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, firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
April 2, 2020
Many of you must be feeling like you’ve received a prison sentence given the current restrictions on your life and activities. Thinking about that I recalled that the Book of Acts closes with Paul imprisoned for the last two years of his life in the City of Rome. Despite his incarceration Paul remained a productive, world-changing minister during his jail time. He accomplished this by staying in contact with the faithful and continuing to welcome the unchurched and their questions. He wrote many pastoral letters including Ephesians and Philippians during this time and asked for the believers to pray that he would have the courage needed to continue his ministry. He remained flexible and responded to his circumstances as they were presented to him. Paul never became despondent and spent a lot of his time attending to the churches he had founded.
Outreach During Coronavirus
So how do we as a church in this time of restricted activities remain productive? I know that many of you are already active with Meals-On-Wheels and other community outreach programs. But I would ask you to also consider the following list: Donations, Faces, Feedback, Funding and Wellness.
DONATIONS – Inter Parish Ministry is reporting an increase in its client base consistent with layoffs in the community. Please consider increasing your donations and specifically, contributing antibacterial soaps, cleaning products, hand sanitizers, tissues and wipes. Anti-Bacterial cleansing wipes can be incredibly helpful to people who have no running water with which to wash their hands. While IPM is no longer accepting clothing this is an ideal time to clean to your closets and bag up clothing donations for distribution at a later date.
FACES – While words convey immense amounts of information, human beings are suffering from the inability to see the faces and bodies of their friends and family on a day basis. This is because a great proportion of what people communicate to each other is delivered through body language and facial expressions. So, if you can add video to your communications with Stephen Ministry clients, family, friends or parish members you will be providing a much needed service. I know that for many of you this will entail a steep technological learning curve but the acquisition of these new skills is well worth the effort. There are many ways that this can accomplished including computer applications like Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, Google Duo, Imo, What’s App, Line and Tango. Of course, this may not be possible with people who are without suitable devices to take advantage of them.
You might also consider sending a picture of yourself in a greeting card or Email to seniors and shut-ins so your image comes to mind while the recipients are reading your words.
If you are making a pastoral phone call to a friend, a seeker or a fellow parishioner consider the following conversation format:
1. Ask about their health and that of their families.
2. Ask about their feelings about their circumstances and their current concerns and needs.
3. Ask if they have any news for the parish.
4. Ask them if they have any prayer requests and if they’d be willing to pray for you, Covid-19 suffers and for the 1st responders whose lives are on the line,
5. Ask if it would be all right if you called them back at some future time. This is especially important for those who live alone.
6. Be prepared to deal with anxiety, grief, loss and sadness and assure them that their feelings are valid and understandable even though they will very likely fade over time. If you believe that their situation is beyond your ability to manage it, make a referral to one of the parish clergy.
7. Above all listen without interruption and judgement and avoid the temptation to try to “fix” them.
FEEDBACK – This is a time when many are criticizing their employers, communities, and governmental leaders and have forgotten the words of John F Kennedy who once cautioned Americans with these words, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Our elected leaders are scrambling to deal with contemporaneous medical and economic crises.
It is unreasonable to think that they can answer specific questions about Novel Coronavirus as the event unfolds. The idea that human beings can control everything that can happen fails us at times like these. Also deserving of your attention are the leaders of your church. Your prayers, and support are essential to their successful ministries now and always. Likewise, your helpful feedback to them can make them much more effective.
FUNDING (Monetary Donations) – Please remember the significant amount of outreach that St Thomas Church enables as a part of its regular ministries comes from pledge donations that aren’t now being gathered during church services right now. Mailing your pledges in will assure that these ministries are maintained. We have not seen destabilization of the economy on this scale since the Great Depression. Food Pantries, and other social service organizations will be overextended as far as their budgets and shelves are concerned in a short period of time. It is an ideal time for all of us to once again “remember the poor.”
WELLNESS – Realize that social distancing puts extra stress on families who are not used to spending every day/all day in close proximity. Faced with too much togetherness, spending some time doing separate projects each day can be very helpful. Practicing a daily routine which includes productivity, exercise and leisure elements is also recommended. Talking openly with children, spouses, significant others about feelings, stresses and worries acts as a relief valve in relationships. Encourage these strategies with others during your communications with them.
Encourage communications with faith leaders and try to contribute something on your own to the fight against the virus. At the end of the Coronavirus threat we will all want to say that St Thomas Church made a difference to our congregation and others.
Thank you for all that you are doing and for following in the steps of our Lord.
Redeemer and St Thomas are planning a Fall Adult In Ministry (AIM) trip for October 2-5.Please contact John Tiffany ( 513.646.9655, email@example.com) if you are interested in going. Download the registration form to get more information about this trip. You can also check out the Mt T.O.P. website( http://mountain-top.org/adults-in-ministry-aim/more-information/major-home-repair/) We will leave Thursday, October 2nd mid-morning, work Friday and Saturday, and drive back, Sunday, October 5th.
This program is focused on major home repair but no construction experience is required to be a part of this ministry. You just need to be willing to open your heart and mind to what God may be asking you to do for a weekend in the Cumberland Mountains of southern TN. If this weekend doesn’t work for your schedule sign up for one of the other weekends in October.
