The Weekly Draft

St. Thomas' Episcopal Church

September 7, 2023

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The Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost 10 am Bulletin September 10, 2023

Dear People of St. Thomas’,


There is an oft missed and little recognized moment in the Eucharistic liturgy that has always been one of my favorites. It’s a negative space – something not done rather than an action taken; in a liturgy which has sometimes been criticized as too scripted, it’s an absence of sound. Some clergy ignore it, usually on account of poor training rather than malicious intent. Some rush through it because—as a negative space, as an absence—it naturally makes us uncomfortable. We, like nature, abhor a vacuum. 


I’m talking about the moment, after the Eucharistic prayer is completed, that is referred to as “the Fraction.” It’s when the priest breaks the bread and then holds it aloft, separating the pieces of the host so all may see it is fractured. A lot of times in Episcopal churches, this is accomplished quickly, as one smooth action and accompanied simultaneously with the words, “Alleluia. Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast. Alleluia.” But if you look in the Book of Common Prayer, you’ll see a rubric in that spot that is unusual. The 1979 Book of Common Prayer was especially noted for its liturgical permissiveness rather than prescriptiveness. But here, it tells you exactly what to do, and there is no option to either do it another way or skip it. The rubric reads, “A period of silence is kept.” That’s the negative space, the absence of sound, that gets run over all the time.


When we keep that silence as we are instructed, we gaze upon the broken body of our Lord and do nothing else. The sound of Elijah’s earthquake and wind and firestorm are swept away and like him, we meet God in the silence.


There is a traditional, devotional response to this moment that I commend to your practice, and that is, once the silence is over, to whisper the confession of St. Thomas, “My Lord and my God.” Try it this Sunday. Give yourself to the absence of action and sound and in that void, find the Lord of Heaven and Earth who has come down to you.


God bless you!



Fr. Ryan+

Adult Formation Fall Schedule

September 13: Introduction (No reading)

September 20: Documentary Film (No reading)

September 27: Read Prologue – Chapter 5

October 4: Read Chapters 6 – 10

October 11: Read Chapters 11 – 14

October 18: Read Chapters 15 - 16


November 1: Read Chapters 17 – 18

November 8: Read Chapters 19 - 20

This Week at St. Thomas'

So far, 20 kids are coming!

Sky Zone

Saturday, September 9, 2023

13000 66th St., Largo, FL 33773

We have an extra ticket available for Open Jump from 11:00-12:30. You don't have to be a church member to come. Canterbury students are welcome. Little Leapers (7 and under) starts at 9:30, ends at 11. Meet us at Sky Zone, even if you haven't requested a ticket. St. Thomas' will cover the kids' tickets. Friends are always welcome.

- Mother Anne 954-253-4414

Come check out the Acolyte Guild this Saturday!

Serving as an Acolyte at St. Thomas is open to everyone, starting in the 2nd grade and up! It is a great way to learn up close what Episcopal liturgy is all about, and it is fun and exciting to assist our clergy in elevating our worship experience as a congregation. If you or a family member are interested, please reach out to David Gould ([email protected], 614-216-1742). We will have a training session for new and old Acolytes from 1:30-3:30pm in the St. Thomas sanctuary on Saturday, September 9.

(Open Jump at Skyzone goes from 11-12:30, so you'll have time to grab lunch and go over to church. See Youth Activities.)

Read Gina's letter

Beginning this Sunday: St. Thomas' Truthseekers: A new class for middle and high school students

Starting Sept. 10, Gina and Mike White will be teaching a new class on the Bible in the fall, using The Bible Project. In the Spring, the course focus will shift to practical theology, tackling the big questions that kids have about religion and faith. This class will include a community service activity once a month. Meeting time: 9am, between Sunday services in the guild room.

For your Calendars

Dates: Sept. 10, Sept. 17, Sept. 24, and Oct. 1.

Beginning this Sunday: God Help Me!

