Often it may seem hard to know how to live as a Christian. Sometimes walking our faith is as simple as being who we already are.
I discovered the Episcopal Church while a student at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. I joined the Trinity Church choir because I wanted to sing. I fell in love with the music and the liturgy. The Episcopal Church has been my spiritual home ever since.
When I retired, 20 years ago from teaching high school music and band, I moved to Gallipolis, Ohio, to help my parents. I joined St. Peter’s Episcopal Church because it reminded me of Trinity Church. I quickly became involved as a volunteer, helping out with various ministries, working in the office, and even making sure that the doors were locked at the end of the day. When a priest approached me about becoming a deacon, he said I already was one. My ordination in 2014 just made it official.
I helped co-found the Dry Bottoms diaper ministry after hearing of another church doing something similar. I spoke to Nancy Evans, our organist, and Mother Leslie Fleming, St. Peter’s priest-in-charge at the time. Grace United Methodist Church, which serves as a point of distribution of a food giveaway ministry sponsored by Lutheran Social Services, is across the street from St. Peter’s. Mother Leslie contacted the social service agency and made arrangements for St. Peter’s to contribute diapers. That meant that all I had to do then was collect the diapers.
I took an old pail and had my daughter, Christiana, “diaper it.” We used that to collect donations to buy diapers during the Peace. Then we also began accepting donations of diapers—disposable diapers or unused cloth diapers. We weren’t picky.
That was seven years ago. Now on the third Tuesday of every month, volunteers from St. Peter’s distribute more than 1,000 disposable diapers to low-income families. We also give away other baby items—food, clothes, strollers, sometimes furniture. Whatever is donated, we pass on. We also now receive donations from other area churches to help purchases diapers.
Part of my work as a deacon is to facilitate the ministerial work of others. Once, a church member started to back up as I approached her.
“You are going to talk to me,” she said. “I don’t want you talking to me. You are going to give me a job.”
I had to laugh. Apparently, I have a reputation. But we have many new people coming into St. Peter’s and part of my job is to help new members understand that being Christian is to serve.
Once when I was volunteering at a nursing home, a woman who had no visitors asked me to hold her hand. I took both of her hands in mine.
“Your hands are warm,” she said. “Our hands like each other.”
I like to think of that story, of how all of our hands would like each other if only we joined together.