Stewardship 2020

Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another
with whatever gift each of you has received.

– 1 Peter 4:10

The message remains as an invitation to participate in the life of the church and there are a variety of opportunities to give of time, resources and heart. Please read on…

Message on Stewardship

When we set “Faith-Filled Generosity” as the theme for this year’s stewardship campaign, none of us could have known what this year would be like. I need not remind you of the disruptions, losses, and anxieties that this year has brought to our communities, for we are all still living with the impacts. I can say, however, that although the coronavirus pandemic has tested our resolve, it has not tested our faith. We are stronger, more resilient, and more connected than we have ever been as a Church and as a community of neighbors. Thank you. Thanks to each one of you doing your part in your homes, workplaces, schools, neighborhoods, families, and here in our church.

Our stewardship and our mission this year have been focused on service. As we experienced some months of not being able to gather in person, the usual focus on weekly worship was spread throughout the week as we found ways to gather virtually, taking more time to pray for each other’s needs and serve our communities. You used this time to discover, hone, and put to use the gifts you have received from our Creator God and to serve one another.

I have witnessed the countless ways that you have used your resources for the mission of the Church and to help each other. I have found it inspiring and hopeful as we plan our work together in 2021. This coming year, we will explore the way that our generosity is inspired by our faith, how we are formed and led into relationship with each other as we share our gifts with the world. This is what we mean by “Faith-Filled Generosity.”

How will you discover and use the gifts you have been given to help our church this year? How will you hear the Gospel call to seek and serve Christ in all people, and respond with generosity? As I look at each family, each individual in our community, I realize that we are the stewards of God’s manifold grace because we give to the world from what we have received.

This year, your stewardship committee will be sending you a packet with your pledge card and an appeal. I invite you to receive this with grace and prayer as you consider how you will share with God and God’s Church from what you have received. Please use the included self-addressed envelope to return your pledge card by Pledge Sunday/Ingathering on November 1.

In the spirit of generosity and love,

+ Salying

Stewardship Events

OCTOBER 25: ZOOM Stewardship following worship service (Very informative!)

NOVEMBER 1: In-gathering of Pledges (Thank you for your stewardship!)

Accepting Pledges

For those who are still prayerfully planning their pledge for the 2021 fiscal year, you may submit your pledges by mail to:

St. Thomas Episcopal Church
231 Sunset Avenue, Sunnyvale CA 94086.

Thank you for sharing in our ministry.

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Important Message & Updates from Pastor Salying Re: Coronavirus

UPDATE: MARCH 21, 2020 – PRESENT

Welcome to ZOOM worship at St. Thomas
For Shelter-in-Place Sundays

*** EVERY SUNDAY***
Please join Pastor Salying at 10:00 AM for open conversation.
Now that most of us know how to use ZOOM, the half hour before service usually
dedicated to trouble-shooting will also be an open time
to connect with one another and with the pastor.
All are welcome. Just sign in as usual.

All others, at 10:20-10:25 AM Sunday, please connect to our worship meeting.
There are two ways to do this.

1. By computer or smartphone (video and audio):
You may access our ZOOM meeting on the following link:
https://zoom.us/j/82690025101

2. By telephone (audio only):
Dial +1 669 900 9128

Meeting ID: 826 9002 5101
When prompted for a participant number, touch the pound key #

Actual connection time may take several minutes; please be patient.

Once you are connected, your face (or phone number) should appear in a square on your screen, as will the faces of others who have signed in, including Pastor Salying.

Note: For the sake of audio clarity, your mic will be muted on entry.

After the prelude, we will have introductory remarks, announcements, and then Morning Prayer together as one large body; we will then break out into small groups for “coffee hour”and sermon discussion.

Service Bulletin for October 25th, 2020

Thank you and see you Sunday!
~Pastor Salying


Find recent video sermons and transcripts below:

Video Sermon: 21st Sunday After Pentecost (Oct 25, 2020)
Transcript: 21st Sunday After Pentecost (Oct 25, 2020)

Video Sermon: 20th Sunday After Pentecost (Oct 18, 2020)
Transcript: 20th Sunday After Pentecost (Oct 18, 2020)


Video Sermon: 19th Sunday After Pentecost (Oct 11, 2020)
Transcript: 19th Sunday After Pentecost (Oct 11, 2020)

Video Sermon: 18th Sunday After Pentecost (Oct 4, 2020)
Transcript: 18th Sunday After Pentecost (Oct 4, 2020)

