Friday, December 30, 2011

New Service Times

  Here Ye!!
  Here Ye!!

Sunday, January 1st
Services at St. Thomas begin at
8 a.m. Sanctuary
10 a.m. Sanctuary
10 a.m. Harmony

Come one, Come All!!
Posted by PH

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Weekly Events at St. Thomas

Hello Everyone,


Here’s your weekly reminder of all the programs, services and events at St. Thomas during the next several days. Please take particular notice of all events in red.

NEW SERVICE TIMES BEGIN

Beginning Sunday, January 1st, St. Thomas will return to the 10 a.m.

service times for the Traditional Sanctuary and Harmony services.

All Sunday service times are:

8 a.m. Traditional in the Sanctuary
10 a.m. Traditional in the Sanctuary
10 a.m. Harmony in the Parish Hall
6 p.m. in the Chapel

Tuesday, December 27th

Centering Prayer meets tonight at 6—6:45 p.m. Come to the Sanctuary at 6 p.m. to experience the “peace that surpasses all understanding” through the silence of Centering Prayer.


Wednesday, December 28th

Men’s Bible Study is at 7 a.m. in the Guild Room.

Holy Eucharist with Healing is at 12 noon in the Chapel.

Supper, Song & Prayer is in the Parish Hall beginning at 6 p.m. Everyone is welcome! Join us as we sing of Christmas Carols as the Twelve Days of Christmas continues.

Godly Play is at 6:30 p.m. in the Library. Godly Play is for Pre-K thru 5th grade children. We will continue to explore the story of Advent.

Youth Group meets at 6:30 p.m. in the Youth Room.


Thursday, December 29th

Women of the Word is at 9 a.m. in the Guild Room.

Friday, December 30th

Holy Folders meet at 10 a.m. in the Founders’ Room.

AA Meeting is at 10 a.m. in the Guild Room.


Saturday, New Year’s Eve December 31st

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Sunday, January 1st

Sunday Services are at 8 a.m. Traditional in the Sanctuary, 10 a.m. Harmony in the Parish Hall, 10 a.m. Traditional in the Sanctuary and 6 p.m. in the Chapel.

Youth Group will meet at 9—10 a.m. in the Youth Room. Come and be a part of this great group!
Sunday School is at 9:50 a.m. in the Canterbury Library.
Nursery hours are 9:50 a.m. in the Nursery.
Children’s Chapel hours are 9:50 a.m. in the Nursery, coordinating with each service. Children will return to the service a the Offertory time.

Offering Envelopes are in the back of the church.



Monday, January 2nd

Church Office Closed.

Yoga is at 6:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall.

See you at many—or all—of these events.

Blessings,
Pam Holley
Parish Secretary

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Men’s Bible Study- 4th week of Advent

Second Book of Samuel 7: 1-11, 16 
Samuel was a Prophet in the time of King Saul and David. Samuel is said to be written or compiled by the J writer in around 10th century BC and by the E writer in the eighth century BC. 

His mom was Hannah, she prayed long and hard for a son; so when Samuel was a few years old she dedicated him to God and handed him over to Eli a senior Levite priest.   Samuel is given the honor of being the first Acolyte.  He was serving Eli as his companion and helper.  In due time God called Samuel, and we have the story of Samuel waking Eli in the night several times and Eli told Samuel it was God calling him.   Samuel’s other claim to fame was the anointing of David (Jesse’s youngest son) as King.  Some difficulties arose because King Saul was very angry and attempted to slay David.  Samuel protected David and it came to pass David became the King. 

This reading, 7: 1-11, 16, is a Covenant story; a revival of the deal between Abraham & God is played out.   The dialog between King David and the prophet Nathan has to do with David’s grandiose plans to build a magnificent temple to house the Arc of the Covenant (GOD).  God forcefully tells David (through Nathen), not for me to build a magnificent house!  I did not ask for this, I do not want this; God wants an intimate personal relationship.  God lives in the heart, the mind, and soul not isolated in magnificent temples.  God gives out a litany of all the acts that were accomplished to preserve the people of Israel.  In closing, he tells King David:  “Your house and your Kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever” (the Covenant restated). In the context of Advent, the story is a good reminder that the real deal is the Covenant of Love in the heart- be prepared in the right way; don’t get lost in the wilderness of building magnificent stuff.      


