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Message from the Senior Warden

Senior Warden’s Message

I came across an opinion article by Chris Sonksen. He is a pastor who trains other pastors and church leaders from all over the country, and based on his conversations and research, he is encouraging people to quit church.

This message resonated with me, especially in an environment where churches, including ours, are struggling with attendance. However, he made several valid points which made me think about who we are and what we do at St. Thomas’.

He claims that 80% of the work in most churches is being carried out by 20% or fewer of the church members. Instead of being participants, most members are being spectators, and the pastoral staff and church leaders are getting burned out.

Other things to note is that less than 20% of professing believers follow the biblical principle of giving. Only 5% have shared their faith with a non-believer. And more than half of all church members attend church once a month or less.

Does this sound familiar? When was the last time you increased your pledge? Have you invited someone to join you at church? Have you forgotten what it was like to make your Sunday attendance at church something you can’t imagine not doing? Something has to change. Casual attendance and the belief that others will serve, give and share the Gospel are causing churches to die. As believers, it’s time that we’re either all in or we get out – quit!

If we quit the casual way we approach God’s principles, what would happen in our personal walks of faith and in our church community? What if we all exercised generosity? What if everyone served in their God-given purpose? What would happen if we simply stopped spectating and started belonging? Our relationship to Christ, the blessing, the reward, the joy, the fulfillment, and the purpose would radically transform our lives and our church.

I’m ready to quit and go all in … are you?

Diane Flayhart, Senior Warden

 

Senior Warden’s Message

As I sit and ponder what to write this month, my husband, Bill, remains in the hospital after undergoing open heart quadruple bypass surgery. This was unexpected and totally a surprise as he did not present any of the usual symptoms of heart problems, like chest pain or shortness of breath. It has caused me to realize that we are not in control… God is. He has a plan for us, and although we can do all the things we’re supposed to do to live the life he’s given us, God is in charge.

Part of our responsibility is to help those around us who need help. Many people have offered me assistance with anything I might need, and I am thankful. I know I can ask for help and someone will respond. But there are those who might need help and don’t ask for it. Just sending a note or an email, making a telephone call or even a visit to someone who is homebound could be the lift that person might need. We list the names of our parishioners who are homebound or in need of prayers in the bulletin each week. While many of you might be wondering how that person is doing, don’t wait for someone else to let you know. Reach out to that person. If you need an address or a phone number, contact Jill in the office and she can provide you that information.

“This little light of mine; I’m gonna let it shine.” We’re all familiar with these words from a favorite children’s song. We’ve sung it at St. Thomas’ a couple of times in the past year. Be the light of God and let it shine by sharing it with someone who needs you.

Blessings,
Diane Flayhart

Junior Warden’s Message

Many thanks to everyone who came out to our Spring Cleaning “Dumpster Day” on Saturday, April 21st. With everyone’s efforts we were able to make significant progress in organizing and cleaning our facility. We should all take pride in keeping our space beautiful and welcoming.

Senior Warden’s Message

Spring has finally arrived … or so it seems. Here’s hoping we actually get a Spring season before we go into Summer! St. Thomas’ is alive and vibrant with many activities. Here’s a list of upcoming events with further information found for many of them in the May issue of The Good News:

  • Third Wall Productions is getting ready for their performance of Jekyll and Hyde.
  • Loch Raven Network, now known as Student Support Network, held a successful donation weekend and items are stored in one of our classrooms for distribution to local schools.
  • Vacation Bible School (VBS) is in the planning stages.
  • National Night Out (NNO) is also in the planning stages.
  • The Chatterleigh Community is interested in partnering with St. Thomas’ on community events.
  • The Johns Hopkins Parkinson group has added an additional class.
  • The Greater Baltimore Church meets here several times a month. They are a multiracial non-denominational church of small groups around the greater Baltimore area building community through faith, family and fun. They are focused on Bible education and literacy, outreach to the poor both locally and internationally with a focus in India, Jamaica and Ethiopia.
  • The Civilian Response to Active Shooter Encounters (CRASE) Course in being held this month, sponsored by the Baltimore County Police Department.

If you don’t think the Holy Spirit is working at St. Thomas’, one only has to take a look at all that is going on. We are a welcoming church, as we’ve been told on many occasions, and we have a fabulous facility to offer to others. Let’s all do our part to continue the trend!

Senior Warden’s Message

For those of you who missed it, we recently celebrated a wonderful service of confirmation and reception with the family and friends of eight of our young people who were confirmed and two adults who were received into our Episcopal community. Bishop Chilton Knudsen brought Deacon Cindy Christopher to assist her, and the church was filled with the Holy Spirit. It was exciting to witness such a marvelous event, and even more exciting to see what our newly confirmed and received members will bring to St. Thomas’ in the years to come.

While we welcome the efforts of newer members in our midst, many of you have multiple talents to offer today. Is there something you’ve often thought you’d like to do but never tried it? Are you curious about how the Altar Guild sets up for weekly services? Have you thought about how your weekly pledges are accumulated into our treasury to do the work we at St. Thomas’ strive to do in our community? What about helping with mass mailings that go out to our fruit customers or parishioners from time to time? Or do you enjoy gardening or painting? Is there a particular project or event you’d like to help with? As the saying goes, “Many hands make light work.” Is it time to put your hands to good use at St. Thomas’? If you don’t know where to start, you can start with me. I’ll be happy to discuss your talents and help you decide where you might help at St. Thomas’.

Diane Flayhart