By Bishop Lucinda Ashby:
Video Sermon: 7th 
Sunday After Pentecost (July 19, 2020)
Transcript: 7th Sunday After Pentecost (July 19, 2020)

UPDATE: MARCH 19, 2020

Dear St. Thomas Parishioners,

While we do our part to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus by social distancing, St. Thomas Church will worship together virtually. I have chosen a platform that serves my priorities for our gathering: (1) that it lets us gather as one large body and in small groups, (2) that it allows us to engage with one another rather than as spectators, (3) that it is as simple as possible, allowing for access over the internet and over traditional phone call. I am pleased that we will be using Zoom conferencing, which allows us to meet as one body and allows us to break into small groups during the same meeting.

Worship for St. Thomas will look like this:

1. We will meet as one body on Zoom at 10:30am on Sundays. After some prelude music by our organist Myrna, I will give some introductory remarks and announcements around 10:40am. We will then have Morning Prayer. Patricia will sing a hymn to close the liturgy. The sermon will be pre-recorded, posted on youtube, and typed out, and sent to you beforehand. You may watch/read the sermon before the liturgy or after. The service bulletin and zoom link will be sent to the parish at the same time as the sermon youtube link.

2. After the liturgy, I will have Zoom randomly place us into small groups of 5 or so. In these “Breakout Rooms”, everyone will check-in by mutual invitation. One person starts by checking in on how he or she is doing and then invites the next person, and so on, till everyone has a chance to check-in. There might be a question I offer for check-in; it would probably be based on the sermon. The small group will end after 30 minutes. I will send a message to all small groups with a 5 minute warning to close.

3. We will reconvene at the same time next week.

At this time, we encourage you to mail in your pledges and offerings to the church. Jim Cobb, our treasurer, is researching online giving options and will inform us how to proceed. We are grateful that you continue to support the church’s operations during this time of crisis.

Let us continue to thank God for our community and encourage one another with support. It can be isolating at this time, so please connect for your own sake and other’s. Let us also pray for those who are sick or in harm’s way or put into economic hardship because of this time. Let us be generous in giving and lending.

Please look for extensive instructions around the virtual worship on Friday or Saturday. I look forward to “seeing” you all on Sunday.

Peace,
Pastor Salying

UPDATE: MARCH 16, 2020

We are adapting to the Shelter in Place Public Health Order issued March 16, 2020 by our county health authorities.

We are suspending public gatherings/services until further notice.

UPDATE: MARCH 14, 2020

Dear St. Thomas,

We will NOT be gathering for services tomorrow Sunday, March 15, 2020. I will take next week to work with a task force as to what’s next for the way we worship. Thank you for your patience as I discern with our leadership how to walk this uncertain time.

As many of you already know, there are live-stream services in various places. They’ve been sent around in previous emails. I will only include the link to the service at the National Cathedral with our Presiding Bishop Curry. (But included in my original email message is our bulletin for this Sunday at St. Thomas. It contains the readings and the announcements.)

I might finish my sermon today, but I might not. My heart is saying to spend time calling as many of you as I can today and leave the task of preaching to the Presiding Bishop. If I do finish my sermon, I will send it out on Sunday morning.

Your servant,
Pastor Salying

UPDATE: MARCH 13, 2020

Today, Friday, March 13, Santa Clara County has instituted a conditional moratorium on gatherings of 35-100, on the condition that our gathering serves an essential societal function. I have spoken with our Executive Committee…and we have agreed that worshiping is essential. Unless we receive a mandatory order to desist from the County, we believe that our worship space is big enough to give us plenty of social distance….Whatever the numbers, it is my intention to be present to pray with our community for our human family…

*Additional instructions & updated precautions have been incorporated below…
__________________________________________

UPDATE: MARCH 12, 2020

The following is a message from Pastor Salying:

Dear St. Thomas Parishioners,

PRAY FOR ONE ANOTHER

In this time of heightened anxiety around the novel coronavirus, I encourage you to remain connected with our community and to pray for one another.

PHONE TREE

We each will make our decision as to how to remain connected. Some will choose and have chosen to connect not by physical presence, but by calling one another. We are building a phone tree at the church. This effort is headed by Sue Beckham. Please Contact Sue for information or email (family_ministry@stthomas-svale.us).

PERSONAL PHONE CALL

For me as the pastor, I have found myself making more phone calls at this time; I’ve been calling a wider group of people. This has deepened my love for you. Please let me know if you’d like to have a phone call from me. I’d love to talk with you.

