Weekly Update ~ December 2 – 9, 2021

Updated COVID Operational Plan

Please take time to read our Updated COVID Operational Plan as related to the increase in COVID transmissions in our area.  The plan includes the actions to be taken in St. Thomas Nursery School and the Church as infections increase from one level to another.

Current COVID Operational Status

COVID Update:  We remain “red” with a high community transmission rate for Hamilton County (all counties in OH remain red).

In Person Worship Services

Sundays ~ 8:00am & 10:15am
Online Services will continue on our dedicated YouTube Channel

Sunday Spiritual Formation for Adults

Join us for the First Sunday Forum at 9:15 as we explore: “People of the Book” (The Bible, The Prayer Book and your books)
 
The First Sunday Series: St. Thomas and Our Faith in the World is meant to welcome both the newcomer / guest as well as life-long members who would like to know more about our identity, history, and the impact our tradition can have in our daily lives.  If you are new to the Episcopal Church or have just wanted to better understand why we do the things we do in the Episcopal Church, then this group is for you!  Join us the first Sunday of each month at 9:15 in the Parish Hall as we explore the beliefs, history, worship, and practices of our great Church.  Anyone is welcome to take part in this group, whether you have joined, been received, or confirmed; if you have ever desired to do so, this would lead the way.  Your questions are most welcome and encouraged as we explore together what it means to be a part of the Church today.

Youth Discipleship – Faith for Life 

This week, we look at The Reasons for the Seasons – What our traditions, music and prayers mean for Advent, for Christmas and our everyday life
 
Each week, our youth (grades 7th-12th) are invited to journey together with our rector and other leaders on a series of conversations and events that not only leads to affirm their faith with Confirmation, but also equips them as disciples and leaders well into their future.  Overall, this is intended to be a two-year journey, exploring what makes the Christian faith and our tradition relevant and moving into a second year experience that will take them completely through the Bible.  This is not a class, but rather a group of their own, gathering weekly after the 10:15 service (from 11:30 to 12:30) for a time of fellowship and their own private conversation with Fr. Darren and other leaders along the way to engage questions of our faith in a safe and fun way.  While each week has its own topic, the more we put into the, the greater the impact and richer the conversation with each other.  For more information, please contact Fr. Darren at darren@stthomasepiscopal.org.

Children’s Message for Advent 2

St. Thomas Episcopal Christmas Caper 

Having fun with family and friends while making holiday treats to donate to the St. Thomas Christmas Caper is a wonderful tradition and one many of us look forward to each season. If you have questions or would like more information about the Christmas Caper, contact Terri Moorhead  tc.moorhead@gmail.com

For this wonderful outreach event to return to St. Thomas, we need your help!   Please consider signing up to help for a shift on Friday, December 10 and/or Saturday December 11. No experience or special skills needed.  AND of course make plans to bake your favorite holiday cookies to donate.  Can’t think of a recipe…. One of our cookie experts, Marty Corbin, has recipes available for you to use.  Look for the green Christmas paper in the Narthex.   CLICK HERE to sign up to Volunteer and/or Bake for this event

Stockings & Bells for
Thomaston Woods & Thomaston Meadows

We still have a few ornaments left! 
You can help make the Gift Christmas happen!

Each year, the St. Thomas parish family “adopts” the children, youth and seniors of housing communities to help with the spirit of Christmas in our Stockings & Bells Gift Program. This is an opportunity to help make Christmas special for our residents at Thomaston Woods and Thomaston Meadows by providing a gift. Each gift is a maximum of $25. This is a great way for your family to practice outreach and share in the spirit of giving and caring. You can register online or in-person at church by simply selecting an envelope, then write your name and contact info in the Gift Log next to the corresponding recipient’s name (essential!), then have fun shopping and finally return the gift (already wrapped) with the ornament-tag attached to the church by December 15th.

Advent & Christmas at St. Thomas

SPECIAL SERVICES & EVENTS

Saturday, December 11, 2021 ~ 11:00 a.m.
Christmas Caper

Sunday, December 12, 2021 ~ 7:00 p.m.
Bach Vespers for Advent

Sunday, December 19, 2021 ~ 5:00 p.m.
Festival of Lessons & Carols


CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES
Reservations Required


Friday, December 24, 2021

4:00 p.m. – Family Eucharist for the Feast of the Nativity

8:00 p.m. – Festive Choral Eucharist for the Feast of the Nativity
Choral Prelude preceded the service

11:00 p.m. – Festive Choral Eucharist for the Feast of the Nativity
Choral Prelude preceded the service


CHRISTMAS DAY SERVICE
Reservations Required


Saturday, December 25, 2021 ~ 10:00 a.m.
Traditional Eucharist with Carols for the Feast of the Nativity

Celebration of Christmas with Special Flowers & Music

Donations to the St. Thomas Christmas Flower Fund or Music Fund provide the flower arrangements, wreaths, poinsettias, and guest musicians that we enjoy during the Christmas season. Contributions of any size are welcome.

