In this week’s news…
- A Message from the Associate Rector
- Ocktoberfest (October 18)
- Honoring Barbara Battle
- Fr. Wright’s Special Day
- Annual Appeal Sermon Series
- EAST (Episcopal Asian Supper Table)
- Thanksgiving Hospitality
Upon being asked to reflect on the meaning of belonging and community for our Annual Appeal, I am drawn to an excellent principle that is revealed in the Constitutions for the Order of Saint Augustine, a Catholic religious order of renown almost eight hundred years old.
Community is the fruit of charity and is expressed in friendship, which brings forth and nourishes loyalty, trust, sincerity and mutual understanding. Charity unites us in Christ through the Holy Spirit, helping us to recognize the signs of God’s love in the events and circumstances of life… (Rule 29).
What is most striking to me is how naturally the connection is made between community and friendship. It would be easy to forget this connection, when there are so many different groups out there that call themselves a community, some more friendly than others. Some are set on making money or being liked. Others are set on protecting themselves or perpetuating a tradition. All these things are fair goals, but, if a group of people has friendship in their midst, well, this is the sign that one belongs to a community worth having. And for the Augustinians, friendship is a sign that a community is the fruit of Charity, one of the fruits of the Spirit that can be translated as Christian love of others, or agape in Greek.
When I think of my own strong sense of belonging in the Church, this Augustinian principle reveals to me that it is not just an encounter with God that brought me, and keeps me, in this community, but it has been so many encounters with friends. From my youth, I went to church because my friends. Of course, I had to encounter these friends in the midst of sacred buildings, within the structure of sacramental practices, and within a historical tradition of the Christian wisdom and prayer. But without that steady procession of friends in my life that I found in the church, I don’t think that any of the helpful and supportive structures of Christian life would have mattered much.
And so, this line of spiritual reflection leads me to proclaim the renewed conviction that the only community of Saint Thomas Church worth having is a community of friends. Because it is through friendship that the treasures of our common life and heritage are made known. In fact, it is through friendship that we know ourselves as God knows us: as beloved. And that equips us to receive all sorts of blessings from God. The Augustinians say it better than I could:
Friendship in Christ not only favors the development of each one’s personality, but it also increases freedom in the community itself, in which a healthy openness of mind fosters dialogue and enjoys a necessary autonomy with which to serve God better. (Rule 30)
In all that we do at Saint Thomas Church, in every gathering, in every goal, in every strategic plan, we are called to be friends to one other, as Christ is a friend to us (John 15:15). This parish is indeed a veritable greenhouse for friendship to grow under God’s light. And this holy greenhouse is one that I support and ask you to support generously, this year and for many to come.
Father Matthew Moretz
Save the Date for Oktoberfest!
On Friday, October 18, Saint Thomas will celebrate the dress, cuisine and music of Austria and Germany. The evening will start with a reception at 6:30 p.m. in the living room, then move to Andrew Hall to feast on a delicious dinner by Heidi Thomas, chef at the Choir School and expert in German/Austrian cuisine, while listening to the music of Street Beat Brass Band.
Fr. J. Robert Wright’s Special Day
Fr. Turner joined our Honorary Assistant Priest, the Rev. Dr. J. Robert Wright, for a day of tributes, including a banquet in his honor at the General Theological Seminary in Chelsea. Speakers included the former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold who spoke of Fr. Wright’s legacy of ministry, historical scholarship, and ecumenism.
Do you have an extra seat or two at your Thanksgiving table? We are matching parishioners that will be looking for company this Thanksgiving with parishioners that would like to host a guest or two for dinner.
For more details, please contact Linda Morfi via email or at 212-757-7013.
Honoring Barbara Battle
Barbara Battle, who served for many years as Head of the Lectors’ Guild, was honored at the Ministry Fair on Sunday, September 29 by Fr. Turner and our present Head of the Lectors’ Guild, Pamela Lewis. It was a joy to honor and celebrate Barbara’s service and leadership at our parish, and we wish her every blessing as she soon moves to Georgia.
Annual Appeal 2020 Sermon Series
For the Fall season, our parish will take part in a sermon series as a part of our parish’s Annual Appeal for 2020. This series will include our clergy and guests who will preach on themes exploring the joys and responsibilities of our common life. Join us at our 11am services for this fine array of preaching.
- Oct. 6 – Father Moretz – Community and Belonging
- Oct. 13 – The Rector – The Choir School
- Oct. 20 – Mother Turner – Children and Families
- Oct. 27 – Father Cheng – Education and Formation
- Nov. 3 – The Rev. Andrew C. Mead, Rector Emeritus – All Saints’ Sunday
- Nov. 10 – The Rev. Dr. Daniel Heischman, Executive Director of the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES) – Remembrance Sunday and Choir School Centennial Alumni Weekend
- Nov. 17 – The Rector – The Strategic Plan
- Nov. 24 – The Rev. Dr. Sam Wells, Vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Field, London, UK – Commitment Sunday
EAST (Episcopal Asian Supper Table)
God speaks to all of us in many ways – in prayer, dreams, videos we see, or people with whom we talk. OnThursday, October 17 at 6:30pm in the Parish House, we will focus on how God speaks to us. Kris Ishibashi, ministry starter and former warden at St. Michael’s Church, will offer a personal reflection to get the conversation started. We look forward to a wonderful evening of fellowship, conversation, and, of course, supper.
RSVP by Tuesday Oct. 15 at email@example.com