Where We Are
At the 2018 History Day celebration of the 50th anniversary of St. Timothy’s becoming a parish, our speaker was parishioner and former Vicar for St. Timothy’s, John C. (Jack) Danforth. He spoke about St. Timothy’s past, present, and future and had these words to say about who we have become and who we can be:
“Here’s evidence of who we are. When we at St. Tim’s exchange the peace, we really exchange the peace. It’s a hubbub, a mini-coffee hour in the middle of the service. And it’s great! Eventually, we have to get on with the service. But the way we exchange the peace is who we are.
“I think that the peace can be more than the way we relate to one another within the confines of our sanctuary. Exchanging the peace can be our way to change the world. It can be our gift to a broken nation that needs us.
“We’re off to a good start in this regard. We have an active ministry of racial reconciliation. Parishioners support an interfaith group that builds relationships among faith communities. But if we define ourselves as a people who exchange the peace, there will always be more work for us to do. If Muslims in our community feel that they don’t belong, what are we going to do about it? If gays and conservative Christians fear one another, what are we going to do about it? If African Americans are afraid of the police, what are we going to do about it? If poor whites think that the culture treats them like rubes, what are we going to do about it? If evangelicals think there is a war against their religion, what are we going to do about it?” (Excerpted with permission)
We have been strongly challenged by the 15 months of lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and sincerely missed our ability to come together as a community, including the opportunity to exchange the peace. Our clergy, vestry, parish leaders, and members recognize that this has been an unprecedented time for the world, one that no one could have completely foreseen and adequately planned for.
In the spring of 2020, we quickly moved our worship and programs to our social media platforms to provide meaning, connection, and fulfillment to our community during the COVID-19 restrictions.
- Using a Diocesan grant, we purchased a state-of-the-art A/V system to live stream our 10:45 a.m. Sunday service to members and seekers across the country. We’ve been able to stream both outside and indoor services.
- We celebrated Morning and Evening Prayer during the week on Facebook Live, which attracted members and people from other states who became a close group of regulars.
- Our clergy created Bible Study and discussion programs for adults that were held on Zoom, and our lay-led lectionary study group also moved seamlessly to Zoom.
- Most of our Christian formation offerings continued on Zoom. Our Associate Rector created packets based on the weekly readings for grade school children that parents would pick up at church. Middle and High School youth met on Zoom to watch and discuss videos. Sunday morning Adult Forum comprised live speakers and multi-session discussions.
- Come and Pray sessions were offered in the sanctuary for quiet contemplation in the fall of 2020 before in-person services were allowed.
- During 2020 and 2021, the Vestry called every member family to check in with them.
- We launched a new program, “Neighbors Feeding Neighbors” to address food needs in our community. We designed and ordered reusable grocery bags for our members to pass out in their neighborhoods, asking their neighbors to provide food or funds to help local pantries. Both the Fall 2020 and the Summer 2021 in-gatherings resulted in hundreds of donations.
We continue in uncharted waters as we seek a new normal, with many opportunities to create ways of providing a safe spiritual home for members and those seeking strength and vision in their lives.