Saturday, January 29, 2011

Wednesday night talks by members of our youth group

This coming Wednesday Tomm Patterson, a member of our youth group will be the special guest speaker at Supper, Song and Prayer. 
Below are the texts from previous guest speakers Charlotte and Alice Leavengood:

Talk by Charlotte Leavengood
Sometimes, I lay in my room, thinking about when I die. It happens to everyone. We cannot stop it and we cannot avoid it. God has given us life to lead through sorrow, and happiness. Then we must and join him in the after life. I sometimes wonder, well what the after life is like. Are you sad to leave your loved ones; are you full of joy and happiness? I have questioned this time after time.
What is in the after life? How would you answer? We can never be sure. We can have hope and trust that there will be a good place, that God will reward the good, and punish the bad. My faith in God has led me through tough and scary times. He doesn’t always make everything better, but he tries his best. But, we cannot live our lives in fear, God would not want that. There are many dangerous and scary things in this world. We could go on for days with endless possibilities and events that could harm us, but God will protect us, as much as he can.
So we must walk on and enjoy both lives that we shall have. We will always have questions, and not answers. We must put our faith in God. I have put all my hope, faith, sorrow, fear, and love into God, and he has given back. We must enjoy every moment of this life, sit with our families at dinner, talk and listen to family and friends, and just enjoy life and live in this moment now. Whenever I become scared of dying or of my loved ones dying or of my second life with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, I say God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Thank You.
Charlotte Leavengod

Talk by Alice Leavengood

I’ve been at St. Thomas for over three years now and it has become a big part of my life. I remember when I was little we went to church every Sunday. Then for a little while there we didn’t make it as often, but then we came to St. Thomas and loved the atmosphere and people here. I have been a part of the youth group since sixth grade and had a total of three youth directors, and between all of them, Tammy’s my favorite by far.

The youth group and church have always been a part of my life especially lately. Though I was sad to see Sarah go it’s true that when God closes a door he opens a window. At Sarah’s going away party I realized what a huge crush I had on this boy in my youth group Michael Georgevich. Vise versa. And now he is an important part of my life. I mean I’m crazy about the guy and I thank God everyday for giving me Michael. 

I knew of course that they were going to need to get a new youth director, but I honestly didn’t know she would be this awesome. Tammy, you are kind, loving, and have a very sunshiny personality. You’re wise yet you can still have the fun-loving personality. Which is important if you’re a YOUTH director. The other day Tammy called me and I think I might have come off a little weirded out. But I wasn’t, well, I was. But not by that. You see, two summers ago my mom’s best friend had died unexpectedly. And her name was Tammy. She would always call. We have the same phones we did then so you can imagine my shock when I looked down and saw “call from Tammy” like I had so many times before. For a split second I had this twilight zone/dejavu experience where I thought I was getting a call from the dead and realized that it was the living and lovely Tammy we have here. But the funny thing is, Tammy reminds me of this Tammy. Both sweet, funny, and understanding. Both have this sort of nurturing quality. So all I have to say is I’m glad to have another Tammy in my life, I think everyone should have a “Tammy” person of some sorts. Thank you.
Alice Leavengood

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

From the men's bible study, Jan. 26

Micah 6:1-8

Micah was roughly contemporary with Isaiah. He was a fearless champion of the oppressed and under-privileged. Israel is on trial for contravening the Sinai covenant; the witnesses are the whole cosmos: the “mountains ... hills” and “foundations of the earth” (v. 2). (The earth was thought to stand on pillars.) God speaks in vv. 3-5: what more could I have done? I cared for you and protected you. I delivered you from slavery in “Egypt” (v. 4); I gave you great leaders. Recall how when, during the Exodus, after you defeated the Amorites, I stymied Balak’s (v. 5) devious scheme: he hired the prophet “Balaam” to curse you, but he blessed Israel! I gave you safe passage across the Jordan. (“Shittim” was Israel's last camping place before crossing and “Gilgal” the first on the west bank of the river.) I saved then, and I will do so again.

