Bible citationThe Vestry is the elected group that, along with the Rector, looks after the parish’s worldly affairs. It creates and monitors the parish’s budget, discusses and decides on major church programs, and plans for the church’s short- and long-term future. Vestry members usually do not represent specific constituencies, but are expected to act for the good of all members of the parish.

Rector’s Warden – Kristin Sausville
People’s Warden – Philippa Sunnergren
Treasurer – Amy Keach
Secretary – Amy Keach
Clerk – Mike Grabowski

Vestry Class of 2023
Barbara Graham
Jill Jensen
Madeline Johnson
Kristin Sausville

Vestry Class of 2024
Larry Duggan
Cami Seward
Philippa Sunnergren

Vestry Class of 2025
Joan Bennett
Mike Grabowski
Marilyn Prime

S.W.E.E.P.S. Ministries

We welcome the child of God that we are created to be, to seek and serve God and Jesus Christ in our days, in our ways, through all that we do, with all that we have, all of the time! May this information about the S.W.E.E.P.S. ministries at St. Thomas’s Parish encourage you to join us in our ministries to our parish family, the University of Delaware, our community, and God’s creation.

We organize our ministries into the generalized categories of Stewardship, Worship, Education, Evangelism, Pastoral Care and Service – abbreviated as SWEEPS. It is our way to organize ourselves to love and serve the Lord. More detail on these ministries is available on How will you serve?

Encompasses these Ministries
Property, Finance, Weekly Offering Counters, Stewardship, Technology, Climate Change
Liturgy, Altar, Flowers, Bread bakers, Music, Ushers, Acolytes, Contemplative Prayer
Larry Duggan
Novel Theology, Adult education, Children’s Education, Youth Group, Confirmation, Wednesday Bible Study
Kristin Sausville
 Welcome, Greeters, Communication, Community Outreach
Philippa Sunnergren
Pastoral Care
Intercessory Prayer Chain, Lay Eucharistic visitors, Prayer Shawls, Meals, Rides, Notes and Cards, Hospitality
Madeline Johnson
Episcopal Campus Ministry (ECM), Code Purple Winter Sanctuary, Hope Dining Room, Newark Empowerment Center, Afghan Refugee Assistance, Tarbiyah School, Annual Bazaar
Barbara Graham, Madeline Johnson, Jill Jensen



The leader is responsible, with the help of others who serve on this ministry [the Sexton, and volunteers from the parish] for organizing and accomplishing the ongoing maintenance needs and improvements of the parish grounds and buildings (the Grove, St. Thomas’s cemetery, and the church building and grounds). Oversight responsibility includes the plumbing, heating, air conditioning, and electrical systems in the buildings, as well as the sidewalks outside. The Property Ministry must oversee preventative maintenance and maintenance contracts (HVAC system), including pest control. Along with volunteers, this ministry organizes garden care, grounds clean-up, and other tasks as they arise. The leader is our interface with the Church Insurance Company, the City of Newark, building, and utility inspectors. It is important also to interface with the parish business manager to coordinate payment of bills associated with the committee.


The Stewardship Ministry is responsible for the ongoing education and encouragement to the congregation to embrace the gifts of God we each are given, and be good stewards for the greater glory of God to the same. This is done through annual pledges of time, money, and talent to the mission and ministry of St. Thomas’s Parish.

This requires strategic planning, writing letters, making announcements, and keeping the parishioners up-to-date on the progress being made toward meeting the budget goals throughout the year.


The Finance Ministry is responsible for working with the Vestry in developing the annual budget, monitoring monthly financial status of the parish to report to the vestry, advising the vestry on budgetary, expenditure, asset acquisition, borrowing as requested, and monitoring parish financial control to maintain our good stewardship of the gifts of the people. The parish Finance Ministry maintains details on St. Thomas’s endowment funds which are managed at the diocesan level.


The Technology Ministry is responsible for support, upkeep and functioning of our communications services, such as our phone system, audiovisual, sound system, or computer systems and network.



