I was trained as an acolyte at age 12 by a former Marine master sergeant who made us process around the nave with hymnals on our heads. If the hymnal fell off, you did extra laps until your balance matched your supposed piety. The first time I served at a Eucharist, during the Fraction, I proceeded to faint and fell flat on the sanctuary floor. Five years later, when I was a senior acolyte and crucifer, a gifted organist became choirmaster. Like Ralph and Linda, he played glorious voluntaries before and after each service; I wanted to sit next to him and turn pages—so I traded in my cassock for the bench. These were unexpected gifts, but they were too much about me and not enough about the liturgy or the music or Christ. Then I went off to college and drifted to a Unitarian church with a fine music ministry. My mother blamed the schism on the philosophy department at St. Lawrence University and, of course, Johann Sebastian Bach. I was yearning—but for what, I didn’t know.
I had been very reluctant to give a Stewardship talk until this year, but this year something niggled at me, and I was drawn to reflect on the fact that my own giving has been inspired in part by the joy I saw in others who have shared something with our congregation about theirs. So I decided to say yes.
Having worked for one diocese full time, and having been involved in three others in significant ways, I have gotten to know a very large number of congregations. I’ve known of only one other that inspired the kind of joy in me that I find here at St. Andrew’s. (And that was my first congregation after I was baptized at the age of 20 in NYC, where we had an inclusive language liturgy in 1965!)
As a recent vestry member, I have a renewed appreciation of the many different ways people are drawn to and connect with the St. Andrew’s community. There are as many paths as there are people – each with its own unique story. And once someone is connected to this community, there are rich, interwoven opportunities for worship, fellowship, formation, service, and advocacy. Again, not a single path, but many possible ones.
While the ritual, the messages of the clergy, the community of active and caring participants, the ELF sessions, and the friends we have made at St. Andrew’s have all been wonderful and nurturing, for me, what has meant the most is the open-mindedness and acceptance of those whom I have met. I am not traditionally spiritual and study many paths, and St. Andrew’s has always been accepting and interested in how I relate to the Divine and the teachings of Christ.
The Acolyte ministry helps to facilitate the liturgy, which contributes to a holistic space in which the community worships. We also represent the community and serve as a bridge from the congregation to the altar. Our ministry helps revere and celebrate life milestones at memorials, marriages, and baptisms. We are the face of the community at the altar. As we serve, the gifts that we both give and receive are abundant and plentiful.
The theme of this year’s Stewardship Campaign is Good Gifts: Received and Given. This theme fits with the mission of the Mission and Outreach Ministry, which states that it “seeks to renew the world by serving the needs of the marginalized through action, love, and compassion. The ministry collaborates with like-minded partners in the areas of poverty, homelessness, education, and physical & mental health both locally and globally.” Throughout its history at St. Andrew’s, Mission and Outreach has received good gifts from the parish and distributed those gifts to meet the needs of the marginalized through action, love, and compassion. Your continued support through giving during this campaign will allow Mission and Outreach to use the gifts God has given us, to do the work God is calling us to do.
When I asked the Guild members to reflect on this ministry, all who responded said it enhances our parish life both aesthetically and spiritually. While many parishioners have expressed appreciation for the gardens, the most overwhelming show of support has come from the community. Every one of us has a story about someone who has thanked her/him for restoring the lovely gardens, especially the green space in the former Rose Garden. People walk their dogs here, sit on the bench to eat lunch, bring their kids to play; others simply walk around to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the gardens – the plants, green space, birds, bees, and butterflies, squirrels, rabbits, and other wildlife.
As announced in Fruits on November 9, the Stewardship Committee has adopted the theme of “Good Gifts: Receiving and Giving” for the 2021 pledge campaign. For the Building Our Vision Committee (BOV) this theme fits with the goals of the Committee, which are to give tangible expression to the vision and mission of St. Andrew’s by creating opportunities for socially and economically diverse populations and providing a place of sanctuary, safety, and rest. During the time BOV has worked to fulfill its goals, it has received innumerable good gifts from members of this parish and has worked to provide gifts to those in need of a sanctuary in the city. The gifts of our fellow parishioners during this stewardship campaign will allow BOV to continue its work in reaching the goals each of us support.
Annual Pledge Season 2022
Elizabeth P. Randall, Rector
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Denver
To Pledge, choose either Option 1 or Option 2
Printable Pledge Card, here.
Download and Print form. Then Mail, and/or Scan and Email the form to the office (requested) by November 21, 2021.
Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Attn: Stewardship 2021
2015 Glenarm Pl.
Denver, CO. 80205