My St. George’s journey began over 6 years ago. Our story is not a unique one - my husband and I had moved here from the city with one baby and had our second shortly after. We found St. George’s, because, like many young families - we knew we had to baptize our daughter or suffer condescending looks from our parents when they came to visit and on holidays.
I was raised as a “Christmas and Easter” Episcopalian and my husband, Danny, was raised Roman Catholic. We knew we wanted to continue in the Episcopal faith and raise our children with God, so we did a little church shopping, and fell in love with St. George’s. More specifically, we fell in love with Bernie. Before we knew about the fellowship this church provided us, we knew that Bernie was the real deal. Finding a church that agreed with our very liberal politics AND still loved and followed Jesus was, for us, like looking for a needle in a haystack. Then we came here. We heard Bernie. We learned new things. We were able to ask questions. We met you. We found our needle.
Bernie and the congregation welcomed us and our young (and loud) children. We never felt like our children were a nuisance during service even though they would run up and down the side aisles during the readings and often time decide that the sermon was the best time to practice walking the balance beam that is the kneelers. But we enjoyed coming. We were learning a lot. We were developing relationships with you all. We made the decision to make St. George’s a priority. Often times that meant bundling up the kids on a snowy winter day when it would’ve been way easier to stay home. But we knew that we wanted to instill this faith in our children. And funnily enough, it has stuck. Just a few weeks ago, my son was asked for a playdate on a Sunday morning and he answered “sure! I can come over after church.”
When we started coming here, my husband and I were slow to “dive in” with the ministries of the church. That said, once we realized how many opportunities there were for us, in whatever ways we could manage, we knew we needed to start giving back and really get our hands dirty. It’s a little bit like double dutch. You have to find the right time for YOU to jump in. For our family, that meant starting small. We started by signing up for coffee hour, North porch donations, and bringing dinners when IHN was here. The next time IHN came around, we upped our game a little and we stayed and SERVED the food. Danny started going to the parish work days. I helped with the Christmas pageant. We did Dinners for 8 to meet some new folks in the congregation. Now, 6 years later - I am on the vestry, spearheading the Women’s Ministry and Danny is teaching Sunday School. Needless to say, we found our rhythm here at St. George’s. Truth be told, our main motivating factor for giving our time, talent, and treasure to St George’s is because of COURSE! This place is magic, you guys! It’s the same reason I’m on the PTA at my kids’ school and was on the board of my daughter’s preschool co-op. Because when I get SO much from a place, I feel super gluttonous if I don’t give something back when I take away as much as I do. This is not to say that you all are expected or required to do the same. For a while, the time we could give was limited.
We had three young kids and we were treading water, you guys. Getting to church was all we could do. But again, we knew this was a priority. So, we signed up for online giving so we didn’t have to think about *that* aspect of it. Giving our time wasn’t an option at that point, but giving our treasure - of course. We needed and wanted to set an example for our kids. Yes, this is the way we are going to try and live our life. Yes, giving back to the church what you have is not something you grumble about, it’s something you CELEBRATE. How lucky are we that we can do this??
We’re able to give what we work so hard for BACK to a place that works so hard for us? And I remind my children and I’ll remind you: Because we give - we’re helping make sure the lights stay on, not only on Sundays but for the many people and groups that use St. George’s for comfort, for help, for community and sometimes, as their home. Because we give - we’re making sure that when our youth group wants to travel to help communities in need, they’re able to do so. Because we give - we’re able to listen to our beautiful choir with an awesome organ every Sunday. Because we give - our gardens and this building look as gorgeous as they do. Because we give - people who don’t live like us, are able to feed their children and not worry about where their next meal is coming from - even if it’s just for a few days. Because we give - the mission of St. George’s, the diocese, and the word of Jesus is able to be spoken and taught in areas where it might not have been prior. And I can’t think of anything more important or necessary in this world right now. And you know what, I really like that example we’re setting for my kids. And I thank you for doing the same.