News from Saint Thomas: week ending February 9

Dear Friends,

The people of Saint Thomas Church are stewards of a great heritage. Through our liturgy, our architecture, our music and art, this parish is a place where people are surrounded by the beauty of holiness. Parishioners, guests, and visitors from around the world enter our doors and are stirred to the core, drawn to respond in wonder, love, and praise. In this response, we present ourselves before the Lord, who makes, loves, and calls us all to new life and restoration.

This past Sunday, we celebrated the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple, which recalls the day when Mary and Joseph presented their infant in the Temple in Jerusalem. Each one of us gathered there were given a candle to light and hold aloft, illuminating the church with a glimmering vista. Every candle was a sign presented to God, a visible sign of the precious, yet invisible, light that God has shone upon our hearts. And, with gratitude and joy, Megan and I presented our child, Samuel, for Holy Baptism. Immediately afterwards, Father Turner held Samuel aloft, adorned in his white gown (made with pride by his grandmother), blessed and born again, shining as if one of the candles, yet with a different light. The kind of light that melts hearts.

We need to remember that when we present ourselves before God in public places like the Church, whether in worship or in loving fellowship, it is not just that we make hidden spiritual realities and graces visible. In these acts of presentation, the light of God shines through us like stained glass with a light that illuminates and transforms. For this light melts any heart and lifts the spirit of every witness. Saint Thomas is specifically fashioned as a place for all kinds of presentations to the Lord, and through this place, God changes the world for the better.

As proclaimed by our Lord Jesus: “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid.No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-15)

Matthew Moretz+

Associate Rector

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 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 usually attend weekday services, a special meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 13, at 6:30-7:15pm in the Living Room.

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

Your Strategic Plan Co-Chairs,

Murray Hood and Greg Zaffiro

Guest Teacher and Preacher

the Rev. Dr. K. Christine Pae

On Sunday, February 10, we will welcome the Rev. Dr. K. Christine Pae to be our guest preacher at the 4pm Choral Evensong. That same day, for our Theology Class at 10am, she will give a presentation on justice in the Scriptures from the perspective of her expertise in Christian ethics, entitled “Creation Justice: Justice as a Right Relationship.”

The Rev. Dr. K. Christine Pae is Associate Professor of Religion and Ethics and Chair of the Religion Department at Denison University, Granville, Ohio. Her teaching and research include Christian social ethics, transnational feminist ethics, spiritual activism, and the ethics of peace and war. A native of Korea, Mother Pae received her Ph.D. in Christian Social Ethics from Union Theological Seminary, and her M.Div. from Yale Divinity School.

Evening Theology Class with Jeremy Waldron

On Wednesday, February 13 at 6:30-8pm in Andrew Hall, Professor Jeremy Waldron will begin a series on “Biblical Justice,” focusing mainly on the concepts of judgment, justice, and social justice in the writings of the prophets. The first session, on February 13, will focus on the prophet Amos and the place of justice in his nine chapters. Amos is a short book (7 or 8 pages) and it will be helpful if participants can read it through in advance. Two other classes will follow on Wednesday, February 20 and Wednesday, February 27. Everyone is welcome.

(The Saint Thomas Church Bookstore and Gift Shop has ordered the following books in relation to this course: Walter Houston, “Justice: The Biblical Challenge” (2014) and Enrique Nardoni, “Rise Up O Judge: A Study of Justice in the Biblical World” (2010). These books are for background reading only; the class will not assume familiarity with them.)

EAST Speaker Event: Dr. Roja Singh

Join us this February 16, 4:30pm in the Parish House for the EAST (Episcopal Asian Supper Table) Speaker Event.

“Untouchable”, with Dr. Roja Singh, President of the Dalit Solidarity Forum. Dr. Singh will share the inspiring story of the Dalit “untouchable women” in India who are breaking caste and gender boundaries and making a difference in their communities.

You may RSVP by following this link.

This event is co-sponsored by EAST and The Global Mission Commission, both ministries of the Diocese of New York.