I consider my church community to be my spiritual family. To me, St. James’ is a spiritual family bound together by the common fellowship of humanity and by the blood of Christ in a way that is very much as real and palpable as the blood ties that we share with our immediate families.
Family members should love each other and take care of one another. Most importantly, members of a family have responsibility for each other. The spiritual family of our church is unique in that all of us play multiple roles within that family: we are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and children all at once. I think that most of us, certainly me, relish being the children of our spiritual family, we appreciate the support, the love, and the care that our church home can provide.
It is harder, I think, to conceptualize ourselves as the parents of our spiritual family – that we must work, sacrifice, and care for our spiritual family or else it may not survive and certainly will not thrive. I know that all of us understand, on an intuitive level, that the material life of the Church requires material support, and I have always tried to give some financial support to my church. For most of my life, however, I never really thought much about where my contributions went or how much was needed. Therefore, for me, one of the most enlightening results of having the privilege to serve on the Vestry of St. James’ is that my understanding of the material and financial needs of our church family has moved from the intuitive to the tangible. My experience in the Vestry has brought into clear focus my responsibility as a caretaker and provider for our church family.
Just as my parents worked hard and sacrificed to provide a happy and comfortable home for my sister and me, I feel that I must try take on the roles of father and mother for my church family. To me that means giving of my time and money. My parents never seemed to resent their sacrifices or complain, because they loved their family and their children and got their recompense in love and joy. I try to give such a spirit in full knowledge that today I may have to make some sacrifice but tomorrow I will be repaid with the love and support of my St. James family.