|Date Posted||January 6, 2020|
East Carolina (Michael Singer)
|Health Benefits||Full Family|
|Communicants in Good Standing||128|
|Average Sunday Attendance||107|
|Child Population in Church School||0|
|Adult Population in Church School||10|
|Teacher Population in Church School||2|
- St. Thomas is a parish of generous, caring people who work to make our church and community a better place. Our congregation is welcoming of all who come through our doors. The church community is a nice mix of people who are from NC and out of state. Most of our members and friends attend Sunday services on a regular basis.
- In the last twenty years, we have become a larger, healthy congregation, with volunteer groups serving in the parish and in the wider community. We offer programs that members can choose from to get involved, above and beyond going to church on Sunday. One of our biggest strengths is our commitment to outreach. We are always open to the idea of expanding and increasing our programs.
- Although the congregation is aging along with the community, we have attracted some younger families and new empty nesters in recent years. Our Sunday attendance has grown in the last few years as a result of new members and active non-members.
- St. Thomas Church in Historic Bath has had a long and colorful history as the oldest church in the oldest established town in North Carolina. We have a beautiful church campus in the center of Bath with a newly renovated and enlarged parish hall, which is debt-free.
- The beautiful rural location and long history of Bath and Beaufort County has attracted many transplants from other areas of North Carolina and out-of-state, primarily as retirees. Residents enjoy the safe, friendly, caring atmosphere.
- Bath offers outdoor recreational opportunities, especially boating, fishing and bird watching in a mild climate that allows almost year-round participation. Historic Bath is a destination for tourists.
- Beaufort County offers reasonably priced housing. Employment opportunities are scarce in Bath, but available in Washington (20 minutes away) and Greenville (less than an hour away), especially in the education, medical and boating industries. These nearby towns also offer cultural and entertainment events year-round. New Bern, Edenton and the Outer Banks are also nearby for interesting day trips. The Research Triangle is 2 to 2.5 hours away and offers concerts, live stage performances, museums, institutes of higher learning and an international airport. Greenville and New Bern offer smaller airports.
- Our congregation is predominantly transplanted retirees and part-time residents, very few of whom are cradle Episcopalians. This diversity of backgrounds, while positive in many ways, means that we as a congregation need to explore what it means to be Episcopalian and how that differs from congregational led churches. We could benefit from an education on the doctrines, polity and practices of the Episcopal Church.
- Some parishioners tend to identify more with smaller groups, whether it is social and political background or the service (8:00 or 10:00) they attend each Sunday. We need to find a way for various factions to talk about their differences without prejudice, so that the church can be a place for broad positive discussion that focuses on the religious aspects of what God expects of people.
- A challenge is expanding involvement and leadership beyond the same relatively few people. Most are willing to support ministries, building campaigns and other programs financially, but are less willing or able to be active participants in committees and events. A major goal might be to increase our current membership through active engagement, resulting in renewal of mission and ministry within the community.
- The rural nature of the community is attractive to retirees but may not be a draw for younger people and families.
- Our aging congregation means members must sometimes move to other areas that offer retirement communities and other services they need; we need to attract new residents as members.
Thank you for your interest in St. Thomas Episcopal Church, in the Diocese of East Carolina.
Please contact the Rev'd Michael Singer, Interim Transition Ministry Officer if you have any questions in the discernment process at email@example.com or you may contact my assistant Hannah Jarman at firstname.lastname@example.org.