Our doors are open to all. This is the inclusiveness that distinguishes our church's past and promises to further enrich its future.
Service Times Sunday: Rite One Eucharist - 8:00 am Rite Two Eucharist - 10:00 am Wednesday: Evening Eucharist Service - 6:30 pm
Mission: Helping Hands Healing Hearts Welcome All
Blessed festival day! Happy Juneteenth from our family, to yours. Let us lift our voices, singing of the God who goes before us to set the captives free!
A Collect of Emancipation from the Episcopal Diocese of West Virginia:
O God of liberty and justice: we live in a nation in which the institution of human bondage was once a legal and accepted practice. We give thanks for those who worked and fought, at great personal sacrifice, to bring about an end to that cruel and oppressive system in our own land, and we pray that governments and authorities everywhere in the world might be led to make a quick end to the enslavement of any human being, throughout the Earth. Amen.
In celebration of Father's Day this Sunday, June 21, we'd like to give thanks to God and honor all fathers — or father figures — who have made a difference in our lives. Please share their name or a photo in the comments below and we will honor them in our online church service Sunday morning.
"Loving God, we thank you for fathers. We thank you for biological fathers, adopted fathers, and fathers in spirit. We thank you for fathers who work hard every day to help fulfill the needs of their families, who fix broken things and teach us how to do it ourselves, who embrace us and guide us, who love us even when they don't understand us. We know they reflect and embody your love for us as our heavenly Father. Comfort those of us who miss our fathers this day, and strengthen and bless those fathers who work so hard to love, protect, and nurture their families this day and every day. Amen."
prayer by Leslie Scoopmire, Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Missouri
14 JUNE 2020
ST. THOMAS THE APOSTLE HOMILY
The Reverend Stephen J. Waller
“Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Can you believe that Jesus actually uttered those words? “Go nowhere among the Gentiles?” “Enter no town of the Samaritans?” Go rather only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel……
Ok. We all know that that statement of mission was one delivered at the beginning of mission work for the disciples…..that statement would be followed at the end of Jesus’ life with his telling his disciples to go into all the world and make disciples of all people. A different commission, indeed.
Something seriously important hides inside and between these two different visions of mission and ministry. It is this:
Some followers of Jesus seem still to only hear the first understanding of mission and ministry. Some of us seem to want only people like us among us in our parish churches…good Jews (good men or good women or good gays or A gays or attractive people or smart people or perfect people like us). Some act as if “the other” (read someone we have never met before) does not really belong among us.
Back in the my first year as rector of St. Thomas the Apostle, I ran afoul of some members who found me “not to their liking.” Simply put, I was not my predecessor, not Jewish enough, not Ted enough, I guess. There was even an event in which the wardens and I sat and listened to 12 members of the parish tell me how I was failing as their rector….. this happened during my first year, my “anno horribilis,”a year as horrible to me as Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth 2 called one of her years. Getting settled as rector would mean being accepted as rector by some people who absolutely did not want me to be rector, did not want to accept me. Had I not believed that I had been called by God and God’s Church to be the rector, I likely would have packed my bags and returned to Wisconsin or Louisiana or Virginia or New York City or to Brittany…anywhere but Dallas, Texas.
I tell you this of this unhappy year in my life and in the life of the parish we all love so much to let you know that the disease of wanting only people “like us,” only
“our kind,” only members of the House of Israel…instead of absolutely anyone….is a disease which to this day infects the Body of Christ. And, it is deadly.
The Body of Christ is not my possession. Nor is it the possession of anyone of you. Nor is it the possession of any one group of people to the exclusion of any other group. My intention when I arrived at St. Thomas the Apostle was to serve and to welcome everyone currently there and anyone God wanted to be there in God’s good time. Sadly, and I consider it one of the saddest failures of my ordained ministry, a gaggle of members of Saint Thomas the Apostle decamped because of me….because they could not or would not accept my ministry as their rector. Mercifully, there are other Episcopal parishes in the Diocese to which some of them went…so, at least, some who left because of me stayed within the Episcopal fold.
This disease of wanting to limit who “belongs,” “who fits” in a community of faith continues to infect The Body of Christ today. Ask yourself this question: Are you really pleased when someone new shows up at the parish? Are you eager to help that person really “belong.” Do you strive to get to know them? Remember, “belonging” in the church means that those who are the Church (those already “in”) when a person arrives, actually do something to let the new arrival know that they really welcome you and want you there. To integrate you into the faith community Churches have ‘gate keepers.” When the gate keeper says you are in, you are in, but not before. Gate keepers are not part of God’s plan, my good friends.
Does it bother you that someone you do not know, someone not yet a part of the community, someone who may not look like you, someone who may not act like you turns up at St. Thomas the Apostle? Does it? Be honest in answering this question. Your answer will reveal to you, at least, whether you want this parish to be a “club” or a Christian Community of faith in Jesus Christ, open to absolutely everyone.