 Deadline: Monday, December 20, 2021

News & Upcoming Dates from our Music Director

Bach Vespers By Candlelight

Sunday, December 12, 7:00 p.m.*    *Note different time.
Seven Hills Baroque, an early music ensemble in residence at St. Thomas, will be the featured musicians for our special Bach Vespers by Candlelight for Advent. Join them on Sunday, December 12 at a special time–7:00 p.m.–as they perform beautiful ageless vocal and instrumental music on period instruments in the enchanting candlelit beauty of St. Thomas.


Messiah Choir

Rehearsal, Thursday, December 23, 7-9 p.m.
Christmas Eve Liturgy, Saturday, December 24, 8:00 p.m.
If you, or someone you know, would like to join with members of the Parish Choir to sing a few choruses from Handel’s Messiah on Christmas Eve, this is your chance! Invite friends or family members in town to join with you. It requires one rehearsal on Dec. 23, and then the 8 p.m. service on Christmas Eve.


Christmas Lessons and Carols

Sunday, December 19, 5:00 p.m.
Returning in person this year, the St. Thomas Parish Choir and Choristers present a Festival of Lessons and Carols on Sunday, December 19 at 5:00 p.m.. An annual offering at St. Thomas for decades, this service features beautiful music of the season paired with timeless readings. Come bask into the beauty and holiness of this ancient tradition.


Special Music for Christmas Eve

December 24
Choral Preludes, 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
Holy Eucharists, 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.
Music of the season abounds on this special night. Join the Parish Choir at 8:00 p.m. and the Choral Scholars at 11:00 p.m. for liturgies filled with carols, organ, string quartet and trumpets. This year the services will feature solos and choruses from Handel’s Messiah.


Children’s Participation on Christmas Eve

While we will not have our traditional Christmas Pageant this year,  we would like to invite any interested children to help in reading the Christmas story at the 4:00 p.m. Christmas Eve service.


Instrumentalists on Christmas Eve

If there are instrumentalists (strings, winds, or brass) who would like to play on Christmas Eve, we are forming the St. Thomas Sinfonia to play a few carols at the 4:00 p.m. Christmas Eve service.
If you are interested in participating in any of these events or for additional information/questions contact Carlton Monroe. cmonroe@stthomasepiscopal.org

Stewardship Update

Stew•ard•ship: the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care. (Merriam Webster)
 
YOU may well be the one!
You continue to make all the difference in what we continue to offer in ministry and at this point in our Annual Appeal, we need to ask you, “Are you the ONE we’re waiting to hear from?”  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.  To date, we are 80% towards our goal!  The challenge remains that the percentage of our respondents is just under 70%.  The difference comes from what we each can offer in terms of time, talent and treasure.  Now is the time!  One family would like to offer an invitation to pledge, by making a match of up to $30,000 for each new and/or increased gift! Are you the ONE?  We need to hear how YOU can help us make our goal into 2022 and post-COVID!  Remember, one 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/ and clicking the “Donate” tab.  As always, thank you for supporting the ministry we share! 
 
Jim Davis,
Senior Warden

St. Thomas Contract Bridge Club

We are starting up a St. Thomas Contract Bridge Club.  We will meet in the Parish Hall on the 4th Tuesday of each month and play bridge from 2:00 pm-5:00 pm.  There will be an Evening Prayer & Eucharist service following.  Please email Jim Davis your name(s), contact email and if you have a partner.  Questions contact Jim Davis at:  jimjennydavis@gmail.com

Procter Center Family Camp

St. Thomas Dinner Club

The next St. Thomas Dinner Club will meet Wednesday, December 8, 2021 at the Terrace Park Country Club.  Social Time begins at 6:00p.m. with dinner served at 6:30p.m.  Entrée choices will be Salmon or Prime Rib.  Cost $24.00. Please make reservations by Sunday, December 5 by mailing a check, made out to St. Thomas, to Lou Scott, 696 Milford Hills Dr., Milford 45150. Questions contact Lou Scott at 831-4353.

Upcoming Date: January 12, 2022
 

Updated COVID Operational Plan

Updated Criteria Based on Current Guidance for 2021

Following the latest CDC and Department of Health guidance, we are updating the Operational Criteria.  St. Thomas uses as our Operating Guide a combination of key indicators, including:

• Safety provisions, supplies and adequate staffing available to maintain our COVID Health Policy and reliability of operation

• Number of known transmissions, both active and cumulative as well as the number quarantined due to an identified close contact

• Community Health Measures, including current Transmission Rate Levels by CDC

Following the state guidelines and best practices of our local school districts, St. Thomas will monitor and assess these indices on a weekly basis each Wednesday to determine any action needed for the following week to help ensure ongoing operations for both the school and parish.  Each level will call for specific protocols of capacity and protective measures.  We take these measures in an effort to better minimize the risk of infectious disease; we cannot eliminate all risks associated with COVID.  Our policies and procedures stand subject to change within the context of the pandemic.


Protocols are subject to change, based on updated data, guidance, recommendations and guidance received.  Following the state guidelines and best practices of our local school districts, St. Thomas Nursery School would assess the key indicators on a weekly basis (each Wednesday) to determine the operational level and any needed actions for the following week.