Weekly Update  ~ September 23 – 30, 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

The Centers for Disease Control tracks data from health departments across the U.S. to monitor COVID-19 transmission rates. The data ranks counties as high, substantial, moderate, or low. The transmission rates in Hamilton County at this time have indicated the red with a high transmission rate.  As such, we will be following the health and safety protocols in Level 4 – Red.

In Person Worship Services

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

Youth Discipleship

COVID has allowed us to reimagine so many programs, our priorities and opportunities, especially when it comes to ministry with our young adults.

Beginning Sunday, September 26, 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. As COVID abates, there will be ever new experiences. 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.

Confirmation Sunday will be May 22, 2022. 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 feel free to contact Fr. Darren at darren@stthomasepiscopal.org

Family Ministry & Children’s Formation

As you have experienced over the past year, things frequently change as we continue hearing/learning about COVID and the necessary safety measures.  This being said, the plan for Children’s Formation is to offer hybrid programming.  We will continue with the G.I.F.T. boxes for children K-6 grade.  The boxes will continue being delivered to your home monthly.  If you wish to be receive the G.I.F.T. boxes, please email Amy Rile, ARile@stthomasepiscopal.org letting her know.

In-person mid-week programming will be coordinated as part of the music ministry with the Choristers and Jr. Choristers.  How and when these programs begin are part of the overall COVID safety plan and will be phased-in based on age; beginning with Choristers in 4th-6th grade and followed by Jr. Choristers in 1st-3rd grades.  Nursery care will continue to be available for children 3 and under.

Once a season, we will have the opportunity to come together for a family activity and fellowship.  The first of these occasions will be our Homecoming Sunday, September 12th with a parish breakfast between the services and chance to hear more about the program year.  Following the 10:15 service that morning, the Graeter’s Ice Cream Truck will be outside to continue the fun. The other dates for our Family Fellowship Sundays will be: 

•    September 12    Homecoming Sunday
•    November 28    Advent 
•    January 9          Season After the Epiphany
•    February 27       Our Lenten Journey 
•    April 10              Palm Sunday & Holy Week

Women on the Journey Covenant Group

Women on the Journey is a weekday opportunity for women to reflect on their lives as Christians in the world and to study the Bible in a small group setting. The gatherings focus on the joys and challenges of living our faith in all facets of our lives. Each meeting will include Bible Study as well as readings from the selected book. This year’s group is using My Grandfather’s Blessings by Rachel Naomi Remen. Copies of the book can be purchased through Amazon or your favorite bookseller. In My Grandfather’s Blessings, Rachel Naomi Remen, a cancer physician and master storyteller, uses her luminous stories to remind us of the power of our kindness and the joy of being alive. Dr. Remen’s grandfather, an orthodox rabbi and scholar of the Kabbalah, saw life as a web of connection and knew that everyone belonged to him, and that he belonged to everyone. He taught her that blessing one another is what fills our emptiness, heals our loneliness, and connects us more deeply to life.

Life has given us many more blessings than we have allowed ourselves to receive. My Grandfather’s Blessings is about how we can recognize and receive our blessings and bless the life in others. Serving others heals us. Through our service we will discover our own wholeness—and the way to restore hidden wholeness in the world.

The group meets weekly on Mondays, 9:30-11:30 a.m., beginning September 27th and continuing through May with a break between Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you have questions, contact Heather at hwiseman@stthomasepiscopal.org

Sisters of the Holy Grail

Sisters of the Holy Grail is an adult women’s formation group that gathers over dinner on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 6:00pm for fellowship, learning and good fun. We are excited to be able to meet in-person again after meeting virtually for the past 18 months. Our meetings begin with a light potluck meal of appetizers and desserts over which we “fill our cups” both literally and figuratively. We feed our spirits through our relationships with one another and by participating in a variety of activities – some contemplative, some purely recreational. They have included:

Nourishing our souls with God’s word through Lectio Divina, Hearing our inner voice through soul collage, Practicing “The Power of Self Care”, Learning about St. Thomas’ stained glass windows, Enjoying popcorn and movie night 

As we begin this new year together, we will explore how this group will develop and how we move forward, sharing and reflecting on our lives as Christians. Join us on the 3rd Wednesday of the month at 6:00 p.m. in the Parish Hall beginning September 22nd. If convenient, bring a small dish to share. Our time together is about connecting with God through our connection with one another. 

No Stress – No Commitment | Know the love of Jesus | Love each other as I have loved you.
If you have questions about this group, contact Heather at hwiseman@stthomasepiscopal.org

Men’s Fellowship ~ Monday Morning Men’s Breakfast Group

The St. Thomas Men’s Breakfast Group is an informal and welcoming group of men who meet on Monday mornings starting at 8:30 am at the Eastgate Panera Bread (located in front of the Meijer superstore on Route 32 off I-275). 

We use readings to have a common topic which is accessible to all of us. Usually the readings have something to do with the practices of our Church and/or with our own personal beliefs. Currently we are reading The Faith Instinct by Nicholas Wade. Conversation is unstructured and casual. Talking about one chapter each week will leave us on this topic into or through October.

For more information, contact Bob Henry at rpjhenry@gmail.com or just join us Monday mornings at Panera. Newcomers and friends are welcome!

BachTalk – With Special Guest Gerry Itzkoff

Join this Sunday, Sep. 26, at 7:00 p.m. using this link!

BachTalk is a chance to go behind the music of the Bach Vespers. Hosted by Artistic Director Carlton Monroe, BachTalk can be experienced live through special online events, as the BachTalk Podcast, and as a special YouTube video series. Through conversations and presentations, we will bring you in-depth details and provocative discussion about the music, the background, and the meaning behind the music.

Our first online event on Sunday, September 26 at 7:00 p.m. will be open to anyone. The presentation will be recorded as released on Wednesday prior to a Bach Vespers as a podcast (The BachTalk Podcast) or on our YouTube Channel. This event will feature special guests Adam Shoaff, a regular guest lecturer with the Bach Ensemble, and violinist Gerry Itzkoff, a member of the Cincinnati Symphony and a founding member of the Bach Ensemble. 


St. Thomas Dinner Club

The St. Thomas Dinner Club is back in action at the Terrace Park Country Club Social time begins at 6:00 with dinner served at 6:30. Entrée choices this month are Salmon or Prime Rib.  Cost is $24.00.

Reservations should be made by Sunday, September 5.  They can be made by mailing a check to Lou Scott, 696 Milford Hills Dr., Milford 45150.  Please indicate entrée choice in note section on check. Questions: Contact Lou Scott 513-831-4353 

We hope you will join us – we’ve been looking forward to getting back together for this very enjoyable evening.

Upcoming dates:

Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Wednesday, November 10, 2021

ECM Fundraisers

As the outreach arm of the diocese, Episcopal Community Ministries uses the power of our collective community to help fund local outreach ministries who are in the best position to assess and respond to neighborhood needs. Each grant awarded is administered by the recipient congregation. Every donation to ECM contributes to the well-being of communities all over Southern Ohio, at every level of human need from food and clothing to jobs and homes.

In addition to personal donations, ECM tries to get involved in other fundraising opportunities in the diocese to involve those who may not yet be familiar with our mission. CLICK HERE to read about the offerings below.

OSU Football Ticket Raffle
The Tour de Gem

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.