Go Deep and Go Wide

Jesus said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” — Mark 12:30-31

Stories of Inspiration

Dorothy and Bill Curry

By Melissa Rock and Matthew Bleakley, Stewardship Committee

We continue telling stories about your friends, neighbors and maybe someone you do not know.  We are sharing journeys on how people are going Deep and Wide and sharing their gifts of time and talent (Spiritual gifts).  Please read as we share Dorothy and Bill Curry’s journey.

How did you choose St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church?

Both:  36 years ago Bill and I came to STA.  At that time we were accustomed to the Presbyterian denomination.  We still are called friend by that longtime church home, but it was time to move forward.  Visiting many churches, with our then strongest focus on the sermon in tact, thanks to the Holy Spirit St. Andrew’s became our choice.


What kept you?

Dorothy:  It is the varied and dear parish family.  It’s the liturgy and all its beauty and purposes, beside the sermons  It’s the parish, reaching out to learn about and love the world.  It’s the fun of discovering and learning together.  I was with a group of women who were speaking of their church’s

benefits.  They asked me, “What about St. Andrew’s?”  Took me a short minute to sincerely say, “STA would breathe for me if I needed  that”.

Bill: Dorothy passed her devotion on to me and as a result I became more involved and interested in STA.  I am also a fan of Fr. John’s sermons.


How did you get involved?

Dorothy:  I followed the Messenger and bulletin and consider to the sermon’s guidance. There were/are so many options for learning or connecting or community involvement.  Feels as though there’s something for every heart’s delight. I call the contact listed  to discover whether time and interest-wise it fits and whether it calls my heart.


Where did your passion come from?

At first…

from the childhood habit of attending Sunday school and worship.

from the love I felt there, from leaders and parishioners alike

church was a place of childhood fun and of camaraderie, to discover what God is Love (a writing on the paneled Sunday school wall) meant in my little girl’s life.


Then, the cues and habits built through many decades, until I felt that God’s love was truly present and beginning to mature in me.


Do you ever have doubts that you as one person is doing enough to help those who need you?

Dorothy:  At this time of life, I mostly ask God whether I am where I am supposed to be and learning what I am supposed to learn for this day. God judging and my worrisome doubting don’t hold much space in my theology at this time..


Bill:  Honestly no.  I am doing as much as a 93 year old man can do.


In Paul’s letter to the Colossians 2:7 says: Lets your roots grow down unto him and let your lives be built on him.  Then your faith will grow stronger in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.  What does that mean to you?


Dorothy:  These words are a precious promise, guide, and available for us to experience more assuredly the length of our mortal life.


Bill:  I see this true as more people at STA become involved to meet the needs of others, that we all benefit from one another.

Donna Adam and Joy Bower

By Melissa Rock and Matthew Bleakley, Stewardship Committee

We continue telling stories about your friends, neighbors and maybe someone you do not know.  We are sharing journeys on how people are going Deep and Wide and sharing their gifts of time and talent (Spiritual gifts).  Please read as we share Donna Adam and Joy Bower’s journey.

How did you choose St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (STA)? And what  kept you?

Joy:  I have been a member of STA for over 38 years.  Bruce and I were expecting our first child and we simply landed at STA and have never left.  STA met both our needs of tradition and open dialogue. There was diversity of age,  music and the liturgy.  We could feel the energy.  That is what has kept us here. 

Donna:  Claude and I moved to KC in 1986 and joined STA in 1990.  I remember we attended STA for the first time and Fr Greg Mansfield called me by name as we were leaving church.  We had lunch and he invited me to join Altar Guild.    I was working full time, but as my hours went to part time I was able to become more involved.

The Fabric of Life is a quilting Ministry that is very near and dear to your hearts.  How and why did it start?

Both: When Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005, our Choir Director at the time,  Dr. Sharon Hettinger, had family, friends and colleagues that were impacted (as we all did).  We were able to make 100 quilts and they were distributed by contacts that Sharon had. The Fabric of Life Ministry was formed.