The Liturgy Guild is responsible for training and scheduling of parish volunteers to read the lessons and lead the Prayers of the People in worship. The leaders of the guild also prepare Worship Leaders and Chalice Bearers to be licensed by the Bishop and the Diocese. Worship Leaders may officiate at the Daily Office and serve at marriage and burial services. A Chalice Bearer is regularly scheduled as well as a Lay Sub-Deacon to assist at the altar and be the Gospel Bearer at the 10:30 a.m. Sunday Eucharist.

The Acolyte at the 8:00 a.m. service carries out these duties. Both the Lay Sub-Deacon and Acolyte are responsible for making sure everything is prepared for worship before the service starts. The guild also sends out licensed Lay Eucharistic Visitors to take Communion to other sick and home-bound parishioners. Worship Leaders officiate at Evening Prayer on Monday through Friday evenings, and officiate the liturgy of Stations of the Cross on Good Friday evening.


Altar Guild members prepare the sanctuary for all services, making sure the table is prepared for Holy Eucharist. They minister to the altar by washing and ironing the linens used, maintaining the seasonal hangings on the pulpit and lectern and changing them with the change of liturgical seasons or occasions. They polish silver and brass used for services and keep an orderly sacristy. The Altar Guild leader prepares the yearly schedule, recruits and trains new members, communicates with clergy, staff, and other members about special requirements, and makes sure all supplies and cleaning materials are on hand.


The Flower Guild prepares the floral arrangements for the all services that are held in the church. The members are volunteers of our parish and are trained to create and maintain the quality of their arrangements. For weddings and funerals, the person making the arrangements consults with the families and follows their wishes as much as possible. As on Sunday, a single arrangement is created for these sacramental occasions. During the year, particularly around Christmas and Easter, the congregation is encouraged to support the Guild with special offerings to fund their ministry.


The St. Nicholas Guild is the ministry responsible for baking communion bread for the 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. services on Sunday and for other services as requested. Members are trained with the common recipes and necessary equipment. The leader and others provide opportunities for group teaching and baking sessions, and interfaces with clergy and staff about special requirements.


For in-person services, Ushers and Greeters welcome parishioners and guests as they enter the church. They assist people, as needed, whether to direct them to child care, to the Communion rail, or to the coffee hour in the Great Hall. They greet new guests after the services and make them welcome by introducing them to others. The ushers assist the clergy as needed, such as attending to the lighting, taking up the offering and the Communion elements to the altar, posting attendance, and cleaning the pews and “ordering the books” after worship.



The St. Gregory Choir is comprised of adults in our parish 16 years and older, and supports the congregation in singing at the 10:30 a.m. worship service throughout the year. They also offer specially prepared anthems each Sunday, and lead the congregation in special musical liturgies during the year.


“Be still and know that I am God.”
Psalm 46:10

In the Christian tradition Contemplative Prayer is considered the pure gift of God. Centering Prayer is a method designed to facilitate the development of Contemplative Prayer by preparing our faculties to receive this gift.

Centering Prayer is not meant to replace other kinds of prayer; rather it casts a new light and depth of meaning on them. It is at the same time a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship. This method of prayer is a movement beyond conversation with the living Christ to communion with Him.



The PARLOR GROUP meets each Sunday to study and discuss biblical and spiritual issues to relate to living the Christian life in our days and times.

NOVEL THEOLOGY meets once a month on the second Sunday to read and discuss the theology of the book of the month, which are selected annually. Books range from theological to fiction or non-fiction to historical, a wide range of interests in which they seek the spiritual truth in the reading.


The CHRISTIAN FORMATION PROGRAM is offered each Sunday during the program year, and provides religious education to children from kindergarten through sixth grade level children.

CONFIRMATION is offered each year to provide eighth grade youth to learn about and proclaim their Baptismal faith in Confirmation before the bishop at the annual visitation.

YOUTH MINISTRY is offered during the program year to provide opportunities for our youth from 6th through 12th grade to discuss and deepen their spiritual life, seek ways they may serve the needs of our community and world, and to have events for fun, fellowship, participation in parish and diocesan events, mission projects, and so on.



The leader is responsible for developing, implementing, and supervising a plan to welcome newcomers to the parish and to encourage the congregation, especially the vestry, to greet and meet them. Newcomers to our parish are incorporated into parish life and activities as soon as they are ready.


