St. Thomas Episcopal Church • Windsor NC
|Date Posted||August 10, 2017|
East Carolina (Matthew Stockard & Hannah Hilterbrand)
|Health Benefits||Clergy Only|
|Communicants in Good Standing||115|
|Average Sunday Attendance||47|
|Child Population in Church School||14|
|Adult Population in Church School||11|
|Teacher Population in Church School||3|
Grace drives her mother Jean for the 30-minute trip from Edenton to St. Thomas' every Sunday morning. As she lamely shuffles to the steps, other parishioners assist her up the steps. They find their seats as close to the chancel as possible. For years, the sacraments have been taken to Jean, who sometimes can't even stand up after her intense morning effort to get to church. In their words, Grace and Jean come to St. Thomas' because of its generous Christian spirit. Their presence in the sanctuary is due to their own sympathy for the unacceptable that are in every community and their recognition that St. Thomas' shares their concern and hope for these people. After years of being served communion in their seats because of Jean's physical challenges, one Sunday recently, the heartwarming gasp of the congregation was audible when Jean stood up from her pew to walk to the alter rail to take the sacraments. Everyone waited patiently while Grace helped her mother move toward the aisle to be the first in line. Several minutes passed, and the line behind them lengthened as they made their way up the steps and across the chancel to the altar. As she settled onto the pew after the tedious walk from the altar, the look on her face was beyond jubilation. The smile would not leave her face. The entire congregation congratulated and cheered her after the service. She goes to the altar every Sunday now and the radiance from her personal victory embraced by her loving church is the snapshot of the success and fulfillment of the ministry of St. Thomas'.
We have one traditional service a week, with additional services at Easter and Christmas. We enter into fellowship with other community churches, such as the "Blessing of the Animals" service and "The Good Friday Stations of the Cross" service. In general, the liturgy used is broadly interpreted by most parishioners some of whom have been of other denominations. Congeniality is a highly valued attribute of congregants.
In considering the strengths of St. Thomas' Church, we'd identify: 1. Talented organist/choir director 2. Community involvement 3. Easy and welcoming atmosphere 4. Ability to accomplish much with a small membership 5. Willingness to offer leadership in times of adversity 6. Willingness to find resources when necessary 7. Dedicated Vestry 8. Rich with history and rich with the promise to provide a future for St. Thomas Church 9. Active and well planned adult Sunday school class and a Sunday School Program for ages 1 to 8 years 10. Acceptive/receptive parish. We host several programs for the community annually. Recent examples include concerts by Dorothy Papadakos and the Schola Cantorum of the Diocese of East Carolina.
As we consider the strengths of Bertie County we have a very proactive group of citizens who continue to come up with innovative ideas for the many obstacles that we face. In spite of our natural disasters, we continue to persevere and strive to make our community a good place to live. We have a history of reaching out to help members of our community who are in need such as offering transportation for medical appointments or organizing a menu calendar to assist with food for those in need. Our Community also takes pride in our many fundraisers which contribute to scholarships, hospital projects, the volunteer fire department and other worthy causes. Recently one of our citizens who moved here from Russia obtained her citizenship and neighbors lined the streets with American flags to welcome her. In fact, the Rotary Club recently awarded her a scholarship to further her education in the medical field. We offer great recreational opportunities to those who enjoy outdoor sports: fishing, kayaking, boating, camping (Tree House Village on the Cashie River), hunting, walking trails at Historic Hope Plantation and the Cashie River Walk, golf at Cashie Golf and Country Club and Scotch Hall Preserve Arnold Palmer Golf Course. The NC Outer Banks is only 90 miles from Windsor. For those who prefer cultural experiences, the Triangle and Tidewater areas are within a 2-hour drive. We have a very active Bertie County Arts Council, Historic Hope Plantation, Liverman Park and Zoo, Thompson Farmers' Museum, Windsor Train Museum, Roanoke Partners River Center, and an active Farmers' Marker are all area attractions. There is an active Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Lions Club, YMCA, Senior Center, Martin Community College satellite campus, and a well-organized county recreational program for children. Vidant Hospital is a six bed not for profit critical access facility offering surgical, emergency and diagnostic services and clinics. Patient portals, virtual care and telemedicine link with ECU Brody SOM are available. The newly constructed chapel, garden, and family conference areas are built with locally raised funds through Vidant Development Council. We enjoy many festival and annual events, such as The Sage Festival, Denim to Diamonds, Tee and Sea, The First Colony Festival, Pound the Sound Triathlon, Spooktacular 5k Race and Walk, Rick Woodard Reverse Raffle and the annual 3rd of July Celebration and Fireworks in the Park. Volunteer opportunities are available at Arts Council, Opportunity Shop, River Center, Historic Hope Plantation, Disaster Relief, Windsor Volunteer Fire Department, Food Pantry and community committees.
Following the disaster of Hurricanes Julia and Matthew, many of our neighbors lost their homes and belongings. St. Thomas' parish hall suffered damage as well. We were able to recover quickly from our losses, but unfortunately others were not. The opportunity arose for us to partner with other churches in our community to assist with the rebuilding of homes. The NC Baptist Men Disaster Team has been based at Cashie Baptist Church where its members have been housing and feeding workers from across the nation since September of 2016. St. Thomas' was awarded a $10,000 grant by the Diocese to be used for building materials and appliances. It was a win/win situation to partner with them. We have been assisting with feeding workers and providing lodging. The Methodist Church is also involved and we have made monetary donations to them as well. What a wonderful experience to meet Christians from all over this country who are giving of their time and talents to help others in need. We have experienced an overwhelming outpouring of love and compassion for our neighbors in need.
We are a very strong parish which works well together in good and bad circumstances. We need spiritual guidance from a progressive priest. We are trying diligently to meet the needs of our young families and their children which we consider a huge strength and blessing. We must increase our membership at St. Thomas'. Growth is the main key to our successful future. We are in search of a priest committed to this mission.
The Navy has an old word "forehandedness" which means making the effort now to foresee, prepare for, and survive future events, good and bad, which are not yet clearly visible on the horizon. The largest single effort at preparedness is the effort to acquire a suitable priest who can guide the church, congregants, and vestry through whatever is next. The vestry's recommendation to begin the process of finding a full time priest was wholeheartedly supported by the congregation as the most important effort to prepare for the future that could be undertaken, and presumably a suitable priest will benefit from that attitude, and the congregation will follow competent leadership wherever it might lead.
In a priest, partnering in leadership with this worshipping community, we would hope for a dedication to our parish, its mission, and a willingness to progressively prepare us for the future.
Some words and images that come to us as we consider that future clergy leader are: dependable, kind, sense of humor, engaging, understands the importance of community involvement, willingness to partner with community denominations, open to change, basic understanding of fiscal issues, ability to manage people and committees of people, adaptable, and ability to work with all age groups but particularly our youth.
Please visit our parish website to learn more of us and our mission:
Priests who would like to express their interest in participating in this priest-in-charge appointment for St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Windsor NC in the Diocese of East Carolina should complete the entire brief survey to be found at this link (will take about 15 minutes):
Do not send additional materials at this time. Persons who complete the survey at this link will be contacted and informed of next steps by Canon Matthew Stockard in the coming weeks.
This position will continue to receive names until 11:45 pm EDT on September 30, 2017.