Mainly members of the laity appointed to administer the Eucharist during celebration of the Mass or to hold a Eucharistic Service in the absence of a priest.
Ministers also take Holy Communion to the sick and housebound by prior arrangement.
Updated guidance now available for Ministers of Communion at St Thomas'. Click link below to open / download in pdf format.
Each Mass Centre has its own readers rota. Rotas are issued every three months.
If you are interested in becoming a reader we can make arrangements to train new volunteers. The Bishop has recommended that all readers should take part in a workshop at least once a year in order to maintain a high standard of reading.
Mass Centre contacts are as follows:
St Thomas' - Mike Murphy
Buckhurst Hill - Peter Hayes
Chigwell - Sandra Lobo
In principio erat Verbum "In the beginning was The Word." Updated guidelines for readers now available. Click below to open/download in pdf format.
Choir - 11:30am Mass
at St Thomas'
A traditional choral mass, led by our choir with congregational participation. The choir sings on three weeks out of four and provides music at Easter, Remembrance Sunday and Christmas.
Our Choir Director and organist is Kathryn Wilson.
New members are always welcome, and contact can be made through the Parish Office.
(aka Apparitors, Stewards or Ushers)
Whenever you attend one of our Masses you will find a warm welcome from a parishioner at the back of the church who will give out hymn books or service sheets, provide assistance if needed and act as apparitors to direct the congregation for the receipt of the Eucharist.
Known variously as Mass Stewards, Ushers, Welcomers, in addition they organise the Offertory procession.
These duties are undertaken by an extensive group and rosters are prepared for each Mass and circulated to those involved.
Any parishioner willing to join a roster for a particular Mass or Mass Centre should contact the Parish Office, indicating service attended.
Updated guidance now available for the Welcoming Ministry at St Thomas'. Click link below to open / download in pdf format.
Guidance Notes for Welcoming Ministries
The ‘behind the scenes’ ministry of Sacristans is an essential service to the worshipping assembly. Someone has to take responsibility for setting out chalices, plates, cruets, bread and wine, before Mass can be celebrated.
The fundamental contribution of Sacristans (and Servers!) is to facilitate a smooth liturgy. The community can then participate free of minor distractions and annoyances.
If you would like to join the Sacristan rota for one of the Masses at St Thomas of Canterbury contact the Parish Office.
New guidance for Sacristans at St Thomas' available below. Click link to open /download in pdf format.
STOC Sacristy Duties.pdf
In 1991 Fr Austin Kinsella, then Parish Priest, enlisted the advice and support of the Music Ministry at All Saints Church, Inmans Row to set up a Group in St Thomas’ to lead the music at the 10am Mass which had and still has, a majority of young families in the congregation.
All Saints responded with expertise, encouragement, practical help and the loan of two musicians and a sound system for more than a year. The influence of All Saints Musicians resulted in a small revolution in the way music was generally heard at Mass – a contemporary interpretation of Christian songs in the Worship Group style, with keyboard, lead, rhythm and bass guitars, drums, violin and a small group of vocalists using microphones.
St Thomas’ Music Group has expanded to include a clarinet and developed it’s own style which continues to owe much to its origins. We listen to contemporary church music and adapt it to suit our resources and needs, and enjoy the challenge of introducing modern Christian songs to enhance our liturgy. There is nothing remote and exclusive about us – we sing and play within the congregation and welcome input from those who attend. We produce a Mass Sheet each week with the words of all the songs and a link to our web site is on the back. Anyone can contact us there as well as hear our music and find details of how to join us. But, best of all, we like people to come up and have a chat!
Our aims remain the same as ever - to sing God’s praises, provide music that is inspiring and to send everyone home from Mass uplifted and if possible with a catchy tune going round in their head. This will remind them every now and again throughout the week of their Sunday morning gathering with their fellow parishioners in the presence of the Lord.
Do visit our website – it’s FULL of interesting stuff –
Please contact Parish Office for further information
Altar Servers play a most important part in the liturgy of the Parish. Without them the Church would find it difficult to conduct its worship with dignity. Good servers enable all of us, priests and people, to celebrate the Mass and the other sacraments with a spirit of prayer. This means that Altar Servers themselves have to be prayerful people and also people who are aware of the tremendous gifts God gives us in the liturgy.
Young men and women are invited to perform this role at St Thomas of Canterbury. In the absence of enough servers of this age, even younger girls and boys are encouraged to serve from after their first Holy Communion.
The intention is always, not only to guide them in the correct way of serving, but also to encourage a deeper understanding of what we are really doing when we come together to worship God.
Our aim is to have a reverent and dignified liturgy assisted by devout and well trained Altar Servers.
The Guild of St Stephen is an International Organisation of Altar Servers founded in England in 1904 by Father Hamilton McDonald when he formed a Society of Altar Servers at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in London.
In 1905, Pope Pius X gave his approbation to the Canonical establishment of the Guild at Westminster Cathedral and in 1906, the Sacred Congregation of Rites made the Guild an Archconfraternity prima primaria enabling all the parish branches to be linked with it.
The Guild spread, and in 1934, Pope Pius XI enabled all Guilds of Altar Servers throughout the British Commonwealth to be affiliated with the Archconfraternity at Westminster.
Stephen's name means, "crown," and he was the first disciple of Jesus to receive the martyr's crown. Stephen was a deacon in the early Christian Church. The apostles had found that they needed helpers to look after the care of the widows and the poor. So they ordained seven deacons, and Stephen is the most famous of these.
God worked many miracles through Stephen and he spoke with such wisdom and grace that many of his hearers became followers of Jesus. The enemies of the Church of Jesus were furious to see how successful Stephen's preaching was. At last, they laid a plot for him. They could not answer his wise argument, so they got men to lie about him, saying that he had spoken sinfully against God. Stephen faced that great assembly of enemies without fear. In fact, the Holy Bible says that his face looked like the face of an angel.
Stephen spoke about Jesus, showing that He is the Saviour, God had promised to send. He scolded his enemies for not having believed in Jesus. At that, they rose up in great anger and shouted at him. But Stephen looked up to Heaven and said that he saw the heavens opening and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
His hearers plugged their ears and refused to listen to another word. They dragged Stephen outside the city of Jerusalem and stoned him to death. Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!" Then he fell to his knees and begged God not to punish his enemies for killing him.
After such an expression of love, the holy martyr went to his heavenly reward. St Stephen's feastday is on 26 December.