I wrote last week about how to begin thinking about personal Lenten disciplines. This week, I’d like to let you know about a corporate Lenten discipline we’ll be undertaking at St. Thomas’. We know that God calls us to be the best stewards of our resources that we can be, both natural and financial. The Vestry, particularly, feels the onus of responsibility when it comes to how we spend your financial contributions. One area that we’ve identified a need for improvement is in our printing load. Each week, we produce a fairly full bulletin as a worship aid, which is both costly in terms of finances, and (as a one-time use document) does not make us the best stewards of our natural resources. Therefore, for our parish wide Lenten discipline, we will be producing a reduced bulletin, cutting our usage of paper (and thus also our costs) in half. This bulletin will still have all the readings and prayers of the people in it, but will require you to pick up the Prayer Book and Hymnal a lot more. We hope that as an added bonus to this discipline, we will all become (once again) more familiar with the Book of Common Prayer and the Hymnals. We recognize that this may be a greater struggle for newcomers, so we are asking you to help those who look like they might require it. Offer to sit with them and guide them through the service, or be a friend and answer a question if you notice someone struggling to find out where we are in the service.
One area of the current bulletin was sacrificed: the announcements section. We believe that is acceptable because we verbally make those announcements on Sunday (and you’re free to make notes!) and everything is also announced both on our website and in the Weekly Draft. Often, announcements are further duplicated on Facebook. Please make use of those resources to get the weekly announcements.
We have designed this new bulletin to be as intuitive and informative as we can within the space constraints we have set for ourselves. We invite you to live with it for a few weeks and then if you have comments or suggestions for how it could be improved within the same space constraints, I’d love to hear them.
God bless you!
Happening at St. Thomas'
Fr. Ryan looks forward to welcoming his college advisor to St. Thomas'. As a part of our year-long education about Jerusalem, and in preparation for our 2025 pilgrimage (fingers crossed), Dr. Hoglund will present a lecture on the Intersectionality of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the Holy City of Jerusalem. The lecture will be at 10 AM on Saturday, February 10 in the Parish Hall at St. Thomas. A licensed lay preacher in the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, Dr. Hoglund will also offer the sermon on Sunday, February 11 at both services.
Come make sandwiches this Sunday, February 11th. We'll meet in the parish hall between the 8am and 10am services. All ages welcome! I deliver them to Robin Taylor at Isaiah's Place after the 10am service. All ages welcome. - Rev. Anne
Road Closure! St. Petersburg Distance Classic on Sunday, February 11th, 2024.
The event will consist of a 5K, a 10K, a half marathon and a full marathon. The event will begin and end in the North Shore Pool Parking Lot. All of the races come across the Snell Isle Bridge beginning at 6:30am and ending at 1:00pm. Please plan your travel to church accordingly!
Save the Date:
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper
February 13, 5:00-7:00pm
The Men's Club will be making a delicious meal for us again this year. Bring a big appetite!
At our annual meeting, we asked for members to sponsor a dinner out for 6-8 people with Father Ryan and Elise, as a means of fostering the next generation of leaders at St. Thomas. We are working hard to create opportunities for youth participation at St. Thomas' - in large part as a means of inviting their families, their parents, to an active life in the church. These dinners, scheduled 4-6 times a year, will give this next generation of leaders’ opportunities to meet and bond with our pastor and with each other in community and faith.
We estimate a cost of each dinner to be $600 and we are looking for members to sponsor one of these evenings. Thank you to those who have already agreed to sponsor one of these evenings. If you would like to sponsor one of these evenings, please send a $600 check made out to St. Thomas' with 'Breaking Bread' in the memo line. Thank you for your commitment to the future of St. Thomas’.
Hymns for Sunday, February 11, the last Sunday after the Epiphany
#135 Songs of thankfulness, Salzburg; #137 O wondrous type! Wareham; #321 My God, thy table now is set, Rockingham; #122 sung to the tune Dulce Carmen, Alleluia Songs of Gladness
Choral and organ music includes works of Martin How, Stephen Cleobury, Arthur Bliss, and Domenico Zipoli.
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.
First Communion class
This Sunday at 10:00, Blythe, Brynn, and Tenlyn will take communion with a deeper understanding. In Communion, we give thanks as we remember Jesus' life and teachings and the sacrifice he made for us. We eat spiritual food so we may grow stronger and be renewed. All over the world, Christians eat communion bread blessed by the Holy Spirit.
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.
Feasting on the Word
Last week, we talked about the way Jesus heals people and the different ways people are healed. Some of our parents are in the medical profession. We decorated bandages with encouraging words and reminders of the things we love (did you know Brynn loves trolls?!). We will wrap the bandages around us and read them when our bodies or spirits are not well.
Caroline had a great idea to make get-well cards for Ms. Pat, and we made a special bandage for her, too. We pray for God to heal her.
St. Thomas' Truthseekers
This week we reviewed the idea of the truth. Taking a theme from “Spider-Man, Far from Home,” we discussed the difference between objective and subjective truths. For example, different cultures might view the same food (e.g., worm larvae) as both disgusting and delicious. Whereas all cultures view murder as wrong.
