Since the beginning of the pandemic, St. Thomas’ congregation has been having to face hard choices, tough situations, and mourn the lost of loved ones. However, where there is darkness there is light. Some times you must ride out the storm. So what are we doing now? We are persevering as we always have by adjusting to the changes of our environment while still praising our Lord for the blessings we have.
Our Services continue to be Morning Prayer, a traditional service that can be lead by any person. Our Lay Readers conduct the service, while select members do specific prayers, and all know when and where to move to maintain the social distancing standards set by NYS. We have tissues and hand sanitizer available, and members are encouraged to wear masks when in close proximity of others not in their family. Although in typical times a small congregation would be upsetting, in this case it has been a blessing as we do not have to limit people from attending and we have the space in the sanctuary to maintain social distancing, and have room for more people looking for a spiritual home. The Peace is still observed, however members are encouraged to wave, some have gotten creative and used the Vulcan “Live Long and Prosper” sign, and siblings have bumped elbows. Tithes and donations are dropped in the collection plate in the middle of the church which is on way to any seating Members choose, and is brought up by one child, the same each week because they have deemed it their job to take it to the Altar and the other children agreed. We have learned most from the children about adjusting to these circumstances, but still being able to laugh through it. Our traditions have been maintained with very minor changes, including coffee hour, having plenty of space to spread out and enjoy each other in our hall.
We encourage any person who is ill, or fears for their own health, or that of a family member, to remain home. While we were closed during the Easter Season we all learned that the Church of God is no building, but rather the Flesh that was Built for you. No matter where you are, God is with you. No matter how loudly you sing in a Cathedral, or whisper quietly in bed, God can hear your prayers. The church is no more than a guide to help you focus on your personal spiritual journey with God, and although we felt as lost as sheep without our physical spiritual home, more precious that we preserve our health for better days ahead. However, that does not mean you shouldn’t ask for prayers, or feel you are no longer part of us. If it is you or a loved one that is ill, or you wish for prayers for a loved one’s soul now gone to rest, or for prayers of thanksgiving for birthday or anniversaries please email them to StThomasNW@gmail.com, and we will add any names or prayers to our prayer list spoken during the Prayers of the People during service on Sunday.
Our Fundraisers and events were planned from February through December, and COVID struck in the middle of it all. We had hoped to start a Thrift Store this spring with our annual Yard Sale, yet we were not able to, but we have been able to move our Thrift Store into the Virtual world on Facebook. You can visit and purchase donated items on our Group Page. Meanwhile, we will keep an eye on the reopening phases set by NYS to see when it will be safe to open the thrift store physically, to start Sunday School, hopefully on time in the fall, be able to rent our our hall for parties, and host a fall event.
Please feel free to join us on Sunday, bring a mask, and your prayers. All are Welcome in the Episcopal Church. If you have any concerns feel free to email us!
Stay Healthy and Stay Safe, God Bless
Kara Smith, Warden