REGULAR SERVICES WILL CONTINUE

Some will choose to remain connected by physical presence on our campus, whether in worship or in programs. I believe it is important if you are not in a vulnerable category to be together in our bodies. There are two available Sunday service times: 8:00 and 10:30 AM that will continue to meet in the main church building.

PASTORAL VISITS

I am still making personal pastoral visits and plan to continue doing this. We will not be canceling worship services.

PRECAUTIONS

We will, however, take precautions, as one always ought to do when considering infectious diseases. Now, even more so.

Shared Communion Temporarily Discontinued*
It is with a heavy heart that I will remove the cup from the congregation. As you may know, the common cup is an important sign of our unity from our ancient Christian tradition. I will consume the wine on our behalf and wait for the day when we will be able to safely offer it back to the greater body.

[su_list] These are precautions we can take in loving care for one another:

  • Avoid leaning your hands on the back of the pews or using them to brace yourself to get up, it will mean less contact with possible contaminated services.
  • Consider wearing gloves to church, like your grandparents.
  • Greet one another with a bow rather than a handshake.
  • Sit dispersed in the church.
  • Coffee hour hosts, please serve foods that are self-contained, like individually wrapped foods.
  • Ushers will lean in to take your offering (and not pass the collection plates).
  • Avoid contact with doorknobs, etc; wash your hands after you touch them.
  • Our hot lunch program, Our Daily Bread, for the meantime will be serving takeout meals.
  • Anyone who feels sick is asked to stay home.

[/su_list]

STREAMING SERVICES*

We are in the process of putting together a live-streaming option by next Sunday.

When that’s ready, a link will be provided. Anyone interested will be able to join in from anywhere with an internet connection. More details to follow.

In the interim, for those unable to participate in-person, you may connect to St. Andrew’s in Saratoga through this link: https://vimeo.com/event/24215.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

For those on the e-mail list, Parish Administrator Anne will send out a pdf of our Sunday bulletins and sermon on the Tuesday after the Sunday service.

If you would like to be included on the e-mail list, please follow the link to Contact Us or call the office at (408) 736-4155.

I appreciated this TED talk https://youtu.be/Fqw-9yMV0sI. It helps us think about how to sensibly apply precautions in a world that has infectious diseases. With human encroachment to the last wild places, we will continue to have more novel infections.

It is important that we do not crouch our hearts inward from fear, but turn our hearts outward justice and care for the poor, as people who occupy places of degradation and poverty have the least protection.

This time of the coronavirus affords us an opportunity to better love–to see clearer and broader to the margins. Let us pray together as to how we can do a good thing for God in this time.

God’s blessing and peace be with you,
Pastor Salying
_______________________________________________

Litany for in the Midst of Pandemics

by the Rev. Salying Wong

Leader: God the Creator,
People: Have mercy on us.

Leader: God the Redeemer,
People: Have mercy on us.

Leader: God the Sanctifier,
People: Have mercy on us.

Leader: God the Holy Trinity, one God,
People: Have mercy on us.

Leader: Draw us near to you, O God,
People: For you sustain us.

Leader: Give us trust in you in the midst of our fragility,
People: For you sustain us.

Leader: Teach us to love when we are afraid,
People: For you sustain us.

Leader: Give us courage when we are uncertain,
People: For you sustain us.

Leader: Turn our hearts to the poor and the suffering, including this good earth.
People: For you sustain us.

Leader: We pray for those who are sick, especially those who have the coronavirus,
People: Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: We pray for those are working for a cure,
Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: We pray for all care-providers,
Lord, hear our prayer.

Leader: We pray for the dying and those who have died.
People: For you sustain us.

Leader: We pray for the communities in the greatest danger and for cooperation between nations within the human family.
People: For you sustain us.

Leader: God of the present moment,
God who in Jesus stills the storm
and soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to all
who wait or work in uncertainty.
Bring hope that you will make us the equal
of whatever lies ahead.
Bring us courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
for your will is our wholeness;
you are our God, and we need you.

~ adapted from New Zealand Prayer Book

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GIVE: Episcopal Relief & Development – Disaster Relief

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP

Please pray for all those impacted by disasters of all kinds–COVID-19, wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes, cyclones, explosions and more. So many are experiencing personal loss, hardship, barriers and inconvenience in ways that seem unimaginable.

