News from Saint Thomas week beginning June 2

Dear Friends,

After a glorious Memorial Day weekend, the Choristers are now at Camp and we look forward to our last two Sunday celebrations with the full choir of men and boys. We will bid a fond farewell to our Grade 8 boys on June 9, the Feast of Pentecost, when we celebrate the Valedictory Mass at 11am.

Recently, Mother Turner and I attended the ‘Farm to Table’ event at Holy Apostles’ Church. Holy Apostles hosts the largest feeding program in the City of New York, and it was impressive to see their work. Our own soup kitchen continues every Saturday, and, if you would like to volunteer, you can come to the Parish House at 9:30am. Giving dignity to the poor and homeless is as important as providing a balanced and healthy meal. Our Ecumenical Social Worker, John Sheehan, continues to respond to the needs of many homeless folk around our church and, in particular, of those with mental health issues.

I recall a lecture given by the late Professor Dorothee Sölle when I was an undergraduate. In her lecture, she quoted the words of Jesus when he was anointed with the precious ointment: “You always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me.” (Mark 14:7) What stayed with me was her remark, “Jesus said, ‘you always have the poor with you.’ He did not say ‘you always have the hungry.'” That is why all food programs are precious. There are many ways that you can support our own soup kitchen and we would be glad to hear from you.

“The mystery of the poor is this: that they are Jesus, and what you do for them you do for Him. It is the only way we have of knowing and believing in our love. The mystery of poverty is that by sharing in it, making ourselves poor in giving to others, we increase our knowledge of and belief in love.”
–Dorothy Day, (Catholic Worker – April 1964)

Your priest and pastor

“Tongues of Fire,” an Evening Theology Class with Father Spencer

God spoke and Creation happened.

Jesus spoke and the sick were healed. The Apostles spoke and the church spread. And we too are sent to preach the Gospel, to share the Good News. Author Jonathan Merritt, in his book “Learning to Speak God from Scratch: Why Sacred Words Are Vanishing–and How We Can Revive Them,” argues that the language of faith is an endangered form of speech in our culture. As our society has become more secular, it can be difficult to talk about our faith with others. The meaning of and premises behind religious words like “grace” and “sin” and “salvation” can no longer be automatically assumed in conversation. We may also have our own personal reticence about “speaking God.” Jonathan Merritt’s book provides a starting point for a conversation about what we mean when we say these sacred words and how we might speak more comfortably about our faith in our everyday lives.

Please join Father Adam Spencer for an Evening Theology Class on the Fifth Floor of the Parish House for the last of three classes on Tuesday night, June 4 from 6:30 – 8:00pm as we explore Jonathan Merritt’s book and our own language(s) of faith together.

“Learning to Speak God from Scratch” will be available for purchase in the Saint Thomas Church Bookstore.

The Day of Pentecost: June 9

Join us for the Day of Pentecost, the Church’s Festival of the Holy Spirit, the One who teaches us the mystery of the power of self-giving and self-sacrificing love. This Feast Day also stands as our celebration of the “birthday” of the Church into which we have been baptized.

The Day of Pentecost is also Leaving Sunday. This is the last Sunday before the Choristers of our Choir School leave for their summer break. It is also the day when we bless all those in the graduating Class of 2019. The Choir of Men and Boys will return this September.

It is a custom at Saint Thomas Church, and in many churches, for the ladies of the congregation to wear a red hat on the Day of Pentecost to remind us of the fire of the Holy Spirit.

Come Holy Spirit, come!

“A New York Lamentation” A play about Slavery in New York

Please “Save the Date” for a special dramatic presentation entitled “A New York Lamentation” on Sunday, June 16 at 4:00pm at Saint Thomas Church.

This play will bring to life the tragic history of slavery that existed in New York City and the Hudson Valley for more than 200 years. The characters in the play are real historical figures from the early nineteenth century, including enslaved people, slave owners, clergy of the Episcopal Church, and abolitionists of the region. This production is an initiative of the Episcopal Diocese of New York which is tasked with addressing the legacy of slavery and its ongoing impact on our society and our Church.

The play was written by an Episcopal priest, the Rev. Chuck Kramer, Rector of Saint James Episcopal Church, Hyde Park. And it will be directed by Jeannine Otis, music director of Saint Mark’s in the Bowery.

The play will be free, donations will be welcome. A reception will be held in Andrew Hall after the performance.