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THE EPISTLE: November 30th, 2022

Welcome To The Rev. Donavan Cain


We welcome Fr. Donavan Cain as the eighth rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church. He comes to us from All Saints Episcopal Church in Jacksonville, Florida where he has served as rector for the last 9 years. Prior to that he served for two years as the Associate Rector of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Jacksonville. Before moving to Northeast Florida, Fr. Donavan served for three years as the Rector of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Paris, Kentucky, in the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington.


Fr. Donavan received his Master of Divinity degree from the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in New York City, and prior to that, he served as a Lay College Chaplain in the Episcopal Diocese of Lexington, serving Episcopal student groups at Berea College in Berea, KY, and Transylvania University in Lexington, KY.


Fr. Donavan was born and raised in the Central Appalachian Coalfields of Eastern Kentucky, and, prior to entering the ordination process in the Episcopal Church, he earned a Master of Arts degree in Appalachian Studies from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. He is an accomplished traditional Appalachian musician, and he has performed Old Time and Bluegrass music, both solo and with the Berea College Bluegrass Band, around the United States and in Ireland and Northern Ireland.


Fr. Donavan, his wife Audrey, and youngest daughter Aoife, will join the St. Thomas family on January 8, 2023. They have two older daughters; Erin is in college at Eastern Kentucky University and Abby is a head recruitment specialist for a youth advocate program in Kentucky.

Here’s a wonderful message from Fr. Donavan:  

Blood Drive

St. Thomas Friends,

This Sunday, December 4, is our last St. Thomas blood drive of the year. The need for blood is critical once again. If you can donate, please stop by the bloodmobile in the parking lot between 7:30 a.m. and noon. You are welcome to stop by at your convenience or you can sign up for an appointment at the link below:


 Give someone an amazing gift this Christmas! 

Many thanks for your help!

Betsy Hill

Fellow Parishioners...


Due to a recent security incident at St. Thomas, the Vestry has made the decision that all church doors will remained locked on weekdays during regular church hours unless there is a known event scheduled at the church. Those individuals with a FOB will still be able to gain access to the church via the doors with electronic locks on those days. During weekday church hours when there are no scheduled events, those parishioners without a FOB will need to enter the door near the office. Also, we have recently found numerous unlocked doors during non-business hours. The Vestry kindly asks that when you leave the church make sure that the door in which you entered is locked.



Ted Evans, Junior Warden

George Harriman, Senior Warden


If you made a pledge to St. Thomas for 2023, we want to express deep gratitude. Thank you. If you have not yet pledged, please consider doing so in the near future. As we plan for an exciting new year with our new Rector, Donavan, your support is vital to the ministries through St. Thomas.

Creative Souls

Creative Souls’ next monthly gathering will be Friday December 2nd in Hiers Hall. Whatever your creative discipline, come join us for fellowship as we work together on our own projects. Contact Belinda Greenaway [email protected] if interested.

Children's Ministry

Calling all young/young-ish adults to pull out that ugly Christmas sweater or other festive clothing to join the ReGeneration group on the evening of Saturday, December 3 starting at 5:30pm in the Parish Hall!  Our fellow St. Thomas parishioners and chocolatiers, Gary and Elaine Dinstuhl, will be showing us how to make some sweet treats for the holiday season. We're asking the attendees to chip in by bringing an appetizer, heavy hors d'oeuvre, or beverage for the group to share.  Here's the sign-up link to help us stay organized. You are welcome to come and hang out even if you don't want to take part in candy making or wear an ugly sweater.  You are also welcome to bring friends!  


We're planning to do a "favorite things" gift exchange, with the price limit of $10. All the ladies should bring a gift for a lady, and each guy should bring something another guy would like. You may choose to "wrap" your gift in a new pair of socks, gift bag, or wrapping paper. We'll play a fun game to see who brings home what. No gag gifts, please.


For those that are interested, we will have childcare from 5:30pm until 8:00pm that evening.  Contact Laura Beth Bestor ([email protected]) or Michell York ([email protected]) to let us know if you are coming or if you have any questions.

St. Thomas Night

Make plans to join us at 5pm on Sunday, December 18 for St. Thomas Night. Dinner will follow. The fellowship committee will provide the meat, but we need your favorite sides and/or desserts. This year, we are revisiting the story of Christ’s birth through the lens of a crowd favorite–Eek! The Musical.  


We have a casting call for mice and children/youth readers who are not in Treble Choir. Contact our Children's Ministry Coordinator, Laura Beth Bestor ([email protected]) if your family is interested in participating. Dress rehearsal for all participants in Eek! is Saturday, December 17 at 10 am in the Nave.

