From the Rector
It is hard to believe that the entirety of a year has passed since our last Annual Meeting. Then, I was just recently elected as your Rector and had only just started a few Sundays before. Now, I feel like we are all old friends. I have cried with you and walked alongside you in your grief as we said goodbye to so many beloved members of our community. I have rejoiced with you as we welcomed new members into Christ’s Body through baptism and as youth and adults were welcomed into the Episcopal Church through the rite of Confirmation. I’ve worked alongside you in Vestry and committee meetings as we made plans for the future and managed the demands of the present. I’ve worked alongside you as we’ve served the vulnerable, the hungry, and lonely in our community. And as I facilitated forums and classes, I learned alongside you, becoming stronger and more faithful disciples. As a priest who has only been recently ordained, I am grateful for every moment this year I have served among you as a fellow-servant of Christ, our Lord. It has been a year of growth, learning, and faithfulness.
This year, as I have gotten to know the ins and outs of life at St Thomas, I have seen a community that is passionate about an almost limitless array of things. And while our numbers remain modest, we have the ministry footprint of a much larger parish. Speaking with many of you over the last year, I have noted one consistent theme. Many of you, across the many ministries of this church, are feeling burnt-out and over extended. Many of you have said to me and probably have said to each other, “It’s the same people doing everything.” We are feeling burdened by a sense of obligation to be everything to all people and many of us have sacrificed our time and energy, to maintain the ministries we have inherited over many years. From my perspective, as your Rector, we cannot sustain the breadth of ministries given the number of active parishioners we presently have and have the energy we need to thrive. This does not mean that I feel we should in any way cut back our level of commitment. Rather, over the next year, I feel we would do well to refocus our energy and effort on several key ministries and perhaps say goodbye to ministries that are no longer fruitful. This will be hard work, both emotionally and spiritually and is a task to which we are all called to participate. There will not be easy answers or solutions. But St Thomas Church is not a collection of various ministries and activities. We are rather one church with one common mission.
The ancient Rule of St. Benedict, which has had a lasting impact on Anglican spirituality through the spiritual discipline found in our Book of Common Prayer, concludes its prologue in this wise:
And so we are going to establish
a school for the service of the Lord.
In founding it we hope to introduce nothing harsh or burdensome.
But if a certain strictness results from the dictates of equity
for the amendment of vices or the preservation of charity,
do not be at once dismayed and fly from the way of salvation,
whose entrance cannot but be narrow (Matt. 7:14).
For as we advance in the religious life and in faith,
our hearts expand
and we run the way of God’s commandments
with unspeakable sweetness of love
We at St. Thomas are in this very same business. Through our worship, our community, our service, and our mission to the world outside our doors, we too are a “school of the Lord’s service.” We are a community of disciples, learning together from the same teacher, Jesus of Nazareth. As a community, we are called to grow together and to learn from each other, trusting that through our common life of prayer, service, and learning, we will be shaped more fully into the people God has called us to be. We are not called to be a mere collection of individuals with competing visions for our parish church. Rather, we are one body with one shared purpose working together for the sanctification of the world as well as for own mutual sanctification. The business to which we are called, brothers and sisters, is holy work. And as we discern our way forward as a community of faith, we would do well to remember that our mission has already been given to us by our Lord Jesus when he told his disciples, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). It is us for us to decide the details of how we do that at St. Thomas. 2018 will be a year of sorting out details, seeing how the various ministries do or don’t serve our larger purpose. Pray that we accomplish this task with love, charity, and kindness to each other.
Wednesday Evening Bible Study
The Wednesday Evening Bible Study will be meeting at the home of Linda Kinsey until further notice. Please call the church office for more information.
Feast Day Services
by Fr. Dave Radzik
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us – Hebrews 12:1
As Christians we believe in the Communion of Saints – that is, we believe that all those who have died to themselves in the waters of baptism, are united together as one body in Christ. Indeed, we believe that Christians both living and dead are forever united in this body. On November 1st (or, in our case, the closest Sunday to it) we celebrate the Feast of All Saints in remembrance of all those saints who have gone before us, especially those saints whose witness and example have inspired us on our pilgrimage.
Likewise, our Anglican/Episcopal tradition sets aside special days during the year where we remember the lives of particular saints whose examples of holiness and perseverance inspire us as we seek to follow the path Jesus has trod for us.
These feast days are typically set on the dates traditionally associated with their death or martyrdom and are, in a sense, celebrations of their heavenly birthdays. The Christian Year as laid out in our Book of Common Prayer sets aside many such feast days for Biblical saints such as the apostles, the evangelists (authors of the Gospels), and several commemorating events in the life of Jesus or St Mary the Virgin. There is great value in marking these feasts, or holidays, within the life of our parish church as it gives us time to reflect on how we too are called to be saints in the 21st century.
