Supporting St. Paul's

Good Morning.  My name is Judy Rice and my husband John and I began coming to St. Paul’s regularly a year ago last spring.  We’ve known Jeff since he did his field education at our parish in Milton many moons ago so had always visited several times a year. We finally came to the realization that we were actually happier here and decided like many of you, that it was time to make a change.

We pledged somewhat automatically because as good Episcopalians, that’s just what you do.  But starting last fall, the world as I had always known it, seemed to change and my reasons for coming here and pledging did also. 

Earlier this fall, Jeff mentioned in a sermon that we are all making a choice to come to church each week.  Although I know what he meant, I really don’t have a choice, I have to come to church.  The daily barrage of bad news, one disaster following another, makes me feel like one of the disciples, sitting alone in my little boat on the rough seas, being tossed back and forth in the waves, feeling that at any moment my boat may capsize and I will drown.  The tragedies of the world are so overwhelming that I am no longer able to hold them in either my head nor my heart and I need some place to bring them to. Coming to St. Paul’s each Sunday gives me comfort – the joy and peace that I find here each week is like the hand of Jesus, reaching out to steady the boat, reassuring me to not be afraid, that he is with me.

And it’s not only while I am here on Sunday that St. Paul’s supports me. Like our retreat theme last year, I can take it with me.  When there is yet another natural disaster, mass shooting, mean spirited political decision, terrorist attack, or even the threat of war, I can vision myself sitting here in this light filled place, with the sun streaming through the windows.  I see the children and their teachers straggling in from Sunday school along with the adults from the Education forum. I picture the altar, surrounded by bags of toys for Be Safe, supplies for Puerto Rico, food for the pantry.  I hear Andy playing the postlude surrounded by little children, watching his every move with great fascination.  I see the toddlers determinedly making their way up the aisle with an anxious parent following closely behind and the sounds of babies crying in the back.  I think of Jeff’s sermons challenging me every week to be more the person that God wants me to be.  I imagine myself standing in the circle for communion, looking across and seeing those of you I know, those whom I have only met, and those I have yet to meet, and feeling connected to each one of you, together, the body of Christ. I listen to the joyous notes of the choir and see Megan’s smiling face giving me the bread. This building becomes like a sacrament for me, an outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual grace that is St. Paul’s (see I did learn something in Confirmation Class!)

So why do I pledge?  On one level, I pledge because St. Paul’s needs me. Like our own homes and families, St. Paul’s needs our money to support this building and all the things I just mentioned. Without each of us, St. Paul’s wouldn’t be here.  But on a deeper level, I pledge because I need St. Paul’s even more than St. Paul’s needs me. And maybe you do too. I need this light joy filled peaceful place to sustain me, not just on Sundays but on every day of the week.  When the waves are rocking my little boat, I think of St. Paul’s and I know that I am not alone, that you are all with me, and that I will be okay.   


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