Our parish family at St. Thomas’s includes a number of families with children. The inclusion of these children in worship and parish life is of great importance in the life of our Parish. We take seriously the Baptismal vow “to do all in our power to support these persons in their life with Christ.”
Each year, we continue to strive to give our children new and exciting ways to discover more about God and who God is calling to them to be. Our children are encouraged to share God’s love by serving each other, their families and their community. During “normal” times, the children are invited to serve as ushers, readers and acolytes in St. Thomas’s regular Sunday services. Many of them sing in the Lights choir and a few occasionally join the adult choir. In addition, the children help in various ways with fundraising and fellowship events such as the annual Annual Bazaar. They help their global community by participating in Trick or Treat for UNICEF. And at the end of each year, the children share the Christmas story in a pageant service for the congregation.
During the past year, the Youth and Children of St. Thomas’s have not been as visible. However, that does not reflect their participation. The younger children have joined together with Christ Church Greenville, in remote Sunday School. Each week, they receive a packet in the mail with the lesson, the discussion, and a craft. Additionally, a weekly email gives parents tips and insights, and a link to the corresponding video. Our older Youth known as “Christians Ready, Equipped, and Willing” or “CREW,” have also been meeting virtually. Sue and Mike Houghton have been absolutely inspirational with the way that they have carried this program. CREW meets bi-weekly via Zoom and also participates in monthly activities. They have invited guests from the parish to participate in their Zoom meetings, enjoyed some fellowship with the college age group known as Episcopal Campus Ministry or ECM, and have done some community service. Some of the youth have even participated in ministry meetings via zoom, such as the finance committee. We all came together in the fall for a fun trunk-or-treat and the Christmas pageant happened virtually. Our Diocese has hosted a number of online events and there are more upcoming both online and in-person.
This Sunday, May 16, 2021, we will get to see several of our children take the next steps in their religious life. Bishop Kevin will be celebrating with us at 9 a.m. on YouTube and in-person. He will be Baptizing and Confirming members of our faith family! Noah will be receiving the Holy sacrament of Baptism. Amelia, Oscar and Zach will be confirmed, after faithfully and patiently waiting for over a year. This will be a joyous occasion!
We are all looking forward to the day when we can see our youth participate and hear little voices during the services. This will be done with the utmost care for the health and safety of our community and will not happen all at once. But, be assured, that even if you are not seeing and hearing much of our young pilgrims, their spiritual journeys are continuing. A HUGE thank you to all of the adults who support them. If you are interested in participating in any way, on one occasion or for a season, you are most welcome! Please contact the office at StThomassOffice@googlegroups.com or Fr. Howie to discuss how you can contribute.
Then little children were being brought to Him in order that He might lay his hands on them and pray. The Disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs.” Matthew 19:13-14