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January 2000

CONTENTS:
From the Interim Rector
January Parish House Kitchen Cleaning Committee
January Altar Care
Vestry Ministry Teams & Club Reports
The Endowment Fund
Finance Report
Vestry Summary
Thoughts on Stewardship
News from the Episcopal Day School
Thank You Notes
The Wednesday Night Bible Study
Diocesan Convention
Marriage Encounter Weekend
SPECIAL PRESENTATION
Vestry Retreat
Caregivers of Rockingham County
Kids Club
A Thoughtful...
Bettie Rhodes, DCE
Highlights in December
Thoughts at Christmas
Excerpt from Max Lucado’s God Came Near. . .


From the Interim Rector: The Reverend Nelson Hodgkins

Dear Friends:

As we begin a new year, as well as a new century, let us resolve to make every day count (as we promised at our Baptism and Confirmation) by proclaiming "by word and example the Good News of God in Christ".  Our response was, and should be, "I will, with God's help".   We do not need to witness on street corners but each of us can be Christ-like in our relations with everyone who passes through our daily life.

In St. Luke's Christmas story an old widow, Anna, had devoted her life to praising and serving God night and day (Luke 2:36-38).  Her greatest fulfillment came when Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to the Temple for naming and dedication to God.  As soon as she saw the infant and recognized him as the promised Messiah, she began to praise God and tell those who were awaiting his coming.   Anna had waited and finally experienced the Good News - the real Christmas gift.

The Christian year continues with the Second Sunday after Christmas January 2nd with a Eucharist at both services.   The 5th will be the scheduled Eucharist and Healing Service and we will begin having specific prayers for this Parish's healing.  Since the 6th is the Epiphany, the 12th day of Christmas, the Holy Day observed by our Eastern Orthodox neighbors, we will have a Eucharist at 7:00 p.m.

The First Sunday after the Epiphany January 9th at the 11:00 a.m. Morning Prayer service, 23 students from Episcopal Day School will present a concert with the hand bells just purchased with profits from the fall chrysanthemum sale.  Let us support them and welcome their families and friends as they join us.

The next meeting of the Greensboro Convocation delegates to Diocesan Convention will be 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, January 11th at St. Mary's, High Point.  The subject will be proposed resolutions and proposed changes in Constitution and Canons.

The annual Vestry Retreat will be held at The Summit from 5:00 p.m. Friday the 14th through 5:00 p.m. Saturday the 15th.   The Retreat leader will be the Rev. Fred Warnecke, Cursillo participant and retired rector of St. Francis, Greensboro, where he served 1985-1999.  The final 2 hours of the Retreat will be with Mrs. Ruth Wright of Burlington, consultant to St. Thomas' Search Committee, who will outline the Vestry's role in the calling of a new rector.

Delegates will have an opportunity to meet nominees for Diocesan Bishop at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 20th at St. Andrew's, Greensboro.  All seven people will be there to make presentations and answer questions to prepare you to vote at Convention for the successor to Bishop Johnson.

The 183rd Diocesan Convention begins at Pinehurst the afternoon of January 27th and continues through the 29th.   Representing you will be delegates Mary Brent Trigg and Bill Sutton as well as your interim rector.  Alternate is Pam Allen.  Worship and Bible study are the glue that hold together an extremely structured business meeting when decisions are made for the coming 12 months.  Committees will be named, elections held, resolutions voted on interspersed with meaningful conversations and great fellowship.

As most of you know, on December 13th your Vestry extended my contract to June 30, 2000 or until a new rector is in place.   Thank you for your continued love and support.

January will be a busy month for all of us.  Please keep the Diocese, the nominees, St. Thomas', Reidsville and me in your prayers.   Happy New Year!

Nelson


January Parish House Kitchen Cleaning Committee:

Dot Reilly


January Altar Care:

Anne Rogers, Chm. Martha Balsley, Melody Moore, Kathy Smith


Vestry Ministry Teams & Club Reports

The ECW General Business Meeting will be held on Sunday, January 9 at 12:00 noon in the Parish House. Bring a bag lunch

The morning chapter of Episcopal Church Women will meet at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 12 at the home of Willie Adkins, 1820 Trentwood Circle. Mavis Simon will co-host.


