A reading from Philippians 2:1-5
“2 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.”

Opportunities to serve others are as follows.

Amazon Smile
Amazon Smile is an Amazon.com shopping website that is just like regular Amazon.com except it will donate 1/2% of your purchases to your favorite charity. Episcopal Relief & Development is one of the approved charities that shoppers can designate. All prices, selections, and features are the same as regular Amazon and your same sign-in information will work there. Please consider shopping at Amazon.com and designating ERD as your favorite charity.

Annual Bazaar
The Annual Bazaar is usually be held the weekend after Thanksgiving beginning on Friday through Sunday noon. You will find unique holiday crafts (many under $10), fresh baked goods, a cookie walk selection, quarts of homemade soups, St. Thomas’s t-shirts and hoodies, second-hand Christmas decorations, and exclusive new items. All proceeds from the Annual Bazaar go to St. Thomas’s Outreach Ministries. St. Thomas’s Annual Bazaar is open to the public. Contact Barbara Graham via email at 44graham@comcast.net.

Building Use Ministry
This ministry of demonstrating hospitality by allowing groups to use the church building is an effort and opportunity to serve the community. St. Thomas’s building is enjoyed throughout the week by a variety of groups; most of these meet weekly, a few once a month, or once a year, and some are one-time events. Most of these groups make a donation for the use of space. When people ask, “Do you rent your building?” The answer is “No.” We are the church and value being hospitable and serving the community. We explain that we know, and appreciate the fact that groups budget an amount they can afford to give, and we are grateful to receive that amount as a donation. We do not set that amount, but receive it in support of St. Thomas’s missions, and our ability to keep the lights on.

Christmas for the Homeless
Christmas for the Homeless provides food for Christmas Eve Dinner, Christmas Breakfast, and Christmas Lunch. They also ask for donations of simple gifts that homeless people need like warm socks, gloves and hats as well as underwear and $10 gift cards to McDonald’s or other downtown eateries. People are needed to chaperone as the homeless spend Christmas Eve overnight at Calvary Baptist Church.  If you would like to help, please get in touch with Madeline Johnson  at mad1240@comcast.net.

Christmas Gift Giving that Makes Sense – Episcopal Relief & Development
Tired of what can feel like a Christmas rat race at the mall? Episcopal Relief & Development offers a different idea for giving. On the name tag table are catalogs titled Gifts for Life. Instead of giving another sweater or tie as a present, consider giving a gift that will keep giving to those truly in need throughout the year. You are provided with a variety of gifts to choose from. You can shop for the one that will be of most interest to your recipient. A card will be sent by Episcopal Relief & Development in your name that explains this kind of giving and your gift. Most folks are enthusiastic about a new kind of giving and some may adopt the idea for their own family and friends. You can order directly by phone at 1-855-312-HEAL or on line at  www.episcopalrelief.org/giftsforlife.

Christmas Giving: Our Angel Tree
St. Thomas’s Angel Tree provides Christmas gifts for local families. If you would like to help make Christmas brighter for local families in need, please take a Christmas Card tag from the board and purchase the item. Feel the glow of knowing that you have shared the love of Christ by helping our neighbors in need.

Code Purple Winter Sanctuary
Since 2011, St. Thomas’s has been part of the Code Purple Winter Sanctuary, which is managed by the Newark Empowerment Center (NEC) under the direction of Friendship House of Wilmington. St. Thomas’s and seven other Newark-area churches participate in the Code Purple shelter. Code Purple is not a traditional emergency shelter but operates only when the nighttime temperature is expected be fall below 20 degrees. Unlike permanent shelters, there are no beds, showers or lockers; it is simply a warm, safe room where people with no place to go that night can get in out of the cold. However, we do provide air mattresses, and blankets. Guests arrive at 6:00 p.m. at night and stay until 6:00 a.m. in the morning. A staff member from the NEC manages the intake of clients between 5 and 8 p.m., remains on call all night, and then returns to the church at 5:30 a.m. for the end of the sanctuary. We provide a supper in the evening, hot beverages throughout the night, and a light breakfast in the morning.

Food and Gas Cards
Parishioners purchase a gift cards that help provide a tank of gas, groceries or basic clothing at local stores. The Rector dispenses these cards to people in need. This is a wonderful way to meet the needs of others in economically challenging times.

Hope Dining Room
The Hope Dining Room is located in the Kingswood Methodist Church and provides a noon-time meal for anyone who is hungry.  We have a combined team:  St. Thomas/St.Nicholas that fixes and serves the meal on the 3rd Monday of each month.   If you would like to be on the team, please get in touch with Madeline Johnson  at mad1240@comcast.net.   You can be a one-time volunteer, or sign up by the month if your 3rd Monday is free.

Newark Area Welfare Committee’s Food Cupboard
The Food Pantry provides a week’s worth of groceries to anyone who qualifies.   It is located in the Newark Methodist Church on Main St.   We have baskets for non-perishable food contributions, as you enter the sanctuary.   For more information, contact Susan Hechter via email susanahechter@gmail.com.

Ronald McDonald House
For several years the parish has been collecting pull tabs for the Ronald McDonald House.   This scrap aluminum project brings in $6,000 per year to cover the cost of a full house (13 bedrooms) for 2 months of the year!   You will find a container for the tabs in the area of the name tag station.

United Thank Offering
United Thank Offering donations support innovative mission and  ministry initiatives throughout the Episcopal Church and Provinces of the Anglican Communion.  This year 2020, in the year of quarantine, we have a FUN, on-your-own walk,  to support UTO.   For more information, contact Cana Hartman at  cana.hartman@gmail.com.

“The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is a United Nations program headquartered in New York City that provides long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries.” The  Our Sunday school children collect for UNICEF around Halloween during Coffee Hour following the service.

In addition to the above areas, St. Thomas’s Parish serves a much broader community service by offering the use of our facility to community organizations. Some of these organizations include: AA, AIDS Delaware Test Site, Al-ANON, Anamchara Fellowship, Dismantling The New Jim Crow, Dusk Patrol, Musikgarten, and UD Ballroom Dance.