“Go out into the highways and hedges, and look for Jesus in the ragged and naked, in the oppressed and sweated, in those who have lost hope, and in those who are struggling to make good. Look for Jesus in them; and when you find Him, gird yourselves with His towel of fellowship, and wash His feet in the person of His brethren.”
- Bp. Frank Weston, SSC, Address to the 1923 Anglo-Catholic Congress
William Temple, former Archbishop of Canterbury, once reflected that the Church is the only society that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members. St. Thomas is committed to its own internal community and fellowship in Christ with one another, but for the sake of the wider community.
St. Vincent de Paul Society
St. Thomas has a long and fruitful relationship supporting our local St. Vincent de Paul society operating out of St. Mary of the Lakes Roman Catholic Church. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was founded as a means of answering the question, “What is your church doing to help the poor locally?” The society provides a food pantry, some emergency financial assistance, and most importantly a visible sign of God’s love for those in need in Lake County. St. Thomas supports the Society with regular donations of food throughout the year, and well as taking up special collections to provide holiday food baskets, and financial contributions.
Since 1977, the Haven of Lake and Sumpter Counties has been providing emergency support to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Often those fleeing abusive households lack all sorts of necessities, and so St. Thomas collects and donates all forms of travel sized toiletries, socks, and other small personal items are all collected in the Parish Hall and delivered to the Haven for distribution.
Miles of Pennies
The Church Periodical Club was founded in New York in 1888 to provide Church periodicals, prayer books, and Bibles to missionaries to distribute to those who needed them in the Dakotas. Materials are no longer shipped by Wells Fargo stage coach, but the CPC’s mission to provide quality religious and educational books and periodicals to those who need them remains unchanged.
St. Thomas supports the CPC with a Miles of Pennies fundraiser. It takes 84,480 pennies arranged end to end to equal 1 mile, that’s $844.80. We collect loose change in the Parish Hall which is specifically donated to support CPC missions providing books for children around the world. St. Thomas is currently raising funds for its sixth mile!
Eustis Elementary School was built across the street from St. Thomas in 1924 and has for nearly 100 years enjoyed a strong relationship with the Church. Today we are one of their community partners and have over the years provided our space, and other forms of support. Support extends to other local schools as we take seriously Christ’s command to love and support children. (St. Matthew 18:10)
Help with Compassion
In June of 2022 Bp. Patrick Augustine, missionary bishop in the Diocese of Bor in South Sudan, was the guest preacher and spoke at length after mass about the work God has called him to supporting the people of South Sudan. Through both his personal work and sacrifice and assisted by his charitable organization, Help with Compassion, he has helped support education, work-training for women, and numerous initiatives of peace and reconciliation in South Sudan and Pakistan. After his visit some $1200 was raised to support his work there, and the parish has made an ongoing commitment to supporting Bp. Patrick’s work overseas.