St Alban’s Episcopal Church
Bolivar, Missouri

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Thomas – not “the doubter”, either! John 20:19-31 and Vance and JuIie Halfaker Great News!

Sometimes it is easy to forget about the SBU students who became Episcopalians and who were such an important part of St Alban’s over the years, but who have moved on after graduation to continue studying, or to take jobs elsewhere. But if you were here when they were, you probably do remember Vance and Julie Halfaker!
Vance was one of those brilliant young men who loved to study, to think, to seek out deeper answers and more comprehensive understanding of EVERYthing! He was pure delight. And Julie was wholly supportive of his academic interests. But his parents and family weren’t as enthusiastic as we all were – so your support mattered to him.
He graduated from Seminary last May with the highest GPA in the class, and is headed to a PhD program in New Testament at a very prestigious university. I am so very proud of him! I know you are, too. He and Julie have been active in their Episcopal Church, and on Easter Sunday their little one, Lydia Hope was baptized.
Your ministry is not like that of any other West Mo congregation. It doesn’t need to be. I hope you will take this seriously as you move forward. Being a welcoming place for students where ideas can be explored and discussed and doubts engaged and faith strengthened by your openness IS what you do best. Blaise Torrence is doing well in his chosen calling and occupation, and in his church. Tobi Barta has moved forward with her social work degree and is about to be married. Ryan Williams will be ordained priest in July. Never underestimate what. difference you make!

2 Easter – the Gospel

John 20:19-31
When it was evening of the day of Resurrection, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house were the disciples had met were locked for fear, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”
A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” then he said to Thomas, “Put our finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.”
Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God and that through believing you may have life in his name.



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