Status Updates

An update from Fr. Ron

June 17, 2020

An update from Fr. Ron

June 10, 2020

An update from Fr. Ron

June 3, 2020

An update from Fr. Ron

May 26, 2020

An Update from Fr. Ron

May 19, 2020

A Message from Fr. Ron

May 5, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It continues to be my hope and prayer that you and your family are remaining healthy through this pandemic and that the financial consequences have not been devastating for you. I wanted to mention two things today:

First of all, if you drive past St. Thomas Church and notice our Rt 8 sign missing, the 60- year old uprights finally rusted through and the wind blew the sign over last Thursday night. We will be working hard to get a new sign designed, fabricated and installed as soon as possible.

Secondly, with our services now online, it makes it easy to invite a friend to tune-in and experience our worship. Many people are anxious to connect to online worship services these days, even those who are unchurched. So I invite you to suggest that to a friend or relative, whether they live in the area or not, then just forward our link and invite them to check it out. Our Sunday services are recorded so they can connect anytime that’s convenient. Our Monday, Wednesday and Thursday times are live so they would have to connect at the specific time of the gathering.

I also want to invite all of you to join us for prayer Monday evenings at 7 PM, a Bible study at noon Wednesdays and for evening Compline service on Thursday nights at 8 PM.

I pray we will be together again before long and in the meantime encourage you to keep in touch with one another and never hesitate to let me, Fr. Chris or Carol know if you become aware of someone with a need, including yourself.

Like you, I am eager to get back to church and worshiping as a congregation again. Bishop Hobby communicated with clergy this week that it is not clear yet when he may give churches the green light to reopen. I am also participating with other clergy from across the state in a teleconference with the PA Dept. of Health officials on Wednesday of this week. We are all hoping for guidance on timing and the best ways to plan for reopening safely. Please know that as soon as we get the GO AHEAD, we will begin worship services again.

God’s blessing on you and your families.

Ron+

A Message from Fr. Ron

April 15, 2020

Dear People of St. Thomas

I have just a few things I want to share today. First, I want to wish you a blessed Easter season. Easter is not just a day, it is a season stretching all the way up to the feast of Pentecost, May 31st. For the church, even though we are in a pandemic, this is a season of joy and thanksgiving.

Secondly, I want to thank everyone for all of the great efforts made throughout Holy Week to assure our worship was planned, recorded and accessible to everyone online. Others assured that flowers were delivered to those who ordered, and, of course, that Holy Communion was distributed on Easter in a safe manner. It was wonderful to see so many of you on Easter morning as you drove up to receive Communion.

Thirdly, for the foreseeable future, we will be worshiping virtually. Plans are to have the service for each Sunday online and available for viewing by Saturday evening each weekend. If you need assistance getting these services to work on your computer, tablet or phone, let Father Ron, Father Chris or Carol know. Occasionally, we will offer other programs using live ZOOM. This is an easily downloadable software/app that we are using. I know some folks have found it challenging to use. Please contact us and we can help walk you through it. Once you get on to it, you'll be zooming with other friends and family members, too.

Fourth, The Lighthouse is stretched very thin these days and it’s our duty to help however we can. The St. Thomas vestry has agreed to match any gifts made to Lighthouse up until April 30. If you can support this effort, please do so by sending a check to: ST. THOMAS ANGLICAN CHURCH and indicate in the memo line LIGHTHOUSE. Thank you for helping.

And finally, please know that even though we are not meeting in person, St. Thomas Church is here to help and support in whatever way we can. The clergy and Vestry are staying abreast of needs and addressing them however possible. Please continue to pray for our church.

I have always been tremendously proud of St. Thomas Church and it continues to be my privilege to serve as your Rector, but perhaps never as much as during these challenging times. The many from our parish who are daily giving selflessly for the sake of others humbles me.

God bless everyone during this Eastertide!

In His service, Ron+

An Encouragement from Dave, our senior warden

March, 26, 2020


Please don't hesitate to contact Dave if you have a need, burghberg@gmail.com or 412-720-2221 and leave a message.

Other contact Info:

Fr. Ron: (412) 977-9421 or baillieron@yahoo.com

Fr. Chris: (970) 214-2046 or fatherchill@gmail.com

Vestry: vestry@saintthomasanglican.org

A Message from Fr. Ron: Responding to the needs of The Lighthouse

March 24, 2020

Blessed people of St Thomas,

Responding to the needs of The Lighthouse:

Our Vestry has approved a proposal that allows Saint Thomas church to match any individual donation to the lighthouse up to a total of $1800. That means that any of our parishioners can contribute to the lighthouse and for every dollar donated Saint Thomas church will match it from our budget. So if $1800 in contributions come in, the church will match it providing the lighthouse with a total of $3600 to purchase more food and meet the needs over the next several months.