Being open to absolutely everyone is what God asks of all of us. It is what making disciples of all people means. It also means, though, that you and I are going to have to learn how to accept one another and “the other,” someone different from ourselves when they show up. Sisters and Brothers: Accepting others does not come easily for some of us.
We do not get to pick the humans God will put into this parish, God’s parish, as our brothers and sisters. God does that picking. Our task is to learn to live with and to love and to support and to care for and to rejoice in the presence and gifts those “new” people God brings to us in this community we all love.
I confess to you and to Mary and Jesus and to All the Saints, that while I served St. Thomas the Apostle, on rare occasions, I wondered if God were testing me when certain souls showed up at the parish to became a part of it. It took most all of my nearly 24 years as rector to get to a place where I really did welcome anyone….it took admitting to myself the painful truth that I, too, had blocks about some folk which made it difficult for me to “welcome” them as I should have. Just like those blocks some had for me when I arrived September 1st of 1989. Time eventually taught me that everyone brings gifts…whether or not they were the gifts I would have wanted brought or not.
I am not the only Christian at St. Thomas the Apostle who has struggled to be glad new people show up here. Some of you listening to me today are people who also struggle with welcoming “the other.” I have known you long enough to know that about you. Part of all spiritual growth is learning how to open the door to any and everyone as if we were opening the door to Christ. Because, we are. When new people knock on the red doors of St. Thomas the Apostle, it is Christ who is knocking. Let us all open those doors to anyone God may send our way. The One who knocks is Christ Jesus.
“All are to be welcomed as Christ,” taught Saint Benedict. All, Absolutely All. Amen.
The Reverend Dr. Stephen V. Sprinkle invites Doubters and their friends to read this month's book pick, "Virus as a Summons to Faith: Biblical Reflections in a Time of Loss, Grief, and Uncertainty" by Walter Brueggemann.
The daunting challenge of COVID-19 is on the minds of millions. The timeliness of Brueggemann’s important little book is not primarily about the coronavirus pandemic of the last several months. The real gift of this eminently readable book is the stunning way the message of scripture breaks in upon us with new meaning during these uncertain times. Brueggemann, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary, again demonstrates for us why his works are so widely read.
Read more of Dr. Sprinkle's review: https://thedoubter.org/2896/virus-as-a-summons-to-faith-biblical-reflections-in-a-time-of-loss-grief-and-uncertainty/
Our next Doubters' Happy Hour will be Tuesday, June 16 at 6 pm for “A Look at Regathering” with Father Christopher and the Regathering Committee. Join us for a frank discussion regarding worship in the age of COVID-19. Learn more at: https://thedoubter.org/2890/doubters-happy-hour-june-16/
Join us for the next Doubters' Happy Hour, 6pm this Tuesday, June 9 featuring Chad Brinkman of Episcopal Relief and Development. Learn more at https://thedoubter.org/2881/doubters-happy-hour-june-9/
Episcopal Diocese of Dallas
Also here on the EDOD FB page
From Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, the Most Reverend Michael Curry...
episcopalchurch.org Statement from Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry on President Donald Trump’s use of a church building and the Holy Bible June 1, 2020 The following is a statement from Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry: This evening, the President of the United States stood in front of St. John’s E...
From Presiding Bishop Michael Curry...
“Our long-term commitment to racial justice and reconciliation is embedded in our identity as baptized followers of Jesus. We will still be doing it when the news cameras are long gone.”
mailchi.mp [May 30, 2020] A word to the Church from Presiding Bishop Michael Curry: “Our long-term commitment to racial justice and reconciliation is embedded in our identity as baptized followers of Jesus. We will still be doing it when the news cameras are long gone.” In the midst of COVID-19 a...
Fr Christopher having some fun with the camera and our new ‘Call-to-Worship’ banners!
Join us in Zoom Church!
Sundays, 10 am
ALL ARE WELCOME!
The Reverend Dr. Stephen V. Sprinkle invites Doubters and their friends to read this week's book pick, Unbelievers: An Emotional History of Doubt, by Alec Ryrie. Unbelievers is a refreshing, provocative take on the origins of unbelief.
Unbelievers gives doubt a good name. The book’s thesis is challenging, heart-wrenching, and mind-changing. Seldom does a book engage an issue that reaches out and touches each one of us. Alec Ryrie has managed it, much to the benefit of his readers on both sides of “The Pond.”
Read more of Dr. Sprinkle's review: https://thedoubter.org/2847/unbelievers-an-emotional-history-of-doubt/
For Jesus’ Sake
A Homily for the Fifth Sunday of Easter
May 10, 2020
The Episcopal Church of St. Thomas the Apostle
Stephen V. Sprinkle, Theologian-in-Residence
I thank Fr. Christopher and the community of St. Thomas the Apostle for the courtesy of the pulpit, and for the opportunity to preach. It is an honor to serve as a Theologian-in-Residence for this church.