Building on this, we also discussed the phrase “your truth is not my truth,” and some arguments for an objective morality. We watched a video that helped us understand that God and his goodness serves as an objective reference point for morality (note that the video had a couple of difficult examples referencing objectively evil acts)…while someone can be good without believing in God, there is no goodness without God. We closed by highlighting arguments for objective morality, including what seems like an obvious moral standard of what is right and wrong. While the topic was a little challenging, the class was very engaged and asked lots of great questions.
The Stewardship committee is asking for your input as we plan events for this year. Attached is a survey we are asking you to complete and return by February 11th to share with us what events you would like to see us provide. Thank you for taking your time to give us this information. Just click the button below to be taken to the survey!
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.
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 Grace.
St. Thomas Mission Trip to La Clinca Nueva, San Francisco de Orica, Honduras, May 11-18
Our St. Thomas community has made several trips to this medical clinic. Many of us help support the clinic through the Foundation for International Missions, based here in St. Pete. We have been in constant communication with our doctor in Honduras, Dr. Davila. We are in the process of gathering a team for the trip. Scheduled for May 11-18, 2024, our group will hold four “health fairs” in surrounding villages to accomplish the following:
· Screen for various illnesses and provide on sight care for immediate medical issues
· Connect people in need with Dr. Davila and La Clinica Nueva, the only health care for miles around.
· Provide women to women health care, promoting better feminine health.
· Host “fun days” for local children, teaching basic health care, dental care, and providing games, activities, and Bible stories for all ages.
Yes, we are looking for medical skills, but we also need non-medical personnel as well. Training for the trip will begin in February with a visit from Dr. Davila and monthly planning and preparation meetings. Short term mission trips can be and often are life-changing events. Is God calling you to serve? Contact trip leaders, Rick Smith, Grace Smith, and Russ Martin for more information.
St. Thomas Honduran Mission Trip Schedule
· Sunday, February 18, 5:00pm – Planning Session 1
· Wednesday, February 21, 7:00pm – Dr. Davila (Clinica Nueva) speaks at SSP
Saturday, February 24, 6:00pm - Health For Honduras Gala
Black Bag Lenten Project: Forty Days – Forty Items
The Lord said we should feed and clothe the needy! Here is an opportunity to do just that!! The first day of Lent is Wednesday, February 14 and here’s an easy discipline for you! Each day of Lent, remove one item from your closet that you no longer wear or need. Place the item in the black bag, offering a prayer of thanksgiving. At the end of Lent, donate these items to Mercy Keepers or your favorite charity where they will be shared with someone who can really use them! You can bring your bags to church this year as we have volunteers to deliver them to Mercy Keepers. The Black Bags can be found on the Welcome Table. Help yourself!~
Thanks to all for your help with Pack-a-Snack at St. Thomas' Episcopal Church
Pack-a-Snack Volunteers for the Week of February 4th:
Purchasing: Laura & Bill Vrooman
Staging: Linda Davis, Marilyn Smith
Packing: Wow!, Thursday, 02/08/2024
Delivery: Julie Songster, Thursday, 02/08/2024
Pack-a-Snack Volunteers for the Week of February 11th:
Delivery: Mary Jane Cartier, Thursday, 02/15/2024
Pack-a-Snack Volunteers for the Week of February 18th:
Purchasing: Laura & Bill Vrooman
Staging: Linda Davis, Marilyn Smith
Packing: Stagers and Packers, Tuesday, 02/20/2024
Delivery: Cathy Ball, Thursday, 02/22/2024
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!
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, 737-420-6839.
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.
Throughout the season of Lent, the St. Thomas' Art Project is pleased to present "Stations of the Cross: An Intimate Perspective," by parishioner and St. Petersburg artist Ellen Burkhart.
Please join us from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 16, for a reception celebrating Ellen and her work. She has spent most of the past year creating the images, which depict the final events of Jesus' life.
"I see the stations as an intimate time with Jesus," Ellen wrote. "The works are meant to be looked at closely, close up, and contemplated. We are going through this time with Jesus as part of the crowd as he is being paraded through the streets.
"All 14 pieces are done in different media and styles," she said. "God gave me the inspiration and vision for each piece within the first month of the yearlong project, and that vision has not altered through this process."
Ellen earned a degree in fashion design at Parsons School of Design in New York City. She worked in the fashion industry for 20 years. Ellen, her husband, George, and their adult twin sons, Colin and Tyler, have been members of St. Thomas' since 2006.
The show may be viewed on Sundays during regular worship hours; at other times, by appointment. For information, please email email@example.com
Faith and Action for Strength Together (FAST) Update
Please mark your calendars for the upcoming FAST events:
FAST Network Mtg. Saturday, 3/16, St. Augustine's @ 9A Coffee and pastries will be served; the business of the day will get underway at 9:30 and the meeting will adjourn no later than 10:45
FAST RALLYThursday, 4/11 @ St. Michael the Archangel Catholic, 7P
Nehemiah Action Tuesday, 4/30 @ First Baptist of St. Pete, 7P