Blog
December 7, 2017, 6:18 PM

What St. Clement’s Means to Me by Terry Sandoff

For the past few weeks I have been thinking about what I wanted to say to you today.

The theme for today is “What St. Clement’s means to me.” 

My first response was quick and obvious.  St Clement’s is love.  And I believe it is true, St. Clement’s is love.  But, I kept thinking and rolling it around in my mind.

As it turns out, the last few weeks have been difficult for me.  One of the veterans we work with suddenly died, the holidays are upon us which triggers thoughts of my past. 

My parents were good people, but they had no business having children.  I loved my parents, but a lot of bad things happened to me growing up.  My parents were oblivious to all of it.

But I had glimpses of what family looked like on the yearly occasions when I saw my cousins.  My Aunt Jackie cooked and sewed and loved her kids.  My Uncle Ray was strong and caring and very kind. When a niece of theirs came home from school one day and found both her parents shot, my aunt and uncle adopted her.  She was 11 and I was 7 at the time.  I wish they had adopted me too.  They moved to Idaho shortly after that and I didn’t see them but a handful of times after that.  But every time, it felt good, like family.

And I thought, yes, that is what St. Clement’s means to me. Family.  They are the real family I didn’t have.  I feel welcomed and loved and appreciated even with all my quirks (and silly service dog).

But still I kept on thinking.  What does St. Clement’s mean to me?

And then it came to me…   Love + Family = Home.  The real home – like heaven on earth.

I can be my self – my best self.  I am loved, nurtured and cared for (warts and all).  That’s what St. Clement’s is to me.  Home.

 




December 3, 2017, 7:35 PM

What St. Clement's Means to Me by Janelle Fallan

Ken and I have lived in six different cities in four states in 43+ years of marriage.  In every town, we have sought out the Episcopal Church – except when we moved back to Helena, Montana and simply returned to St. Peter’s, the church I grew up in.  So we have a lot of experience at being newcomers, and that is what I would like to share with you.

Specifically, the stories of three different Episcopal churches.  When we are new, we are always quick to introduce ourselves and tell people we’re new, to avoid that awkward moment as they stand there and wonder if maybe we’ve been coming for years and they’re just not sure.

One church recognized newcomers during the service and gave us coffee mugs with the church logo and printed materials.  Very handy – most of our coffee mugs were still in moving boxes.  At the coffee hour, I served myself coffee and introduced myself to a woman nearby.  She nodded politely, then started chatting with the next woman behind her.  So I introduced myself to her, too.  Then a third woman helped herself to coffee and started talking with the first two.  I introduced myself again, and the three of them continued to chat.  At that point, I said “Very nice to meet you all” and wandered on.  We did belong to that church for several years and they all turned out to be perfectly nice people – maybe just a little lacking in social skills.

Another church, we went to when we were visiting our son and his family.  It was near their house and we really hoped to spark the family into church attendance.  Very welcoming when we came in, and our son John told the greeters that he lived nearby.  Great sermon – I still remember it.  Good music, and the prayers of the people lasted about 10 minutes as people came forward to pray for each other’s special needs.  All in all, a really good experience.  Then we went to coffee and disappeared.  Really.  John is considerably taller than Ken, so 3 of us are kind of hard to miss.  We wandered around the parish hall, separately and together.  No one even made eye contact.  After 10 minutes we left.  Fr. Dave told me I should have let the vicar know about our experience, but I just never got around to it.  Needless to say, none of us plans to visit that church again.

My third example is from the Chicago suburb where we lived for 3 years. The rector was on vacation when we visited, and maybe the parishioners were working extra-hard to welcome newcomers in his absence.  In any event, we were warmly greeted and maybe given a tour of the church.  Ken had a great conversation with the senior warden, who gave him a pledge card.  When the rector found that out, he was a little upset – that is not how you start out welcoming people!  And yet, it worked for us and that has remained one of our favorite churches.

So what is the point of these good and bad examples?  I truly believe that welcoming newcomers, welcoming the stranger, is something we do really well at St. Clement’s.  I have a hard time imagining someone wandering around the parish hall during coffee without being greeted once, by someone.  We are looking forward to change and praying for growth.  But being a welcoming community is one thing I really love about St. Clement’s and hope we never lose. 




December 3, 2017, 7:33 PM

What St. Clement's Means to Me by Ken Dunham

First, in a few words: it means a lot. Regular church attendance, participation and the full Christian experience is important to me. I’ve always had a strong quiet Christian faith, instilled in me by parents, grandparents and family. We try to live as Christians in our lives and work, and try not to wear it on our sleeves, but in a practical sense of what we do and who we are as a family.

This is an interesting little parish and means a lot to us – and me. We’ve now been here regularly for the past four or so years after some years at Trinity in Folsom. St. Clements just seemed to be a little better fit for where we are spiritually. It was easy for me to come back here since when we first moved here now almost 12 years ago, I lived in a relocation apartment here in Rancho before Janelle could leave her position in Chicago and before we bought a house here.

I started attending here the first week I was in town in 2006 and remember the warm welcome and the comfort of the familiar ritual of the Episcopal Church.  I also think back laughing, too, about the first time I was a diocesan convention delegate from Trinity Folsom and you St. Clement’s delegates at a table nearby kept motioning for me to come on over.  OK, I’m back.




November 26, 2017, 3:27 PM

An Inspiring Message

I had the privilege to go to the Investiture and Seating of Rev. David Rice as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin. 

We walked around the Cathedral of St James in Fresno neighborhood where we stopped for testimonials from members of the diocese of how they have been called to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the world today. 

Bishop Curry, presiding bishop of the national Episcopal Church, delivered an inspiring and extremely enthusiastic sermon.  He  told us that the old testament of  Bible reminds us to Witness;  in the new testament He reminded us that  Christ calls us to witness.   And since we are Episcopalians, we need to be given direction in the prayer book as well…  In the ordination service, bishops are called to be witnesses for Christ; ..In our baptismal covenant, we are called to witness… and finally at the closing of every service we are each called to be a witness to the world as we go forth.    

The world really needs our message; we are called to witness about the hope and love of Jesus. After hearing Bishop Curry’s enthusiastic sermon, everyone was ready to dance out of the cathedral  into the streets and to witness for Jesus.  At the closing hymn, the clergy, torch bearers dancing out of the cathedral and into the world.  

Sharon