What is it that motivates Christians today, or more precisely for an embodied religion such as ours, Who is it who motivates Christians? I concede that some, perhaps many, who call themselves “Christians” do so at the risk of false advertising, but join me this morning in granting all of us the benefit of the doubt. After all, one of the central tenets of this faith is called, “grace.” Who is this One around whom the earliest believers gathered? After whose death on the cross and resurrection from the dead has a worldwide movement been launched from First Century CE to this very day? What is it about this Resurrected One that moves people to act, regardless of the effort, the struggle, and oftentimes the suffering that comes with their activity? How do the events of Jesus, lived in the evermore distant past, reach across the centuries to you and to me and to our world?
Worldatlas.com estimates that there are 2.22 billion Christians in our present time, fully 31.5 % of the world’s population—the largest human organism in the history of the planet. Talk about a ‘mustard seed’ that exploded into growth! The story of Jesus is not an ever-recurring myth. Jesus is not reborn every Christmas; Jesus is not nailed up on Golgotha again and again. He does not die every Good Friday and rise again every Easter. The history of his story is too stubborn, the past-ness of his passion is too undeniable. 2.2 billion (that’s billion with a B) human beings are not a memorial to his past-ness. It is instead as New Testament scholar Leander Keck put it, a present motive rooted in Jesus’ is-ness. In other words, in Jesus, God is with us, Emmanu-el, here and now.
But what is the bridge to get us from then-to-now? My Latin is pretty modest, but I did pick up one little jewel: a device or a vehicle to get something from one side of the river to the other is called a pons asinorum, “an ass’s bridge”. If a jackass needs a bridge, give it one! Remember the ABC song? “ABCDEFG, HIJKLMNOP….” That’s a pons asinorum. I learned my ABCs from that catchy jingle, lyrics and music that made all those letters memorable for me, and maybe it did for you, too.
Just so, Lee Keck gave a way to understand how action accomplished in the past, even the distant past, can continue effectively into the present and beyond. Dr. Keck was a scholar of ancient, or koiné, Greek. Language creates worlds. It presents the present moment with the past, to dynamic effect. And he found his pons asinorum in the perfect tense of the language of the New Testament. As he writes in his book, Who is Jesus? History in Perfect Tense:
The ancient Greeks used the perfect tense of a verb
to distinguish the ongoing import of the completed
action from its sheer occurrence in the past. (1)
Kindly follow Dr. Keck with me for a moment more. His example in English is the difference between the sheer occurrence of an action in the past, “The door was opened”, and the ongoing effects of a past action that remain in effect in the present, “The door is opened.” The door remains open as the result of past action. We no longer have a simple past tense. Voila! We have the perfect tense, and the world of our understanding changes and is made new. Dr. Keck then writes,
“Similarly, then, to speak of history in perfect tense
is to consider the ongoingness of something from the
past, namely Jesus. In short” [Dr. Keck concludes],
the question before us concerns the ‘isness’ of the
Jesus who was.” (1)
This Jesus who lived and walked the dusty roads of Palestine during the Roman imperial occupation, who ate and drank wine with his disciples in an upper room, this same Jesus who healed and cast out demons, who lived with the outcasts and the poor, and died a criminal’s death before rising on a Third Day morning is like that once-opened and nevermore shut Door. That is the metaphor Dr. Keck presents us with. The presence of the Resurrected Jesus cannot be shut up once-upon-a-time in a timeless symbol or a re-occurring set of meanings. This is God-with-us, now and then.
If this is difficult to wrap your head around, much less your life around, then welcome to the club, as they say. In John 14, the disciples have such a hard time comprehending the truth that God-with-us is in Jesus, that our Savior in exasperation said, “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves.” And you know what? They did! It took a crucifixion, an uprising from the grave, and the gift of the Holy Spirit to do it, but the early Christians became convinced that they had to go public with the news that God is in Jesus reconciling the world to godself. They found God accessible in Jesus, in fact undeniable. For through the mystery of the resurrection the Jesus who was became transformed into the Jesus Who Is.
Ed Farley, the theologian from Vanderbilt University, said that it was incumbent on us as Christians to practice gospel. That’s a provocative way to put it: to practice gospel—in other words, to do the works of the One who sent the early Christians, and who now sends us. To act for Jesus’ sake. To take up the often painful work of doing gospel in a world that will not likely thank us for it. Jesus anticipated that very thing in our scripture portion today: “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father.”
