The Outreach Committee took on an in-reach project for Lent that focused on our senior parish members whom we do not see as often as we used to for various reasons. We asked for reflections on what Grace-St. Luke’s has meant to them and to write a short piece that focused on an important memory of GSL during the Lenten season and Eastertide. We are grateful for those who chose to participate and share their stories. Now we share their stories with all in The Messenger. Outreach hopes you enjoy these reflections and the blessings they bring to all of us. We hope that this will be the beginning of a larger project that may involve more storytelling about life at Grace-St. Luke’s.
Easter as a little girl, in the 1930s, meant a new dress, new shoes, dying eggs, Easter egg hunts, which I disliked as I could never find the golden egg, but I loved the big celebrations at church with lots of music. As a child I was taught that Jesus died for our sins and was resurrected, and I believed it.
Much later on in life’s journey I went through a dark time. At one of my lowest points, a friend, Becky Peoples, invited me to join her at Grace-St. Luke’s to hear Sam Batts Owens, and that is when my faith journey began. That single invitation to attend a service at GSL changed my life. The people at Grace-St. Luke’s showed the face of Christ, and made me feel like it was God’s own church, his favorite and my favorite for the rest of my life. The invitation to bring someone to experience God is the most important thing that each of us members of this parish must do.
My special memories are centered around the coming of the Easter festival, the preparation of your heart and soul to celebrate the Resurrection. The most important is Good Friday, I always cried, and it made the Easter story that Christ died and was resurrected to give us life eternal even more meaningful. Good Friday made my belief as a child whole and real as an adult. Thank you Grace-St. Luke’s.
I think my best contribution to the life of the church is my desire to pray for people. When we first arrived at Grace-St. Luke’s we were a part of the Pastoral Care Committee. We prayed for people, signed cards for those on the list, and made dinners for people who were at home. But now my circumstances have changed and I can no longer do that for others, but I can pray for sick or needy people every day. I currently have one person’s name and I pray for her several times each day.
We have had our ups and downs in the Church with administration and factions that didn’t agree, but we always felt the support we needed. Eventually we began a mid-week service of healing. We attended regularly and were made a prayer team at the Sunday morning services.The parish didn’t grow much in numbers, but we all grew Spiritually over the years.
Then the turning point came when my eyesight began to fail, and Ed showed signs of dementia. We knew that we couldn’t continue to drive the fifteen miles to Gilroy every Sunday and Wednesday. We talked over our situation with our kids and decided we had to move closer to one of them. The kids in Memphis talked us into coming here. We had visited Grace-St. Luke’s over the years and decided this was the area of Memphis we wanted to settle.
The move has been a blessing. As Ed declined, our Memphis children were right here to help. The members of Grace-St. Luke’s have been a blessing also. Ed attended services and functions for as long as he could. We had a wonderful memorial service when Ed died, and I was lovingly cared for by the parish.
I enjoyed the church services, Bible Study, Book Group and monthly fellowship luncheons until COVID. Since those days, I am happy to stay at home and tune in to services through Facebook and I have been blessed to reconnect with my Gilroy Church which has a zoom Bible Study.
My life has been rich with many blessings. These blessings are a gift from God, and I am so thankful for my relationship with Him.
My blessings are abundant—caring family, friends, neighbors, good health.
How can I show gratitude?
Why am I blessed?
As a young child visiting my grandmother in a small town, I witnessed her feeding thru-drifters, homeless, etc.—whoever knocked on her door. No judgement—she just did it. Action speaks.
My journey has had its ups and downs, and I am constantly trying to sort out my beliefs. Today I am involved with More Than A Meal and MIFA Meals on Wheels. Each Sunday I am inspired by the command to go forth and serve, as I am inspired by fellow parishioners who just “do it.”
Write about Easter Blessings and Love the assignment said—But I have so many loves—my family, my friends, my dog—even some people I don’t even know but admire and love from a distance. There are people I will never meet, but who I love and admire for who they are and the things they have done. Love is all around us, and Easter is a perfect time to stop and think about our loves. How fortunate we are to be Christians and have Jesus Christ as the center of our love and the Great Teacher of Love. Because of Him we know how to give and receive love. We know what love is and how to love because of him.
We know HOW to love because of Him, but we don’t always follow His teachings. Now, as we approach Easter, what better time to think about what kind of followers of Christ we are. It might be a good time to do some refresher reading of the scriptures to remind ourselves how powerful those words can be with Christ as our guide. Maybe we should reach out more, be more patient, and be more aware of those who need us the most—and to extend love to those who don’t look like us.
I am a girl from a small town in Arkansas. Upon graduation from high school I entered nursing at St. Joseph Catholic Hospital in Memphis. I was raised a Baptist, but was always intrigued by Catholicism, but not so my parents.
A very dear friend introduced me to Grace-St. Luke’s and I fell in love with the order and the seasons of the Church year. I became an Episcopalian, and over the years I served in many different capacities, and had many different faith experiences at GSL. I served on the Altar Guild, attended Guild meetings, studied theology through EfM, socialized with fellow parishioners at 39ers gatherings, and I was elected and served on the Vestry. My list could go on and on.
Now as Easter is approaching, and we are in the season of Lent, I reflect upon the meaningful moments of the period of fasting and reflection that always begins with the pancake feast of Shrove Tuesday before the somber rites of Ash Wednesday. The forty days leading up to Easter give time to prepare for the glorious celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. I most loved the behind-the-scenes preparation for Holy Week, readying the Church for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil. We made palm crosses and polished the silver, brass crosses, and the altar rail. As I travel through my memories I treasure my time at Grace-St. Luke’s.