ECM update for September and October 2021

posted in: ECM | 0

ECM decided to change our meeting days from Sundays at 5:30 p.m. to Wednesdays at 6:15 p.m. The choice to meet on Sundays was meant to facilitate the participation of more members—both on Zoom and in person. But, with the beginning of the semester and the complete return of students to in person classes, the decision was made to return to our original date and time. Aly—our president sends out reminders via Groupme and email.

In September 2021, we had a Spaghetti dinner for the St. Thomas’s family as a thank you for all the support we have received form the parish. We made whole wheat pasta, vegetarian sauce and served garlic bread. This went over very well, especially with Sunday school group. People seemed pleased with our efforts—and we served every last bite!

Blue Hen Bounty (BHB) food pantry has not stopped serving the community during the pandemic, over Winter break and into the Fall 2021 semester. We have seen a predictable uptick in patronage which has severely depleted our pantry. In response, we emailed Blue Hen Vets and asked them for help—they responded generously as always, and we asked the St. Thomas’s Family for help as well. Donations have been coming in and we are grateful. Please keep us in mind when you shop. In our Fellowship Hall, there is a neat whiteboard in the classroom which has our wish list items on it. When you make purchases, please leave them in the classroom and we will sort and put them away.

We began the exploratory process of determining ECM’s eligibility for the last disbursements of the CARES Act grant courtesy of New Castle County. Unfortunately, we are not eligible because of the funding criteria. Please do keep us in mind if anyone hears about another grant opportunity for BHB. Shout out to Cana and Amy for always alerting us to opportunities.

We asked Cana to distribute a sign-up sheet for ECM dinners. We ask parishioners to make dinner for us and join us in fellowship on Wednesdays. We are roughly seven in number and there are no known food allergies. We have fond memories of freshly baked challah, white bean chili, Stouffer’s lasagna with garlic bread, curry chicken, grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup and more! Please come and join us! In lieu of parishioner meals, we have been ordering pizza and French fries, which we eat in the kitchen—to give the Girl Scouts some privacy.

In response to an inquiry from a parishioner, we had another discussion about the violent assault that took place recently connected to our campus. As a result, the students decided to reach out to one of the organizers of the protests and verify if we can be supportive during this distressing time. More to come.

We are in the process of working on our budget and will receive support from Amy and Teresa at our next ECM meeting—where they will be sharing a meal with us!

We have begun the process of re-decorating the bulletin boards in the classroom. Please stay posted for our new boards soon!

We are working on our ECM sweatshirts.

Please do remember that Shannon has transitioned from president of ECM to Coordinator of BHB, Aly Hall is our new ECM president, our new ECM treasurer is Claire Wadman with Noah Farnsworth as backup.

With regards,   

Denise Burgher

ECM Convening Graduate Advisor

Bring and Share a meal with ECM

posted in: ECM | 0

Episcopal Campus Ministry (ECM) is a place to explore and live spirituality in community with UD students, faculty, staff and parishioners. They meet every Wednesday at 6:15 p.m.

If you would like to help provide our group of approximately 7 with dinner for one of our future meetings please sign up either online or on the sheet in the lobby, which will be posted on the notice board if anyone would like to choose a date to make dinner for us and come and fellowship. Please post any dates you would like on the actual sheet which will be on the notice board by the Fellowship Hall.

We kindly appreciate your willingness to provide our meeting with a meal to share!

Blue Hen Bounty Pantry needs donations

posted in: ECM | 0

As you can tell from all the foot traffic in Newark the students are back troves!   The good news is we have more students using our food pantry – Blue Hen Bounty.   The bad news is we are OUT OF MOST EVERYTHING!  

Next time you go shopping please add a can, box, bottle, packet and/or bar for the students.  Or, just bring in something from your pantry.  

ECM students started and continue to run Blue Hen Bounty, a food pantry that provides supplemental nutrition to  University of Delaware students who are food insecure and cannot provide ample nutrition for themselves. Food insecure students are invited to come to ECM’s Blue Hen Bounty food closet by going to the Parish Office at St. Thomas’s Parish, 276 S. College Ave., Newark, Delaware 19711.

Thanks for your generous support.

Spaghetti dinner to benefit Blue Hen Bounty

posted in: ECM | 0

Dear St. Thomas’s Family,

Please come and join us for dinner on Sunday, October 3, 2021, from 12 noon to 2 p.m. We are having spaghetti–meat and vegetarian options. Stay or grab a to-go container as we “see” each other and fellowship.

