The Weekly Draft

St. Thomas' Episcopal Church

March 14, 2024

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The Fifth Sunday in Lent 10 am Bulletin March 17, 2024

Dear People of St. Thomas'

Please see the article below for the remainder of our Adult Formation classes in Lent!

Adult Formation in Lent –

Jerusalem, Part II


Join us on Wednesdays in Lent, at 7pm in the Guild Room immediately following Supper, Song, and Prayer, for part II of our exploration of Simon Sebag Montefiore’s book, JERUSALEM: THE BIOGRAPHY. This is a part of our year-long learning about the holy city. Even if you did not participate in part I, you are welcome to join us at any time, either reading what you missed, or just jumping in where we are. History is an ever-flowing stream and one entry point is as good as another.

March 20 – Chapters 38 - 41

Happening at St. Thomas'

Quarterly Safety Committee Meeting

 St. Thomas’ newly-formed Safety Committee will hold its quarterly meeting in the Library on Sunday, March 17th at 9 o’clock. We will review the plan for some coming material upgrades to our campus. Should you have a safety concern or suggestion, please reach out to: our Jr. Warden Tom Shevlin, Laura Reitan, Edy Nicolas, Mike Evanoff, or Bill Barns. 

The Giving Plate

Just a reminder, this Sunday, March 17th, we begin our new Stewardship initiative: The Giving Plate. All non-designated free will gifts you give will go to this months designated ministry—KAIROS. This is a significant part of the overall outreach of this parish. Come to coffee hour in the parish hall after the 10:00 service to learn more about this spirit-filled ministry.

Join Benison Farm live for compline every Tuesday during Lent beginning at 8PM on Facebook

Music Ministry

Music list for Sunday, March 10: Eternal Lord of love, Old 124th;

The Great Creator, Tallis’ Ordinal; Lord Jesus Sun of Righteousness, Cornhill;

Guide me O Thou Great Jehovah, Cum Rhondda

Choral and organ offerings include works by  Dupré, Brahms, Boyce, and Gibbons.

A trio of women’s voices offers a setting of the text Drop, drop slow tears by Phineas Fletcher. The name ‘Phineas Fletcher’ may be familiar to you as the grandson of the Biblical Aaron, or the Harry Potter character involved with the trading of invisibility cloaks. Alas, the Phineas Fletcher related to this morning’s motet is the English priest and poet, 1582-1650, who left a great body of works, including the text Drop, drop slow tears. The text is set to a hymn tune by Orlando Gibbons, Song 46, published in 1623. Vaughan Williams was the first to bring the text and tune together in the English Hymnal. It is a remarkably beautiful setting of Fletcher’s text:

Drop, drop, slow tears, and bathe those beauteous feet,

which brought from heaven the news and Prince of Peace.

Cease not, wet eyes, his mercies to entreat;

to cry for vengeance sin doth never cease.

In your deep floods drown all my faults and fears;

nor let his eye see sin, but through my tears.

Flower Guild

Download Flower Form


The Flower Guild will be looking for palm fronds to use on Palm Sunday. Please wait to trim your palms! Bring only the green ones!! Due to a Memorial service in the morning, please bring them to church on at 1 pm, Saturday, March 23.

Youth Ministry

Click here to download the Spring 2024 youth schedule

St. Thomas’ offers sacramental rites (Baptism, Communion Basics, Confirmation), Feasting on the Word for Grades 1-5, Truthseekers class for Grades 6-12, guild apprenticeship ("Behind the Scenes"), and fun activities throughout the school year. The nursery is staffed at both Sunday services during the school year. For an overview of our youth program, check out the website. Go to Formation > Youth Ministry.

God Help Me! will meet this Sunday at 9am in the Guild Room (in the parish hall).

God Help Me!

A Group for Parents

Kayla and Jonathan Mitchell invite parents of nursery and school-aged kids to meet between services for an informal, layperson-led conversation. The idea is to share the highs and lows of the week, then discuss the gospel for the day - all while the nursery takes care of the kids.

This Sunday, March 17, Feasting on the Word for children in grades K-5 will be on Jeremiah 31:31-34 with teacher Jenny Brouillet.

Truthseekers' class for grades 6-12 will meet next on Sunday, March 17, at 9am in the Founders' room.

Click here for past weeks' summaries

Adult Formation

Women of the Word meet on Thursday mornings at 9:30 in the Founders Room.

We will be using a new devotional book “Move” by local author Amy Scott. The devotions are based on Joshua.

Please contact Julie Songster for information, 727-420-6839. 

Men's Bible Study - Wednesdays 7:30am

A *new* Men's Bible Study will be beginning on Wednesday, Feb. 21. We will be studying the book of Exodus.