THE ENDOWMENT FUND

LEAVE A LASTING LEGACY – REMEMBER THE ST. THOMAS’ ENDOWMENT FUND IN YOUR WILL. IT’S A GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING – YEAR AFTER YEAR.


Finance Report

Income: November 1999 Expense: November 1999
Pledged $9207.00
Received $6,610.00
Shortage $2,597.00
Budgeted $9,061.00
Spent $16,000.00
Over spent $6,939.00

Please try to keep your pledge payments caught up. Thank you.

*A complete financial statement is displayed on the bulletin board next to the Vestry Meeting room.


Vestry Summary

Reviewed and approved minutes and financial statements. Major items of old and new business included:

Senior Warden: Daniel Gentle and Colin Ferguson have started the St. Thomas’ website. Laura Felts was voted as Senior Warden for 2000.

Junior Warden: Kris Rogers reported that Ted Hopkins and family has moved into the rectory. The carpet in the nursery will be replaced. The icemaker has been cleaned and the broken seesaw will be repaired.

Episcopal Day School: No report.

Pastoral Care: No report.

Membership: Attendance is still low even with a letter and calling done by the membership team.

Outreach: No report.

Worship: Youth Sunday went well. Mrs. Simon wants to make sure that the new banner idea doesn’t fall through the cracks.

Parish Life: Mr. Campbell thanked the vestry for their patience with him during his sickness.

Christian Education: .Bettie Rhodes reported that Christian Education is going well. The Moravian Love Feast will be held Sunday, Dec. 19 at 5:00 p.m. An ad will be placed in the Reidsville Review announcing St. Thomas’ Christmas Services. The cost is $66.

New Business: Rev. Hodgkins’ contract was reviewed and renewed for January 1, 2000 through June 30, 2000. The monthly salary of the organist and secretary was increased by 5% for year 2000.

The meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.


Thoughts on Stewardship

You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. Shine! Be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. Matthew 5: 13-16

In the December 14 meditation of the Forward Day By Day, the author asked, "What have you done to prepare for the birth of Jesus–God in the midst of your life?" Being in one of my very self-centered moods I thought, "How can I really prepare for Christ when there is so much I need to do at work and also try to get ready for Christmas?"

God always has a way of giving me a jolt at moments like this. A few hours later in the day, I got a call from Julie at Help, Inc. "Tom" she said, "I really need for you to adopt a family we have at The Shelter for Christmas." When I told her that I would, Julie responded, "That’s wonderful, because whatever you will be able to do, that’s all the Christmas they will have."

For the next several days I recalled those persons, especially my co-workers, who are experiencing hardships during this time of the year. I thought about Barbara who is on disability and has recently lost a son to suicide and is losing another to AIDS. I thought about Pam whose husband walked out of their marriage a short time ago. I thought about Robert who is fighting a substance abuse addiction and has just checked himself into a treatment center. I thought about Robin who is starting radiation treatment for her cancer. I thought about Virginia who has a son who has been confined to a wheelchair for most of the twenty-four years of his life. Just to hear about situations like this, breaks your heart. I’m sure it breaks Jesus’ heart too.

What can we, as God’s people, do in the midst of all the pain and suffering around us? To quote a saying, "We must bloom where we are planted." We must be open to opportunities to say kind words or to give a pat on the back or a hug. We must be willing to listen in a non-judgmental way. When all is said and done, people will remember those who took the time to offer encouragement and help. We truly are Christ’s body on earth. It’s a big responsibility isn’t it?

Tom Balsley


News from the Episcopal Day School

PRESCHOOL – from Carol Puryear

As you might imagine, we’ve spent this month doing a whole host of special Christmas activities. We’ve enjoyed buckling up our seat belts and "flying" to Mexico, Germany, & Italy to learn about their Christmas customs. Did you know the first Christmas tree originated in Germany and they decorated them with apples (hence our Christmas balls!) and the first nativity scenes and Christmas carols originated in Italy. The children also brought in contributions for shoeboxes that were sent to Samaritan’s Purse Ministries to be sent overseas for Operation Christmas Child. And all of these fun activities will culminate in our special Christmas program on December 16. They’ve worked hard and we believe it will be really great!

