St. Thomas' Parish at Dupont Circle – Washington, DC

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Brother, sister, let me serve you

Sometimes, you stumble across simple things that have profound messages.  This six-chord, guitar-song written by a New Zealander thirty-five years ago is now included in the Episcopal hymnal-supplement, Voices Found: Women in the Church’s Song. We’ll be singing it together this Sunday at St. Thomas’ Parish, but you may enjoy this preview of the original, written by Richard Gillard, who sings it here:

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People do grow and change, some just surprise us more than others

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We’re Growing a Church Just For You

On June 20, 2010, the Vestry (or governing board) of St. Thomas’ Parish voted unanimously to move forward to rebuild a new worship space in Dupont Circle. While our new building is going up, I want to be in conversation with you about who we are, what we’re doing here, what we believe in, and why we think this parish matters to the larger communities we live in.

After the original structure, church home of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, was destroyed by arson 40 years ago this August, our congregation chose to remain in the neighborhood of Dupont Circle, worshiping, as we still do, in the renovated parish hall. Over time this prophetic decision evolved into an intentional, creative, and courageous leadership role in solidarity with of the growing GLBT community in this historic Washington, DC, neighborhood.

  • We opened our doors during the height of the AIDS crisis – welcoming HIV positive individuals to the Eucharist, ministering to the dying and their grieving partners and friends, and honoring the dead with funerals and memorial services when few other parishes did so.
  • We pioneered the development of rites for the blessing of same sex unions in the Episcopal Church, writing a still frequently used and widely adapted liturgy in 1998. Subsequently we have hosted countless blessings of holy unions, and our clergy have officiated at many others beyond our doors. Most recently we have been celebrating a steady flow of same sex marriages at St. Thomas’ Parish, including a wedding just this week of a gay couple who have been faithful partners for 33 years.
  • All of us at St. Thomas’ Parish have been blessed, too, by a steady growth in the numbers of children in our ranks, some with same-sex and others with straight parents, all of them looking for a spiritual home where they can be assured, as one said recently, that “my child will never learn to hate in this place.”
  • As older straight and GLBT members have retired or moved from the parish, younger adults have found a home with us in growing numbers. The result is that the median age of our parishioners is about 35, with only a handful of members over the age of 55, and currently only one vestry member over 45. This influx of young adults has led to a doubling of our congregation’s size and budget in the past 5 years. Now we are in the both enviable and lamentable place of being almost out of room to welcome those still arriving at our doors.

People who come here find an inclusive congregation, whose life is centered in the sacraments of baptism and holy communion — “a place where all can find and be found by God.” We are constantly deepening our practice of faith rooted in vital worship and bold outreach in equal measure, continually learning to love one another and our neighbors, although sometimes it is not clear which is the more difficult. We are proud to be a part of our community, and we also are deeply committed to contributing to our neighborhood and world in days long after we ourselves are gone. We’re growing a church just for you — and a place of sanctuary and refuge, of inspiration and courage, of faithfulness and compassion for tomorrow and the day after.

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Gene Robinson interview on MSNBC

Click here for a recent MSNBC interview with Gene Robinson, in light of the threats he has received for his plans to be present in Lambeth during the Lambeth Conference this July.

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