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Weekly Activities


Boy Scouts Mon 7PM
Book Club 2nd Mon 5PM
Julian Prayer Group 3rd Mon 5PM

NA Tues. 8PM
Vestry 3rd Tues 6PM

Wed Evening Prayer resumes in Sept.

Choir Thurs 6PM
(restarts Aug 29th!)
AA Thurs. 7:30PM
Soup Kitchen 5PM - June 21 & 28



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Lobster Feast Fri. Oct. 26th!
Click to buy your lobsters online here!
No Orders after Tuesday!

  Sunday 8AM - Holy Eucharist
      (8AM Morning Prayer on 2nd Sundays)

  Sunday 10:30AM - Holy Eucharist
  (Nursery Available)



Staying Focused

In this work-a-day world, with the 24 hour news cycle rumbling and occasionally screaming in our ears; the incessant blare of advertising seeking our money for products that promise self-confidence, self-fulfillment and the ability to "taste nirvana"; and the generally frenetic pace we keep to make sure life is as comfortable and smooth going as we want it to be; let us remember to stay focused on first things. We need to remember first things first: those core principles that define who we are and how we interact with our fellow human beings and the rest of God's creation.

RESPECT. Our baptismal covenant defines us as people who strive to respect the dignity of every human being. First and foremost we must respect ourselves by looking in a mirror, however dimly, and seeing our strengths and our flaws. We cannot afford to be blinded into seeing only our strengths and patting ourselves on the back and declaring victory while denying our weaknesses. Our weaknesses are a reminder that the kingdom of heaven is not a meritocracy where we can buy or work our way to salvation but only the grace of unconditional love can save.

FORGIVENESS. In receiving such grace, we are reminded that we must also share that same grace with others. The gospel is quite literal in the fact that we will only be forgiven in the same measure that we forgive. This is what makes the life of faith the hardest. As someone wise once said, "Forgiveness is fine until you have something to forgive." And yet, forgiveness, more than most anything else in the gospel liberates us all. For the victim, there is no longer a need to waste time and energy on holding to hatred or anger. There is no need to plot revenge. For the offender, the darkness and destruction of personal behavior to relationships with individuals or community are now open to reconciliation and the rebirth of trust.

GRATITUDE. I cannot count the number of times in a week, I see people waiting in line to buy lottery tickets. Granted the allure can seem great: instantaneous wealth and a life without financial worry. I, too, have dreamt occasionally of what I might do with such a windfall until I realize that I have already won the lottery. I live in a great nation. I have a family that loves me. I have no chronic health conditions that limit my enjoyment and participation in the wondrous activities that life offers. I have a home that is comfortable and I haven't ever missed a meal because I couldn't afford it. (Just ask my doctor!) My child is happy with a wonderful spouse and a beautiful baby girl and all are healthy, have medical insurance and enough income to meet their needs and a few wants besides. Very, very few people of the 7 billion that inhabit this planet can say these things. Count your blessings, every day.

COMPASSION. This may be the second hardest principle of the life of faith. It requires us to be willing to help bear the pain of others and to alleviate that pain where possible. Staying with a friend who is hurting or grieving. Praying with a neighbor who has a terminal disease. Helping people who have had a natural disaster or a medical condition take everything they thought was theirs. Helping those who have made choices that have left them marginalized by family and society. This is the life of faith: to stand with the suffering of humanity.

This is where Jesus is at his most challenging. The longer I'm a Christian, the more I am challenged and awed by the radical nature of Jesus's openness, inclusivity, and hospitality. Every time I think I've made my circle of inclusion wide enough, Jesus says, "Nope. Make it wider. Your circle is still too small and stingy." Every time I think I've drawn an appropriate line in the sand: between us and them, saint and sinner, saved and damned; Jesus kicks sand all over my line until it disappears.

If we stay focused and stick to these core principles not only will our lives be richer but this world may even seem a little more like heaven and a little less like hell.

Peace

Jeff+




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© Oct 2018 by The Rev. Jeff Douglas


St. Thomas is a vibrant, welcoming, Christian community cultivating mind, body & spirit through worship, fellowship, and service, loving our neighbors as ourselves

The Rev. Jeff Douglas, Rector

Our Staff:
       Parish Secretary
       Julie Bazemore
       Musician:
       Jonathan Johnston
Our Vestry:
       Buddy Jones,Sr. Warden
       David Simons, Jr. Warden
       Brenda Hewitt,Clerk
       Ernie Carter,Treasurer
       Rob Outland
       Martie Tayloe
       Dr. Charles Sawyer
       David Shields
       Becky Johnson
       Carolyn Peele

Parish Commissions:

Administration:
       David Simons
       Ernie Carter, Treas.
       
Parish Life/Communications:
       Brenda Hewitt
       
Pastoral Care:
       Martie Tayloe
       Carolyn Peele
       
Worship:
       Dr. Charles Sawyer
       The Rev. Jeff Douglas
       
Buildings & Grounds
       David Simons, Jr. Warden
       
Christian Education & Youth
       Buddy Jones
       Rob Outland
       
Outreach
       David Shields
       Becky Johnson
If you would like to volunteer or have ideas about how St. Thomas' can have a more effective ministry in these areas, contact the appropriate person and make St. Thomas' ministry even better.