Checks made payable to St. Thomas can be sent by mail to St. Thomas Anglican Church and just indicate in the memo line that it is for the Lighthouse. We ask that these donations be received here by Easter Sunday, April 12. At that point we will match it and send it to the lighthouse.

If you or your family have a need for food to get you through this difficult time, please contact the Lighthouse Food Bank by calling 724-586-5554 or click here for additional details. They, as well as your St. Thomas family, are here for you...

Fr. Chris and I are available day to day and will be checking on people. Please do not hesitate to contact us for any reason.

Fr. Ron: 412-977-9421

Fr. Chris: 970-214-2046


Thank you for your prayerful consideration.

God’s blessings,

Ron+


A Message from Fr. Ron Concerning the Lighthouse

March 23, 2020

Good people if St. Thomas,

Below is a communication from the Lighthouse asking for volunteers and financial support. Please give their request your serious consideration. They were very appreciative of the huge cereal donation! Donations can be made directly to St. Thomas indicating it is for THE LIGHTHOUSE. While we are working on setting up online giving, please mail your check to:

St Thomas

4106 St Thomas Drive

Gibsonia, Pa 15044


Ron+

From Lighthouse Exec. Director:

‘We need able bodies to help us load the cars and pack orders during distribution. So if anyone is interested in volunteering please have them call me 724-903-0064.

We have had to reduce our volunteers as ALL are now subject to these guidelines:

Any staff and/or volunteers who may be likely to contract and spread COVID-19 to NOT participate in distribution and meal preparation activities.

a. Those who have traveled to places where there are confirmed cases of the virus

b. Healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19 and other close contacts of people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19

c. Older adults, age 60+

d. People with underlying medical conditions

e. People who are currently sick

We also are asking everyone that has social media to like, comment and share any of our social media posts to let those in need know we are still operating and offering service to those in need.

We are in need of financial contributions as well. Many events have needed to be cancelled and we depend on those events financially.

We are putting a hold on all food donations at this time.

Above all of this please as a congregation be praying for our clients and the Lighthouse Foundation. A Lighthouse is needed most in a storm and we believe God has a plan for this! We look at this as opportunity to reach so many and feel blessed to be here at this time.

Thank you so much for the support you already give us. Without the continued support of our neighbors like you over the years we would not have had the strong foundation we currently have to serve our neighbors.’

Update from Archbishop Beach on Behalf of the College of Bishops Re: COVID-19

March 18, 2020

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Jesus Christ,

We serve a faithful and loving God, and He has called us to serve Him in challenging times. The coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, and while many despair and are living in fear, we have hope and peace because in Jesus Christ we know how the story ends. This has not taken the Lord by surprise, and it gives us an incredible opportunity to live in faith toward God, in love toward our neighbors, and in service toward our communities.

I write to you after meeting with our bishops this afternoon. We considered the advice given by the President of the United States' Coronavirus Team, the Centers for Disease Control, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and by governmental authorities in Canada, Mexico, and the United States strongly advising that no public gatherings of 10 or more people be held. It is our desire to partner with our civic officials as they seek to exercise their duty to protect our communities. Therefore, the College of Bishops is asking our congregations not to hold in-person worship services or gatherings until further notice, but to offer, when possible, worship services on a virtual platform. We realize these are extreme measures that we had hoped to avoid, but for the health and welfare of everyone in our churches and communities, this is something we all must put into practice immediately.

Each diocesan bishop will communicate to his diocese regarding the specifics of how this will be applied in each local diocesan context.

Let us continue to pray for one another, the people we serve, and the communities in which we live.

Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9, ESV).


Faithfully in Jesus Christ,

The Most Rev. Dr. Foley Beach

Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church in North America

An important message from Fr. Ron, Fr. Chris, and Fr. Terry

March 17, 2020

Feast of St. Patrick, Bishop


Dear Brothers and Sisters at St. Thomas:

How quickly the Lord can get the attention of the entire world! All it takes is a crisis of this magnitude and the world stops and pays attention. Joining with the entire Church worldwide and our Anglican brothers and sisters in North America, our Diocese of Pittsburgh and St. Thomas Church are taking the appropriate actions to ensure the health and safety of our people. We do this as an act of compassion to protect one another, despite the inconveniences to ourselves.

For the foreseeable future all services and programs are suspended. We will endeavor the keep up to date information on our website: www.SaintThomasAnglican.org As well, recorded services of worship will be linked to our website for individual and family participation. Check the website for details.