The Roman Letter is considered by biblical scholars to be the exposition of Paul’s theology, independent of local issues and problems.  It is the last of his many letters and constitutes a summary of Paul’s faith and teachings.   In his grand design, Paul’s aspiration was to spread the Good News in Christ to all; he envisioned his next road trip would be to Spain.  However, Paul was arrested before he got on the road again.  Chapter 16 is the last chapter of this Letter, it includes greetings to fellow followers and an introduction to one of these followers named Phoebe.    

Paul preaches three elements in 16: 25-27:  Standing firm against adversity, you are called to spread the word of Christ to others, and the coming of Christ fundamentally changed the game completely.  Additionally the Gospel of Christ is for everyone, not just one group of people-  Preach the word to all the nations is one of features that is fundamentally different from the earlier prophets.  In the end, Paul concludes that the faith is set in acts of Love of God and fellow man.    



We can easily see that Advent is nearly done and Christmas is not far away by this Gospel that is often referred to as the annunciation-  The Angel Gabriel comes down to a small unimportant village to tell a teen age girl that she is to give birth to GOD’S son, Jesus. WOW!    

Only the Gospels of Luke and Matthew detail the Nativity.  Luke wrote his Gospel around 62 AD for a wealthy patron Theophilus, but targeted a greater audience, the Roman Empire. His Gospel was written in sophisticated Greek.  When Luke was a young guy he hung out with the disciples, his mother was one of the early followers of Jesus.  His story of the nativity is from Mary’s point of view.  It is widely held that Luke and Mary conversed, so the information is first-hand, not passed down folk traditions.  This story is amazing in context of that time.  In those days, a betrothed person was in that status for a year, the aspect of a pregnancy could result in severe penalties and becoming a social outcast in her family and village.  Mary as one imagines was very disturbed by Gabriel’s announcement.  The game was on, Mary accepted the word, and then Gabriel goes on to say that this Jesus will get the throne of David- implications of the Messiah and rule the house of Jacob forever (tying the future to the past).   Gabriel tells Mary that her close relative, Elizabeth at advanced aged is pregnant with a son (John the Baptizer).  “Nothing is impossible with GOD.”  Mary exclaims, “Here I am, the servant of the LORD; let it be according to your word.”  The Magnificant, is a wonderful song Luke 46-49, a personal, expression of Mary’s praise to God and Thanksgiving for her being selected.

My soul doth magnify the Lord : and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.
For he hath regarded : the lowliness of his handmaiden.

For behold, from henceforth : all generations shall call me blessed.

For he that is mighty hath magnified me and holy is his Name.

And his mercy is on them that fear him throughout all generations.

He hath showed strength with his arm, he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble and meek. He hath filled the hungry with good things and the rich he hath sent empty away. He remembering his mercy hath helped his servant Israel as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed for ever. 

Tying this back to our Prophet Samuel, we have a similar expression of gratitude to God by Hannah (1000 years earlier) for her blessing of a son (First Book of Samuel 2nd Chapter: 1-10). 

Mary, as mother of Jesus, is the Mother of God (Μήτηρ Θεο) and the Theotokos, literally, Birthgiver of God.   In Islam Mary is regarded as the virgin mother of the prophet Jesus. She is described in the Qur'an, in the Sura as Maryam (Arabic: سورة مريم‎).

Get on board:  the Lord is coming soon!   Thanks be to GOD

Submitted by Walt Jaap

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Two Babies

Sermon Notes

Father John started his sermon relaying a story from the former Soviet Union in 1994…they were trying to re-connect with world morals and ethics and as part of the effort were hosting a tour of American Christians. The Americans visited a large orphanage and shared the story of Jesus’ birth with the children. To help the kids learn the lessons of the Nativity, they had each of the children build a paper manger and then discuss what they built. When they came to a Misha, a six-year old, he shared his manger and relayed the story exactly as he had been taught, but then the teacher noted that there were two babies in the manger and asked Misha who the other baby was:


“When Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I don't have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. But I told him I couldn't, because I didn't have a gift to give him like everybody else did.

"But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept him warm, that would be a good gift. So I asked Jesus, "If I keep you warm, will that be a good enough gift?" And Jesus told me, "If you keep me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave me." "So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and he told me I could stay with him---for always."
Father John pointed out that today we all celebrate Christmas, but unlike Misha, we can’t seem to get it right. He noted that in John’s Gospel that John the apostle only refers to John the Baptist as just “John.” He does not address Jesus’ baptism and only focuses on his role as a witness…this is our job too. No matter what we are doing, we should be witnesses…so why aren’t we?