We would LOVE your presence and if you can bring a cash or in-kind donation for our Blue Hen Bounty, food pantry for students who are food insecure. All items accepted but cooking oil, detergent–pods, bath soap, feminine hygiene products, and seasonings–salt, pepper, thyme are high priorities.

Please click on the Sign up link so we can plan accordingly.Thanks!
https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f49acae2da1fcc61-spaghetti

Blue Hen Bounty food pantry needs

posted in: ECM, Outreach | 0

Now that the students are back Blue Hen Bounty is experiencing an up-tick in clients. We currently need all kinds of soaps.

Dish Soap
Laundry Soap
Cleaning Soap
Face Soap
Shampoo
Baby Shampoo
Toothpaste
Men’s and Women’s deodorant  

Thanks for your support.

ECM Report for April & May 2021

posted in: ECM | 0

ECM has continued to meet via zoom on Sundays at 5:30 p.m. Shannon, our president, sends out the Zoom link and reminders are issued over email and GroupMe. Since we were heading into our last meeting of the year on May 16, 2021, I decided to collapse the monthly reports into one.

Blue Hen Bounty (BHB) has continued serving the community during the pandemic with spectacular support from Cana, Amy and Teresa. We continue to see patrons among staff as well students. April 2021 did not see much by way of anything very special but May 2021 was a month to remember!

We met at St. Thomas’s to decorate the BHB and ECM letters on April 18, 2021. Everyone present practiced strict Covid protocols and a good time was had by all. On May 2, 2021, we did not have ECM in order to give students the space and time they needed to honor their mom for Mother’s Day.

On May 5, 2021, BHB participated in IHeartUDay. BHB’s original goal was $1,200, which we doubled receiving just over $2,610, which will go towards supplementing the food items which are donated to BHB for our clients. A heartfelt thanks to all those who donated and forwarded the link to their contacts!

On May 13, 2021, Shannon Murray our wonderful president won a leadership award at the YouD22 Awards and BHB won for Outstanding In person Program!!! Please see video link for the award ceremony: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=179614600696315&id=50425394582  

On May 16, 2021, we had our last meeting of the year and we hosted a guest speaker Carly Timmons, via zoom, who shared the details of a Reading Assistant position at schools in Wilmington, Delaware. During our meeting we held elections and now have a new cohort of ECM leaders. Shannon has transitioned from President to Coordinator of BHB, Aly Hall is our new president, our new treasurer is Claire Wadman with Noah Farnsworth as backup. After a quick discussion and vote, we have decided to move our weekly meeting time back to Wednesdays at 6:15 p.m.

On May 29, 2021, we participated in a joint celebration of the end of the year with CREW at St. Thomas’s and had so much fun!

We received a large donation of food from UDs Dining Services and anticipate another donation by the end of the first week of June 2021.

The University of Religious Leaders Organization (URLO) held its final meeting of the semester last week. Denise attends these meetings.

With regards,   
Denise Burgher
ECM Convening Graduate Advisor

Episcopal Campus Ministry March 2021 update

posted in: ECM | 0

Episcopal Campus Ministry (ECM) has continued to meet via zoom on Sundays at 5:30 p.m. Shannon, our president, sends out the Zoom link and reminders are issued over email and GroupMe. For our first and second meeting of the month, some of us met in person to celebrate the beginning of the semester and get some housekeeping done for Blue Hen Bounty (BHB). We pulled out all the expired food and set it aside to be taken to the Newark Empowerment Center. Everyone wore masks and all safety protocols were strictly followed including completing the contact tracing form. Virtual participation was made available to those who could not attend in person. Madeline collected the items and delivered them on our behalf the very next day to the Empowerment Center.

Blue Hen Bounty (BHB) has continued serving the community during the pandemic with spectacular support from Cana, Amy and Teresa. Patronage dipped for a few weeks but has begun to pick up—aligned with campus move-in and the start of the semester. We continue to see patrons among staff as well students.

Amy has submitted our accounting for the CARES grant that we received from New Castle County and it has been received with thanks for the work we continue to do to serve our community. We were asked to include testimonials about BHB, which we did. We remain truly grateful for the incredible support ECM and BHB receives from our parish.

