News from Saint Thomas week beginning March 24

Lent at Saint Thomas Church

This Lent, St. Thomas’s Church invites you to share in a rich array of opportunities to discover where God seeks to meet you through our Lenten worship program, study and education, as well as times for quiet reflection and pilgrimage at other churches in Midtown. Please join us as we make our way through the pain and sorrow of Good Friday to encounter the new life and sustained hope of the Easter dawn!

Here is a list of all of the special parish activities for the third full week in Lent:

The Third Sunday in Lent, March 24
8am Said Eucharist
9am Sung Eucharist and Sermon
11am Choral Eucharist and Sermon
4 pm Choral Evensong and Sermon

Sunday Theology Class: “Good Friday: The Celebration of the Lord’s Passion” with Fr. Turner
March 24, 10am on the fifth floor

Sunday Sermon Series at 4pm, “The One who Sings Prays Twice”
March 24, “Prayer as Harmony,” Fr. Sean Mullen

Healing Prayer and Anointing of the Sick
Sunday March 24, after the 11am Mass
Tuesday March 26, during and after the 12:10pm Mass

Devotional Study
Monday March 25, 12:45-2pm

Pilgrims’ Course Class: When Things Go Wrong: Confession and Healing
Tuesday March 26, 6:30-8:15pm

Holy Hour
Wednesday March 27, 11am-12pm

Evening Theology Class: Disrupting Times: When History meets Mysticism,
with the Rev. Dr. Robert D. Flanagan
Wednesday March 27, 6:30-8:00pm in Andrew Hall

Weekday Services in Lent
Monday March 25 to Friday March 29: 8am, 12:10pm & 5:30pm.

Shrine Prayers
Monday March 25 to Saturday March 30, 12pm

Stations of the Cross
Friday March 29, 6:30pm, at the Church of the Transfiguration, New York City

Saturday March 30, 11am-11:45am, or by appointment

To learn more about the complete schedule of Lenten seasonal offerings, please follow this link.

The Annunciation

Clergy Reflection for the Third Week in Lent

Grace Filled Awakening

It is common for many churches across the Anglican world to have a chapel dedicated as the ‘Lady Chapel’. Some people believed it was named as a place where the ‘Ladies’ of the parish could go say prayers and have a special space set aside for them!

To learn that the title is designated in honor to Mary has been enlightening for some people. I have been fortunate to pray in many ‘Lady Chapels’ across the world, one constant theme throughout is an image of the Annunciation story. The image of an imposing angel Gabriel overshadowing the young woman, Mary, is very common in stained glass, carvings, or as an altar piece. Mary is often kneeling at a prayer desk and dressed in a semi monastic fashion. With centuries of tradition, this image of the Annunciation couldn’t be further removed from what the actual experience would have been like. In the text, we are met by a young woman who is betrothed, but not yet married. To hear she was going to be with child before marriage would have been a terrifying message to receive.

For a young woman to discover she was pregnant prior to marriage would mean shame for both herself and her family and the likely abrupt end to a betrothal which would have been year’s in the making. The young Mary’s mind must have been racing with these and other thoughts as she listens to the Angel’s message.

Gabriel seeks to reassure the anxious Mary that what appears to an impossible call has a much deeper significance and purpose then what can be seen on the surface. The Angel or Messenger tells Mary to not be afraid, throughout the whole process which is to unfold for her. God’s presence is going to sustain her. Something extraordinary is beginning to unfold in this story as we begin to see God’s purpose come to fruition: a purpose in which Mary will play an integral role.

In the Orthodox tradition, Mary is called the Theotokos or Mother of God. The Orthodox theologian, Gregory Palamas writes that Mary was not chosen for this task because she was “perfected” in herself, but because she was “full of grace” – fully welcoming of and prepared by God’s abundant love.

The angel seeks to reassure Mary that God is overshadowing her with love. A love which enables her to respond in trust to what God is asking of her. God does not ask of Mary more than she can offer. In trust, she will bear a child who indeed is “God with us”. As God is breaking into Mary’s life with creative power so he desires to break into our lives as well. To break in and release us from the fears which often overshadow our vision from seeing from discovering God desires to be at one with us and our reality of daily life.

In the pattern of Jesus’ life, teaching and ministry, we find that both God’s love and grace are manifest and visible time and time again. Mary faithfully offers herself to be the bearer of God’s Son, because she feels she is not alone. The Annunciation is a cornerstone event through which God reveals God’s intentions in a new and radical way. Radical in that, through a lowly village woman, God breaks into humanity and becomes fully human!

In becoming fully human, God embraces our life experience in all its fullness in the person of Jesus. The Annunciation is the moment of beginning! Mary’s ‘Yes’ brings forth a new chapter in how we enter relationship with God. Let’s make our ‘Yes’ to God this Lent be sustained by our ability to listen to what God has to say to us. In the listening, may we trust that our lives, and how we live them, are also marks and signs of God’s action in the world today!