God just isn’t on most of our radars. For many of us, God = Amazon.com. Also, we are consumed with our busyness. Father John noted that Americans are so busy, on average, we give up two days of vacation a year…we seem to think that our jobs can’t live without us. Our busyness keeps us from seeing what we should see. God wants us to be happy, so why aren’t we?

It is because our focus is on our things and distracted by our busy lives. Fr. John said we can realize God’s wish for us by changing our focus and making our whole lives prayers. This should be the season for preparing ourselves and finding the manger. We must want to be like Misha and seek to be with the Baby...if we can make Him our focus, he will be with us “for always.”

posted by m white

Women of the Word

Exodus 16:26 - 19




And so our band of unhappy Israelites continues, living on the Manna that the Lord has provided for them. On the seventh day of this diet, the people went out to gather more manna and found none. The Lord reminds them to follow His instructions and rest on the Sabbath, which this is. He had given them enough food for two days to tide them over. Well, they must have forgotten about this, so they went back to the encampment and rested.

Now manna , we are told, is like coriander seed, white, and made in wafers that taste like honey. It had never been encountered before, and the Lord told Moses who told Aaron to keep an omer of it so that coming generations might see the food that He has provided in the wilderness. In case you are wondering, an omer is a tenth of an ephah.

The group next camped at Rephidem, where with great quarreling and complaining, they discovered there was no water. Forgeting all that God has provided thus far, they immediately abandon all hope and decide once again, that Moses has brought them out here to die. A distraught Moses, fearing for his very life, cried out to the Lord, asking Him what to do. Moses is instructed to take some of the elders with him and, with the staff he used to strike the Nile, strike the rock at Horeb. Sure enough, water flowed from the rock. Moses called the place Masseh (test) and Meribah (quarrel) because the Israelites tested the Lord and quarrelled here.

Note here the frequent appearance of the staff. It is a sacred object, and its significance is tied into the bishop's crosier today.

Now for a complete non sequitur, Amilek appeared out of the nowhere and fought with Israel. Moses instructed Joshua, also making his debut on the scene, to choose some men and go fight Amalek. Joshua did as told, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill where Moses directed the fight. It was an all day event, and Moses grew so weary that Aaron and Hur brought him a stone to sit on and helped him raise his hands to direct the fight..

Now here is a curious thing: whenever Moses raised his hand, Israel prevailed.When he lowered it, Amalek prevailed. Why didn't he just keep his hand up and be done with the fight?

Then the Lord told Moses He would blot out the rememberance of Amalek from under heaven. Moses built an altar as a tribute to his faith in the Lord.

Next, Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, a priest from Midian, appears on the scene, having heard all that God has done for Moses and his people. We learn that Moses had sent away his wife, Zipporah with their two sons. Not nice, after all she'd done for him, saving his life and all. Anyway, Jethro apparently bore no umbrage at this, took them in, and brought them along with him. Moses greets his father-in-law warmly, but gives not so mucha as a "Hi!" to his wife and sons. He takes Jethro into his tent to they can catch up on the news. Jethro realizes from Moses' accountings that the the Lord is indeed the God above all gods and Aaron came with all the leaders of Israel to eat bread with Jethro in the presence of God.

The next day, Jethro noticed that Moses held court all day long, listening to the grievances and issues of his people. Jethro said "This is nonsense. You're running yourself ragged. You need help." So he instructed Moses to set up a sort of court system like we have today, with Moses hearing only the major cases and other wise men hearing lesser problems. And so it was.

The message of Exodus we are to perceive, is that God is creating from this ragtag people a whole new nation. They must endure trials to develop faith, to lose old perceptions and habits, and to do this they must face endless travail through the wilderness, trusting in God to pull them through. God goes from a creator God to a"hands on" God: "You will be my people and I will be you God if you keep my laws."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Weekly Events

Hello Everyone,


Here’s your weekly reminder of all the programs, services and events at St. Thomas during the next several days. Please take particular notice of all events in red.

YOUTH CHRISTMAS PARTY

Friday, December 16th
at
6 p.m. in the Parish Hall



CHRISTMAS SERVICE SCHEDULE

Saturday, December 24th

4 p.m. Full Choral Eucharist in the Sanctuary
5:30 p.m. Harmony
10 p.m. Full Choral Eucharist in the Sanctuary

Sunday, December 25th
 
12 Noon Eucharist with Hymns in the Sanctuary

Tuesday, December 13th

Centering Prayer meets tonight at 6—6:45 p.m. Come to the Sanctuary at 6 p.m. to experience the “peace that surpasses all understanding” through the silence of Centering Prayer.