A copy of The Story of God: Exodus edited by Christopher J. H. Wright will be our guide and you can pick up a copy wherever you like to buy books. As always, if the cost of the book would prohibit you from attending a copy can be made available to you at no cost.

Pastoral Care

The list of names in the Prayers of the People will be published in the bulletin every week and in this section of The Draft.

If you would like to have someone's name mentioned in the prayers during a Sunday service, before the service, write the name(s) into the notebook on the lectern (the podium) on the Prayers of the People's page. These names will only be read at that service. To add someone to the long-term prayer list, contact the church office.

Long-term prayer list: Dona, Geoff, Sharon Joanne, John, Tara, Ed, Yvonne, Howard, Marcia, Carolyn, Charlie, Don, Robert, Estelle, Matthias, Jennifer, Matthew, Andrea, Chris, Barbara, Lily, Jane, Kathy, Mary, Diane, Ronnie, Ethan, Jennifer, Bart, Ralph, Cindy, Norma, George, Janet, Iris, Anne, and Stephanie.

Healing Prayer

Healing Prayer is offered at the 10am Sunday service, and occasionally at 8am. After communion you are invited to come to the back of the church and receive a confidential healing prayer from a trained parishioner. Prayer ministers share the heart of Jesus’s love and care, and are guided by the Holy Spirit to listen, love, and pray into your prayer requests for physical, emotional and/or spiritual needs. Intercessory prayers for others can also be given. If you have any questions about the healing prayer ministry or feel called to serve, please call Joan Barns, 757 567-5488, or email [email protected].


Thanks to your attendance and generous donations to the Luau we raised $4931.81 for Pack-A-Snack and $547.98 for Maui Relief. Thank you everyone!


Annual Meeting In Case You Missed It: Sabbatical Planning


         In the Episcopal Church a Rector is entitled to a three-month sabbatical after serving a parish for seven years. We at St. Thomas’ have been blessed to have Fr. Ryan as our Rector for longer than that and you will undoubtedly agree that he is deserving of a time to reenergize and replenish his spiritual reservoirs. In the summer 2025 we plan to provide him and his family such an opportunity. This will be a time for rest and renewal, physically, emotionally, and relationally. For now, there are three things for you to know about what’s on the horizon:


(1) We have established a sabbatical Planning Committee. The members include Pam Holley, Mary Clark, and Bill Barns. Our main effort will be to: shape expectations; promote understanding; and plan for success. We will hold events to mark the beginning and conclusion of Fr. Ryan’s time away also.


(2) Fr. Ryan is applying for an Eli Lilly Corporation Grant, which is a substantial financial award intended to offset some of the expenses both for him and St. Thomas’. That submission is due in March and the gift will be awarded in August. And finally,


(3) This is a tremendously important time in a priest’s life as well as that of the parish’s. So, will you please begin to pray about this? We love Fr. Ryan and all the Whitleys and we want this to be a time of joy for them; and we also want this to be an impactful milestone in Ryan’s call to serve God.


         There will be much more to follow as the plan unfolds, so please feel free to reach out to any member of this committee if you have a question or suggestion.   We will provide updates to keep you informed.


Vision & Mission of St. Thomas' Outreach

St. Thomas' Outreach 2024 - The Giving Plate

“With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to You; I will give thanks to Your name, O Lord, for it is good.” - Psalm 56:12

A freewill offering is something given in addition to your pledge. It takes the form of cash in the collection plate. Starting March 17th, on every third Sunday, St. Thomas' Outreach will use the cash in the collection plate for specific program or project in which our parishioners are volunteering. Usually, this collection will be accompanied by an invitation to come learn more about the ministry in the parish hall during coffee hour. Bring your curiosity and discern where God is calling you.

St. Thomas' Outreach focuses on the corporal acts of mercy described in Matthew 25:45: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and imprisoned. Listen for announcements in church and read the Draft to find out which outreach ministry will be featured every 3rd week of the month.

First: Kairos prison ministry on March 17 introduced by Dudley Savage. Come to the parish hall during coffee hour to hear his stories.

Background on the Kairos ministry. “Kairos” in Greek means God’s special time.

Since the 70’s twice a year there is a team of 35 lay & clergy volunteers that enter prisons around the world sharing this special time with the inmates from Thursday to Sunday.

I have been blessed to be involved in this amazing ministry for over 20 years.

The team meets for six Saturdays prior for the Holy Spirit to help each of us to empty ourselves of self so that we may become one body.

There are many who only know of God, though when you have the opportunity to experience His grace and unconditional love; (maybe for the first time) it can be a live changing. That my friends is what a Kairos weekends is all about.

The residents (inmate) may never see the other side of the barb wire fence; hence forever being controlled by the prison system. However, there is one thing the correctional officer’s can’s take away, and that is the freedom and peace that can reside in your heart from having a loving relationship with our Lord & Savior.