Brian, the Dean of Students liaison, has put his offer to help us supply students in quarantine with snack bags on pause as UD deals with an “unprecedented” surge of Covid positives among the students. We remain really excited about this opportunity and look forward to working out the details so we can support dorm-bound quarantined students with food and snacks

We are planning another joint meeting with the St. Thomas’s CREW on March 27, 2021. C.R.E.W. stands for “Christians Ready, Equipped, and Willing” and welcomes youth in grades 7 through 12. The meeting will start with an ice breaker provided by ECM followed by a joint presentation of the options of local charities by Madeline Johnson to anchor our discussions about the Vestry appointed one thousand dollars for external ministry. The greater part of the meeting however will be spent in a joint Stations of the Cross experience which will be virtual and in person. Sue and Sally made sure that ECM members received Stations of the Cross kits to take home—which we really appreciated! Special thanks to Sally for the cookies!

Amy, St. Thomas’s Treasurer, has offered to present a session on stocks, bonds and the exciting world of finance to ECM. This suggestion was enthusiastically embraced and will need to be scheduled soon.

Our first Delmarva Blood Bank drive will take place on March 10, 2021!  ECM has been spreading the word and we hope that the event will be really successful. Please do not forget to make your appointment and tell your friends! A fellow nursing classmate of an ECM member will be volunteering to take temperatures and assist with hydration.

Our focus on explicit spirituality has begun in earnest with the official start of the Beatitude Devotional by Father Howie. We started the conversation about being poor or rich in spirit. Included in the first devotional was a list of some of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We identified which gifts of the Spirit we saw and admired in others and which gifts we would like to cultivate in ourselves. After a robust discussion, we each chose a gift of spirit to focus on for the week—patience, understanding wisdom, piety etc. I look forward to next week when we will share how or if a greater awareness of this principle made a difference in our week as we continue to develop our relationships with God.

The University of Religious Leaders Organization (URLO) continues to meet roughly every two weeks.

With regards,   

Denise Burgher
ECM Convening Graduate Advisor

Episcopal Campus Ministry (ECM) Report for January 2021

posted in: ECM | 0

Happy New Year! ECM took a break over Christmas but has resumed. Our first meeting starting this past Sunday on January 10, 2021. Due to the exigencies of Covid 19, ECM we continued to meet via zoom on Sundays at 5:30 p.m. Shannon—our president sends out the Zoom link and reminders are issued over email and GroupMe.

Blue Hen Bounty (BHB) has continued serving the community during the shutdown with spectacular support from Cana, Amy and Teresa (all honorary members of ECM with the BHB t-shirts to prove). Patronage of BHB has continued to be steady. We continue to see patrons among staff as well students. This increase has been hoped for and we remain humbled and grateful to serve our community in this fundamental way.

The new cabinets have been purchased and are awaiting installation! The floors need to be resurfaced so installation must wait. They will be installed in the Classroom to accommodate our increased supply and demand. Special thanks to Sue and Amy for making this happen!

The supermarket cards have been purchased—thanks Amy! At a virtual meeting between Cana, Amy, Teresa and I, we discussed how best to distribute and store the supermarket cards. The cards will be distributed on as needed basis at the discretion of the issuer: Cana and Teresa. A set number of activated cards (8-10) will be stored in the locked office desk. The rest will be stored in the St Thomas safe. Cana has created a simple form to keep track of the cards which have been issued for our records.

We have accepted an invitation from the St. Thomas’s CREW to have a joint virtual meeting on January 24, 2021. Kate Burchess will make a presentation of Centering Prayer to both groups during our meeting. ECM will organize the ice breaker. Sue and I met late last year to explore the options of linking the groups and I am very pleased that this will be happening soon.

ECM will work on and submit a video to be used in New Student Recruitment at the University of Delaware (UD). When complete, I will attach a link for the Vestry to review.

Our focus on explicit spirituality continues to develop. We have been building the conversation about knowing God through prayer. This past meeting, I spoke with students about the current events at the Capitol. I asked them not to close off in fear but to exercise their minds and practice critical thinking. I asked them not to give into fear or anxiety. I reminded them that they were safe in their homes and thus far, very little about their lives will change in spite of the rapid changes going on in our country. I reminded them that Facebook and YouTube and TikTok are not reliable sources of peer-reviewed information and should be avoided or cross referenced with reputable sources. I assured them that in spite of what they may have heard, there are no lizards in skin suits masquerading as people or pedophile rings operating out of pizza parlors. We had a brief discussion. Several students are taking classes and quite frankly focused on their work. Please keep all of our UD students in your prayers. This has been a very difficult time for our students even though ECM students they are blessed with parents and homes which appear to be weathering the challenges of the pandemic very well. Please, please keep them in your prayers.

