Parishioners’ testimonies on why we pledge

Over the past 6 weeks, parishioners have taken the time during Sunday worship to share with the rest of the congregation on why they are pledging to St. Thomas, both for the annual budget and for the capital funds drive. Below you can read some of the testimonies given.

Colin S.

When my wife and I were in New York last year, one of our stops was a visit to President Theodore Roosevelt’s boyhood home. During the tour, the ranger detailed the Roosevelt clans’ daily life and philanthropic activities. He explained that the family was well off, but lived by the verse from Luke 12:48 “To whom much is given, from them much is expected.”

I remember being struck by that, kind a reminder of why I pledge my own gifts, talents, and service to St. Thomas, both during the stewardship campaign and for the upcoming Capital Funds drive. God has blessed me with many gifts, but He also expects me use those gifts to help others, and I can’t think of a better way to start than by pledging my own gifts, talents, and service to St. Thomas.

To be honest, I never expected to be reminded of why I give while standing in a townhouse on East 20th St. in New York City.

Thanks!

 

Stephen A.

My family and I moved around a lot during the first 15 years of my married life with Christine.  In that time, we lived in 6 different houses and apartments in Texas, German, and North Carolina.  Christine and I were not active members of any church for the 1st  7 years of our marriage.  While we were living in Germany we decided that we wanted our boys (toddlers at the time) to grow up in a Church environment so we began attending Anglican Services in Leipzig.  When we repatriated back to the United States in 2001, we enrolled the boys in the St. Matthew’s Episcopal Day School in Pampa, Texas and became active members of their parish. After three years, we moved to Shelby, North Carolina and became active at All Saint’s in Shelby.  Then, after another three years, we moved back here to Clear Lake (our 2nd time through the area) and became involved with St Thomas.  We knew that we were in a good place, for us and for our boys, immediately.  This was 10 years ago. What drew us to St Thomas then is the same thing that keeps us here today.  St Thomas is a community. It is a community that welcomed our family and gave our boys a safe and happy place to grow up.  It is a community that has embraced our family. Now, our boys are grown but St Thomas continues to be a community that nurtures us and that we hope to be able to give back to.

Beyond the spiritual nourishment that St Thomas offers our family, St Thomas also serves as a community that serves it’s community, whether the people served are parishioners or not.  Through the services of the school, the outreach of the Church, and the physical and spiritual services offered to the Clear Lake / Nassau Bay community, St Thomas establishes itself as an important asset to the community at large.  St. Thomas is a family within this community, and a family needs a home. It is our honor and our pleasure to give our time, talent, and treasure to support this home. My wife and I are introverts by nature with backgrounds in architecture, art, and engineering.  As such, our natural tendency is to focus on the physical space of God’s house and the physical needs of the facility and the programs supported by the facility. So, it is natural for us to throw our efforts into contributing to maintain and improve the physical assets of God’s house, St Thomas’ home.  We are thrilled and delighted to have the opportunity to do so. Thank you for that opportunity.

 

Ellen C.

Good Morning. I have been asked to share with you “why I Pledge” at St. Thomas.

Several years ago at a Stewardship Conference, I heard this concept of stewardship which especially speaks to me Stewardship is everything you do after you say “I believe.” Pledging is one way of living into that.

St. Thomas has supported me, my daughter and my grandson for more than 40 years through good times and a few not so good.  You have become my family. Thank you.

In the time I have been a member this parish has grown in membership numbers and facilities, and most importantly has changed from being mostly insular to being mission minded, caring and serving more and more in the broader community.  We are doing more together.

In the past few weeks, our clergy and vestry have led us through a process of sharing what we think is important for our future.  We all had a chance to participate. Many of us were passionate about one direction or another, but our leaders were able to come up with priorities based on the comments we made.  Thank you, vestry, Mike and Jenny for leading us through this process. In summary, I pledge in thanksgiving for all the blessings I receive.

 

Jim S.

I wanted to take a couple of minutes to tell you why Polly and I have made our pledge to the Capital Campaign at St. Thomas. From participating in two of the Focus Groups, I found that people have different feelings about which items they would prefer to see addressed with the funds raised. For myself, being on the Vestry, I would like to see the debt retired. I know this really isn’t a tangible thing you can see, but the $40,000 plus dollars  more a year we will have after it’s paid off will take care of many of the tangible things that we can’t take care of now. Now, as we heard last Sunday, the pledges submitted so far are enough to pay off that debt. Well done, but we still have a ways to go.