In v. 6, Israel, the defendant, pleads her case: God, what can we do to make amends for our infidelity? Will you be pleased with sacrifices, especially “burnt offerings” of “calves? Would repeated offerings of rams and of oil satisfy you? Should we sacrifice our eldest sons? Perhaps Micah speaks in v. 8: no, God requires internal conversion and a proper spiritual attitude. He has told you what he expects: to be godly, (“to do justice ... to love kindness”), to hold him in proper respect and to walk in his ways.

1 Corinthians 1:18-31
The “message” of Christ crucified, risen and alive is God’s power to us, but to those who hear the good news and reject “the cross” it is nonsense. This, Paul says, God prophesied through Isaiah (v. 19). He has decried divisions in the church at Corinth; he now recognizes two groups of humans: the “wise” (v. 19) and “those who believe” (v. 21). Are, he asks rhetorically, the Jewish “scribe” (v. 20) and the rationalist (“debater”) – both possessors of worldly wisdom – truly wise? Through the coming of Christ, God has shown worldly wisdom to be folly, for (v. 21) one can’t “know God through wisdom”, i.e. in a philosophical way. Knowing God is experiential. In fact, God chose to save believers through the apparent folly of what Paul preaches (“our proclamation”). To “demand signs” (miracles, v. 22) is to refuse to trust in God; “Jews” refused Christ due to their particular expectations in a messiah. To “desire wisdom” is to construct a religion whose demands one is prepared to accept. (The “Greeks” in v. 22 are unbelieving non-Jews.) God’s ways are not human ways (v. 25).

Consider yourselves, Christians at Corinth (v. 26): few of you are what the world would have chosen: few are worldly wise, “powerful” or aristocratic. But God’s way is to choose those of apparently little account (“foolish”, “weak”, v. 27) to show the apparently important that they are wrong, to “shame” them. This is God’s paradoxical way (v. 28); he does away with boasting. Christ’s living in human form started a new way of being human (v. 30): we are set apart for his purposes (“sanctification”) and no longer controlled by evil (“redemption”) so that we become one with God (“righteousness”) – so that we can (as God commanded through Jeremiah) “boast in the Lord” (v. 31). Christ is true wisdom.

Matthew 5:1-12
Jesus ascends a mountain in Galilee where he speaks to his “disciples”, his followers, in the Sermon on the Mount – but the “crowds” hear too. He speaks of the new era he has come to initiate. Vv. 3-12 are known as the Beatitudes, from the Latin for blessed. To be “blessed” is to be happy. All the qualities are expected of the faithful, for the consequence is the same: they will enjoy God’s end-time rule. In fact, the Kingdom has already begun, but it not yet completed. They will attain (and are attaining) eternal life.

The “poor in spirit” (v. 3) are probably detached from wealth and dependant on God alone. Those who “mourn” (v. 4) the reign of evil forces on earth will be “comforted” and strengthened in the Kingdom. The “meek” (v. 5), people who do not press for personal advantage, will share in God’s rule. Those who “hunger” (v. 6, who ardently pursue God’s will and purpose for his people), and do so single-mindedly and sincerely, “the pure in heart” (v. 8), will come to know God intimately (“see God”). The “merciful” (v. 7) are those who pardon and love others (especially the poor). The “peacemakers” (v. 9), those who seek the total state of well-being God provides through Christ, “will be called children of God”, for they share in God’s work. Finally vv. 10-12: those spreading the good news, striving to reconcile the world to God, will be persecuted because of the message they carry. They too should “rejoice and be glad” for God will reward them.
Submitted by Dick Nelson

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Youth celebrated Tammy's birthday :)

Happy Birthday Tammy!  We love you more than words can say!!!
The Youth of St Thomas'

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Outreach Opportunity

Neighborly Senior Services- Meals on Wheels (MOW)

Is seeking a few good folks to assist with delivering Meals on Wednesdays. The route is 7-02, I currently do this run on Thursdays with a team of people. At present, we deliver to 12 people in the Veridian Apartments and one individual on Roser Park Blvd. I depart the house at 10:30, and am back home between 11:30 & 11:45. It requires two people to do the job. Each client receives a hot and cold packaged meal. On some days, there is an additional special weekend lunch.
A good way to get this done is to consider a Saint Thomas Team that would cover Wednesdays. If you need more details or are interested, you should call the MOW coordinator at the Sun Shine Center, Ruthe Hargray 893-7136.
Submitted by Walter C. Jaap

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Men's bible study, Jan. 19

Third Sunday after Epiphany

Lessons: Isaiah 9:1-4, First Corinthians 1:10-18, Matthew 4:12-23

Father Suhar was away on a special mission to Cozumel.
“He will make glorious the day of the sea”, perhaps a reference that Father John is having a great voyage.

