Still a Part of St. Mary’s Story, God’s Story

Weekly Reflection, Sunday, September 27, 2020

By: Ashley Cameron

There’s a bulletin board that you may have walked by a hundred times depending on which way you enter New St. Mary’s. It’s across from the bathrooms by the east trancept entrance. The top of it reads, “be a part of our story, be a part of God’s story.” Below those words are over a hundred printed photographs documenting the St. Mary’s story. Your story. They show worship services, Vacation Bible School, mission trips, parish suppers, Date with the Daffodils, small moments and big moments and everything in between.

I recently walked by this bulletin board. At first, I was saddened. As St. Mary’s resident photographer, it made me think of all the moments that were going to be captured over the past six months before it all shut down. I wondered about what the photographs that will replace these will look like. And I was disappointed that I simply haven’t been able to shoot photography – something that gives me so much joy. But then I remembered the words at the top, “be a part of our story, a part of God’s story.”

The St. Mary’s story hasn’t stopped writing itself simply because there aren’t photographs to memorialize it. Over these past few weeks, I’ve sat in a number of Zoom ministry calls and Zoom webinars. What’s become evident to me is that the members of St. Mary’s are still very much a part of God’s story.

One person in a Zoom call remarked, “by not being at church, we are losing so many interactions and learnings about the story of one another.” And I’m not denying that sentiment. There is something special about running into someone on a Sunday morning and genuinely learning about the joys and hardships of one another’s lives.
But I want to take a moment to share some of the stories, most of which won’t end up in a photograph on a bulletin board. These are the stories of one another; the stories that are St. Mary’s story.

There’s the story of a 99-years-old parishioner starting at the beginning of the church directory and calling each household at the beginning of the pandemic simply to check in. There’s the story of a 9-years-old girl realizing her desire to be a Sunday reader and finally feeling comfortable because it’s not in front of two hundred people. There’s the story of five parishioners in St. Mary’s kitchen wearing masks and gloves filling hundreds of quarts of homemade soup for GoochlandCARES. There’s the story of a vestry member delivering homemade cookies from fellowship committee members to homebound parishioners. And there’s the story of a sixth grader running up to David at the first in-person youth group in six months yelling, “this is great!”

There are so many more stories. I encourage you share them. And while we may not be showing up on Sunday mornings for worship or Wednesdays for a parish supper in the way that we used to. Still, there’s no denying that you all are writing St. Mary’s story and a part of God’s larger story.