October 23 – 30 , 2020
Weekly COVID Updates & Operational Status: In-Person Services are Suspended
Unfortunately, Hamilton County has experienced a set-back in terms of COVID Health Advisory Status with Hamilton and Clermont Counties being designated as Level 3 (red) with the Ohio Public Health Advisory System (OPHAS).
As such, we once again need to suspend in-person worship and resume higher-level protocols. We continue to provide worship online via our YouTube channel for both for Sundays and our Midweek Evening Prayer Services. Following a temporary ‘upgrade’ to a higher OPHAS Level of 3, once Hamilton County has been ‘downgraded’ back to Level 2, St. Thomas Church would evaluate the conditions for 21 days before resuming the lower level to determine an actual recovery trend.
Following our guidelines for Level 3 (red) of OPHAS, the church remains open for individual prayer (Tuesday & Thursday afternoons 3pm-5pm); and our parish office continues to have limited staff on-hand to coordinate essential ministry services, including pastoral care on call and by appointment. Due to heighten health & Safety protocols, St. Thomas Nursery School (STNS) remains operational with our full school schedule. For more information, please reach out to us by email firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the office at (513) 831-2052.
Solemn Evensong for All Souls’ – Sunday Evening, November 1 – on YouTube
Following All Saints’ Day on November 2 is All Souls’ which is the feast day of the Church dedicated to all the faithful departed. This has also been the traditional day in which the Church remembers those from our community who have died in the past year. At St. Thomas, we have remembered All Souls’ as a special evening service on the Sunday closest to November 2. Even with the pandemic, St. Thomas is planning to commemorate All Souls’ with Solemn Evensong to be presented online via our YouTube channel.
Necrology for Online All Souls’ Service – honoring our own faithful departed – receiving names through October 28
As in years past, you are invited to contact the church office with the names of any family or friends that you would like to have remembered, and their names will be read as part of a special video service. You can click on this special dedicated link on our website https://stthomasepiscopal.org/2020/10/15/solemn-evensong-for-all-souls/
or call the office at (513) 831-2052 by October 28.
Financial Dollars & Sense
Information regarding our Annual Giving Pledge Appeal for 2021 was mailed last week. Included is a letter from our Sr. Warden, Jim Davis which provides an overview of this year and as we begin planning next year’s budget. This is the time we ask one another to prayerfully consider how best to answer the call to support the ministry we share with time, talent and treasure as we consider the year ahead. An Annual Pledge is what allows our parish to best plan the ministry priorities and resources for the work we have – everyone’s contribution is great blessing and matters greatly.
Please note that updated Pledge Statements were emailed last week (reflecting contributions made in 2020 through September 30). In an effort to be better stewards, we have moved to electronic statements. One more convenient way to help support St. Thomas is with pledge contributions made directly online. This feature is always available on our website at http://www.stthomasepiscopal.org/ As always, thank you for what you do to help keep us connected and supporting the ministry we share!
Outreach: Our Commitment to Mission Remains Strong – Thanks to YOU!
The pandemic has had an impact on almost every facet of life, including the way we live into outreach. How we put our faith into action and take the mission of Jesus to care for the most vulnerable remains a top priority – just how we can go about it has changed temporarily. So many of you have stepped up to help, whether through creating masks, the toilet paper challenge with ERS (still happening) and your direct contacts through cards and other means of support. While our outreach partners still cannot have volunteers onsite quite yet, we have maintained our commitment and support, both as a parish and through your personal advocacy. We are now able to once again collect food items for Inter-Parish Ministry which is also sponsoring a new winter coat drive. Want to do more? Contact any of the clergy or just call the parish office at (513) 831-2052.
Prayers and Readings for The Twenty-First Sunday After Pentecost
The Collect of the Day
Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18 (NRSV)
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the Lord. You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
Matthew 22:34-46 (NRSV)
When the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “’You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: “What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David by the Spirit calls him Lord, saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”’? If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?” No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.
Readings taken from The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible © 1989 by The Division of Christian Education of The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., used by permission.
