News from Saint Thomas: week ending in January 26

Dear Friends,

The winter storms of last week brought very low temperatures, but our church was toasty warm! Many of you braved the cold and rain to get to church and celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, MLK Day, and to listen to Ben Sheen’s exceptional recital as part of the ‘Grand Organ Series.’ The gathering for the opening of ‘Portraits of Immigrants,’ our new art installation in Andrew Hall, was well attended. The exhibition prompted many parishioners to tell their own stories of coming to the USA, or their parents’ or grandparents’ stories; what rich histories we all share!

The funeral of John and Mary Alyce Merow was very poignant, and it was heartening to see former and current Vestry members and Church Wardens in procession. The two eulogies given by Bill Haas and H. Rodgin Cohen (of Sullivan & Cromwell) were fitting tributes to two quite amazing people. Please continue to hold Alison, her husband, and the grandchildren in your prayers.

A number of events are coming up. Burns Night now has 140 people attending; the Young Adults of the parish (18-30’s ministry) are having a party at the Rectory to celebrate Candlemas, and, so far, 50 people are attending; and registration opens for the annual Choirmasters’ Conference.

On February 3, we shall observe the beautiful Feast of Candlemas. At 11am, we will have the traditional ceremonies, including the blessing of candles, procession, and the singing of Simeon’s Song: the Nunc Dimittis. There will be even more joy as we will baptize Fr. Moretz and Megan’s baby, Samuel James. At 4pm, we will have the blessing of light before Evensong, and the service will be candlelit; our preacher will be the Rt. Rev. Allen Shin, Bishop Suffragan.

May the light of Christ warm your hearts! Father Carl Turner

Strategic Planning Parish Gatherings

We are at the midpoint of our strategic planning process. Thank you to the 1,122 people who took our online survey and the 200+ parishioners and friends who have interacted directly with Wellspring Consulting. As their engagement has progressed, Wellspring has uncovered some emerging themes that the Strategic Planning Working Group agrees can lead to a fruitful and pragmatic long-term plan for our Church and Choir School.

On Sunday, February 10, Wellspring will, once again, host several parish gatherings. Please come and hear a brief presentation by Wellspring, followed by discussion. Refreshments will be provided.

The times and places for these gatherings are as follows:

For those who usually attend the 8am Mass: 8:45-9:30am in the Living Room of the Parish House.

For those who usually attend the 9am Mass: 9:45-10:30am in the Living Room of the Parish House.

For those who usually attend the 11am Mass: 12:30-1:15pm in Andrew Hall.

For those who usually attend Evensong at 4pm: 5:15-6pm on the Fifth Floor of the Parish House

Also, for those who attend weekday services only, a special meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 13, at 6:30-7:15pm in Andrew Hall.

A third, and final, set of gatherings will be held in May.

Your Strategic Plan Co-Chairs,

Murray Hood and Greg Zaffiro

The Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity Concludes

Each year, we celebrate the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity, an eight-day period also known as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This is an observance begun in 1908 by the Graymoor Franciscan Friars. It began with the Feast of the Confession of Saint Peter on Friday, January 18 and ends today with the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Friday, January 25.

Discover more about the Octave by following this link.