful and multiply.”

Chuck Jones told us that this read in Colossians has a special prayer-creed that tells those in Colossus what it is that Jesus is about:
“He is the image of the invisible God, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers- all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things and in him all things hold together.”

The feast day of Christ the King is relatively new, in around 1925 it became a feast to bridge Pentecost and Advent, Father Schuller noted that depending on the position of Catholic and Protestant theology this feast may be a major or a minor celebration.

The Gospel from Luke is the portion of the crucifixion-passion in which Jesus forgives those responsible for his crucifixion. He also gives comfort to a criminal who was also being put to death on a cross. He tells this man, Demas (also called Dismas, Dumachus) that he will be in paradise with Jesus.

The group present reflected on what was most meaningful in this Gospel reading. There is no correct or right response. The words that touch us and have special meaning are always inadequate to the sacrifice and the love personified in Christ. In spite of harsh treatment, abandonment, cruel words, humiliation, Jesus provides comfort to a criminal and forgives.

William Barkley notes that “Jesus said many wonderful things, but rarely anything more wonderful than, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do! Christian forgiveness is an amazing thing.”
Submitted by Walt Jaap

Festive Meal, Nov. 13

(Please go to http://comeseestthomas.blogspot.com/ to watch the slide show:)

It was rumored that Aliens were crossing Snell Isle and it was later confirmed that they had landed at St. Thomas Episcopal Church where many other Tribes had gathered including a group of Barefoot Islanders from the Bahamas, some Chinese and even Harry Potter and his Wizards.

If all of this sounds a bit strange, well it was. But what great fun it was. One of the greatest annual dinners I have attended.
Among the more than two hundred parishioners present, I am happy to report that the Youth Group was well represented with seventeen of their members attending.

We refer to this event as “The Festive Meal”, and with good reason. It is a time of reaping, or ingathering of our crops or the gathering of the fruit of our labors. A taking stock, of our blessings. A time of thankfulness. When doing this we realize that without Gods Blessings we would have nothing. Therefore we must weigh and determine Gods portion, and we celebrate and acknowledge our blessings with our pledges of giving to support Gods work in the coming year.

There was so much joy and camaraderie shared by everyone.
There were twenty one tables, three of which were decorated by the youth. The total attendance was 207 – 156 adults, 17 from the youth group, and 30 children ages 0 through 5h grade.

Each year we have a volunteer hostess for each table and she decorates the table choosing a theme of her choice. At the end of the evening prizes are awarded based on a list of categories that has been pre determined.
The table winners were:
Most Original:
Mary Li Cressy and Jim Duda…Chinese New Year
Most Outrageous (tie):
Heather Disler and Michelle Miller…Barbie,
Cathy Ball and Gigi Fleming… High Rollers
Most Elegant:
Ellen Burkhart
Best Theme (tie):
Youth group… Harry Potter
Meredith Marshall and Matt Zybura…Cupcake

All of the Hostesses did an outstanding job of decorating their tables. The most elegant table winner was a Fifties group fashionably dressed complete with white gloves and pill box hats. Their table decorated with a lighted crystal centerpiece that spoke of the glitz and glamour of the era. The hats and gloves were reminicent of our own photo albums.

Many thanks go to Allison Marshall for her excellent work in organizing this event. It was appreciated by all who attended.
Submitted by Mary Hochadel
Photos by Chris Stiles

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's Gospel, Sunday, Nov.14 at 9am in the Guild room

Gospel Adult Seminar: Let’s Go Fishing! Jesus & Fish, including the calling of Peter, Andrew, James, and John to be Disciples:

Luke 5:1-11
One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God, he saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.“ Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.“ When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!“ For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon's partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men." So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.
Why did Jesus entrust fishermen from Bethsaida with spreading his message?
Fishermen were savvy businessmen. They were multilingual. Their native tongue was Aramaic. They would also have known Hebrew. Knowledge of Greek would have been essential for people like Peter and his co-workers who were involved in the fishing business. The gospels suggest that they were able to carry on conversations with Greek speakers the Syro-Phoenician woman (Mk 7:26), people in the Decapolis where the curing of the deaf man took place (Mk 7:31), and the incident of Philip and Andrew conversing with the Greeks (Jn 12:20-23). They may also have had a smattering of Latin. Peter converses with the Roman centurion, Cornelius (Acts 10:25).
Fishermen had to be skilled at their trade, knowing the when, where and why of fishing, but they also had to be patient, not easily discouraged, strong, hard-working and community- oriented. Are these skills still good for discipleship in this day and age?
The fish became a cryptic symbol of Christianity during the early church, a pass word to determine the religion of the stranger. In Greek, the Acronym: IXQUS ----- Ichthys ----- Jesus Christ, God's Son, Savior.
What about Zebedee? We’re not always ready for adventure. Perhaps, at those times, we’re still following Jesus, but we are also dragging our feet. Zebedee is a reminder that I can’t stay in the boat my whole life and still find myself in the place where Jesus is going. I must follow. Time to go catch some fish.
Submitted by Walt Jaap