Parish Prayer List
Allison, Anne, Barbara, Beverly, Bob, Carol, Courtney, Darlyce, El, Gary, Gerry, Jayne, Jason, Jeff, Jerry, Joanne, Joe, John, Jim, Kay, Kim, Marilyn, Mark, Penny, Steve, Sandy, Terry, Todd, Verneida, the Buckley family, the Helmrich family and our shut-in parishioners and their care-givers; those serving our community and nation, including Will, Steven, Harrison, Matt, Becky, Jeff, Jennifer, Steve, Phillip and Perrin, as well as all those affected by natural disasters and human tragedies, the first responders and the aid and relief efforts that continue around the world; everyone affected by the Coronavirus and recent storms and wildfires.
A Prayer for an Election
Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States (and of this greater local community) in the election of officials and representatives; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all people may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The flowers on the altar are given to the glory of God by Joan Smith in loving memory of her husband, Terry
Seeking to keep you up-to-date on the latest news from St. Thomas.
Following All Saints’ Day on November 2 is All Souls’ which is the feast day of the Church dedicated to all the faithful departed. This has also been the traditional day in which the Church remembers those from our community who have died in the past year. At St. Thomas, we have remembered All Souls’ as a special evening service on the Sunday closest to November 2.
Even with the pandemic, St. Thomas is planning to commemorate All Souls’ with Solemn Evensong to be presented online via our YouTube channel. As in years past, you are invited to contact the church office with the names of any family or friends that you would like to have remembered, and their names will be read as part of a special video service. You can use the following link provided All Souls Names Submissions or call Kim Baumgartner in our office at (513) 831-2052. by October 28.
The Toilet Paper Challenge for Thomaston Woods, Meadows and Affordable Living Communities
Living into Jesus’ new commandment to love that we read in John 14 is embracing opportunities to not only walk with, but at time step-up or step into action. One such opportunity is with us now: The Toilet Paper Challenge for Thomaston Woods, Thomaston Meadows and the other Affordable Living Communities of ERS.
No doubt you have read or heard about the fact that during the unprecedented times of COVID-19 quarantine, low-income individuals are suffering greatly. Many lack support systems to help them access critically needed supplies and necessities. Others, particularly older adults, fear the risks associated with going into public places. Even when they do venture out, they often find certain staples to be sold-out. For the low-income seniors and families residing in Affordable Living by ERS, including the communities of Thomaston Woods and Thomaston Meadows – both communities were founded by Terrace Park parishioners of St. Thomas Episcopal Church and is still a proud outreach ministry partner – the services accessed and provided by ERS, parish and community partnerships are a true lifeline. Toilet paper continues to be an item that is difficult for our residents to purchase and low-income individuals are not allowed to spend food stamp dollars to purchase this necessity.
An anonymous donor has committed $5,200 to fully fund 2 months of TP needs of the residents in our Affordable Living Communities served by ERS. The donor has asked other friends of ERS to come forward and collectively match this gift to provide for the months of July and August. St. Thomas Episcopal Church has committed an additional challenge to church members and the community of Terrace Park: St. Thomas will match additional gifts, up to $2,600, to fulfill this challenge. You can you help us reach this important goal and help some of our most vulnerable neighbors by donating online directly by visiting: https://www.episcopalretirement.com/corporate/donate/online and designate your gift to “Emergency Response Fund” and enter “St. Thomas TP Challenge” in the comment section. Or simply mail a check to: ERS Foundation, 3870 Virginia Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45227 (memo: “St. Thomas TP Challenge”). If you’d like more information, please contact Susan Cleverly, Manager of Foundation Relations and the Annual Fund, email@example.com or call her directly at (513) 979-2309.
Card Ministry remains something your whole family can participate in. All the seniors and residents of assisted living and supported communities are presently unable to receive visitors, have no personal contact with their family and friends and have reduced group activities. They are feeling quite isolated. If you would like to write a short note of greeting and encouragement to them, this is your chance. Oasis Senior Advisors Cincinnati continue to coordinate a card campaign for the seniors who are presently sequestered in their Assisted Living situations. Oasis can drop off blank note cards to you, along with instructions, and then pick them up again, “contact free.” Oasis can then then deliver the cards to an assisted living community in the area. The personnel of the community will distribute them to the residents. If you would like your cards to go to specifically residents of Thomaston Woods, let us know and we will make sure that happens. You can find more information on our website or either email Oasis at: KRobinson@youroasisadvisor.com or call them at (513) 302-6957 with any questions or to get started. Thank you for your willingness to help our vulnerable seniors!