Wednesday, December 14th


Men’s Bible Study is at 7 a.m. in the Guild Room.

Prayer Line Meeting is at 11 a.m. in the Founders’ Room.

Holy Eucharist with Healing is at 12 noon in the Chapel.

Supper, Song & Prayer is in the Parish Hall beginning at 6 p.m. Everyone is welcome! Duane Kaufhold will be our speaker. Please support Duane with your prayers and presence.

Godly Play is at 6:30 p.m. in the Library. Godly Play is for Pre-K thru 5th grade children. We will continue to explore the story of Advent.

Youth Group meets at 6:30 p.m. in the Youth Room.

Hand Bell Rehearsal is at 7:30 p.m. in the Guild Room.


Thursday, December 15th


Women of the Word is at 9 a.m. in the Guild Room.

Holy Folders meet at 12:45 p.m. in the Founders’ Room.


Friday, December 16th

Stretching & Toning is at 8:30 a.m. in the Guild Room.

Flower Guild decorating is at 9 a.m. in the Flower Guild Room.

AA Meeting is at 10 a.m. in the Guild Room.

Youth Christmas Party is at 6 p.m. in the Parish Hall.


Saturday, December 17th


The Fourth Sunday of Advent December 18th

Sunday Services are at 8 a.m. Traditional in the Sanctuary, 9:15 a.m. Harmony in the Parish Hall, 10:30 a.m. Traditional in the Sanctuary and 6 p.m. in the Chapel.

Sunday School is at 9 a.m. in the Canterbury Library.

Nursery hours are 9 a.m.—11:30 a.m in the Nursery.

Chancel Choir Rehearsal is at 9 a.m. in the Choir Room.

Children’s Chapel hours are 9:15 a.m.—10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.—11:15 a.m. in the Nursery, coordinating with each service. Children will return to the service a the Offertory time.

Offering Envelopes will be in the back of the church.


Monday, December 19th

Stretching & Toning is at 8:30 a.m. in the Guild Room.

Yoga is at 6:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall.


See you at many—or all—of these events.


Blessings,
Pam Holley
Parish Secretary















Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Weekly Events

Hello Everyone,


Here’s your weekly reminder of all the programs, services and events at St. Thomas during the next several days. Please take particular notice of all events in red.

Cookies and Caroling

Join us for a fun filled afternoon. Please bring one dozen of your

Favorite Christmas Cookies. We’ll Carol for some Old Fashion

Christmas Cheer for those who might not be home for the Holidays.

Shore Acres Nursing Home

Sunday, December 11th, 10:30—11:30 a.m.

Following the Harmony Service

Meet outside the Parish Hall



CHRISTMAS SERVICE SCHEDULE

Saturday, December 24th

4 p.m. Full Choral Eucharist in the Sanctuary

5:30 p.m. Harmony

10 p.m. Full Choral Eucharist in the Sanctuary

Sunday, December 25th

12 Noon Eucharist with Hymns

in the Sanctuary


Tuesday, December 6th

Centering Prayer meets tonight at 6—6:45 p.m. Come to the Library at 6 p.m. to experience the “peace that surpasses all understanding” through the silence of Centering Prayer.


Wednesday, December 7th

Men’s Bible Study is at 7 a.m. in the Guild Room.

Holy Eucharist with Healing is at 12 noon in the Chapel.

Supper, Song & Prayer is in the Parish Hall beginning at 6 p.m. Everyone is welcome! Duane Kaufhold will be our speaker. Please support Duane with your prayers and presence.

Godly Play is at 6:30 p.m. in the Library. Godly Play is for Pre-K thru 5th grade children. We will continue to explore the story of Advent.

Youth Group meets at 6:30 p.m. in the Youth Room.

Hand Bell Rehearsal is at 7:30 p.m. in the Guild Room.


Thursday, December 8th

Women of the Word is at 9 a.m. in the Guild Room.


Friday, December 9th

Stretching & Toning is at 8:30 a.m. in the Guild Room.

Holy Folders meet at 10 a.m. in the Founders’ Room.

AA Meeting is at 10 a.m. in the Guild Room.


Saturday, December 10th

The Third Sunday of Advent December 11th

Sunday Services are at 8 a.m. Traditional in the Sanctuary, 9:15 a.m. Harmony in the Parish Hall, 10:30 a.m. Traditional in the Sanctuary and 6 p.m. in the Chapel.