Isaiah is discussing the awful things that occurred in the region of Galilee—the land of the tribes of Naphtali, Asher, and Zebulon. In the Eighth Century (BCE) the Assyrians invaded and shipped the most prosperous and skilled population off to Babylon and pillaged the cities and towns. During the exile, Galilee was a mixed population of Jews and Gentiles. Isaiah is encouraging the returning exiles with phrases such as, “you have increased its joy, those who have lived in deep darkness—on them a light has shined.” We will find reference to these prophetic words of comfort in the Gospel lesson. The last phrase from the OT, “ you have broken as on the day of Midian.” Isaiah is referring to an historical event: “Gideon taking a mere 300 men from the 32,000 available of the host of the children of Israel surrounded the Midianites at night. They showed their lanterns and blew their horns, this caused such great confusion among the multitudinous Midianites that they began slaying one another” ( What historical events provide us with encouragement and faith?

The gospel has multiple subjects: Jesus leaves his home in Nazareth and moves to Capernaum in Galilee when he learns that John the Baptist was arrested by Herod because he spoke out about some evil doings (Herod had taken his brothers wife for himself). In the next few verses, Matthew brings us back to Isaiah’s prophesy “people that were in darkness and the shadow of death the light has dawned”- Jesus has arrived in Galilee. To the people in Galilee Jesus had a message of redemption (to turn away) he also healed and preached in Synagogues around the Sea of Galilee.

The Fishers of men story is also included in this passage. An amazing story about Jesus calling Andrew, Peter, James, and John + the owner of the fishing consortium, Zebedee. They are persuaded to drop their nets and follow Jesus and catch men. Four fishermen become the great apostles and in time, spread the good news from Spain to Turkey. One wonders what about Zebedee? Why was he reluctant? Was his investment and ties to his processions and business the issue? Did he think long and hard and come away with, not for me, perhaps later? My sons are dreamers; they will find out soon enough and return? Perhaps, Zebedee needed more time; did he have the courage to make the move?
Submitted by Walt Jaap

Thursday, January 13, 2011

From the men's bible study, Jan. 12

Isaiah 49:1-7

This is the second Servant Song. The servant speaks to Israelites scattered around the Mediterranean (“coastlands”); he identifies himself as chosen before he was born (like Jeremiah, Paul and John the Baptist) and even named (like Jesus). Further, God made him an effective instrument in proclaiming his message (“sharp sword”, v. 2). Perhaps God hid him for protection or in preparation for his mission. V. 3 may tell us who the servant is: “Israel”, the community of the faithful, led by the prophet. They will show God’s power to others (“glorified”). But the servant retorts (v. 4): despite all our/my efforts, no one listens! Surely I minister on God’s behalf and God will “reward” me for it (even if people don’t). The servant’s “strength” (v. 5) is from God; he is to turn “Jacob” (Israel) back to God. God (not the prophet) will gather “Israel” to him. But his mission is to all peoples, not only wayward Israelites and the faithful (“survivors”, v. 6). God continues to speak to the servant, “one deeply despised” (v. 7), hated by many and “the slave of rulers”: God’s fidelity is his surety that all, even rulers, will hold him in awe.

1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Paul is an “apostle”, one sent out by Christ to perform a special mission. The church at Corinth is made up of ordinary people “called to be saints” (v. 2), set apart for God’s work in the world, “sanctified” in baptism. Perhaps Paul reminds them that there are Christians elsewhere too. V. 3 is his greeting: he wishes them “grace” (God’s freely given gift of love) and “peace”: both come from the Father (as source) and the Son (as means or agent). In later chapters, Paul cautions his readers against misuse of spiritual gifts (v. 7), so in v. 5 he may be damning them with faint praise. He praises their eloquence (“speech”) and understanding (“knowledge”) but not (as in other letters) their faith, hope and love for each other and for Christ. In v. 6, “testimony” is bearing witness: God has strengthened them through their telling of the good news. They are indeed richly blessed (v. 7). God will help them prepare for that day, so that they may be among those judged worthy of eternal life (“blameless”, v. 8). “God is faithful” (v. 9): he will not abandon what he has begun. He has called them into “fellowship”, union with other believers which is union with Christ