Children's Ministry Christmas Party

The St. Thomas Children's Ministry invites all children to our Children's Christmas Party on Saturday, December 17 from 11 am-1 pm. We'll have lunch followed by cookie decorating and games. Like last year, parents are welcome to drop off their children during this time to get some holiday tasks done or simply have a break. We are in need of adult and youth volunteers to help with the party. Contact Laura Beth Bestor ([email protected]) if your family will be attending or if you would like to help out.

No Children's Sunday School or Children's Chapel on Sunday, December 25 or Sunday, January 1. The Children's Ministry will resume our schedule on Sunday, January 8!


The nursery is closed for the Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day worship services.

A Festival of Lessons & Carols

You are cordially invited to a service of Lessons and Carols at 5:00 PM Sunday, December 11. Our choir members are busy practicing for the service. Give yourself the gift of spiritual reflection and beautiful sounds during this busy season. There will be a reception

following in the Narthex.

The Anticipation of Advent

On November 27th, the first Sunday of Advent, the Church began a new year. From the Latin word adventus which means “coming,” Advent is the season of waiting and watching for Christ to be born anew in our lives as we await Christ's coming again in glory.

         Each Wednesday evening we will have a guest speaker and enjoy a meal together following a Taizé service. The schedule is below. Please make plans to join us during this holy time. 


  • November 30: The Rev. David Meginniss, retired Rector, Christ Church, Tuscaloosa             
  • December 7: The Rev. Michael Goldsmith, Rector, Church of the Nativity, Huntsville  
  • December 14: The Rev. Sarah Watts, Associate Priest, St. John’s, Decatur 

  • 5:30 p.m. Taizé Service Nave 
  • 6:00 p.m. Supper Parish Hall 
  • 6:30 p.m. Program 
  • 6:30 p.m. Children’s Program
  • December 21: Christmas Carols 
  • 5:30 p.m. Christmas Carols Nave 
  • 6:00 p.m. Supper Parish Hall 

Vestry Elections

St. Thomas will elect four new Vestry members at the annual parish meeting on Sunday, January 8. Cynthia Geis, Bob Harwell, Suzanne Mohler, and Jenna Pirani are completing their terms. If you or someone you know is interested in serving on the vestry, please submit the name in the box marked VESTRY in the Narthex. If you nominate someone, please discuss it with that person first to be sure they are willing to serve the three-year term. Nominations will be closed after church on

December 11. Nominations will not be accepted from the floor of the annual parish meeting. Please prayerfully consider if you, or someone you know, may be called to serve our parish in this important leadership role. 


Vestry responsibilities include:

  • Attending vestry meetings on the third Monday evening of each month.
  • Attending the vestry retreat, an overnight at Camp McDowell in January.
  • Serving on task forces or ad hoc committees as required throughout the year.
  • On a rotating basis, two vestry members count the offering and secure the building each Sunday after services.
  • Vestry members cook, serve and clean-up breakfast on a rotating schedule one Sunday per month. Usually, each vestry member signs up for breakfast four times a year.

Sunday Adult Formation will be at 9:30AM in the Parish Hall. Discussion will be based on Advent: The Once and Future Coming of Jesus Christ by Fleming Rutledge. We look forward to rich conversation! If you have any questions please contact Ranie at [email protected]


Treble Choir Rehearsals are on Sundays at 3:30 pm.

Lessons & Carols Rehearsal Saturday, December 17, 10:00 am (Adults and Trebles)

Shellie's Kids Christmas Present Drive

St. Thomas will again this year be participating in Shellie’s Kids Christmas Present Drive. Shellie’s Kids is a local program that provides Christmas gifts to underprivileged kids in the Huntsville area. We will have a sign- up sheet to buy gifts for a specific child each Sunday morning between and after services. Any questions please contact Travis Lee at 850-503-5587 or [email protected].

The Grief Group

The Grief Group will continue to meet each Wednesday in the parlor. Please note, the meeting time is 2:30. Pat Johnson, LPCS, will facilitate the group. Please join us. For questions contact Virginia at [email protected].

Operation Santa Claus Time is Here! 

Each Christmas, St. Thomas parishioners help Santa gather items that are needed and wanted by clients in the Crisis Units at Wellston Behavioral Health Center. Susan Smith will have a table in the Narthex between services and after the 10:30 service to offer you an opportunity to provide a gift to bring cheer to a client for Christmas. 


If you need to borrow or use anything in the church, please check it out in the church office. This includes coolers, wheelchairs, kitchen items, tents, tables/chairs, etc. Please help us be good stewards of our church. 

Our deadline for the EPISTLE and Week At A Glance is

Tuesday at noon.

Advent Wreath Making

Smoking Chickens for Manna House

Making Turkeys

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Phone: 256.880.0247

Email: [email protected]