Friday, November 5, 2010

Women of the Word, Nov.4

Genesis 17-18


There are two types of covenants. A covenant is not a contract. It is between two wildly different, uneven individuals.
The covenant that God makes with Abram is different than the one made with Noah. In the covenant made with Noah, God reached out to Noah, but nothing was required by Noah as a response.
In the covenant made with Abraham (as God said Abram hereafter would be called), Abram was required to do something in response. God promised to make Abraham the father of many nations for generations to come and Abraham and his descendants will worship God as their God (monotheism not widely accepted at this time). They will demonstrate their keeping of the covenant by circumcision of every male (including those born in his household or bought with his money from a foreigner) by age of eight days. Circumcision is a mark of the covenant. God also said that Sarai, Abraham’s wife, would henceforth be called Sarah and would be the mother of nations. God further promised that Abraham and Sarah would have a son, Isaac, with whom God would also establish a covenant. (Abraham and Sarah’s response was laughter that they would have a son in their old age.) By the naming of Abraham and Sarah and by the naming of Isaac, God demonstrated dominion over them. Naming is dominion.
God also spoke of Ishmael (son of Abram and Hagar, Egyptian maidservant of Sarai) and said that he would make him fruitful and he would become the father of 12 rulers and God would make him into a great nation. But, His covenant would be made with Isaac, “whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year.” That same day, Abraham (age 99) and Ishmael (age 13) were both circumcised, as well as every male in Abraham’s household thus fulfilling the covenant.


Abraham bowed low to the visitors, and beseeched them to let him wash their feet and to rest under his trees. He wanted to get them something to eat so they could be refreshed and then go on their way. He had Sarah make some bread, selected a choice tender calf which he gave to a servant to prepare, and he brought some curds and milk for the men as was the custom at that time for helping traveling guests. Hospitality was extremely important in those days; travelers depended upon it. (There were no restaurants, motel, highways etc. in that day)
As the men ate, they conversed with Abraham standing by his tent. They asked about his wife Sarah. Abraham said that Sarah was in the tent. The Lord reiterated that He would return about the same time the following year and that Abraham and Sarah would have a son by then. Sarah laughed to herself because of her old age and denied to the Lord that she was laughing. Although she laughed, she believed the promise. The Lord said again that He would return next year and Sarah would have a son. He asked, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”


Abraham walked with the men as they walked toward Sodom. The Lord, talking to himself and in an anthropomorphic role (giving God a human figure,) wants to check out what is going on with these naughty kids. Abraham was quite a talker and continued with his questions. He realized that he was asking much of the Lord when he asked, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more.” In a series of questions from Abraham concerning the number of righteous men left and whether God would destroy the city, he was assured by God that “even for the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.” After the Lord finished speaking, Abraham returned home.

Submitted by Carolyn Nelson

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Altar Flowers October 2010

October 31
The Altar Flowers were given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Mary and Sam Hicks by The Hicks Family.
Flower designer: Keith Tulloch.

October 24
The altar flowers are given to the Glory of God and in thanksgiving of their 40th anniversary by Vicky and Ted Steinwender and in loving memory of Jane Gray K. Warner by Burrage and Mary Lou Warner.
Flower designers: Vicky Steinwender and Andrea Panelo

October 17
The Altar Flowers are given to the Glory of God in thanksgiving of their 37th anniversary, Roy and Jeannie Chapman.
Flower designers: Elizabeth Walters-Alison and Susan Lahey

October 10
The Altar Flowers are given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Edward Charles Sarkisian by Dr. Haig and Louise Yardumian.
Flower Designers: Louise Yardumian, Ellie Frazier and Susan Lahey.

October 3
The Altar Flowers are given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Delores Day by Her family.
Flower Designers: Deenie Miller and Cynthia Fleece.



The Flower Guild creates beautiful floral arrangements for weekly worship, Easter and Christmas holidays, special events, as well as, flower arrangements for the ill or the home bound.