Feliz Navidad! Buon Natale! Frohlic Weihnacten!
Merry Christmas!

KINDERGARTEN – from Kim Jones

December has flown by and we have been so busy that we almost missed it. We had such a special time at our Christmas program. The children presented themselves so wonderfully. The kindergarten boys learned Luke 2:8-14 and recited it during the program. It was very special. They have been working hard on their other work, too. We have been learning about the letters K, L, and M. We are learning to sound out words and we have learned to add numbers to make 1-10. For a special Christmas project, we collected gifts and money for a child from the Angel Tree at Kmart. We bought him a bike with the money we collected. This was a fun project filled with the spirit of giving. We are looking forward to coming to church in January and playing our bells for you. Merry Christmas!

ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT–from Edie Stadler

We want to thank everyone at St. Thomas’ for supporting us during our poinsettia sale. We sold 160 poinsettias and raised just over $400 for copies and supplies for the school. We look forward to seeing everyone on January 9 when the children come to church to play the hand bells. I think you’ll be impressed!


THANK YOU NOTES

St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church,

I would like to thank everyone for all the nice things you did for me at Christmas. You are so good to me. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and that 2000 will be your best year ever. Thank you, again.

Sincerely,

Edie Stadler

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St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church,

I would like to thank the pastor and members of St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church for providing my family with a delicious Thanksgiving meal. We moved to North Carolina a few months ago and have been struggling financially. We are away from our family and friends. Your kindness was greatly appreciated. May God bless every hand that put forth the effort in making many families happy that day, especially ours.

Sincerely,

A Greatful Family

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St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church,

The Reidsville Soup Kitchen, Inc. would like to take this opportunity to express their sincere appreciation for your recent expression of goodwill. ($265.25) Support such as yours ensures the continuation of this much needed community project.

Thanks and Happy Holidays,

Stephanie

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To The Church.

Thanks so much for the Thanksgiving dinner it was very good. (also the cake was very good!!)

Thanks again,

Marian Robertson


THE WEDNESDAY NIGHT BIBLE STUDY will resume at 6:30 p.m. on January 5. We will be studying the Book of Isaiah Please join us.


DIOCESAN CONVENTION

The Diocesan Convention will be held in Pinehurst, January 27-29. The Delegates are Bill Sutton and Mary Brent Trigg.


Marriage Encounter Weekend

All of us like to enjoy life!! But all too often married couples get caught up in responsibilities and commitments and forget what’s really important….EACH OTHER! Ask your spouse, when was our last romantic date?

A marriage encounter weekend can put the sparkle back into your marriage. It’s not too late to register for the next Marriage Encounter Weekend to be held February 11-13, but please do it today! Call Gayle or Dick Madison at 336-768-2989 for more details. We guarantee you’ll never forget it!


SPECIAL PRESENTATION

On Sunday, January 9, the Episcopal Day School students will play the hand bells for us during the 11:00 a.m. service. We hope you will be able to join us.


VESTRY RETREAT

The Vestry retreat will begin at 5:00 p.m. on January 14 through 5:00 p.m. on January 15. The Rev. Fred Warnecke will be the leader at The Summit. Please keep them in your prayers.


CAREGIVERS OF ROCKINGHAM COUNTY

Caregivers of Rockingham County needs volunteers to help elderly and disabled citizens of the county with transportation, light housekeeping, respite, etc. Also, this is a terrific opportunity for youth groups to do community service with yard work of all kinds. Another great way to put your Christianity into action! Interested? Please call Carolyn this week at 361-0712 for more information. We need YOU!!


Kids Club

Kids Club will meet Tuesday, January 18 from 4:30-5:30 in the Boyd Room. All 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders are welcome and are encouraged to bring their friends. Mrs. Covington and Mrs. Wheless will help the children make "Salvation Bracelets," leather strips with colorful beads representing Scripture. In anticipation of the children having a part in the Youth Service in May, they will also practice TiniKling, a special bamboo pole rhythmic dance.


A Thoughtfull. . . Bettie Rhodes, DCE

In preparation for a weekend retreat in November, I was asked to write a talk on "study." I thought I’d share some of it with you as something to consider as we all begin a new year, possibly considering joining or returning to a Sunday School class or Bible Study.