We will be observing the major feast days found in the Book of Common Prayer with at least a simple said Holy Eucharist at 6:00 PM on the day of the feast. I hope you will join us in marking these holy days with us as they are a wonderful opportunity for us to grow together in holiness together. The following is a list of the upcoming dates:
- Wednesday, April 25 – St Mark, Evangelist
- Tuesday, May 1 – Sts. Philip and James, Apostles
- Thursday, May 10 – Ascension (newly added date)
- Thursday, May 31st, – The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin
- Monday, June 11th – St. Barnabas, Apostle
- Monday, June 25th – the Nativity of St. John the Baptist
- Friday, June 29th – St. Peter and Paul, Apostles
- Monday, July 23rd – St. Mary Magdalene
- Monday, July 25th – St. James, Apostle
- Monday, August 6th – The Transfiguration
- Wednesday, August 15th – St. Mary the Virgin (the Dormition)
- Friday, August 24th – St. Bartholomew, Apostle
- Friday, September 14th – the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
- Friday, September 21st – St. Matthew, Evangelist
- Thursday, October 18th – St. Luke, Evangelist
- Tuesday, October 23rd – St. James of Jerusalem
- Monday, October 29th Sts Simon and Jude, Apostles
Visit to the Holy Land
by Fr. Dave Radzik
Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling down death by death,
And upon those in the tombs
– att. Romanos the Melodist, 5th century AD
This past month I had the remarkable experience of having been able to keep vigil all night in Christianity’s holiest site, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem which contains the likely spots of Jesus’ death, burial, and Resurrection. The church building dates back to the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine and was originally built sometime in the 330s AD and has been a continuous site of pilgrimage since. The building itself is like the many layers of an onion and even a brief exploration of the church will reveal Roman columns, Byzantine mosaics, 1st century Jewish tombs, and even graffiti left by pilgrims and knights from the period of the Crusades. But at the center of all of this history, lies the exposed stone of the hill of Golgotha and the bits of limestone from inside of Jesus’ purported tomb. The history of this building, like the history of our world, finds it center in those two locations and in the events that we believe occurred there. The world, you see, has been changed forever by the shadow of the Cross and the light of the Resurrection.
And so, alongside a new-found friend, I spent the night in this place. We had the opportunity to pray together many times throughout the night. After having prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary on the hill of Golgotha itself, we were able to kneel in silent prayer touching the exposed rock beneath the chapel’s altar and remembering that here – or, at least, near this spot – Jesus, was nailed to the Cross for the sins of the world. And likewise, we prayed in the small chapel known as the Aedicule which contains the tomb of Jesus. Kneeling next to a Greek Orthodox monk, and my companion in prayer, I remembered that in or near this place, Jesus was taken down from the Cross and laid in a simple tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea. And remembered that it was from this same tomb that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day, conquering sin and death, and opening the way to eternal life. My life and the lives of countless billions over the centuries have been changed by the events that occurred in or near this place. The way of the cold stone felt when I kissed it and the scent of the rose incense that was wafting throughout the building will always be etched in my memory. But more than those sites, sounds, and scents, I will always remember how I experienced God’s grace anew that night.
In a few weeks, we will be entering Holy Week. Like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre itself, the drama of our Holy Week liturgies is meant to re-present the drama of Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection and to renew our sense of awe and thankfulness for what God has done for us through Christ. The sights, sounds, and even scents of Holy Week evoke for us the mystery our redemption. Holy Week is an opportunity for us to experience again God’s sacrificial love and to celebrate God’s victory over sin and death. Please join us this Holy Week as we remember the magnitude of God’s love for us and rejoice that Jesus has risen!
by Megan Allen
Hello St. Thomas! My name is Megan Allen and I am so excited to begin worshiping with you all and having the opportunity to get to know this beautiful faith community.
I was born and raised in Akron, OH and grew up Roman Catholic. I currently reside in Akron with my best friend, Joe, and our cat, Ignatius “Iggy” Fitzgerald. I received my BA in History and Museum Studies from Walsh University and then my MPA from the University of Akron. I was received into the Episcopal church while a graduate student and about two years later entered into the formal Diocesan discernment process, aka I feel called to ordained ministry! After a brief stint in the non-profit and local government sectors, I accepted the position as the Program and Facilities Director of historic St. John’s Episcopal Church, in Ohio City. In addition to my job and having this opportunity at St. Thomas to learn from you all and Fr. David, I also take courses through Bexley-Seabury Theological Seminary. My life can get a little crazy and stressful but, most days, anyways, I feel like it’s totally worth it!
But what might help you know more about me, as a person? I recently was introduced to Twitter as a means of creating an intentional interfaith community and each week before our themed conversation we are encouraged to do a small intro in case newcomers have joined us. I think my first intro sums me up pretty well: “Seminarian in the Episcopal traditional. Constantly exploring and always discerning; Feeling wonderfully optimistic today but Spirit filled every day.”
I am so excited to be with you all on this portion of our faith journeys. I come from a big family, so please don’t hesitate to yell my name to get my attention and please know that you are welcome to ask me any question. I would love to sit down and chat with you!
Los Amigos Episcopales
by Ruth Ihde
We received these photos of “graduations” from preschool and various grades of elementary school from our schools in El Salvador.
