“The will of God is never exactly what you expect it to be. It may seem to be much worse, but in the end it’s going to be a lot better and a lot bigger.” ― Elisabeth Elliot
Last weekend, we expected a snow and ice storm, and no doubt the stores were running short of milk, bread and toilet paper, the staples of storms in Baltimore! But we were blessed to miss out on the event. I was particularly happy, as Steve and I made our way to West Chester, PA, for the baptism of Betty and Charles Wilson’s great-grandson. We managed to get home and back with no ice on the roads!
The first weekend in February brings two events that include many at St. Thomas’. First, the Blue Horizon’s team will meet with the three other churches (St. Matthias, Holy Comforter, and Church of the Messiah) for the final time on Friday evening and Saturday. Second, the annual Men’s Retreat at Claggett will be Friday – Sunday. Steve goes every year, as does Chris Snead, and loves it. Talk to them, or to John Windsor. This year’s speaker is the Rev. Kristopher Linde-Payne, Rector of Epiphany, Timonium. It should be an excellent weekend.
At the top of the page, I quote Elisabeth Elliot, a woman of faith whose husband was martyred as he sought to tell the Auca people of the Amazon region about Christ. “The will of God is never exactly what you expect it to be…” As I mentioned in church, and in the E-Newsletter, our Music Director, Jessie Lim, has left St. Thomas’. We are now in search, once again, for a new Music Director. Because we voted to combine services two and a half years ago, we have a unique musical style at St. Thomas’ that includes both traditional and contemporary Christian music. The people that can both play the organ well, and incorporate a number of contemporary songs in worship are few and far between. But I am confident that we will find the right person. Please pray for us as we endeavor to do this. We want the music of St. Thomas’ to be beautiful, worshipful, and meaningful to our parishioners.
Our new sound system is nearly completely installed, our new piano is wonderful, carpet is being installed this week, and our renovations of the chapel are underway. You may wonder how we are doing this when our budget for 2017 is quite small. First, the piano and part of the sound system funds were given as a designated anonymous gift. The rest of the sound system funds came out of our parking lot rental income. The carpet, much needed for quite a while, will come from the Heritage fund. The chapel renovation comes from part of a grant we received for the Blue Horizons process. The chapel will be used more and more, as we continue to hold Celtic Prayer there. It will also be used regularly by Debra Barton of the Center for Spiritual Development. St. Thomas’ has agreed to become the Baltimore base for the Center, which used to be housed at St. James, Monkton. Debra is a Spiritual Director, and will meet with clients in our Chapel. All of this is part of the work of Blue Horizons, thus we use the grant money for that.
As we begin February, I am thankful for so many things: for the many, many quiet volunteers who work at St. Thomas’, from the acolytes to the vestry; for the leadership of our wardens, Jan and Vern, for the long-time, faithful work of our treasurer, Chuck Booth, and for all of you who either come to St. Thomas’ or consider St. Thomas’ your home. You are what make St. Thomas’ the wonderful place it is.
The Reverend Loree Penner, Rector