If you would like to see how much fun and enjoyment we have, just come and work with us for a day or two, no obligation. I bet you'll love this as much as we do!!!

The seasons of the Church calendar provide wonderful opportunities for the experienced and the novice alike. Each member has an opportunity once every five or six weeks. On Saturday mornings, members work along side one or two newer members to design and create lovely floral arrangements. This enables newer members to learn how to choose flowers from the Wholesale Florist, condition flowers and create their own arrangements.

The Flower Guild consists of the following group of parishioners who give of their time and talent to the Glory of God each and every week here at St. Thomas Episcopal Church. Active members of the Flower Guild include: Elizabeth Walters-Alison, Caron Burgess, Mary Jane Cartier, Fran Cobb, Teri Andres Coryell, Alexis Crawford, Barby Field, Cynthia Fleece, Joanne Fleece, Ellie Frazier, Jean Halbert, Carolyn Heyboer, Pam Holley, Susan Lahey, Marilyn Lanctot, Jane Anne Lees, Anne Long, Betty Jean Miller, Bobbi O'Malley, Julie Songster, Linda Sordan, Vicky Steinwender, Keith Tulloch, Joanne Turrell, Louise Yardumian and Mary Lou Young. Additionally, Jerry and Rosalie Lawson participate on Feast Days and special occasions.

Contact Elizabeth Walters-Alison either directly at ewalters@tampabay.rr.com or through the Church office.

Photos and text submitted by Elizabeth Walters-Alison

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

From the men's bible study, Nov.3

Daniel 7: 1-3, 15-18; Ephesians 1: 11-23; Luke 6: 20-31

Who was Daniel? Not the fellow in the Lion’s den, but a Jewish writer who was exiled in Babylon. He was present in the court of King Nebuchadnezzar and experienced the invasion Babylon by Cyrus the great Persian conqueror. Following the Persian invasion, many of the Jewish captives returned to Israel. Some scholars date the writing from, 176 to 164 BC, after the return from exile.

Daniel had a dream (Nightmare) in this passage. It included wild monsters that are beyond the realm of reality [note the reading skips from verse 3 to verse 15, the gory details are left out]. Much to say about the geopolitics: The beasts are symbols for the kings and kingdoms of the time: Babylonia, Median, Persia, Rome, and Greece. The biggest villain in the story is a Greek (Antiochus Epiphanes) who is very nasty to the Jews- Abominations and desolation.

Our discussions raised the question: So what has this scripture to do with celebrating all of the Saints we love and cherish? In some sense, it can be useful to think that kingdoms and leaders come and go. In their time, they are powerful and often ruthless. But the Kingdom of God is far more lasting and a source of good that endures for all time. The Saints are people that help to show and keep us on the right path. The central truth in Daniel’s writings is in the divine kingdom which surpasses all human empires.

Luke has some great pointers on how to be a good Christian- moving ever more closely to the Saints. The Beatitudes are by William Barkley’s commentary revolutionary and powerful statements about relationships. From the bearing of hardships and treating your neighbors as you would like to be treated, great Christian Fundamentals that we often fail to live up to. We found some challenges in the statement that we “should give to everyone who begs from you”. What should we give? Perhaps that is more important- You may think of it in context of giving what is best for the situation. Perhaps advice or counsel is a better gift than money. An example is that if you give a person a fish it might feed them for a day; however, if you train a person how to fish, that may feed them for a lifetime.
Submitted by Walt Jaap

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

First Friday Shuffleboard, Nov. 5

Friday, October 1st was our first, "First Friday Shuffleboard" event! St Thomas parishioners of all ages turned out to enjoy a beautiful fall evening filled with fellowship and fun.

If you have not been to the St Petersburg Shuffleboard Club then we highly recommend you join us for a future first Friday. The club dates back to the 1920s and you can feel the rich history on the courts and through the walls of the clubhouse. The view from the courts is gorgeous and the atmosphere is always positive and filled with laughter.

Here are the details:
All Parish Shuffleboard Fridays! Every first Friday of the month from 5:30 to 8:30pm at the St Petersburg Shuffleboard Club. The address is 559 Mirror Lake Drive – Downtown St Pete, across from Mirror Lake on the North side. Everyone is welcome! Bring friends! Bring family! Bring your own food and drinks (but no glass please). It is super fun and a great way to build deeper relationships with other parish members and youth. The next event is November 5th and we look forward to seeing you there!

Submitted by Tammy Zybura