I mentioned pain. The work we do for Jesus’ sake is costly. The German Protestant martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote about that in The Cost of Discipleship, and then he lived it out in opposition to Adolf Hitler. That cost is often paid out even though it hurts to do it. Am I saying that it is holier and better to suffer pain than not to? Of course not. It is not better to hurt than not to hurt, Beloved! But to take up our part of the great work for Jesus’ sake will cause conscientious Christians to suffer at least to some degree because the kin*dom of God Jesus announced has never yet been realized in this world that God so loves. We see the odds thrown up against the vision of the kin*dom of God by the seemingly insurmountable resistance of “the way things are” in our world, and we experience wrenching dislocation, just like an arm popped from its socket. Every time I pray Jesus’ prayer, “Thy kin*dom come/Thy will be done/On earth as it is in heaven,” I feel the dislocation of that built-in contradiction.
But that has not stopped generation after generation of faithful people from offering their service in the name of Jesus, regardless of the friction. People who believed in the marrow of their bones that Jesus’ vision of a realized kin*dom of God was worth the expense and expenditure of their lives. I am not sentimental about human beings, past or present. I suppose that is partly because I am so aware of how prone I myself am to understand things so partially, and to stumble so often. But I cannot succumb to negativity about the Church because I am plainly amazed at how deeply my forebears cared about the work Jesus gave them to do. None of us invented faith, you know. It found us, passed along by the faithful people who went before us. We have each been surrounded by what the book of Hebrews called a “great cloud of witnesses,” some we know and can call by name. Think for just a moment, and the memory of their faces and their example will visit you to remind you that you have never really been alone. Others remain anonymous, known only to God, by whose ceaseless prayers and courtesy we have found this Christian meaning and purpose for our lives.
Mtr. Virginia Holleman and Fr. Christopher Thomas have shown us that the call to love and serve the children of God is as near as the awning-community of the homeless at the Dallas Public Library, and as immediate as our part of the Greater Dallas Coalition’s outreach to the impoverished and hungry in South Dallas. There is so much work that Jesus gives us to do! Wherever the need is found, followers of Jesus step up to face the challenge—and the motivation to do that so willingly has captured my heart and my mind. I stand amazed at the isness of the Risen Jesus among the involuntary sufferings of so many in our city, and also among those who voluntarily accept the cost of their discipleship in the effort to set things right “On earth/As it is in heaven.”
No one speaks about this more clearly than Lee Keck. And so I quote him for a bit more. He writes:
…Those who respond positively to Jesus voluntarily
suffer for the sake of the [kin*dom], whether ‘on
account of’ it, in order to grasp it and be changed by
it, or to advance it. Somehow they have been persuaded
that the [kin*dom] is worth the pain, and so they endure
hardships, hostilities from siblings and peers, persecution
by police and executioners—in this century no less than
those that preceded it. That all too often they have
inflicted suffering as well is a clearly tragic betrayal of
the [kin*dom], but that should not eclipse the many
instances when they were made to suffer for the sake of
the [kin*dom]. Nor should those whose personalities
and identities and feelings of self-worth are distorted
by the need to be rejected (the persecution complex)
be confused with those who accept suffering as the
inevitable consequence of responding faithfully,
though fallibly, to the ways in which the [kin*dom’s]
coming rectifies life.
Then Dr. Keck moves to make final things crystal clear:
Such persons [he writes] do not talk of their own
suffering, but talk of others for whose sake they
are ready to accept what may befall them. Such
voluntarily accepted suffering has two names:
one is love, the other is Jesus—in perfect tense. (182)
For Jesus’ sake, Amen.
|Tuesday||10:00 - 16:00|
|Wednesday||10:00 - 16:00|
|Thursday||10:00 - 16:00|
|Friday||10:00 - 16:00|
|Sunday||10:00 - 11:15|
|Sunday||08:00 - 09:00|
Keep updated with news and events from the Dallas Jewish Community Relations Council
Our Pastor: Donnie Rose, Sr. - Our Motto: Power of a Praying Church - Our Goal: HEAVEN
Viva Guadalupe is a pro-life apostolate seeking to promote devotion and knowledge of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The English Ministry of Vietnamese Faith Baptist Church in Dallas. We exist to glorify God by being a relevant, spiritual presence in the family and the community.
New Freeman Chapel Missionary Baptist Church is a "A New Church with a Vision"
Iglesia LNJ, un lugar para Adorar, Conectar, y Crecer. Dirigida por Los Pastores Rigoberto y Martha Ochoa
"Building Futures On The Firm Foundation" Matt. 7:25; Luke 6:48 Sr. Pastor: Corey F. Jackson Assoc. Min. Min. Warnell Caldwell Min. Jennifer Hiners Min. Jonelle Jackson Min. Shirley Graham Min.Annastagia Zachary Min. Gaylandra Carter
Where the Apostolic Doctrine is taught and where souls are being delivered and set free.
Founded in 1961, we are a Catholic organization whose purpose is to aid Moms in providing a Catholic home atmosphere for young children.