Stewardship witness by Audrey Collins, 2022-10-23.
I have been attending SsAM since 2001, first at the invitation to Art Slam and then at the inevitable invitation to church, both invitations coming from Michelle Roberts.
From the moment I entered the sanctuary I was hooked! The liturgy, the candles, the incense, the holy water, communion, the genuine warmth and friendliness of the church community, the preaching of Canon Casson beckoned me back again and again.
There was an enthusiasm that was constant Sunday after Sunday, and I could often hear myself saying “Thank God it’s Sunday”!
When I came here there was a bedrock of people who were instrumental in the joining of Saints Andrews and Matthews, many of whom have passed on or moved on but their intentionality of creating this faith community inclusive of all has endured.
It’s now 2022, some 21 years later and I’m still coming to SsAM.
Even during the two-year-long pandemic that closed the sanctuary to in-gathering for worship, the work of the church continued. Worship services were provided virtually and are still broadcast for those who can’t attend in-person services. The Daily office — a practice of prayer — is still being offered three times a day, Monday to Saturday, to maintain virtual prayerful connection.
This church’s mission is to function and serve its core and greater community in the many forms and ways needed to keep all connected to the love and promise of Christ’s love.
For it is said in Matthew 18:20, “When 2 or 3 are gathered in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
And then in Matthew 25:40 (NIV), “Truly I tell you whatever you did for one of the least of my brothers and sisters you were doing it for me.”
Over the years I have attended SsAM I have served in several capacities — member of the Downtown Arts Committee, as a lector, an usher (and now my great-granddaughter is serving with me), lay eucharistic visitor, the vestry, the “Board of Directors” (a.k.a. coffee social after church). I participated in an Easter play as Jesus no less, and I was blessed to travel to Israel/Palestine through my affiliation with SsAM just before the pandemic shut the world down!
SsAM has a constant outreach to Friendship House, Saint Andrews Place and other ministries dedicated to serve to community at large; women and children, sailors, female vets, clothing and food pantries, Code Blue, Undie Sunday and probably others I have not mentioned. The pandemic may have slowed those efforts but didn’t shut them down.
I have forged many friendships through attending SsAM over the years.
I’m a witness to the many works of this living church. As already mentioned, I’ve known many who have passed on, whom I regard as “the old guard” and I am compelled to speak their names now because we here at SsAM are the benefactors of their everlasting time, talents, and treasures. Fred Gyott, Max Bell, Jeanne Linderman, Rod Wells, Lucia Robinson, Jayne Britt, Leroy Ames, Kitty Esterly, Louise Lewis, Ty Ewing, Buddy Gray, Devere Patton, Jeanne Downs, Joey Leider, Matilda Lewis, Joe Johnson, Joyce Matlock, Dell Venarde, Gwenita Walker, Alex Tyree, Chris White, Les Roberts, Linda Smith, Patti Richmond, Charles Hines, James Hackett, Juanita Gibbs, Lillian Ramsey (my Aunt), Matt & Gertrude Shipp, Charlene Simmons, Peggy Shane and Helen Thomas who to my knowledge may have been the oldest living SsAM member in her passing away at 101 years old. She was remembered last Sunday evening during a Jazz Vespers service.
This is now the Season of Creation in the church’s life.
As stewards of SsAM, now is the time for us again to recommit our time, talents, and treasures to support the ongoing mission of SsAM. Despite the disruption of the pandemic to the life and service of the church that work goes on.
Let us continue to support the function of the church as it continues to provide services to the church community and the community at large through our giving. Every amount counts large or small.
A great way to pledge your offering or tithe is through electronic giving. Through electronic giving, SsAM can count on your tithing and budget for the church’s work ahead in 2023. It will continue to serve this inclusive community of faith within and beyond.
Before I close I have a confession to make and some may think is scandalous — I am not Episcopalian; I am not a card-carrying member of SsAM!
What I am is a devotee to the church community that I have come to know, for some have mourned and forged bonds of love in friendship with others! That is what has kept me coming back Sunday after Sunday, month after month, year after year.
In all actuality I have contemplated at times why I continue to come back again and again.
When the pandemic closed us down, I felt relief from that weekly effort of thought and settled in to staying at home like everyone else. But I did not waiver from my commitment in support of the church’s mission because, doors open or closed, its work continued and I promised to help.
When things started to slowly open again and I returned to the sanctuary of SsAM, it felt like a homecoming, a family reunion to see so many familiar, warm, welcoming smiling faces even behind the masks. And now here we are again in-gathering!
So, in closing, in my mind and spirit I am no less a congregant of SsAM than anyone else. I believe in God the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and His only Son our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe in the Holy Spirit and all things seen and unseen.
It is this mystery of the Holy Trinity that I recognized and felt when I first entered this sanctuary in 2001 that welcomed me in then and beckons me back again and again! All that’s left to say now is, “It’s Sunday. Thank you Lord!”
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Other Stewardship Posts
Our stewardship campaign ends on November 20, 2022.