Next came the Joplin Tornado.  We made over 30 quilts and we walked with  Fr. Frank in the FEMA park and we went from trailer to trailer handing the quilts and Target gift cards out.  At one stop we met a mom and we were talking with her and out from behind mom was a little girl about 4 yrs old and she said can I have one too?  Boy did we run to that car and get another quilt.  It is about the quilt but it is also what the quilt represents, a HUG. 

Now we are very involved with CASA (advocates for children in the foster care system)  and Journey to New Life (an organization that houses and helps apex. 40 women transition and become self-sufficient).  We have 5 regular women that come and help (there are more in the summer).  You do not need to know how to quilt, everyone has a job;  3 will sew, 2 will do the tying, then there is the binding.  We all help one another.  Such fellowship.  Donna makes quilts that are most creative.

Where did your passion come from?

Donna:  I started sewing in 1970.  When my beloved husband Claude died, this ministry and the congregation got me through it.  I sewed like a made woman.  It kept me busy with a purpose. Now my cherished dog Darcie accompanies me to church for  Fabric of Life.

Joy:  My grandmother and all the women in my life, this is how they showed their love, through giving you a homemade quilt.  It was something that resonated with me and I so enjoy it. 

Do you ever have doubts that you as one person is doing enough to help those who need you?

Joy:  Working with what we have; cutting it, refitting it, reshaping it into something beautiful and useful.  It is what God does with all creation. 

It is to this that I am called as an expression of joy in creativity.  My definition of a calling is what Frederick Buechner says: “it’s where your deep gladness (or passion) intersects with the world’s deep hunger.”  That is where I am at.

Donna:  Honestly I do not think about it that way.  The world is too broad, but I do know that I can do this 1:1 and make a difference.  You know the saying, how do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  We do what we can do to help people in need.

In Paul’s letter to the Colossians 2:7 says: Lets your roots grow down unto him and let your lives be built on him.  Then your faith will grow stronger in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.  What does that mean to you?

Joy:  When you start building your life on Christ you receive comfort and grace.  Once your roots grow strong, it is outward.  It is visible

Donna:  It is not about being the recipient but about giving.

Susan Paynter and Meg Townsend

Meg Townsend and Susan Paynter posing in a photo.

By Melissa Rock and Matthew Bleakley, Stewardship Committee

In Luke 6:46-49, Jesus describes one who hears His words and then acts upon them as a person who, when building his house, digs his foundation deeply and upon rock.

Fr. John has spent the better part of a year talking about this concept – of going deeper in your relationship with God and sharing that relationship with the wider community. This summer, we’ll highlight several parishioners who are striving to live out this conviction, of going deep and wide.

‘We’ll start with two parishioners, Susan Paynter and Meg Townsend. They had different journeys into St. Andrew’s. Susan joined when she moved to Kansas City five years ago; Meg has been a member for 35 years. We think you’ll enjoy their stories.

How did you each choose St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (STA) to be your home church?

Susan: In 2018, I moved here from Virginia where I was involved in my church and I knew I wanted to be involved in a church in Kansas City. I visited several churches — all very nice, but  when I came to STA, I knew I was home.

Meg: After Mark and I got married, we joined a class at St. Andrew’s that helped couples of mixed denominations explore the Episcopal church. (Meg was Episcopal; Mark was Methodist.) On our first wedding anniversary, we both renewed our confirmation vows and joined St. Andrew’s.

You both came from much smaller churches. How did you find your way at St. Andrew’s?

Susan: Well, there are a lot of small groups and active communities within the larger community of STA, and getting involved with them kept me from feeling lost in the crowd. So, size wasn’t an obstacle.

Meg: After I’d been here a year or so, I heard about a program at another church that provided meals to parishioners in times of need. I asked if I could do that at STA, and they said yes. And once you start to make friends at church, you want to do more and more.

How did you  decide which “things” to get involved in?

Susan: For me, going deep means connecting with God. And the things we hear over and over about God are love, forgiveness and reconciliation. So I try to take those aspects of God into the world – to be a conduit for God by loving (and hopefully being loved,) to forgive and be forgiven, and to find reconciliation. That’s what has propelled me to get involved in things at church like adult education and vestry as well as things in the community like Free Store, Kansas City Community Kitchen, Pride Fest and Unite KC’s Walk for Unity.