Father Ryan Bennett
Assisting Priest

Introducing our Guest Preacher for Holy Week: the Right Reverend Richard Chartres

We look forward to welcoming Bishop Chartres to Saint Thomas Church as our guest preacher for several services throughout Holy Week.

Richard Chartres first visited New York in the early 1980’s as Chaplain to Archbishop Robert Runcie. At that time Canon John Andrew, of blessed memory (who was himself a former Archbishop’s Chaplain), was Rector of Saint Thomas.

Subsequently, Richard Chartres became the parish priest of St. Stephen’s Rochester Row in the Diocese of London. At the same time he served as Gresham Professor of Divinity and co-authored a history of Gresham College.

In 1992, he was appointed Bishop of Stepney, one of the areas of the Diocese of London and was later translated to the Bishopric of London itself in 1995. He served the Diocese during a period of substantial growth for 22 years until his retirement in 2017. He remains Dean of HM Chapels Royal.

During his tenure as Diocesan Bishop, he fulfilled various national roles. He chaired the Church Commissioners who administer the historic assets of the Church of England. He was also Chair of the National Church Buildings Division, and founding Chair of “Shrink the Footprint,” the Church’s environmental campaign. He has also been the Archbishop’s envoy to the Orthodox Churches.

Most significantly, twelve years ago he participated in the founding of St. Mellitus College, which has made a large contribution to the increase of the numbers of ordinands in training. The number entering training this year nationally in the Church of England exceeds the total for any year since 1963.

After retiring from Parliament as a member of the Lords Spiritual, he was, unusually, re-appointed as a Life Peer, and is currently active in the legislative work of the House of Lords.

Richard Chartres is now an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese in Europe, and in his home Diocese of Salisbury.

He is married to Caroline and they have four children.

Introducing our Guest Preacher for the Three Hours Devotion on Good Friday: the Reverend Elaine Farmer

The Reverend Elaine Farmer, our preacher for the Three Hours Devotion on Good Friday, April 19, 12pm – 3pm, is a priest of the Anglican Diocese of Canberra & Goulburn and an internationally active scholar, teacher, and author. She was ordained in 1993, among the earliest women ordained to the priesthood in the Anglican Church of Australia. She has served in several parishes, taught homiletics and ministry formation, and been Associate Editor of
St Mark’s Review, Australia’s oldest theological journal.

She has preached in Anglican dioceses in Australia, New Zealand and in the United States, and preached in 2018 at Westminster Abbey. She has been a keynote speaker at various Australian and international conferences.

A book of her sermons, …And the Angels Held their Breath. Sixteen Reasons for Exploring the God-Option (Australasian Theological Forum) was translated into Bahasa Indonesia by the Jesuits and given episcopal imprimatur. She was also a contributor to Don’t Put Out the Burning Bush, a book on preaching and worship also published by the Australasian Theological Forum.

Elaine now lives in Canberra with her husband, Bill, whose diplomatic career which included appointments as Ambassador to Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia and Indonesia. They have two children and six grandchildren.

Disrupting Times: When History meets Mysticism

Join the Rev. Dr. Robert D. Flanagan as he shares his passion for the Golden Age of Mysticism during our Evening Theology Class on Wednesday March 27, April 3, and 10 from 6:30 to 8:00pm.

The Fourteenth-Century was a time of momentous change and disruption. It was also a period of great spiritual discovery. The stark contrasts between the technological, environmental, and societal upheaval and the profound experiences of the century’s mystics make it a fascinating time for us to explore.

Over the course of three sessions, you will learn about the similarities the fourteenth-century has to our time and engage with prominent mystical voices from the era, also known as the Golden Age of Mysticism. We will read about and discuss the seminal events of the time and read and contemplate the pragmatic writings of several fourteenth-century mystics.

To attend, all you need is a curious mind and a desire to deepen your knowledge of history and your understanding of mysticism.

The course will be held in Andrew Hall for Mar. 27 and Apr 3, and the Fifth Floor of the Parish House for April 10.

All are welcome! Please contact Father Moretz at if you have any questions.

The Choir Tour Continues!

The Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys have recently completed the performances on their Domestic Tour this week to Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas as part of Saint Thomas Choir School‘s Centennial. They are now making their way home. View some pictures of their performances and travels below!
You may also follow the Saint Thomas Choir on their Facebook page here.

2019 Tour Itinerary

Church of the Incarnation | Dallas, TX
Sun, March 17
Fine Arts at First Presbyterian Church of Tyler, Texas | Tyler, TX
Mon, March 18
St. Mark’s Cathedral Shreveport | Shreveport, LA
Tues, March 19
Music at Christ Church, Little Rock | Little Rock, AR
Thurs, March 21