Though efforts are being made internationally as well as national, state and local levels, with grass roots organizations and countless self-sacrificing individuals, we find ourselves at various stages of a very long process all over the map. Church communities often serve as a place people turn to for comfort and assistance within their surrounding community. Under the current COVID-19 mandates, with social distancing with varying restrictions depending on local, we are invited to participate in new and creative ways to gather online and provide support.

One of Christ’s core commandments to His followers is to love thy neighbor as thy self. It’s important that we reach out to care for the most vulnerable members and neighbors of these communities.

PLEASE HELP – SO MANY COMMUNITIES ARE BEING IMPACTED BY DISTASTERS
Your donation to Episcopal Relief & Development will provide the Church and our partners in the communities they serve with resources to provide critical emergency assistance to those in greatest need.

To keep updated on our efforts LOCALLY AND AROUND THE GLOBE, go to Episcopal Relief & Development’s 2020 Press Releases

Please GIVE in support of our collective efforts by following the link: MAKE A DONATION to Episcopal Relief & Development, choose from the list of funds, select the amount you would like to donate, and click “Give.”

With heartfelt gratitude, we Thank You for any and all contributions. 

Consider, too, becoming a PRAYER PARTNER and receiving inspirational prayers  – “ACCOMPANY US IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY AND DURING TIMES OF CELEBRATION.”

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Together Apart – Ways St. Thomas Gathers on Zoom

Going stir crazy, afraid to watch another cooking show or YouTube video on how to cut your hair?…or does talking to veggie plants have the neighbors wondering?

In need a little change? We have Good News for you…we really do 🙂

There are opportunities to gather for worship, prayer, study and fun at St. Thomas. All you literally need to do is plug-in and Zoom with us. Here are a few ways…

WORSHIP

SUNDAYS @ 10:30 AM – WORSHIP SERVICE with the whole congregation, led by Pastor Salying: Zoom Link for Sunday Worship

Dial-in option: 1 669 900 9128  –  Meeting ID# 826 9002 5101

PRAYER

During this time while we shelter in place, there are ways we can stay connected spiritually, and find calm & peace in the midst of the pandemic.

Here are days and times you can connect online to the St. Thomas faith community for prayer, meditation and worship:
 
TUESDAYS @ 6PM – CENTERING PRAYER, led by Pastor Salying: Zoom Link for Tuesday Evening Centering Prayer
 
Dial-in option: 1 669 900 9128  –  Meeting ID# 724376004
 
WEDNESDAYS @  12:15PM – NOONDAY PRAYER with Commemoration of a Saint, led by Pastor Salying: Zoom Link for Wednesday Noonday Prayer
 
Dial-in option: 1 669 900 9128  –  Meeting ID# 86313271549
 
WEDNESDAYS @ 6:30PM – COMPLINE with Deacon Bertram: Zoom Link for Wednesday Evening Compline

Dial-in option: 1 669 900 9128  –  Meeting ID# 499220185
  
THURSDAYS @ 9AM – MORNING PRAYER with Deacon Bertram, in connection with St. Margaret’s in Washington DC: Zoom link for Thursday Morning Prayer
 
Dial-in option: 1 669 900 6833  –  Meeting ID# 151825096  –  Password: 184402 
 
OR
 
Via the St. Margaret’s website: https://www.stmargaretsdc.org/   and then halfway down on the right, click on:
 

Virtual Noonday Prayer and Lectio Divina on Thursdays

(NOTE: 9 AM PDT = 12 Noon in Washington)

STUDY
Adult Formation

The Adult Formation serves to increase our knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the Bible and to help us apply the lessons we learn to our lives  so that we may grow and mature in our Christian faith.

For the latest news regarding future studies, please check back with our website and/or the weekly service bulletin for upcoming offerings.

Family Ministry offers weekly online Children’s Ministry

Family Ministry gathers online on Thursdays at 4:00 PM for Children’s Ministry.  Our time together is focused on Christian formative education mixed with some fun! Note that the Children’s Ministry class previously scheduled for June 4th, 2020 is cancelled due to time conflicts with so many of the children still being in school. We plan to restart the following week. 

To participate, please contact the group’s host – Sue Beckham, Family Ministry Director via the Parish Office  for details if you would like to join the group.

Sue’s contact details are also available in the weekly service bulletin.

Men’s Spiritual Growth Group

Meets online the 2nd and 4th Saturdays (9-10 AM on your computer) to explore where the Scriptures lead us and on alternate Saturdays to check-in with everybody at the end of the week (this also starts at 9 AM).