Our music program here is outstanding. If we’re able to get the donated organ installed, that would not only enhance our weekly services, but allow guest organists to perform recitals that would bring many non-members in to our church to see what we are…….”doing more together.”

Our facilities are used daily for many non-church functions such as the Boy Scouts, The Houston Symphony League Bay Area, and performing artists like Doyle Dykes who was here last night. Re-doing the parking lot and the floors in Krist Hall would make our facilities much more inviting to groups such as these. We say that St. Thomas is an Open and Inclusive Church. That does not just apply to any new members, but to all that enter our doors.

So if you haven’t done so already, please turn in your Capital Campaign pledge. We are looking for the goal of 100% participation. While pledges will vary greatly depending upon individuals’ capabilities, we are looking for 100% ownership in this so WE CAN DO MORE TOGETHER!

I know this is a lot at to think about, but please don’t forget your Annual Stewardship Pledge either. Polly and I have turned ours in to help with the day to day operations of St. Thomas and to continue the many outreach programs that St. Thomas is known for.

 

Ellen M.

First, I would like to share with you …
MY CREED:
Everything I have been,
Everything I am, and
Everything I hope to become
Is a gift from a loving God who desires for me more than I can imagine or hope for.

Because this is the way I choose to live my life, and because it calls me to respond to the call for financial support of our church,  I would like to share with you how my experience of giving/pledging has evolved.

In my childhood and formative years, my exposure to church was limited to attending worship services and Sunday School.   
After I married, my husband and I had no interest in attending church.
It was not until I was introduced to the Episcopal Church through a close friend when my daughter was old enough for Sunday School, that I began what I look at as my faith journey.
I immediately loved everything about the Episcopal Church – the liturgy first, then as I quickly became involved, the Bible Study, the music, the fellowship – all became an important part of my life.
During this time I learned about the practice of pledging – all in the context of Stewardship Campaigns where the emphasis was on monetary gifts with a tithe being the goal to work toward.  And so I gave because it was an expected part of being a church member.

I  remember when I first stretched out in faith to make my pledge a tithe.  We were living on a very tight budget, and I didn’t see how we could make ends meet.  I decided to step out in faith, and guess what – it worked! Somehow the money stretched to meet our needs.  

And so now, when I think of what I might contribute to the ongoing ministry and the maintenance and improvement of our facilities, it is with a joyful and thankful heart for all I have found here that I make my decision.    St. Thomas is my home, and I look forward to what we will accomplish as we work and give alongside one another in the years to come.

Our goal this year is for 100% participation.  The amount you choose to give is not important, but rather, ownership of  each and every one of us in the ongoing life of the church. TRULY WE CAN DO MORE TOGETHER.

 

Renee B.

Because of St. Thomas…

…I serve on the vestry.

…I was a representative to Diocesan council.

…I am a trustee on the school board.

…I volunteer weekly at the Nearly New shop.

 

Amy T.

I was asked to share why I pledge to St Thomas.  Unlike some, I have no problems with speaking in front of a group. However, articulating the reasons why I pledge and why I am willing to pledge extra to the Capital Campaign is a little more difficult.  

Kevin, Connor and I joined St. Thomas over 20 years ago. Aidan joined our family a few years later and has known no other church.  One of the deciding factors for us in becoming members was that Connor loved the nursery. He felt cared for and included, and when we thought about it, we did too.  Many have spoke of the family they’ve found at St. Thomas, the tangible sense of community that’s here is part of what makes St. Thomas special. One of the things that I love about St. Thomas is that we recognize the need to be connected to the greater community around us.  

I love that the Episcopal Church states that all are welcome.  We have a Presiding Bishop that leads with the love for all human beings. I see that commitment in the practices of St. Thomas. That is why we’re willing to donate extra to the Capital Campaign in addition to our annual pledge.  I joined the vestry because I wanted to support the ministries that reach out to all people with the love of God that we have found. It’s part of why I am so committed to working with the youngest members of our church in Godly Play.  Imagine what they will be able to accomplish when love is the answer.

Retiring our debt, installing our organ, and all the other goals of the campaign will allow us to welcome more to our community, by reaching out to love and support them, and I think that’s an important mission. The goal of the Capital Campaign drive is 100% participation. While the pledges will vary greatly depending on individuals’ capabilities, we are looking for 100% ownership in this drive because we CAN DO MORE TOGETHER. Thank you.

 

The Family Fun Fest is Here!

