From the Executive Committee:
Yes, We are Closed.
In the 2015 Annual Report, and at the Annual Meeting, Executive Committee briefed the membership on the financial state of this mission. We introduced the working principle of an expiration date for the ministry for St. Thomas’ in its present incarnation and context.
While we clearly heard some support for this idea, leadership also heard anger and grief, as well as the well-rehearsed denial, ambivalence toward the diocesan missional ethos, and antipathy to change.
On February 14, Executive Committee met with the Rev. Ginny Dinsmore, Coordinator for Missional Ministry for the Diocese of Newark, for our Mutual Ministry Review. In our conversation, it became apparent that change has come faster than St. Thomas’ is able to adapt. We labor under tremendous demographic and cultural shifts.While a valiant core of people has recently done much toward adopting the missional principles that now define the diocese, as a totality, the membership does not have the "commitment, capacity, capability and desire to radicalize this present ministry in response to God's vision."  As many have known for some time, our 30 year old business model is neither valid nor sustainable.
After much discussion over two more months, with various officers from the diocese of which we are a mission, they concurred with this assessment. Working with an expiration date remains the best chance St. Thomas’ has of ordering our affairs and defining our legacy.
On April 10, Executive Committee and the Rev. Dinsmore meet with interested communicants in good standing.
References for this process:
Note: People have asked why "they were not informed." All information was presented at Annual Meetings, posted on bulletin boards, and where available on the church webpage. The Annual Reports provide the narrative history of the last three years; the Mutual Ministry Reviewsprovide EC's reflection on their leadership; the two pieces from the dioceseprovide the broader context.
Bishop Beckwith’s Address to the Diocesan Convention
In an effort to start wrapping up our affairs, we are closing our PayPal account. Buttons have been removed and no more donations will be accepted through PayPal.
If there are photos, liturgies, reports, or other resources you would like from the St. Thomas' website, you are urged to download them now. Additional photos have been added to the slideshow on the homepage. The website will be taken down before the end of the calendar year.
Here are some resources that have provided background for EC deliberations over the last 3 years.
St Thomas' Episcopal Church
307 Route 94 * Vernon, NJ 07462 * 973-764-7506
I.E. users: please refresh your browser as the site updates frequently.
As part of our closing process, Executive Committee is actively engaged in re-homing various church furnishings, vestments and other items.
Some missioners made a gift to St. Thomas' of such an item and had strong feelings about having it returned. At this point, EC has made those arrangements.
It is our hope that the sacramental life of the remaining items continue in another Christian community. We have over 65 bequests already on record to churches and organizations all over the region. Like the Risen Christ of which we are incarnate, we will be everywhere.