A Group for Parents

Kayla and Jonathan Mitchell would like to invite parents of nursery and school-aged kids to gather 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. Coffee will be provided.

9am in the Guild Room (take a left after you enter the parish hall).

Active Assailant Training: Save the Date.


On Sunday September 17, at 11:30, Officer Chip Wells from the St. Petersburg Police Department will visit St. Thomas’ to provide training to the congregation on strategies and techniques to survive the unthinkable: an active shooter situation. This instruction will last approximately 90 minutes and there will be time for questions and answers. It includes material from actual previous incidents, although no graphic photos. There are 911 calls to accompany this mature subject matter. The training applies not only to a church setting, but also to other aspects of our daily lives such as visiting a grocery store, other shopping venues, or places of entertainment. The message is powerful and will prepare all those who attend with increased awareness of their surroundings while providing some helpful suggestions.


The session will take place in the Parish Hall shortly after the 10 o’clock service. The material is not appropriate for children, so the nursery will be staffed and youth activities and pizza offered in the library/. Coffee hour will take place as usual with a slightly enhanced menu. Officer Wells is a true subject matter expert and seasoned public servant whom we are blessed to have conduct the training. His presentation will be memorable and the instruction is vitally important, so please plan on attending!

Music Ministries

The Fifteenth Sunday After Pentecost September 10, 2023


Prelude  "Trinity Fanfare" - Alex Guegert

Bells of St. Thomas'

Processional Hymn "God Is Love" - 379 ABBOT'S LEIGH

Hymn of Praise "Glory to God" - WLP 900

Psalm 119: 33-40 E. F. Rimbault

Gospel Acclamation “Blessed Are the Pure in Heart" – 656 FRANCONIA

Offertory Music “Teach Me O Lord”- Thomas Attwood

Presentation Hymn  "Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow" – OLD 100TH

Sanctus "Holy, Holy, Holy" WLP 859

Fraction Anthem "Lamb of God" S161

Communion Music “Beach Spring” from “The Sacred Harp”-arr. Kevin McChesney

Bells of St. Thomas'

Processional Hymn "Dear Lord and Father of Mankind" – 653 REPTON

Postlude "Trumpet Voluntary" - John Stanley

Music This Sunday

After their summer break, our accomplished handbell group, “The Bells of St Thomas” joins our worship leadership this Sunday. At a recent Wednesday night Supper-Song-And-Prayer I was sitting with a parishioner when I mentioned that I needed to get to handbell rehearsal. They responded, “Oh! Do we have handbells? Do they ever play on Sundays?” Wow, I thought. I need to spread the word about this bell group! “The Bells of St Thomas” play once each month September through May. During the Advent season and around Holy Week the group plays additionally. This coming Sunday, 9-10 begins their fall season.

The prelude, “Trinity Fanfare” by Alex Guebert is festive joyful start to the service. It sounds impressive on the bells but is easy to play. At Communion, the bell group will play “Beach Spring”, a setting of an Early American hymn tune. This tune, used today for various texts, first appeared in the “Sacred Harp” hymnal published by B. F. White in 1844. It was originally associated with the text, “Come Ye Sinners Poor and Needy” by Joseph Hart, (1712-1768).

The Offertory is the familiar choral anthem, “Teach Me, O Lord” by Thomas Attwood, (1765-1838). The text is Psalm 119:33. You might notice that our psalm for Sunday is Psalm 119, beginning with verse 33. Attwood was an English organist, composer, and a student of Mozart. This little gem of an anthem is a standard in our Anglican repertoire. The piece is a simple straightforward setting of this text that never fails to connect and communicate.

Hope to see you in worship!


Youth Ministry

St. Thomas’ offers traditional formation (Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, lectionary-based classes for Grades 1-6), guild apprenticeship ("Behind the Scenes"), and fun activities during 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 Programs.

The nursery is open at 8am and 10am.