Meg: Like many people, I’ve served at church in a variety of ways, but over time, I discerned an increasing passion for issues related to equity and social justice – which has led me to projects like Pawsperity, Free Store, Andie’s Pantry and Unite KC. I think it takes time to discern where your passions lie. But that discernment is really important. Corinthians says “God loves a cheerful giver.” Well, maybe that’s because God wants us to know that aligning your gifts to your heart’s passion will bring you closer to your fellow human beings and closer to Him.

Watch Unite KC Walk for Unity News Story.

Do you ever have doubts about what you as one person can do to make an impact on the world? 

Susan: I know I can’t fix the world, but I also know that any step I take can help make the world just a little better.

Meg: I feel it must be okay, even if I’m only impacting a few lives in small ways. I believe human beings belong to each other, and that keeps me moving forward.

Colossians 2:7 says: “Let your roots grow down into him and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow stronger in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” What does that mean to you?

Susan: To me it says we’re grateful for all God has given us; we’re filled to overflowing with God’s love and that overflow goes out to others. Psalm 23 says “my cup runneth over.” It just happens. As we go deeper in our relationship with God, going wide comes naturally.

Meg: When I read this, I envision a massive tree with deep roots. When our lives are built on our faith in God, we, too, remain strong. And when we’re strong, we can branch out to share our joy and gratitude in many different directions.

Kim James and Cathy Vozzella

Kim James and Cathy Vozzella sitting at the livestreaming desk.

By Melissa Rock and Matthew Bleakley, Stewardship Committee

“Just as plants draw nourishment from the soil through their roots, so we draw our life-giving strength from Christ.” (Grainoffaith)

How did you each choose St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (STA) to be your church home?

Cathy: I grew up in a Baptist church and I have experienced different denominations over the years since I married Tom and the one denomination we both felt called to is the Episcopal Church. When Tom was looking for his next position and St. Andrew’s came available, we both thought this was the answer to our prayers. My family is from Kansas and at the time, my mother was not doing well, and we wanted to move closer to spend time with my family. This is our 10th year here and we feel like this is where God led us on our spiritual journey.

Kim: I grew up in a nondenominational church and my husband Dcn. Adam grew up Roman Catholic.  A couple of years ago we were going through a hard time and we started looking for a church.  On Christmas Eve 2018 at 7 p.m. we decided to attend St. Andrew’s 8 p.m. Christmas Eve service.  We found two seats in the back pew and it just felt right.

How did you decide to be involved in livestreaming/IT at STA?

Cathy: I have always enjoyed being involved with anything that is “behind the scenes”. I like the aspect of being able to help when and where I can. When I was asked if I wanted to help with the sound and cameras at St. Andrew’s, I was excited to be a part of the team and ready to do what I could to make things happen.

Kim: So I had helped behind the scenes with Java and Jesus at HJ’s.  That was hard because we really did not have the best equipment for that and the Wi-Fi was really challenging. Fast forward to the pandemic, Fr. Ryan Zavacky was leaving for NY and he approached Adam to help with IT.  Adam taught himself and then as Adam was being ordained, Adam taught/trained me.  The bottom line is that I really want to help make STA as accessible to as many people as possible.

Do you ever have doubts that livestreaming is as impactful as in-person worship? Can you expand on your answer?

Cathy: At the tech desk, we try to make the online experience  look and sound like the people listening and watching are there in person as much as we can. For me, livestreaming is not the same as being there in person, but I think the livestream is very important to reach people when circumstances make it so that they are unable to attend in person or to give people the opportunity to see what St. Andrew’s is offering when looking for a church home.

Kim: One year during the Easter service, the Messiah was being sung and it was amazing, (the best I had ever heard) and if we were not livestreaming there would have been many people that would not have heard that service.  You see, we now have people that are online that are part of a community for one another.  People that maybe live close, but for health reasons cannot attend and people that live in the middle of Kansas and are not going to drive four hours for an in-person service.  The online presence allows this community and worship to happen.

Where do you think/feel STA and livestreaming/IT will be for STA in five years? 10 years?

Cathy: In my opinion, there is always going to be a need for livestreaming. With all the advancement in technology, things will only get better with time.