We invite all men (even those not a part of St. Thomas) to join with us for fellowship and good discussion.  And yes, you can be in your pajamas! 

Our Zoom meetings are password protected so you’ll need to connect with Chris Schmidt, the group’s host via the Parish Office  for the Zoom ID if you are new to the group.

Chris’ contact details are also available in the weekly service bulletin.

FUN
Book Club

We typically meet (online at this time) the last Tuesday of the month at 7:30 PM. 

Our desire is to share and discuss good reads that broaden our minds and understanding of the world in which we live. We have an appreciation for each other and literature coming from a variety of genres.

Please check with the website and/or weekly service bulletin for current offerings.

If you are new to the group and would like to join, please contact Dorothy Furgerson, the host via the Parish Office for the Zoom ID.

Dorothy’s contact details are also available in the weekly service bulletin.

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Peace & Justice = Community Outreach to Silicon Valley

PEACE & JUSTICE COMMITTEE

The Peace and Justice Committee is a key component of St Thomas’ outreach to support the Silicon Valley community.

Founded upon Our Baptismal Covenant (BCP – Book of Common Prayer, Page 305), which calls us to this work:
Celebrant: Will you strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being?
People: I will, with God’s help.

Community Issues

There are many issues confronting people in Silicon Valley that need addressing: housing, immigration, education, and police accountability. Additionally, we are confronted with environmental issues such as global warming and pollution that affect so many.

COMMUNITY ORGANIZING – MOBILIZE FOR CHANGE

Community organizing for public ministry is a proven way to affect change. Some examples are the abolition of slavery, women’s suffrage, and civil rights.

Organizing on a smaller scale may involve how to get better crosswalks in a neighborhood or increasing safety for cyclists. Community organizing works because many people get involved in action to change. It mobilizes the people most affected by an issue to take charge of getting the change to occur.

THE CRUX OF IT

What community organizing entails:

First – Relationships
It depends greatly on relationships with between individuals, team members, allies and others who can help.

Second – Details
To address any issue, we need to know details to understand its complexities.

Third – Leaders from Those Most Affected
Our job as organizers is to help the people who are most affected by an issue to select leaders from their own group. Then we help those leaders get their people to cause change.

The people most affected by an issue have the most passion and stories about how the issue is affecting them.

Stories are very important because they are powerful tools in getting decision-makers on the right side of an issue.

SOME OF THE STEPS WE’RE TAKING

Contacting allies and building relationships
Training committee members on the principles of organizing.

WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW

The next step for the peace and justice committee is to reach out to folks who are having difficulties right now with Covid-19, the economic virtual collapse and the state of racism in our country. We will do this by contacting folks by phone. This is called phone banking because we will have a bank of phone numbers of folks who are believed to be having difficulties right now.

We will be working with People Acting in Community Together (PACT https://www.pactsj.org ) as we have in the past. The purpose is to understand what’s happening with people who are hurting right now and what they think would help.

We and PACT will use that information to help decide on next steps. Many times just knowing someone else cares is a help.

A couple of weeks ago, we began with a course on phone banking from Christopher Logan of PACT. Watch for updates here for additional course offerings…

Last week we supported PACT (People Acting in Community Together) by making phone calls to voters to hear their stories about issues and concerns that they have. Each of the callers was given a list of 15 -20 numbers to call.

We found that it was very difficult to get folks to answer their phones so, we had very few conversations.

This week we each got another list of names to call.

RECENT VICTORIES
One out of ten workers in California is undocumented, and their labor has largely fallen into work deemed “essential” throughout the pandemic—inagriculture, food distribution and service, elder care and child care among other occupations. They pay billions in local and state taxes, and they contribute over 180 billion dollars to our California economy. And they have been ruthlessly left out of federal relief even though they pay federal income taxes.
 
On May 5, 2020, over 1,200 California IAF leaders convened on Zoom, along with 10 Bishops (including Bishop Lucinda of El Camino Real) and 9 state legislators to press Governor Newsom to expand the Cal EITC. More than 1,000 faith and community leaders signed on to a letter in support of the expansion, and in the thick of budget negotiations organized hundreds of leaders to send letters to the Governor and to the top leadership of the senate and assembly. St. Thomas parishioner Cal C. was also a participant in this meeting and called Gov. Newsom and local assembly and senate members urging this legislation be passed.
INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING/LEARNING MORE?

If you are interested in participating or learning more, please Contact Pastor Salying.

GOOD TOPICAL READS

Stand Up! by Gordon Whitman

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