University of Religious Leaders Organization (URLO) meetings have continued via Zoom which I attend— our next meeting is January 19, 2021.

With regards,   
Denise Burgher, ECM Convening Graduate Advisor

Episcopal Campus Ministry (ECM) Report for December 2020

posted in: ECM | 0

Due to the exigencies of Covid 19, ECM has continued meeting via zoom on Sundays at 5:30 p.m. Shannon—our president sends out the Zoom link and reminders are issued over email and GroupMe. 

Blue Hen Bounty (BHB) has continued serving the community during the shutdown with spectacular support from Cana (who has become an honorary member of ECM). Patronage of BHB has continued to increase significantly. We continue to see patrons among staff as well students.  This increase has been hoped for and we remain humbled and grateful to serve our community in this fundamental way.

I had a meeting with Sue Houghton from Property regarding the option of installing shelving in the classroom area to accommodate our increased supply and demand. Sue explored options and conferred with Amy. The cabinets were purchased and will be installed shortly. Amy has committed to facilitating the purchase of the grocery cards for BHB. The cards will be split between Food Lion and Acme. Amy will also purchase a few categories of items that are not funded as consistently: namely hygiene products.

The Wesleyan United Methodist Church has made a generous financial contribution to BHB and the Islamic Foundation completed our grocery list. There have been several other acts of kindness and generosity from individuals and groups across the UD campus but no one more so than our St. Thomas’s family which continues to be our most consistent generous supporters of BHB and we remain ever faithful of the ways you continue to help us meet the needs of our community. 

We have continued having our monthly events. Our first event in September was ECM’s first annual Un-hayride. We gathered in our Grove, ate hot dogs, s’mores with apple cider and wore face masks. Our second event in October—Game Night in the Fellowship hall which was well attended. Our third outing in November was to Longwood Gardens. This was well attended and thoroughly enjoyed by ECMers who could bring one guest each. We held our last event on December 11th. Craft Night was a success. We sent ECMers home with beads and findings to make wire Christmas trees (following a demonstration), we addressed Christmas cards and distributed our ECM t-shirts. Gifts for ECM supporters were assembled and left in the Fellowship Hall. This was our last gathering of the year.

Our focus on explicit spirituality continues to develop. We have been building the conversation about knowing God through prayer. This past meeting, I asked students to share the areas they felt God was showing up in their lives—an extended God moment exploration. This resulted in a thoughtful conversation. This coming meeting will be the last official meeting before break—we are in Finals Week! So please keep our UD students in your prayers. This has been a very difficult time for our students even though they are blessed with parents and homes which appear to be weathering the challenges of the pandemic very well. 

University of Religious Leaders Organization (URLO) meetings have continued via Zoom which I attend. Much of the support for BHB has come from attendees to these meetings.

Our ECM t-shirts have been distributed to the students.

With regards,   

Denise Burgher
ECM Convening Graduate Advisor

Episcopal Campus Ministry Fall 2020 update

posted in: ECM | 0

ECM campfireEpiscopal Campus Ministry (ECM) for college-age students at St. Thomas’s is alive and well during these strange times. These amazing young adults are really showing their flexibility and commitment.

On Friday evening, they gathered in our Grove for some Fun and Fellowship. This was in place of the traditional hayride and bonfire at Milburn Orchards, which we look forward to continuing once conditions permit.

Their food bank ministry, Blue Hen Bounty, a food pantry that provides supplemental nutrition to University of Delaware students who are food insecure and cannot provide ample nutrition for themselves, continues to serve and grow. Efforts continue to advertise this resource. The college students who visit the pantry are of all ages and walks of life, and all are grateful for the assistance. As the motto goes: taking care of the rest, so you can be at your best.

ECM campfireRecently, ECM applied for funding from the CARES Act, and was awarded $10,000. It’s overwhelming to think of all the good that money will do for our community, and all of the students who will be helped.

Please keep these youths in your prayers, as they continue to let their lights shine in our community and in the world.