For generations, God has been using crises like the coronavirus to get his people’s attention. As always, for some, their hearts are hardened and even a crisis such as this will not soften their heart, but for us, as God’s people, people of faith, how are we to live? During this time of worldwide crisis, we are called upon to be people of hope, prayer and action.

Firstly, our hope is in Jesus and living out of the resurrection. Living in eternal life even now, we do not fear, do not panic because we know the Lord Jesus Christ not only is in control BUT has only our good at heart. ‘I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ Jeremiah 29:11. Because of Christ’s resurrection we know we will be resurrected, too; and when He comes again He will make all things new.

Secondly, we lift the current situation up in prayer asking God’s continued blessings on all the world, those who are ill, fearing an impending illness or serving those who are ill. Many of our congregation are impacted in lots of different ways. Some are vulnerable due to their health conditions and/or age; others are working in healthcare or infectious disease control, as caregivers and are working ungodly hours and experiencing untold stress; others work for businesses or industries that are impacted by closings, staff layoffs resulting in loss of income; and others of us are just frightened or alone with no one to share their concerns.

Thirdly, as people of action we are called to live out of our resurrection lives and reach out to serve others. Not being foolish or assuming we ourselves are not vulnerable, but with trust in God, we reach out to those in greater need than we are, assuring they know the church is here for them, that their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ will assist them in whatever ways are needed, bringing food, assisting with obtaining necessary prescriptions and simply being a presence, a voice, a sign of God’s love during a time of crisis and fear.

Fr. Chris, Fr. Terry and I are available day to day and will be checking on people, preparing prayer and worship videos and assuring that the church is truly BEING the church in this time of human need. Please do not hesitate to contact us for any reason.

May the Lord bless you and keep you, make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you, turn His face toward you and give you his peace.

Numbers 6:24-26


Serving Christ and His Church,

Ron+ Chris+ Terry+

Bishop Hobby Issues Suspension of Services

March 16, 2020

Greetings in the name of our All-powerful Lord,

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear…” (Psalm 46:1).

Much has happened in the last few days in response to COVID-19 and the coronavirus. The CDC guidelines for group gatherings has gone from 250, to 100, to 50, to 10. The Governor of Pennsylvania has closed all “non-essential business activity.” Schools have closed. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh (along with other dioceses and archdioceses) has suspended worship indefinitely. All of these actions are intended to "flatten the curve" of the spread of the virus by “social distancing,” and to protect the most vulnerable among us.

In light of these developments, I have directed the clergy of the diocese to suspend worship gatherings for the next two weeks. During these weeks, Church of the Ascension has agreed to host a diocesan service of Morning Prayer online via YouTube. I will be preaching this coming Sunday. The link to this service will be on the Ascension website: www.ascensionpittsburgh.org/worship-at-home and on the Ascension YouTube Channel. We will also communicate how to the link to the service on our website and via email.

We will also be making contingency plans for Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter (and for the distribution of communion) in case the limitations on gathering should last longer than the next two weeks.

During this difficult time of imposed separation, it will be important to remember two things. First of all, the motivation for the suspension of services is not fear but compassion. Therefore, we need to make sure that no one in our congregations ends up isolated or lonely. Each congregation will be developing a strategy for pastoral care for this time.

Secondly, we need to remember that God is greater than our limitations. He is able to meet us in extraordinary times in extraordinary ways. The Church has always recognized this. Those separated from the Church because of imprisonment could partake of "spiritual communion." Likewise, martyrs who died before their baptism in water were considered baptized by their faithfulness.

If you or your family would like to participate in "spiritual communion," you might consider this format:

  1. Say, "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
  2. Read the Collect, the Epistle, and the Gospel of the Day.
  3. Recite the Nicene Creed (BCP 2019, p. 127).
  4. Pray for your needs and the needs of others (BCP 2019, p. 128).
  5. Confess your sins, read the Comfortable Words and exchange the Peace. (BCP 2019, p. 130).
  6. Pray the Collect for Spiritual Communion (BCP 2019, p. 677).
  7. Recite the Lord's Prayer (BCP 2019, p. 134).
  8. Recite the Grace (BCP 2019, p. 26).

You may want to do this in the context of a meal, as was the custom in the early church.

If you don’t have a 2019 Book of Common Prayer, you can download the text of it at:

bcp2019.anglicanchurch.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/BCP2019.pdf.

During this season of separation, the financial needs of your congregation will continue. Please continue to give (electronically or by mail). And, don’t hesitate to call the clergy of your congregation for care and support if you find yourself isolated.