Download the fall schedule of family events here


Parishioners of. all ages are invited to come read a story to the little kids in the Nursery during the 10:00 service starting Sept. 10.

There is a sign-up sheet in the back of the church.

Invested in St. Thomas’ by Tom Alison

It started out as it did for many others…$50 check in the plate when we were there. This went on for about 2 years. For us, things changed when we started giving a little time as well as a little money. A couple of ladies asked Elizabeth to join the flower guild. They mentored her, but Elizabeth does not do anything halfway: books and workshops on flower arranging; a home orchid garden; eventually chairing the Flower Guild and co-chairing Art in Bloom at the Fine Arts Museum; many hours of enjoyment and many friends.

Then C. O. Ritch asked me to join a small group on the Finance Committee. Why not? Get out of the house for an hour or two one night a month. Maybe a lunch or two at Harvey’s. I knew a good bit about business finance but nothing about Church budgets or accounting which has its own rules. I learned what it takes to operate a church, keep the lights on and doors open, maintain a campus, take care of staff and parishioners, serve multiple constituencies and missions. I also learned the realities of St. Thomas’ financial condition…some good things but others more challenging and always the unexpected. It also changed my attitude toward giving. We were in the bottom third of pledge givers and it did not take much to get into the top third. I now understood the need to have a number for the budget. Fixed operating costs went up every year and continue to do so, so we gave a little more each year. But that small step made a difference.

We also gave more of our time. That was the big payoff for us. Reading and ushering on Sundays; serving on the Vestry and as Treasurer for a few years; Supper Song and Prayer; planning and hosting events like the Derby Party and Oktoberfest; taking flowers from weddings and funerals to be repurposed for nursing home bouquets; adult faith formation classes…you name it. Most importantly, we have made friends and we put time into those friends too.

Now we are both retired. As with many in retirement our income has changed. And so has our giving. Thankfully we have enough to retire without being dependent on our kids. But we are dependent on St. Thomas’. Not only does our time spent give us greater purpose and something to do with ourselves, it provides us with an extended family of friends we can count on. We no longer consider it just giving to St. Thomas’…we are investing in St. Thomas’. We want St. Thomas’ to grow, to provide more ways for more people to participate, and to be here for future generations. We hope you will invest as well. The return is pretty good.

Gratitude Gatherings

Brunch & Bubbly

Saturday, September 9


This event will be held in the Parish Hall from 9:30am-11:00am. This event will focus on brunch and bubbly libations and promises to cater to the brunch crowd by offering a cheerful, sociable, and enticing atmosphere. 

Tacos & Banana Splits

Saturday, September 16


This event will be held in the Parish Hall from 5pm-7pm. This will be an interactive event for all ages and will focus on “building” with a build your own taco bar and banana split bar. 

Beach Gathering

Saturday, September 23 


This event will be held at Fort De Soto Park from 8:30am – 1:30 for all ages. We have a pavilion and will be having coffee and donuts early and lunch at noon. 

Pastoral Care

Would you like to visit parishioners who are home bound or in assisted living?

Eucharistic Ministers serve at the Altar at the 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sunday service during Holy Eucharist by administering the chalice. An effort is made to assign Eucharistic Ministers to the service they customarily attend.

Eucharistic Visitors may offer fellowship and prayer, and or do a short communion service to help our brothers and sisters stay connected to our Lord and with their community of faith. Eucharistic Visitors currently serve about once a month. These are licensed diocesan lay ministries. Let Mthr. Anne know if you're interested.

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 Grace.

Long-term list: Mark, Dona, Geoff, Sharon Joanne, Tara, Anne, Ed, Yvonne, Howard, Ann, Jean, Jan, Pat, David, Billy, Carolyn, Brenda, Marissa, Joe, Cindy, John, Jane, Sharon, Joey, Mike, Nancy, Anne, Donna and Michael.

