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The Beautiful Turning

According to the calendar, October has begun and the season of Fall is now upon us. Through one eye, we see the beautiful turning as new colors emerge and signal the cyclical nature of transformation. Through the other eye, we see leaves falling from their once vital branches, as they return to the earth and nourish the roots below. When we look with both eyes open, watchful for the presence of God within creation, we can see how it all works together. In this new season, unsure of exactly what the future holds, the dead leaves may crinkle beneath our feet, but our eyes can begin to see the wonder of change, as we step out in faith together.

As this STEP process continues, you read last week of how both Vestries accepted all the reports presented to them and celebrate the amazing work that our teams are accomplishing. Since then, leadership from both congregations met with the Standing Committee of the Diocese to update them on our efforts, and we received enthusiastic support for our work. The combined Congregational Identity Team is also gathering this week to share and listen, as we explore the core aspects of who we have been, who we are now, and what we might become together. All this is difficult work, but as we practice the way of love given us by Jesus to follow, we are growing closer and clearer.

October 13th presents both communities with the exciting opportunity to worship together again. While our summer services were wonderful, the outdoor worship at Epiphany meant that many from St. Thomas’ did not get to see inside the building nor hear the organ and choir. Worship that Sunday (October 13th) will be at Epiphany at 8am & 10am. The 8am liturgy is quiet and contemplative, and the 10am is more celebratory and music-filled. Adult education is open to all at 9am with a focus on the Psalms. Children’s Sunday School runs concurrently with the liturgy from 10-10:40am, when the kids and their teachers come up for Holy Communion. People of all ages are welcome to fully participate in the liturgy. There is a wheelchair-accessible ramp to the worship entrance, as well as ADA approved bathrooms. There are also multiple “soft-spaces” for small children within the sanctuary and in the narthex and common room, as well as changing tables available on both levels. Please note that there will not be worship at St. Thomas’ that Sunday.

As you may remember from last week’s STEP update, the Vestries will meet again separately in October to review reports from the remaining STEP Teams including Buildings & Grounds, Music, and Worship, and will discuss follow up items from the Finance Team. Plans continue for our joint Vestry Retreat on the first weekend of November. Both Vestries will meet for an evening and a day to make a decision about whether or not St. Thomas and Epiphany will move forward with a partnership or if additional due diligence is required. Once a decision is made, planning for next steps will begin.

If you have any questions, please reach out to your Clergy or Senior Warden, or to Jay Boggs at jay@epiphanybaltimore.org or Jan Bahner at jbahner.stthomas@gmail.com.

Prayer for Partnership

Almighty God, whose Spirit hovered over the waters of creation, we thank you for crafting within us the desire for new life and greater ministry, as we explore partnership with St. Thomas. Guide us by your Holy Spirit into new community, new possibilities, and new hope for the future. May our minds be stayed on you, and what you desire to accomplish through us. May we remember that you are always present, and always faithful. We ask this for the sake of your son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

As the Fall unfolds, may we find ourselves walking more closely together with God amidst all the autumnal splendor.

This Week at St. Thomas

Thankfully, I am recovering from the ankle sprain, with lots of rest and some walking. My knees took the brunt of the fall, and they are yelling at me quite loudly today. However, God is good, and I expect to be at St. Thomas’ for Sunday’s Service – the Blessing of the Animals. Bring your dogs, cats, hamsters, cockatiels, hermit crabs, turtles, horses, and any other pet you might have at home, and we will bless them as part of our Sunday service.

Tonight: Congregational Identity Team meeting with Epiphany.
Friday: Basket Bingo! If you haven’t signed up, come and buy your tickets at the door. Doors open at 6:00 for a fun evening of Bingo, food, and prizes.
Saturday: Noon Baptism
Sunday: Blessing of the Animals, 9:30 am

In Closing

For Vocation in Daily Work

Almighty God our heavenly Father, you declare your glory
and show forth your handiwork in the heavens and in the
earth: Deliver us in our various occupations from the service
of self alone, that we may do the work you give us to do in
truth and beauty and for the common good; for the sake of
him who came among us as one who serves, your Son Jesus
Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
– Book of Common Prayer –