This weekend we celebrate Easter, the new dawn and the amazing work of salvation. God’s plan for us fulfilled in Jesus resurrection … It is a season of joy!

But as our community in particular has witnessed over Holy Week, we still celebrate in the shadow of a pandemic, that is still with us and present in our lives.

This year we raise our “Alleluias” and proclaim “Christ is risen, risen indeed!” in the shadow millions who have lost beloved ones throughout the world.

We celebrate the stone rolled away, but with war raging in the Ukraine and people leaving the homes they love in search of a new place they can call their own.

We celebrate the empty tomb this year with worry and realistic fears about economic difficulties, inflation, rising fuel costs and food insecurity.

We celebrate Jesus risen today with a deepening understanding of the mental health crisis which has been born out of pandemic-induced loneliness, depression, and anxiety.

This Easter, we come to the tomb, and although we are shown the joy and light of the new dawn perhaps we are world-wearied, numb, bewildered, sad and tired.

That’s okay.

When Peter sees the empty tomb, he runs away. 

When “the beloved disciple” sees it, he believes without comprehension. 

When Mary sees it, she weeps and waits for more in the holy darkness.

But all of them, without exception, experience Easter.  The resurrection meets them where they are, no matter how they feel, no matter what is happening around them.

We come to the empty tomb, to the new dawn, as ourselves, no matter who we are or how we feel. The empty tomb does not ask us to shed everything that weighs on our hearts ahead of time.

The empty tomb comes to us as the risen Jesus comes to us. The risen Jesus barges into our lives and calls us by name in love.

He says ‘I know you, I know who you are and everything you have been through, and all I have done – that has been for you and I will always walk with you’.

No matter your experiences of the last week, month, year, or decade, our risen God walks with us in all we experience and everywhere we go.

That is the power this day. Jesus bursts from the tomb filled with light and life, breaks forth into our broken and sometimes painful world redeeming it by his love, his faith and his salvation.

New life comes; it cannot be stopped. It meets us where we are and does not expect us to immediately be filled with joy. But when it comes, it brings to us the knowledge that every change, every sorrow, every hope, and everything we experience is held in the arms of the risen Christ.

Like those who were first to visit the empty tomb, we might be filled with bewilderment, stumble and feel like we cannot get back up, we might want to run or we might just feel we are sad.  But like the Christ of the empty tomb, we will also rise.  This is the promise of resurrection, this is the Easter joy.

Christ is with us. He is risen, risen indeed, alleluia!

Revd. Rachel

Thank you for all that every single one of you has done throughout this last year. Wishing you all peace, joy and love this Christmas, and the happiest and healthiest of new years.

– From the clergy team at St. Thomas
Photo of the three clergy from St. Thomas wearing Inspiring Angels pink hoodies on the Cornhill in Ipswich
Rev. Rachel, Fr. John and Rev. Cat at the Inspiring Angels carolling on the Cornhill – Merry Christmas!

On Wednesday 14th July 2021, we will be having a mini market to fundraise for St. Thomas! It will be held outside the Church, so come down and have a look between 11.15am and 2pm! We’ll be selling some beautiful handmade items like cushions, jams and marmalades, and there’ll be a cake stall – who doesn’t love cake?

Plus, following the amazing success of our hamper raffle before Christmas, we will be holding another one during the mini market!

Our poster is available below – if you’re able to print a copy and put it out, we’d be so grateful!

We hope to see you on the 14th at our mini market!

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Photo of Revd. Rachel Revely

The Right Revd Martin Seeley, the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich is delighted to announce that the next Priest in Charge of the benefice of St Thomas The Apostle and Martyr, Ipswich will be The Revd Rachel Revely, this is subject to the completion of legal formalities and it is hoped she will be licensed to her new post on Monday 2 August 2021 at 7.30pm.
Rachel is presently Assistant Curate of the Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Lincoln with an extended placement in the Benefice of Branston with Nocton and Potterhanworth in the Lincoln diocese. 
Bishop Martin would like to thank the parish representatives and all those involved in the process of Rachel’s appointment, and he assures you of his prayers. Please pray for Rachel as she prepares for her move.

“Hello everyone, I am thrilled to have been appointed as Priest in Charge of Thomas’ and cannot wait to meet you all in August.
Meanwhile, you might like to know a bit about my background, I grew up in the North East of England, in Newcastle, where I also studied music at university. After graduating, I became a shop assistant then after that a singing teacher and a year 1 recorder teacher (not a job I recommend although it was not quite as bad as my next post of teaching year 3 violin). Whilst teaching music in schools, I was also a community choir leader in Edinburgh where I worked in a respite centre for people with HIV and Hepatitis C. 
Not a Christian from birth, I fell into church rather accidentally through music and found my faith whilst singing in a choir and leading a worship band. Overtime, my sense of vocation and call to ordained ministry started to grow, so I then became a school chaplain and a pastoral assistant for a group of churches in Scunthorpe, a steel industry town in North Lincolnshire. It was a wonderful year where I learnt a lot about church life. Having been accepted for training, I studied for 3 years at Westcott House, Cambridge and was ordained in 2018. For the last three years, I have served as curate at Lincoln Cathedral and then also in my final year in three villages just south of the city. My academic interests include the intersection of popular culture and the church, the study of mission and liberation theologies. 
My hobbies are spending time with friends, playing Dungeons and Dragons, playing board games although I have been banned from monopoly because ‘apparently’ I take it too seriously. I have a hearty interest in drinking tea and an extensive collection of colourful shoes! 
I am looking forward to moving to Ipswich and getting to know you all.”
Revd Rachel Revely

Lent at St. Thomas

Dear St Thomas family,

As Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, there are a couple of resources attached to this post which you may like to use over the next few weeks. There is a prayer walk for Ash Wednesday, and a weekly reflection booklet.

If you’re a phone/tablet user I also recommend downloading the ‘Live Lent’ app which has daily reflections.

Please also use this time to remember and support our Link Diocese of Kagera. The Bishops’ Lent challenge to help us fundraise and pray for Kagera is to the left.

On Ash Wednesday I will do a livestreamed Eucharist from St Thomas’, and I also recommend this Ash Wednesday service from Cantus Firmus & the Cathedral, which is beautifully put together.  https://www.cantusfirmus.org.uk/resources/ash-wednesday-service.html

Every blessing as we get ready to enter the season of Lent together,

Cat

ZOOM Alpha Course

We believe that everyone should have the chance to explore faith, ask questions, and share their point of view. Alpha is a series of sessions exploring the Christian faith. Each talk looks at a different question around faith and is designed to create conversation.

Starting on 7th January 2021 at 7pm, St. Thomas will be holding an Alpha course on Zoom! It will run for two hours every Thursday night at 7pm. This is different to previous years, but like most things, we have had to move it online due to the ongoing pandemic.

We know the best way to get people to come is for us to invite them personally, so
please,
invite your friends, family, and neighbours, and why not give it a go yourself!

Email Rev. Cat to sign up!