While this is a highly anxious time in our culture, we know that the Lord is seated on His throne in the heavenlies…and He’s not wringing His hands. Therefore, we can trust in Him and come to the throne of grace.

Peace,

+Jim

P.S. The Diocesan Office will also be closed during this time. Should you need to reach a staff member, they will be checking emails and voice mails.

An important message from Fr. Ron and Fr. Chris

March 13, 2020

All non-Eucharist activities are cancelled until Holy Week.

Sunday services will continue as scheduled at 8 a.m. & 10:15 a.m.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

A couple of years ago my friend was visiting a friend in Germany. They were walking down a quiet street and wanted to visit a shop on the other side. My friend saw that there were no cars in sight and began to cross. Immediately she was pulled back and admonished, “What are you doing? We must use the crosswalk.” “But why, it is perfectly safe,” my friend responded. “Think of the children,” the German responded. She went on to explain that the whole society was expected to model safe, orderly, and responsible actions for the younger generations.

As Americans we are not accustomed to adjusting our individual behavior for the sake of the greater good. But over the last week, global, national, and local health authorities have urged us to begin modifying our lives. Many employees have begun working from home, cultural gatherings have been cancelled, and schools are extending spring breaks and transitioning to online education.

We are individually urged to frequently wash our hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds, wipe down surfaces, avoid touching common surfaces, and practice social distancing – that is to avoid situations where we will be in close contact (< 6 feet) with others. We are also encouraged to show extra concern with those who are at highest risk, those with 60+ years and those with preexisting conditions.

These are hard changes for many of us; they are burdensome. But we welcome you to see this as an opportunity. We are all familiar with the second greatest commandment, to love our neighbor as ourselves. This type of love is sacrificial.

We urge you brothers and sisters, do the hard thing, think of your neighbor and your community as more important than yourself and follow the recommendations of the Health Department, the CDC, and the WHO. Not because you are concerned for your own well-being, but so that through unified action we may impede the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

To that end we are making the following adjustments to our community life at St. Thomas:

  • We are canceling Children's Sunday School, Sunday Adult Education, coffee hour, and Alpha until after Holy Week.
  • The Easter egg hunt for Palm Sunday is cancelled.
  • The Agape Meal on Maundy Thursday is changed to a regular worship service at 7pm in the sanctuary, no meal.

Concerning Sunday, hand sanitizer is available in the rear of the sanctuary. Consider sitting so that you are neither directly behind nor in front of others in adjacent pews. At the peace we encourage you to turn and greet each other without physical contact.

We believe that Christ is fully present in both the bread and the wine. Thus, the benefits of Holy Communion are fully conferred when receiving only in one kind. Therefore, we invite you to either partake of the wine by intinction or partake of only the bread.

Everyone serving at the altar will take care to wash their hands before the service and apply hand sanitizer at the peace.

If you are sick, kindly remain at home. Whether you remain at home because of illness or to limit your own potential exposure, both Fr. Ron and Fr. Chris will be happy to bring you communion, pray with you and anoint you.

Let us assure you, that, while taking every safety measure, our Sunday worship will continue to be maintained as a sanctuary away from the stresses of the virus and other worldly concerns, a time to be with the Lord and seek his mercies.

At the end of this letter is a Prayer for Healing from the Coronavirus. Make it part of your daily prayer time.

Finally, my brothers and sisters, fear not! Again and again, almost 100 times, the Bible exhorts us "do not be afraid." Why? Because God has promised to be with his people (Joshua 1:9). He will never leave us; He will never forsake us (Deut. 31:6). Especially in times of uncertainty and fear, we are called to recommit our trust in the Lord. We do not hope in flesh or blood, in health or certainty, but in the promises of God given to us through the Lord Jesus and sealed by his Spirit. Even though our worldly future is uncertain, do not become faint. Our God is faithful, our hope secure.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Ron & Fr. Chris

Prayer for healing from the coronavirus:

Jesus Christ, you traveled through towns and villages “curing every disease and illness.” Heal those who are sick with the virus. May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care.

Heal us from our fear, which prevents peoples from working together and neighbors from helping one another.

Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders.

Jesus Christ, healer of all, stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow. Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. May they know your peace.

Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know your protection and peace.

Be with the leaders of all nations. Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern for the well-being of the people they are meant to serve. Give them the wisdom to invest in long-term solutions that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks. May they know your peace, as they work together to achieve it on earth.

Whether we are home or abroad, surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare. In place of our anxiety, give us your peace.

Be with those who have died from the virus. May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace.

Jesus Christ, heal us. AMEN