News from Saint Thomas: week beginning February 24

Dear Friends,

I am writing this from the annual conference for the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes. A team from our parish are attending for the first time and hearing about the joys, as well as the challenges, faced by other large parishes. Parishes that rely on an endowment can often be seen as not needing as much financial support from members, but the fact remains that their extensive programs (ours includes a residential Choir School that changes children’s lives) means that they need parishioners and friends to be involved even more. If you have not yet made a pledge to the 2019 Annual Appeal, please do this now and join hundreds of other friends of Saint Thomas Church and Choir School in a gift of thanksgiving to God.

This Sunday we will keep the Feast of St. Matthias; he was the disciple chosen to replace Judas as one of the Twelve. You may sometimes think that your story is of little value in the great scheme of things, but this feast reminds us that we all have a part to play in God’s plan. I look forward to seeing you all on Sunday.

Finally, we are working hard as a clergy and lay team to respond to pastoral needs, that includes requests for prayer. Soon, we shall be changing the way that we collect and disseminate intercessions lists. Please check your Sunday bulletin or the website for more details. In the meantime, do you know you can request daily prayers via the tab at the top of the website or on the link at the bottom of your mobile device?

After this message I have included a poem by the Welsh Anglican Priest, R.S. Thomas as a gentle meditation for the weekend.

With every blessing,


Your priest and Pastor.

The Prayer

He kneeled down
dismissing his orisons
as inappropriate; one by one
they came to his lips and were swallowed
but without bile.
He fell back
on an old prayer: Teach me to know
what to pray for. He
listened; after the weather of
his asking, no still, small
voice, only the parade
of ghosts, casualties
of his past intercessions. He
Held out his hands, cupped
as though to receive blood, leaking
from life’s side. They
remained dry, as his mouth
did. But the prayer formed:
Deliver me from the long drought
of the mind. Let leaves
from the deciduous Cross
fall on us, washing
us clean, turning our autumn
to gold by the affluence of their fountain.

R.S. Thomas (1913-2000)

Save the Date: Founders’ Day, March 3

The Centenary Celebration of the Choir School is approaching. It will have been 100 years since the founders, the Reverend Ernest Stires, Dr. T. Tertius Noble, and Mr. Charles Steele, opened the school on March 3, 1919.

As part of our celebrations, we will welcome the Rev. Dr. David Cobb (Acting Director of Contextual Education, the School of Theology, the University of the South, Sewanee) to be our preacher at the Solemn Mass at 11am. At our Solemn Evensong, our preacher will be the Bishop of New York, the Right Reverend Andrew M. L. Dietsche. An organ recital will follow given by several recent choristers, with a reception for Choir School Alumni and members of the Duffie-Noble Guilds.

For more information, please follow this link.

Special Guest: the Very Reverend John Hall, Dean of Westminster

On Wednesday, February 27, we will be joined at our 5:30pm Festal Evensong by members of the American Friends of Westminster Abbey and the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend John Hall. John is an old friend of our parish and will be retiring this year.

Evening Theology Class with Jeremy Waldron

On Wednesday, February 27 at 6:30-8pm in Andrew Hall, Professor Jeremy Waldron will continue his series on “Biblical Justice,” bringing the full scope of his wisdom as a legal philosopher to bear upon the heritage of the prophetic tradition. Professor Waldron will focus mainly on the concepts of judgment, justice, and social justice in the writings of the prophets, especially Isaiah and Jeremiah. 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” and Enrique Nardoni, “Rise Up O Judge: A Study of Justice in the Biblical World.” These books are for background reading; the class will not assume familiarity with them.)

Apology Retreat

A retreat/workshop sponsored by the Reparations Committee will be held at
St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Peekskill, NY on Saturday March 16 from 9:00-3:00pm. Addressing the year’s theme of “Apology,” this diocesan retreat asks why we would want to apologize for slavery, what it means to apologize as a church and as individuals, and how we might actually do it. This exploration will apply more broadly beyond slavery to the nature of apology in general.

This retreat is geared toward parish lay leadership and clergy of this diocese, and will be led by the Rev. Masud Ibn Syedullah TSSF, Director, Roots & Branches: Programs for Spiritual Growth and Vicar, St. Paul’s & Trinity Parish, Tivoli, and the Rev. Chuck Kramer, Rector, St. James’ Church, Hyde Park.

You may sign up for the retreat by following this link. Registration is $25. Lunch is provided.

This event is sponsored by the Reparations Committee of the Diocese of New York. You can find out more about the entire Year of Apology here.