Sunday School is at 9 a.m. in the Canterbury Library.

Cookies and Caroling is at 10:30—11:30 a.m. Meet outside Parish Hall.

Nursery hours are 9 a.m.—11:30 a.m in the Nursery.

Children’s Chapel hours are 9:15 a.m.—10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.—11:15 a.m. in the Nursery, coordinating with each service. Children will return to the service a the Offertory time.

Offering Envelopes will be in the back of the church.


Monday, December 12th

Stretching & Toning is at 8:30 a.m. in the Guild Room.

Yoga is at 6:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall.


See you at many—or all—of these events.


Blessings,
Pam Holley
Parish Secretary

Monday, December 5, 2011

Women of the Word


Exodus 15:22 – 16:26

             Having successfully escaped from the Egyptian army, Moses and the Israelites start their journey to the land that God has promised them.  So far, in this story, four things have happened to the Hebrews:

1.      Deliverance from slavery and exile

2.      Grace – their redemption is out of God’s pure grace

3.      Claim – God claims them for His own

4.      Law – a “precept and rule of life.”  This fourth item is a later, but important, insertion mirroring part of the ten commandments: “obey the Lord your God . . . listen to his commands and keep all his statutes.” (15:26)

The journey throughout Exodus is going to be one of ongoing testing and teaching.  The testing starts immediately when the Israelites, after traveling for three days without fresh water arrive at Marah, a way station in the wilderness, and find the water too bitter to drink.  They cry to Moses; he cries to the Lord; the Lord shows Moses a way to sweeten the water, and the first crisis is solved.  Temporarily satisfied, they arrive at Elim, described poetically as a place of 12 springs and 70 palm trees (12 being a magic number and 70 a multiple of the number of completeness).

            Alas, the Israelites’ serendipity is short-lived.  After leaving Elim, they find themselves deep in the wilderness of Sin (Syn) with their rations depleted.  They complain to Moses and Aaron (who is brought back into the story by the P writer) that it would have been better to have died in Egypt where, at least, they had “fleshpots and plenty of bread to eat!  But you have brought us out into this wilderness to . . . starve to death.” (16:4) 

            Moses tells Aaron to gather the whole community, saying, “Come into the presence of the Lord, for he has heeded your complaints.”  While Aaron is speaking, the Lord appears before the assembly in a cloud (throughout Exodus, God will appear to the Hebrew people as a form of light, either a cloud or a pillar of fire).  Moses tells the Israelites that God will send them quail (flesh) in the evening and manna (bread) in the morning.  Everyone is to gather a specified amount and only enough to feed each household for one day.  Moses warns them not to hoard any of the food overnight (some do not heed him and find their leftovers inedible and crawling with vermin).  On the sixth day, each person is suddenly able to gather twice as much food as previously.  Moses explains that the Lord has decreed the seventh day as a day of rest, “a sabbath holy to the Lord.”  On that night, the leftover food remains fresh and edible, and, also, there is no food for them to gather outside the next morning.  Moses tells them: “For six days you may gather it, but on the seventh day, the sabbath, there will be none.” (16:26)  [This is the first time the word “Sabbath” is used in the Bible; like the manna, the Sabbath is a gift.]

            Several themes will run throughout the Israelites’ wanderings in the wilderness:

1.      Grumbling:  they whine a lot

2.      Danger: they face threats from outsiders

3.      Self-government:  they make some tentative starts in this direction

Interspersed with the Exodus story is our own story of how do we as humans live to be worthy of being called God’s people.  Today we live in what Dietrich Bonhoeffer calls a world of “cheap grace.”  The popularity of reality television reflects this outlook: rather than work together in community toward a common goal for a higher good, each participant tries to seize the prize for him (her)self with complete disregard for anyone else involved.  Ultimately, the winner is feted, and, theoretically, all is forgiven. 

A second discussion involved the theme of the journey.  The early Celtic churches in England and Ireland (established long before the Roman Catholic missionaries landed) loved to go on pilgrimages.  Their mode of sea transport was most likely a small hide-covered boat, described by Herodotus as “round like a shield,” called a coracle.  Not efficient for long-distance travel, it suited the philosophy of the pilgrims who felt that the point of the pilgrimage was the journey not the destination.

A final thought, returning to Exodus and the journey in the wilderness, is that all of the world’s major monotheistic religions were forged in the desert.



Submitted by Karilyn Jaap