For in-person services, Greeters serve at the 10:30 a.m. service and have developed a working protocol to engage newcomers. Greeters are  cultivated from Vestry leaders and parishioners. Greeters welcome parishioners in conjunction with the ushers. In particular, Greeters reach out to newcomers by sharing St. Thomas’s informational brochure and inviting newcomers to complete a Visitor’s Card so we can reach out to them.


This ministry is responsible for keeping the parish informed of events at the church and for making us known in the community that St. Thomas’s is a lively place with many ongoing services and events. It maintains a listing of current media contacts for use by other commissions as requested and updates and places advertising in local newspapers and radio stations. Notices are placed in the monthly diocesan publication, The Communion, and the electronic weekly diocesan newsletter The Net.

This ministry maintains electronic communication through the following:
Parish Website:
Facebook Page:
Google Group Bulletin Board:
To send messages through this Google Group address your e-mail message to:
To subscribe to automatically receive Parish Emails, see the “Google Group” section on the Parish Website home page.

Our announcements are collected and printed in The Carpenter’s Helper newsletter. Contact the Parish Administrator or call the church office at 302-368-4644 by Tuesday morning to ensure information for the coming weekend is included. The Carpenter’s Helper newsletter is distributed electronically through our Google Group and is available on our Web Site. Physical copies are printed and are available on Sundays at the back of the church.

Calendar: Our calendar is maintained through the Parish Administrator. To request use of our facility, please call the church office at 302-368-4644. A Reservation Request Form should be filled out for ALL activities that are planned for our St. Thomas’s facility or that you would like to be included on the calendar for planning purposes.

Pastoral Care

The Pastoral Care ministry is responsible along with the clergy to review and ascertain the care needs of parishioners, such as visits to them at their home or while in the hospital. Phone calls, care meals, transportation, prayers, care notes and cards are provided as needed for circumstances such as illness, surgery, death in the family, family problems, etc. Birthday and Anniversary cards are sent monthly to parishioners also.

The Intercessory Prayer Chain also known as Prayer Warriors provides prayers as needed and they are shared via email.

The Lay Eucharistic Visitors take communion to those who are sick or otherwise unable to come to church each Sunday.

Prayer Shawl Ministry members knit shawls that are taken to parishioners who need prayers, surrounding them in the warmth of the shawl and our prayers. Baby blankets are also knitted and given away either at the time of a child’s birth or at their baptism.


This ministry coordinates the preparing and serving of food and refreshments at such parish social functions as baptism, wedding, and funeral receptions. They plan and organize pot-luck dinners for Epiphany Eve “Burning of the Greens”, Maundy Thursday Soup and Bread Supper, and other special events. For catered events, the members of this ministry coordinate with the caterer as necessary. The leader also coordinates the serving of refreshments after Sunday morning services.


The Service Ministry offers a number of opportunities to fulfill the Matthew 25 ministry when Jesus says, “As you have cared for the least of my children, you have cared for me.”Some of these opportunities are as follows:

  • The Manna Offering delivers nonperishable food from the donation baskets found in the Church to the Newark Welfare Committee Food Closet.
  • Code Purple is a program coordinated through the Newark Empowerment Center. Offered from November through March, Code Purple churches offer overnight housing and food [supper and breakfast] for those who are homeless on nights when the air temperature is 20 degrees or less. As a participating church, we have the need for volunteers to prepare & serve supper and/or breakfast, set up & clean-up teams, and overnight hosts for our guests.
  • Newark Area Welfare Committee Christmas Food Baskets is a program that St. Thomas’s participates in with many other community organizations to provide food baskets to those in need.
  • Episcopal Campus Ministry (ECM) provides an active presence on the campus of the University of Delaware to Episcopal students, while also being present to faculty and staff. The ECM Convenor oversees an ECM weekly meeting for fellowship, learning, and worship, and shares in planning and participating in mission trips and other special events. ECM students started and continue to run Blue Hen Bounty, a food pantry that provides supplemental nutrition to all University of Delaware students who are food insecure.

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.