Sunday, January 26, 2014

Telling our Story

Their story, yours and mine -- it’s what we all carry with us on this trip we take, and we owe it to each other to respect our stories and learn from them. ~ William Carlos Williams
The story of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church began in 1802 when the first group of Episcopalians gathered in the town of New Stratford (the first name of Monroe) and began to build a church from which they could have their own worship space and reach out to their neighbors. Since those early days, St. Peter’s Church has been a life giving presence in the Monroe community and beyond. Here are some snap shots of our story in 2013.

The year began with a new mission opportunity for St. Peter’s Church, helping a tiny village and a small church in faraway Mozambique build a nursery school and water collection system. We met Bishop Sengulane and his wife and began to learn about a partnership that we had chosen with the community of Megumeto. We decided on a goal of $5,000 and gave our first check to the Bishop. The children joined in and sold lemonade at our Parish Tag Sale. In the fall, they held a bake sale after services. Everyone in the community joined in and helped raise $5,000 by the end of January 2014. We applied for and received a $10,000 grant from our Diocese of CT to begin work on phase II, to help the community build a well.

The children helped us in our worship, as they, along with our adult choir, sang praises to God over the course of the year. Our Junior Choir reminded us all of the beauty of God’s creation and how to sing a joyful song to our God. At Christmastime, they helped us remember the story of our salvation, of Jesus who was born for us in a humble stable, and how to share the beauty of Christmas with everyone.

Our adults gathered to explore questions of faith and grapple with the important issues of our time (e.g. immigration) through book discussion and our film & food nights. Opportunities both online and in community gave parishioners the chance to work on our fall bible study: the Gospel of Mark. And of course, whenever we gathered, there was always plenty of good food to be found!

Out of that abundance we have, we reached out in love to our neighbors! A Girl’s Night Out in November collected funds for the town’s Project Warmth. We made a Thanksgiving meal for Chapel on the Green and in frigid temperatures made sure that those in need on the New Haven green had a delicious hot meal and were able to get knitted scarves from Knit One, Pray Too and donated coats from our parish to help them stay warm.

In our times of fellowship and love, we gathered as a community at hockey and baseball games, we tasted the finest wines and beers, we enjoyed the company of friend and stranger, offering the hospitality of St. Peter’s Church. Our largest fundraisers were also our largest opportunities as a community to come together to serve and love, our annual Fish Fry lovingly prepared by even injured parishioners & our annual Apple Festival with a tour bus visit, were bigger than ever!

Worship brought us together with neighbors nearby and far away. We gathered to sing, to pray, to hear God at work in our world and reflect on God with us.

The story of St. Peter’s Church in 2013 was a story filled with hope, with love and with a real sense of the blessings that God has given to us to share with everyone. It was a story that every member of the parish contributed too, for every member, every friend, shared a line in the story. A story that continues today in our mission to welcome everyone with God’s love on their journey of faith, making strangers into friends!

(Paper edition included pictures with each paragraph.)

No comments: