Stewardship Reflection, Friday, October 1
By: Clara Laing, Member of the Stewardship Committee
Six years ago, Kevin and I had just moved back to Richmond and were visiting St. Mary’s. Church was over, and I had taken my three-year-old son to the playground to burn off some cookies-and-juice-fueled energy when I heard the friendliest southern voice ask our names, if we were new to the church, and if she could email us about opportunities to get involved. My guess is that most people who are new to St. Mary’s have a similar story about being welcomed by one or more of the amazing clergy, staff, or parishioners at our church, but my connection to St. Mary’s started with Amelia McDaniel. She saw new faces and pulled us in.
In the years to come, I began to work with Amelia on the Children’s Ministry Committee and discovered that the goal for each child in our Sunday School program is to feel known, loved, and a sense of belonging in our St. Mary’s community. No matter our age or background, isn’t connection – big or small, in an unfamiliar situation or even in day-to-day life – something we all are searching for? I think that is what God wants us to feel about our relationship with Him: that we belong in God’s kingdom and that we are known and loved as a child of God. We seek out the places that feel like home, where we feel a safe, secure sense of belonging and connection, and over the years one of these places for me has become St. Mary’s.
As the Children’s Ministry Committee was trying to figure out what outdoor Sunday School would look like this fall, I was worried that some of the younger children might not remember their friends after being separated during the pandemic. Amelia assured me that children reconnect by playing together, which is why playground time is an important part of the Sunday School curriculum. This is amazing to watch and so true…if you have never stopped by the playground on your way to the church service, I invite you to witness our youngest members of St. Mary’s playing together again. It is reconnection at its best, and something I will never take for granted!
I have thought a lot about how we adults will reconnect at St. Mary’s after time apart. David May has invited us to get involved in new ways and be a part of this community that is welcoming us back home. Whether it is cooking a meal, volunteering with the Outreach Committee, going to Sunday School, or welcoming a new face on the playground – how are you called to reconnect with our St. Mary’s community? As we begin to come together again, please join me in pledging to financially support St. Mary’s in whatever way you are able. My stewardship pledge is my “thank you” to God for the blessings and abundance in my life and for St. Mary’s where we are connected in God’s love.