St. Thomas will unveil a new concert series this year called Abendmusik Concerts. Abendmusik (Evening Music) was a term used by Baroque composer Deitrich Buxtehude for the famous series of concerts that were known throughout Northern Europe. For the first Abendmusik Concert we are YoonGeong Lee, a frequent Bach Vespers soloist.
Soprano, YoonGeong Lee is a recent doctorial graduate from the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. For her upcoming St. Thomas concert on Saturday, August 16 at 7:30 pm, she will sing the songs of some of the world’s greatest composers; among them: Mozart, Schubert, Duparc, Martini, Delibes, Satie, Yun and Lehar. YoonGeong spent the past two summers at Tanglewood Music Center as a soprano fellow and received the Grace B.Jackson Award, an annual prize given to an outstanding fellow. Please join with us for another great summer night of music!
More information about Ms. Lee can be seen at www.facebook.com/yoongeongleesoprano
CCM Prep will be offering private music lessons based at St. Thomas. Actual offerings will be based on demand, but our recent survey indicated strong interest in many areas including voice, piano, guitar, brass and string. If you are interested in taking private lessons with CCM Prep faculty at St. Thomas, please contact CCM prep and request lessons at St. Thomas. (http://ccm.uc.edu/prep.html)
The Cincinnati Children’s Choir will offer a Satellite Choir Program at St. Thomas. The Satellite Choir will be directed by St. Thomas Director of Music Carlton Monroe and will begin October 5th. The program is a 10 week program for children in grades 3-6 that provides an introduction to choral music and the philosophies of the CCC. Rehearsals for the St. Thomas Satellite Choir will be Sundays, 1-2pm. Please visit the CCC website for more information and to register. (http://www.cincinnatichoir.org/programs/satellite-choirs/)
(Note: St. Thomas Choristers are welcome to participate in both our Chorister program and the CCM Satellite Choir.)
St Thomas will have two young adults, Stacy Purcell and Jon Saxton, on summer staff at Mt TOP this summer. Stacy will be a YSM(Youth Summer Ministry) Camp Director and Jon will be a YSM Ministry Coordinator. Mt TOP operates on a partnership basis. Its summer staff are required to partner with their home churches, families, and friends to raise half of their salary plus living expenses($2,400 for Stacy, $2,200 for Jon). Stacy and Jon are grateful for this opportunity to share their God given gifts in His calling this summer and would appreciate your spiritual, emotional , or financial support. Please fill out an partnership form (available online and via CONNECTIONS) and mail it to Mt TOP at the address provided on the form. Thank you for your support. Stacy & Jon.
For the fth year, the Thomaston Golf Classic is being held at the Golf Club at Stonelick Hills, located on U.S. Route 50 in Clermont County, less than 10 miles from Terrace Park, Ohio. It is one of the premier golf courses in Southwestern Ohio. The course quality and layout, facilities and professional staff are second to none. The foursome entry fee for this year’s event is $500 and the individual fee is $150 per person. Includes lunch, golf and cart fees, dinner, golf gift and awards.
The Thomaston Golf Classic is the sole fundraising event for the Thomaston Woods Scholarship Fund, which provides tuition scholarships for the young motivated residents of the Thomaston Woods affordable townhouse complex in Clermont County. Thanks to your support, over 30 scholarships have been granted to students attending UC Clermont and other area institutions. Let’s keep it going for 2014!
Spring is here, so get your foursome assembled and registered, using the registration form linked through the Parish website at http://www.stthomasepiscopal.org. And we’ll see you on Monday, May 19th. Thank you!
OR TO REGISTER BY MAIL:
Join Alex Jofriet, his family and his friends at the Crohn’s & Colitis Take Steps Walk this May 17th. The walk venue has been changed this year to Sharon Woods Park starting at 9 am. He feels that working together to raise awareness and raise funds for CCFA can make a difference. You can help Alex in his efforts for a cure by making a donation or walking with him on walk day. You can sign up for his walk team (The Eh Team) or make a donation online.
Support Alex by attending a special Spaghetti Dinner on Sunday, March 16 at 4pm at St. Thomas.
If you have further questions or an interest in helping or walking, contact Alex at church or give him a call at 513-722-2512.
In St. Thomas’s Parish Hall on Sunday, December 15th from 1-3pm, St. Thomas’s official youth ministry, ALIVE (Adolescents Living In the Valley Evangelized), will wrap your gifts for you in exchange for a small donation to the Wounded Warriors Project, an organization that helps our wounded veterans get on their feet again. If you would like to volunteer to wrap gifts with ALIVE please contact Allie Howe at 513-831-8855 or firstname.lastname@example.org. All skill levels are welcomed: if you don’t know how to wrap we will teach you! Volunteers will also be writing letters to solders overseas during this event.
Please come by the Parish Hall on the 15th; we would love to wrap your gifts for you and help you get rid of a little Holiday stress!
Note: All gifts should be dropped off no later than 2:30pm so that we have time to make sure they are wrapped and ready for you to pick up at 3pm. If you are dropping off gift(s) please make sure to secure your name on all of them (perhaps with tape and a post it note) so that they can be returned to you when you come back to pick them up at 3pm.
–Also if your family’s Santa always wraps gifts in a certain wrapping paper, please bring us a roll and we will be happy to act as Santa’s elves!