John 1:29-42
John the Baptist has denied that he is any of the figures expected by Jews to inaugurate a new era: he is neither the Messiah, Elijah, nor the prophet like Moses; rather he prepares people for the coming of the Lord. He has also told some religious authorities that one is already among them who is far more worthy than he.
“The next day” John acclaims Jesus as “Lamb of God”. He is probably thinking of the fourth Servant Song: there the servant is “like a lamb that is led to the slaughter”. John recognizes that Jesus outranks him (“ranks ahead”, v. 30) and “was” (existed) before him. In vv. 31-33 he recalls his experience of Jesus’ baptism, and justifies what he has proclaimed. He says: I didn’t recognize him as Messiah (“know him”), but I now realize that I baptised with water in order that Jesus might be shown to Jews. The coming of the Spirit showed me that Jesus is the one chosen by God. I am convinced that he is, and I have told others (v. 34). In vv. 35-42, two of John’s disciples begin to follow Jesus. First, they are curious about Jesus when John tells them who he is. They follow him, recognizing that he is an authority (“Teacher”, v. 38). Jesus invites them to “Come and see” (v. 39), to investigate what he teaches. “Staying” and “remained” are technical terms in this gospel: the two begin to understand the way of life Jesus offers and expects. V. 40 tells us that one of the two is “Andrew”; the other is unnamed. Andrew tells “Simon” (v. 41) the good news and introduces him to Jesus, who prophesies that Simon will be nicknamed “Cephas” (v. 42), the Aramaic word for rock. Petros, the Greek word for “Peter”, also means rock.
Submitted by Dick Nelson

Friday, January 7, 2011

Women of the Word, Jan. 6, 2011 and Dec. 16, 2010

Reviewing Genesis and its importance as the first book of the Bible, we know that Abram and Sarah were not only husband and wife but also brother and half-sister. In ancient times, it was very critical that the clan/tribe be kept intack and continued through the generations. Genesis is a mature volume of theology more than a history book. It was written by gathering ancestoral sources stories during the Babylonian captivity in the sixth century B.C. This book is an attempt to explain WHY the Jews were different.

God made the world good but "we got out of relationship" with God in the Garden of Eden; then Caine and Abel got out of relationship; then in the Noah story, Noah walked with God but no words of his were ever recorded in the Bible.
God then changes...There occurs the Scandal of Particularity when God will build his kingdom beginning with Abraham and everyone else will want to emulate Abraham. God chose a central "chosen people" who would grow spiritually to fulfill His purpose.
Genesis is therefore the story of a people's (the Israelites) encounter with God.

The Word is the means by which God makes himself known, declares His will and brings about His purposes. The word then became flesh in the New Testament (Jesus) and He dwelt among us.
God lives outside of time and space. Jesus was born and lived inside of time and space.
In the time of the early Babylonian captivity, God picked Abraham and made a promise to him. Abraham believed the promise.
As we read forward in Genesis, we learn that Abraham will go to astonishing ends to make sure His promise is fulfilled!
At the conclusion of class, Barbara passed around a book with a photograph of the burial site of Sarah in the Cave of Macahpehal of Hebron.

Next week's lecture: Chapter 24 in Genesis (Isaac and Rebekah).
Submitted by Vicky Steinwender

Dec. 16, 2010
Genesis 22 and 23
The Women of the Word are learning about the historical evolution of Christianity as told through the collection of ancient memories in the Bible. We are also learning aspects of those stories which we did not learn in Sunday school, some are startling, some are amusing and some are comforting. Each chapter sparks our own memories, some heart-wrenching, some reflective, but all allow us to share ourselves with each other in unique ways as we relate to the readings and understanding of the verses of Genesis. As we women learn together, laugh and cry together, we are creating our own memories and verses.