When most people hear the word, "study," they cringe inwardly remembering tests, quizzes, and exams in school. The kind of "study" I address is a life-long desire to grow in personal faith through using your mind. We cannot learn anything without looking at it from different angles, analyzing, questioning, figuring out how it works, and eventually applying what our study has rendered.

Living a life in which faith is important is not an easy thing to do. We are not born with the knowledge we need. Did we know how to read when we were infants? When we became teenagers, did we automatically know how to drive a car? When we first sat in front of a computer, did we instantly have the skills to use it? Learning to live a Christian life is a skill that takes study and practice.

In Romans 10, Paul writes, "Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ." Study includes listening to people who are knowledgeable of the Word, listening to music that reflects Christ, listening to children’s simple words of faith, listening to the wind and ocean, hearing God’s whispers, or listening to someone’s despair.

Study takes time, discipline, and keeping our eyes fixed on our goal, learning to be a more faithfilled person. If we become more aware of what goes on around us, gradually we see that God is present in everything.

A benefit to study is gaining a standard of judgment with which to handle life’s problems. By learning more about Jesus’ life and how he handled various situations, we have a resource. When undecided, the question, "What would Jesus do?" can get us on track when we remember what we’ve studied. How did He respond to the prostitute, the tax collector, or manage to wash the feet of a traitor? We have our answers when we learn what’s in the Bible.

"It is wonder to me how God uses squiggles on paper to do his work in the hearts and minds of people," wrote Richard Foster. Perhaps some new squiggles could help us on our journey in faith in the year 2000.


HIGHLIGHTS IN DECEMBER

MORAVIAN LOVEFEAST

Our first effort at a combined "Advent Moravian Lovefeast" drew over 150 adults and children in a wonderful intergenera-tional celebration. Members at St. Thomas’ and First Presbyterian worked together decorating tables, picking up buns & candles from Old Salem, arranging buns in baskets, making coffee, distributing candles & programs, serving the buns & coffee, singing, leading liturgy, reading Scripture, praying, and offering a blessing.

A "Wow!" moment was when individual candles were lit one at a time as lights were dimmed. Lights multiplied around the room as flames were shared one to another. Symbolizing our unity, the room was filled with soft light and smiling faces.

Many thanks to Dr. Roy Truslow for his loving donation in honor of his wife, Tine, of buns, beeswax candles, and Moravian stars. They added to the authenticity of the service.

NEEDY FAMILIES

With both St. Thomas’ and First Presbyterian working together, providing Christmas for three families was a snap!

We touched a total of 16 lives the week before Christmas—five adults and 11 children.

In addition to gifts for each person, we gave food, grocery store gift certificates, a K-Mart card, and payments on Duke Power and NC Gas bills. The families were delighted, surprised, overwhelmed, and extremely touched by your display of caring for those less fortunate.


Thoughts at Christmas

I will do more than…
Belong, I will participate
Believe, I will practice
Forgive, I will forget
Teach, I will listen
Be Fair, I will be kind
Dream, I will work
Earn, I will enrich
Give, I will serve

That there might be peace on earth and good will to all.


Excerpt from Max Lucado’s God Came Near. . .

"I’m kept awake by one stunning thought. The world was different last week. It was temporarily transformed.

The magical dust of Christmas glittered on the cheeks of humanity ever so briefly, reminding us of what is worth having and what we were intended to be. We forgot our compulsion with winning, wooing, and warring. We put away our ladders and ledgers, we hung up our stopwatches and weapons. We stepped off our racetracks and roller coasters and looked outward toward the star of Bethlehem.

For a few precious hours our heavenly yearnings intermesh and we become a chorus. A ragtag chorus of longshoremen, Boston lawyers, illegal immigrants, housewives, and a thousand other peculiar persons who are banking that Bethlehem’s mystery is in reality, a reality.

For the moment, the magic is still in the air. I want to savor the spirit just a bit more. I want to pray that those who beheld him today will look for him next August. And I can’t help but linger on one fanciful thought: If he can do so much with such timid prayers lamely offered in December, how much more could he do if we thought of him every day?"