St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church and School’s Family Fun Fest is this Saturday, October 6, f rom 9:00 am – 2:00 pm. Come for Arts and Crafts, music, dunk tank, bouncy houses, children’s crafts, Trash and Treasure, Craft Beer (and Root Beer) tent, Used Book Sale, fabulous BBQ, pulled pork, sausage, hot dogs and hamburgers with all the fixings, cole slaw, baked beans, potato salad, and a dessert table. There will be a magic show twice and an incredible silent auction! There is a Fun Run starting at 7:45 for the kids’ 1 K and 8:15 for the 5K and 5K-9 run. Runners can pick up registration packets at On The Run on Bay Area Blvd. on Friday, Oct. 5. Also, check out our Pumpkin Patch!  We hope we will see you on Saturday!

The Pumpkins are Coming!

This is just a reminder that the St. Thomas/Cub Scout Pack 1965 Pumpkin Patch will be ready for purchases on Monday, October 1! Bring you children and their friends to get their pictures taken amongst the pumpkins. Also, consider picking up a pumpkin carving kit along with your pumpkin. The Pumpkin Patch partners will be happy to take cash or credit/debit cards but they will not be taking checks. The Pumpkin Patch will operate throughout October and will close on Oct. 31. Come out and visit us!

St. Thomas Pet Supply Drive

Please consider helping out Bay Area Pet Adoptions with much needed supplies for this no-kill animal shelter. There is a barrel in Brumley Hall to take donations. You might also consider adopting a new best “furry” friend and giving a homeless creature a loving home. The list of needed supplies is below:
 
Gift cards (Walmart, Amazon, PetSmart, etc.)
Cat and dog food
Liquid laundry detergent
Non-clumping cat litter
Purple Fabuloso cleaner
Dawn blue dish detergent
Paper towels
Blankets and towels
Toys, dog and cat
Treats
 
Sunday, October 7 is our Community Pet Blessing in Howard Ward Park, Nassau Bay, at 4:00 pm. Donations are due by then. Bring all your pets for a blessing as long as they are controllable, on a leash, or in a carrier. It is a beautiful service honoring all of God’s creatures. We hope you can attend.

A Service Opportunity!

Communities in Schools (CIS) at McWhirter Elementary in Webster has reached out to St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church and School to help them with a Thanksgiving Food Drie. This drive would provide a Thanksgiving meal for the students and their families at McWhirter who need assistance. These families go through a screening process at CIS in order to be eligible for help. Donations are due at the church by November 5. Thank you for your generosity, both physical and spiritual!

St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church and School Spirit Wear Available!

St. Thomas has some wonderful St. Thomas logo-embellished polos (red or navy blue), baseball caps (also red or navy), canvas totes, and insulated tumblers available for purchase. They are very high quality and allows us to proclaim our affiliation in numerous ways! Please contact the church or school for more information and how to order at 281-333-2384 or 291-333-1340.

Fall Into Bible Study!

Join us for a 32-week deep dive into the Wisdom literature of the Hebrew Bible and Gospel and letters of John and Revelation form the New Testament Wednesdays, beginning September 12, 9am-10.30 at St Thomas. For more information or to sign on, contact Mike at rector@sttaec.org

St. Thomas’ Amazing Photographic Exhibit!

Come view an amazing series of photographs taken by Peter Bowman and Mary Lou Darst in Berlin and Potsdam, Germany. These beautiful pictures are featured in the entry hall (Brumley Hall) of St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church and School. They were taken in Berlin’s famous pergamon and New Museums, of a busy Berlin intersection during a rainy rush hour, and of Potsdam’s 18th century summer palaces built by Frederick II (Frederick the Great). There will be a reception on Saturday, Sept. 22 from 4-6:00 pm Please come and enjoy the photographs anytime and attend the reception on Sept. 22.

Guitarist Doyle Dykes Returns in Concert to St. Thomas Church in Nassau Bay Oct. 20

One of the world’s premier finger-style guitar players is coming to St. Thomas the Apostle Episcopal Church in Nassau Bay on Saturday, October 20! The concert will be at 6:30 pm on October 20, 2018 with a champagne and dessert intermission. This is a ticketed event open to the public, so be sure to purchase your tickets on our website at www.sttaec.org/guitar. Dykes played at St. Thomas last year to a very enthusiastic crowd that requested a return engagement. This is your opportunity to hear amazing music!

Vintage Guitar Magazine: You’ve played and recorded with so many of the greats. Is there anybody out there that you personally would pay to go see?
Chet Atkins: People like Doyle Dykes, who is just an amazing finger picker, I think.

Please share with your friends!