In Genesis 22, Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac on Mount Moriah in order to prove that he loved God more than his son. God, in his mercy, stopped the sacrifice and Isaac survived. His plan, that Abraham develop character after Abraham’s much less-than-moral behaviors, was successful. We also learned about the genealogy of clans and tribes, familial connections (with such names as Uz and Buz) which would be so important in forming alliances and land acquisitions. Those areas of importance were then carried over to the first Biblical mention of mourning, dealing with, and burying of the dead.

In Genesis 23 we learn of Sarah’s death at age 127, which is the creative assessment of a very long time by ancient memory story tellers. Not wanting to leave her body just anywhere (which is ironic since Abraham hid Sarah’s true relationship as his wife and offered her as chattel three times in order to save his own skin), Abraham, paid an outrageous (approximately 2100 BC at the time) sum of 400 shekels of silver (worth .5 ounce or 14.17 grams in whatever amount is stated in today’s silver market) to land owner Ephron for Sarah’s burial cave. Abraham finally showed Sarah the reverence and love she deserved. The Cave of Machpelah acquisition established land title, including every tree, for Abraham and his descendants which resulted in the establishment of a permanent family estate.

These two chapters of Genesis fostered discussions concerning man’s obedience to God, the centering of family connections, the establishment of possibly the first familial burial ground (which included the subject of St.Thomas' Columbarium), and Abraham’s final respect for Sarah.
We concluded our study with a prayer which Miriam Williams had shared with us a few months ago.
Submitted by Jill McGrath

Thursday, January 6, 2011

From the men's bible study, Jan. 5

Isaiah 42:1-9

{1] Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. {2} He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; {3} a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. {4} He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching. {5} Thus says God, the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: {6} I am the LORD, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, {7} to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. {8} I am the LORD, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to idols. {9} See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.

Acts 10:34-43
{34} Then Peter began to speak to them: "I truly understand that God shows no partiality, {35} but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. {36} You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. {37} That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: {38} how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. {39} We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; {40} but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, {41} not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. {42} He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. {43} All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."

Matthew 3:13-17
{13} Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. {14} John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" {15} But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. {16} And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. {17} And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased."

Analysis and Reflection
The contrast between the old and the new is a consistent feature of the New Testament. Everything before Jesus is "old;" he came the usher in the "new." This is expressed both by what Yahweh does—law in the past, love now—as well as how he does it—sending prophets in the past, the Son in the present. The notion is picked up in the Gospel; in the past Jesus would have baptized John, but now John, "to fulfill all righteousness" baptizes Jesus.

The Gospel reflects the celebration of Jesus’ baptism. The other lessons extend the point made by the Gospel, that Jesus is God’s Son. As God’s Son and therefore without need for repentance, he has identified himself with the needs of his sinful people by participating in John’s baptism for the forgiveness of sins. He has further identified himself with all who believe in him, even a Roman Centurion, who must as a part of his military service, honor gods and engage in acts that were repugnant to the God of Israel.

If we see ourselves as Gentiles, then we will know that God’s love and mercy is ours only by his gift, not by our deserving. If we think of ourselves as God’s chosen people today, then, too, we are God’s because he chose us. In either case, our lives will reflect who we are and whose we are.
Submitted by Dick Nelson

Monday, January 3, 2011

Yoga pose of the month

Mountain Pose/Tadasana


Improves posture.
Strengthens thighs, knees and ankles.
Firms abdomen and buttocks.
Reduces flat feet.
Gives one a sense of balance and poise.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me.
Our next classes are
Monday, 1/3, 6:30 pm, in the Parish Hall at St. Thomas Episcopal Church
Submitted by Teri Plumridge

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Altar Flowers December 2010

Christmas Flowers
Thank you to the flower guild for the magnificent flower arrangements!

December 19
The Altar Flowers are given to the Glory of God and in thanksgiving for the 40th anniversary of Dr. Haig and Louise Yardumian.

Flower designers: Louise Yardumian and Julie Songster


The Altar Flowers are given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of John and Eleanor Clark and Angela Clark by Rene Clark and Richard Davis.

Flower Arrangers: Pam Holley and Caron Burgess.


December 5
The Altar Flowers are given to the Glory of God and in thanksgiving for the birthday of Michael Rees by Martha Baker and In Memory of Robert M. Ellinwood by Gloria Ellinwood.

Flower designers: Elizabeth P. Walters-Alison and Vicky Steinwender.