Promotions from one grade to another are very big celebrations in El Salvador. These photos are from three schools, Colegio San Miguel Arcángel, Colegio San Augustin de Canterbury, and Colegio San Mateo.
by Ruth Ihde
Veterans’ Meet and Greet – We are very happy about the growing interest in this project. We now must plan to serve 70 people at each event (including veterans and helpers). If you are a veteran (or spouse of one), please join this group for a wonderful lunch and program, usually on the last Friday of each month. Our December program included a large series of door prizes and guest speaker Brian Scheuermann, who spoke about “Warriors’ Journey Home”.
Our next luncheon is on March 23. Please note our March luncheon is a week earlier, as the last Friday of the month is Good Friday.
I want to say “thank you” to committee members who work tirelessly every month to purchase food, cook, serve, assist with this program and support it. I also want to thank those who have donated cookies, other desserts, decorations, individual treats for each veteran, and food. We have a core of about 10 regular volunteers, but we could really use more. CAN YOU HELP? Do you have suggestions for speakers for our Meet and Greet? We welcome you to our next Outreach Committee Meeting which is Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at 6:30 pm.
The Berea Community Meal on Wednesday, November 29 at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church (and for which St. Thomas provided workers and pies) went very well. Many thanks to parishioners who provided 24 pies, and to those who helped with this important meal.
Please see further notices in this Wayfarer concerning other outreach projects.
We are now taking orders for the Easter flowers that will enhance our church during the Easter season. It is a perfect time to remember parents and family members or to honor special people in your life with your donation.
Forms are on the literature table in the entrance hall. The cost is $25 and payment is due with order. The deadline for placing your order is March 26. Please contact the church office if you have any questions.
May/June 2018 Wayfarer
by Ginny Kubiak
Articles for the May/June issue of the Wayfarer are due by April 20, 2018. Please forward articles to the church e-mail address at: email@example.com.
Photos are always welcome!!! Please submit your photos of St. Thomas events to the above e-mail address for publication.
Thank you in advance for promptly sending your articles and observing the submission due date.
by Anita Cooper
Our Agape Meal will take place on Maundy Thursday, March 29, at 6:30 pm. Thank you to Anita Cooper for heading up the meal. Please contact her if you would like to help with the meal.
If you plan on attending, please add your name to the sign-up sheet on the office window.
Donation envelopes are also available on the office window to help defray the cost of the meal. Donations can be placed in the offering plate or left on the Parish Administrator’s desk.
by Church-Growth Committee
Would you be willing to take some pictures at church events so they can be posted on our bulletin board to show all the great things that are happening at St. Thomas? We would love to have photos posted from events like the Vets’ Meet & Greet, All-Church potluck dinners, picnics, events like the Victorian Tea, the Medieval Feast, STAR, the upcoming clambake, Trunk-or-Treat, and many other events. If this is a special talent you have, please contact Clint Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know of your willingness to help make the bulletin board a great picture of what goes on at St. Thomas!
Thank you to all the parish members who attended the Annual Meeting on January 28.
The meeting was very informative, with many relevant topics discussed.
We want to thank our out-going Vestry members, Marcy Molmen and Sonia Miller for their time and dedication. We also want to welcome our new Vestry members, David Frazier and Carole Pozek. Thank you also to Sue Griffith for running again, and for also accepting the position as Clerk of Vestry.
Additional copies of the Annual Meeting report are available in the church office. Please contact our Parish Administrator, Ginny, if you would like a copy.
|Senior Warden||Peggy Zambounis||12/31/2019|
|Junior Warden||(To be decided at next Vestry Meeting)
Barb Pertz acting JW until March Meeting
Easter Vigil at St. John’s
St. John’s in Ohio City (2600 Church Ave, Cleveland) will again host the shared Easter Vigil on Saturday, March 31 at 7:30 pm. The Rt. Rev. Bishop Hollingsworth will be our celebrant and our own Fr. Dave Radzik will be chanting the Exsultet!
After the conclusion of the service the celebration will continue with fellowship in St. John’s Parish Hall with light snacks. We hope that you will join us for this unique opportunity for fellowship and worship. See you there!
Please remember there will not be a 5:30 pm Contemporary Eucharist at St. Thomas on Holy Saturday, March 31.
The Church-Growth Committee invites the whole of St. Parish to an All-Church Potluck on Saturday, April 21 at 6:30 pm in Harkess Hall.
Bring a dish to share and come meet parish members you know and make friends with those you may not know yet. This is a great opportunity to introduce yourself to others and meet parish members that attend the different worship services at St. Thomas.
A sign-up sheet is posted on the office window. If you have any questions, please contact Clint Anderson at email@example.com
Here is a list of other upcoming events and dinners planned by your Church-Growth Committee:
- ALL-CHURCH MEMORIAL DAY POTLUCK – Monday, May 28, 2-5 p.m.
- GRINDSTONE PARADE/ALL-AMERICAN PICNIC – Tuesday, July 3, 5:00 p.m.
- ALL-CHURCH POTLUCK DINNER – Saturday, August 25, 6:30 p.m.
- TRUNK-OR-TREAT HALLOWEEN EVENT FOR AREA FAMILIES – Saturday, October 27, 6:30 p.m.
- CHRISTMAS COOKIE FAIR/EXCHANGE – Saturday, December 1, 6:30 p.m.