You're invited to offer healing prayers during Communion at the 8 and 10am services. You may start with a prayer partner before you try it on your own. If you are willing to give this ministry a try, please contact Russ Ball at 727-667-5471.



Next Sandwich Sunday on October 15

Thank you to last week's devoted sandwich makers! The manager at Gordon Food Services donated two huge cases of bottled water to give away with the sandwiches this week. God bless him, and heartfelt thanks to Angie and Michael for doing the shopping! These sandwiches are feeding people at Mirror Lake, Williams Park, even up in Tampa.

We meet in the parish hall to make sandwiches between the 8am and 10am services. All ages welcome!

Blessing of the Animals and Fair

October 1 – 10am Service:

The Youth and Outreach continue to need your support. “Help fulfill our Animal Wish List. There is a copy of the list on the Welcome Table. Be sure to pick up a copy. Thank you to all who have already brought in donations for the Compassion Kind Foundation. There are still two more Sunday opportunities to donation.

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


Pack-a-Snack Volunteers for the Week of September 3rd:

Purchasing: Laura & Bill Vrooman

Staging: Linda Davis

Packing: Men's Bible Study, 09/06/2023

Delivery: Cathy Ball, Thursday, 09/07/2023


Pack-a-Snack Volunteers for the Week of September 10th:

Delivery: Carole Cornelius, Thursday, 09/14/2023


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

Purchasing: Laura & Bill Vrooman

Staging: Linda Davis

Packing: Music Ministry Team, 09/20/2023

Delivery: Pete Calabrese, Thursday, 09/21/2023

Adult Formation

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

WOW will resume on September 14.

Please contact Julie Songster for information, 737-420-6839. 

Men's Bible Study - Wednesdays 7:30am

Art Ministry

Save the dates:

Friday, Sept. 8, 6:30-8:30pm - Reception for Creative Clay/PARC exhibit

Saturday, Sept. 30, 10am-12pm - Chrismon workshop, parish hall


Virtual Happy Hour

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

Meeting ID: 969 2031 5905

Password: 06182020

virtual happy hour.jpg

Happy Birthday Blessings this week go out to: Brynn Stutzman, Oliver Forrester, Lomax Dobbs, Alexis Walker, Carolyn Heyboer, and Breck Moorefield.

Happy Anniversary blessings this week go out to:

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Lay Minister Schedule

Acolytes: David Gould, Joni James, Jace Viera

Altar Guild: Joanna Ritch, Susan McMullen

Camera Operator 10am: Joy Howerton

Coffee Host: Rene Clark

Flower Guild: Caron Burgess, Laura Vrooman

EM 10 am: Mark Howerton, Dudley Savage

Healing: Kay Mahoney

Lector 8am: Beverly Littlejohn

Lectors 10am: Lloyd Chapin, Joe DiOrio

Musicians: Chancel Choir, Bells of St. Thomas'

Oblations: Susan and Steve McMullen

Prayers of the People 10am: Joan Barns

Ushers 10am: Tom Shevlin, Dick Nelson

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View the Whole Calendar

Parish Calendar

Friday, September 8

5:30 pm - Creative Clay and PARC The Good Earth Art Opening

Saturday, September 9

9:30 am - Brunch and Bubbly Gratitude Gathering

9:30 am - Sky Zone Youth

1:30 pm - Acolyte Training

Sunday, September 10-The Fifrteenth Sunday After Pentecost

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

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

Chancel Choir, Bells of St. Thomas'

Monday, September 11

9:00 am - Morning Prayer

9:30 am - Staff Meeting

Tuesday, September 12

9:00 am - Morning Prayer

Wednesday, September 13

7:30 am- Men's Bible Study

9:00 am- Morning Prayer

5:15 pm - Chapel Eucharist

6:00 pm - Supper, Song, and Prayer

6:45 pm - Compline

7:00 pm - Adult Formation Jerusalem the Biography

Thursday, September 14

9:00 am- Morning Prayer

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