Living Our Mission

In 2014 the leadership of St. Thomas set the vision for our parish by creating a new mission statement — a challenging and compelling commitment to follow Jesus’ directions for bringing our baptismal promises to life, here and now. This statement is so important to us that it appears throughout our webpages.

Financial support of those in need is a necessity in our economically challenged community and so we contribute substantially to local agencies that serve in various ways. Equally important to us is cultivating friendship and collaboration our neighbors, therefore we prioritize support of projects that bring us face to face with those we serve.

All are welcome to join our parish Justice and Outreach Ministry Group meetings on the 3rd Wednesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at which we pray and study, gathering information that informs our recommendations to the vestry about where and how to target our financial and service contributions.

Here’s how we are currently enacting our mission:

Web J&OWe are a part of Yancey County Bridges — an outgrowth of our 2016 Lenten Learning Series. The Bridges program consists of ecumenical leaders and local agency heads working together to create sustainable change for people living in poverty. This includes:

  • Launching a Getting Ahead in a Just Getting By World initiative, which helps individuals in generational poverty build their resources for a more prosperous life for themselves, their families, and their communities
  • Participating in the Toe River Food Security Network with a focus on providing food boxes for Hispanic people, whose needs for ethnic staples are often not addressed by local pantries
  • Serving as a delivery team for the summer food program of Graham Children’s Health Services, packing and transporting local fresh produce to remote areas of this rural community

We support Reconciliation House, a cooperative Christian ministry serving people in economic crisis. In recent years St. Thomas has contributed over $30,000 to this agency’s winter fuel fund. Members of St. Thomas serve as volunteers at the Rec House thrift shop and as a parish we collect food for the pantry.

One of the ways we keep our missional commitment to “embracing the stranger among us” is to provide legal assistance for young immigrants seeking approval of their DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) applications.

St. Thomas has an important alliance with the Shortbus Studio, which serves adults with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. “The mission of Shortbus Studio is to help bridge barriers between people and communities, and to teach us that in the end, we are more alike than different.” See our video of an evening of shenanigans with our friends.

Finally, our church is an ongoing training venue for the Community Resiliency Model (CRM), a groundbreaking public health initiative that creates resiliency-focused communities by providing a set of skills to help individual’s restore their own body, mind, and spirit to a place of balance and calm. St. Thomas provides scholarship assistance to CRM training participants and our rector is an advanced skills trainer in this model. Learn about our grant awards and support of this innovative model for healing.