On behalf of all the teams that will be serving this year, please hold us all in your prayers.

Honduras Mission Trip

Check the website for a list of items to donate.

St. Thomas Mission Trip to La Clinica Nueva,

San Francisco de Orica, Honduras, May 11-18


We now have 14 people going on the mission trip in May and are very excited. Please watch the Draft for ways to support the mission team and the clinic. Bins will be in the back of the sanctuary.

Mission Trip Schedule


  • Sunday, April 21, 5:00pm– Planning Session 3

  • Wednesday, May 8, 7:00pm – Packing Night

  • Friday, May 10 – Leaders depart (Rick, Grace, & Russ)

  • Saturday, May 11 – Group departs

  • Saturday, May 18 – Group Returns

Thanks to all for your help with Pack-a-Snack at St. Thomas' Episcopal Church


Pack-a-Snack Volunteers for the Week of March 17th:

Purchasing: Laura & Bill Vrooman

Staging: Linda Davis, Marilyn Smith

Packing: Men's Bible Study, Wednesday, 03/20/2024

Delivery: Nancy Day, Thursday, 03/21/2024


Pack-a-Snack Volunteers for the Week of March 24th:

Purchasing: Laura & Bill Vrooman

Staging: Linda Davis, Marilyn Smith

Delivery: Bill Thomas, Thursday, 03/28/2024

Pack-a-Snack Volunteers for the Week of March 31st:

Purchasing: Laura & Bill Vrooman

Staging: Linda Davis, Marilyn Smith

Packing: Mercy Keepers, Wednesday, 04/03/2024

Delivery: Lee Coryell, Wednesday, 04/05/2024

Thanks to all who have been so generous in their support of Mercy Keepers! Your donations of food, drink and clothing mean so much to those that need our help.


If you wish to donate your items of need, please place your contributions in the baskets, in the rear of the sanctuary, near the baptismal font.


Thank you for using your BOGOs in your support of this St. Thomas' ministry.


Black Bags for Lenten Season:

It's a good time to clean out your closet and help others! Pat and Dave Bernfeld have supplied large, black garbage bags in which to place the clothes and shoes our church members no longer need. These bags can be found on the church's welcome table. As you clean out your closets, and as the Lenten season comes to a close, please consider Mercy Keepers for your donation. Please place your smaller donation bags at the rear of the church, close to the baskets used for the Mercy Keepers collection of food. If you have a larger bag, or multiple bags, please bring them to the church office. Your donated bag will be delivered to Mercy Keepers. For more information about the Black Bag Lenten Project...40 days and 40 items, refer to a separate article in the Weekly Draft. Thank you!


Our next Sandwich Sunday will be on Sunday, April 7! We'll meet in the parish hall between the 8am and 10am services. All ages welcome! I deliver them to Robin Taylor of Isaiah's Place after the 10am service. - Mother Anne

Click here to learn more

St. Thomas' Art Project


Virtual Happy Hour

Please join us on Thursdays from 6 - 7:15 pm. Connect through Zoom:

Meeting ID: 969 2031 5905

Password: 06182020

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Happy Birthday Blessings this week go out to: Laura Reitan, Deann Coop, Jerry Lowry, Ted Badger, Dillon Brehmer, Matthew White, and Mindy Harvard.

Happy Anniversary blessings this week go out to: Kayla and Jonathan Mitchell, and Alexis and Jay Walker.

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Lay Minister Schedule

Acolytes 10am: Colin Burkhart, Jace Viera, Hannah Wetmore

Altar Guild: Jean Irwin, Susan McMullen

Camera: Jackson Ball

Coffee Host : Ellen Burkhart, Viki Sheahan

Healing: Kay Mahoney

Lectors 8 am: Jack Day

Lectors 10 am: Lloyd Chapin, Mary Ellen Shevlin

Eucharistic Ministers 10am: Liz Stiles

Oblations 10 am: Gina and Mike White

Prayers of the People 10 am: Joan Barns

Ushers 10 am: Teri Andres Coryell and Lee Coryell

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View the Whole Calendar

Parish Calendar

Friday, March 15

Saturday, March 16

Sunday, March 17, The Fourth Sunday in Lent

8:00 am - Holy Eucharist, Rite II, Spoken

10:00 am - Holy Eucharist, Rite II, Choral

Monday, March 18

9:00 am - Morning Prayer

9:30 am - Staff Meeting

Tuesday, March 19

9:00 am - Morning Prayer

Wednesday, March 20

7:30 am - Men's Bible Study

9:00 am - Morning Prayer

5:15 pm - Chapel Eucharist

6:00 pm -Supper, Song, and Prayer

7:00 pm - Adult formation

Thursday, March 21

9:00 am- Morning Prayer

6:30 pm - Chancel Choir

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