Welcome to St. Thomas Parish—a progressive and inclusive congregation of The Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Washington (The Rt. Rev. Mariann Budde, Bishop). Our life together and in service to others centers on God’s radical hospitality inviting us all to be fed at God’s table in the Holy Eucharist so that we in turn can help feed a world hungry for grace, justice, and reconciliation.
The leadership of our congregation includes our Rector, The Rev. Dr. Nancy Lee Jose; our two main lay leaders, Senior Warden Matt Cloninger and Junior Warden Ashley Greaf; and an elected Vestry chosen to manage the financial affairs and buildings of the parish, as well as to provide leadership in program activities for the good of the church. The parish office, managed by a part-time Parish Administrator and Administrative Assistant, produces our weekly worship bulletins and manages parish information technology and systems, including our membership database.
St. Thomas’ Parish is a flourishing community where you will experience inspiring worship based on the wide range of resources of the Book of Common Prayer and the varied traditions of Anglican music. Services include our 11:00 a.m. Sunday Holy Eucharist, which provides opportunities to pray, take part in music for worship, hear engaging and stimulating preaching by both lay and ordained preachers, and share in the bread and wine of Holy Communion. Other worship alternatives include participation in the Daily Office (Morning and Evening Prayer) online; our Service of Holy Communion at 5:00 p.m. Sunday Evenings; Healing Prayers once a month as part of Sunday Holy Eucharist; or walking our outdoor labyrinth. We also host a Korean congregation, Bethel Presbyterian Church, and AXIOS, a fellowship of GLBT Eastern Christians, who meet regularly at St. Thomas’ Parish. Music plays an essential role in our life together in community, beginning with worship. Our volunteer choir sings a wide variety of works drawn from the output of composers of all periods. Medieval motets and Tudor anthems are sung alongside African-American spirituals, Taizé chants, and original compositions by our choirmaster.
From the moment Greeters say hello as you enter the church for worship, until Coffee Hour conversation following the Sunday morning service, or lunch or a meeting after that, we want you to know how glad we are that you are a part of our community life. If you are new to St. Thomas’ Parish, we want to share with you the many ways you can become a part of congregational life, including newcomer lunches, evening parish social gatherings, and seasonal potluck dinners.
- Families with children and youth are invited to discover our Godly Play program, a Montessori based learning experience for children, or our Youth Sunday School.
- Adults can take part in our 10 a.m. Sunday morning Adult Forum, a Confirmation Class, a Spring or Fall Retreat, or find out about our Education for Ministry group.
- St. Thomas’ provides many other types of opportunities to get to know your fellow parishioners, including Foyer Dinner Groups that meet for food and fellowship in members’ homes, our 20s and 30s Young Adult Group, a variety of LGBT activities including participation in the Capital Pride events and parade each June, or the Society of St. Thomas for members 40+ years old (or those who one day will be!).
A church congregation exists not just for itself, but for service to others; this is why we strive to connect what we learn about loving God and one another with opportunities to serve others in our everyday lives in the world, as well as in places far from where we live:
- St. Thomas’ Parish was a founding congregation of Samaritan Ministry, whose Next Step program provides housing and employment search guidance, coaching, and referrals to partner services.
- Each year we adopt an apartment for the Transitional Housing Corporation that provides support for at risk families in the District of Columbia.
- A team from St. Thomas’ regularly participates in the Greater DC Cares Servathon.
- We support the work of the Trinidad Conservation Project in Honduras and support the Millennium Development Goals initiative of our Diocese.
- We support Martha’s Table, helping to find sustainable solutions to poverty, and serve breakfasts at Christ House, a residential medical facility for the homeless.
- The parish also hosts two 12-step groups that meet weekly in our building; we serve as a voting precinct for the District of Columbia; and we host a number of other non-profit groups holding events regularly at St. Thomas’ Parish.
There are lots of ways for you to take part in leadership within the parish, too, in addition to these forms of outreach and service beyond our walls. These include taking part in the Worship Team that helps plan and support our worship services—by joining the Altar Guild to set up for Holy Communion; becoming a Lay Eucharistic Minister to serve the cup at the Eucharist; helping the Flower Guild to decorate the church for Sundays and special seasons; reading Scripture or leading prayers in worship; serving as an usher on Sunday mornings, or learning to be an Acolyte assisting with worship.
Or you can become a part of an ongoing leadership team or committee structure within the parish, such as:
- Communications: coordinates parish announcements and publicity, maintains the website, and edits The Phoenix, our weekly eNewsletter.
- Education and Formation: in charge of educational programming and spiritual formation events and activities for children, youth and adults.
- Pastoral Care: Provides support and wellness initiatives to members of the parish and loved ones who are sick, bereaved, or in need of counseling, as well as leading our Healing Ministry.
- Stewardship: Promotes year-round awareness of all the ways parishioners can share their time, talents, and treasure for the good of the congregation and its ministries, including the yearly Annual Giving campaign that funds most of our parish budget.
- Parish Life: Builds community through the support of all parish fellowship activities, from coffee hour after services,to dinners, and seasonal social functions.
- Finance: Advises the Vestry on the development and management of the parish budget and provides advice on monitoring parish financial affairs.
- Building: Coordinates the current building program of the parish as well as the care and maintenance the church building, park, and surrounding grounds.
- Inclusion: Responsible for inviting, welcoming, and incorporating visitors and new members into the congregation.
- Worship: In charge of arrangements for all worship services, including care of vestments and linens, setting the altar, and organizing and training acolytes, lectors, vergers, and ushers.
- Women’s Ministry: outreach and fellowship opportunities for women of our parish, including networking lunches and awareness of women’s health and social issues.