The title is a quote from a Poem by John Donne. It speaks against isolationism, which due to COVID we’ve had to isolate and quarantine, and this has affected the surrounding area churches like no one could imagine. At St. Thomas we feel as though we have lost touch not just with surrounding ministries, but with also our sister Episcopal churches. Everyone has been in a sort of survival mode, and concerned with self-preservation, and we are not the only ones.
Many years ago, there used to be an Episcopal church collective, where the surrounding Episcopal churches in the Hudson Valley would be part, and they would exchange priests every third Sunday, everyone would know what events each church was having, and most importantly in the eyes of the parishioners, we would have events, particularly an annual Picnic, where we would have great fellowship among MANY congregations. It was founded and run by our very own Rev. David Stanway, who we shared with St. Mark’s in Fort Montgomery, but since his retirement in early 2000s it disappeared, and as generations aged and passed, or grew up and went to college, there’s been a great disconnect.
We’ve also been in fellowship with the Local Lutheran churches, Christ Lutheran in Newburgh and King of Kings in New Windsor, having an annual Thanksgiving Eve Ecumenical Service, but since COVID it has been hard to meet with them as well. With the growing dynamic in politics and religions, now a days, it has also made many of us feel the need to be recluse about our religion, when in reality we should be sharing the good we feel with others. Even perhaps sharing our lows and finding others who feel the same, or have been there, and how did they manage?
So, St. Thomas is taking a community communication initiative and wants to invite all local ministries, regardless of denomination, Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Non-Denoms, any who believe in Jesus Christ, to share with us their contact information, so we can share what services these ministries provide, what events are happening, in a local faith based newsletter to be compiled and emailed out monthly to start, biweekly when it picks up steam, so that every parish has and can share all the news and events in one document, in one place, instead of a person having to search through tons of webpages and Facebook groups and pages. We want to create a place where someone can have all the information in one moment. “All Are Welcome” to join in this initiative.
What this initiative is not;
This is not a solicitation to gain members to yours or any other parish, nor should it feel like any one is trying to steal your congregants. This will not be a place to debate or argue about dogmas, or interpretations of the word.
This will be a place to share information, service times, ministries or education offered, events and fundraisers held, any exciting news such as a new priest or a member of significance being honored. The goal is to reconnect and network our houses of worship to better our communities.
St. Thomas is a small parish, we used to be very active in our community, but in recent years, we have not had the man power to serve as we have in the past, and so we have been thinking, contemplating, and asking God for help on how we can serve, and we have found that one way is that people are starved for clear information. Their inboxes and news feeds are bombarded constantly by changing information and new information, it is an overload of information, so how do they find what they are looking for? We pull it together in one place. St. Thomas wants to offer to be that place. Geographically, we are the center of a wide circle of churches between New Windsor, Cornwall, Newburgh, and Washingtonville, we are even split among 3 school districts. So we now want to help be the hub of communication in our world.
How this will work, any parish or faith based ministry that wants to be a part of this will need to have an email, it is very easy to get a gmail account. Send your email and desire to participate to StThomasNW.firstname.lastname@example.org. Then you may send any news or events, service times, to that email to then be included in our newsletter. All submissions should be submitted by Thursday Evening before the release of the next newsletter. The newsletter will then be compiled and edited on the Friday and emailed out to all the parishes on our list on Saturday to then be shared with your congregations on Sunday!
Our Goal is to have our first newsletter submissions to be done by March 31st to then have the first edition of our Newsletter sent out by April 2, 2022.
We hope you will participate in this initiative, and we can start to bring the children of God back together.