Kim: Technology is not going anywhere. It is only going to advance and we need to find new ways to embrace this ever changing tool to help others connect and remain accessible to as many people as possible. How do we grow without leaving people behind?

Colossians 2:7 says: “Let your roots grow down into him and let your lives be built on him.  Then your faith will grow stronger in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” What does that mean to you?

Cathy: If your core beliefs are rooted in Christ, then that will give you strength throughout your life.    

Kim: We are working so hard to help people grow and establish roots with St. Andrew’s by connecting our in-person and online community to be a haven to welcome all.  

As a side note, Cathy and Kim knew one another, but now a friendship has developed.  As they sit and do livestreaming, they find so many things to talk about. On June 18, when Mtr. Jean referenced going deep and wide, that reminded them of a song they sang as children called Deep and Wide.

Deep and wide, deep and wide, there’s a fountain flowing deep and wide.
Deep and wide, deep and wide, there’s a fountain flowing deep and wide.

CCLI Song # 57904, Alfred B. Smith | Sidney Edward Cox | William Cowper, CCLI License # 11310429

Karen and Craig Lundgren

Transcription of podcast interview with Dcn. Adam James. Listen to the podcast.

How long have you been at St. Andrew’s?
: We came in 2019, just before the Church shut down with the pandemic.

Were you able to feel connected as the world was shutting down?Craig Lundgren serving coffee at HJ's Youth and Community Center and Karen Lundgren with a student from Gordon Parks Elementary.
: We were, there was a strong online presence and it kept us connected. 

Karen: Outreach had zoom meetings and was able to continue helping our various ministries. For example, through the generosity of the church we were able to deliver daily meals to all of the children at Gordon Parks Elementary School, along with other children in their community. For me, as a church, we did not stop helping our neighbors. We were all in our caves thinking and praying about who we were, who we wanted to be, and how we could help the others.

How did you find yourselves in your space where it felt like God was calling you to serve?

Karen: With any passion you feel the need, you feel the love of the children, and to me this is a gift. When we came to STA, I was already involved with Gordon Parks, so it was natural for me to be involved in Outreach with Pete Vogt as the co-liaison for the Gordon Parks Elementary School.  Through St Andrew’s Outreach I was able to serve in so many facets: Haiti events, Free Store, Gordon Parks Elementary, and Community Connections.

Dcn. Adam: Karen, you mentioned so many things. One thought I want to ask, how do you feel the children minister to you? 

Karen: All children are God’s creatures and it doesn’t matter where you are from, all children need a hug. Many of these children have had very hard times. When you see that smile, when they recognize a word in a book or they share a success with you, that is what brings me back day after day.

Dcn. Adam:  So Craig, you arrived at your ministry in a different way. Would you care to share?

Craig:  I serve coffee as a HJ’s Barista. I never thought making lattes and cappuccinos would be my thing. I needed a lot of training on making latte art. I did not know this is where I would end up, but the job has been a blast. I have also learned a fall back position to my day job. People come in and enjoy a cup of coffee, a kind word, and friendly banter. Baristas are there Monday-Saturday.  The Saturday Farmers’ Market is a great way to interact with people. My partner and the barista-in-chief on Saturdays is Howard Williams; he makes a mean iced mocha. During the market, we have the regular coffee connoisseurs and then we have people who are learning about STA, HJ’s, and the market. People just need a smile and a kind word and the rest just happens. 

Several weeks ago a woman came in and said, “Well, our Missouri taxes are finally going to good use (meaning HJ’s),” well not exactly was explained.  “This building was built by St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, right across the street. So your taxes did not pay for this.”  I would encourage anyone who has an interest to come over and check us out. We are working on the STA logo and the Lord’s prayer as this month’s latte art.

Dcn. Adam: I have a personal love for HJ’s, my wife Kim and I watched it being built. Seeing new construction around a church gave me hope. We saw STA taking this property they owned and making something that was eye-catching and contemporary. Back in my college days I worked for Starbucks, so it was so much fun when we joined STA, to help make coffee recipes.  The HJ Baristas are such a family. Nothing breaks the tension, like a good cup of coffee, music, and fellowship.

Dcn. Adam: Of all the people that come through, have you ever seen God come through there?

Craig: I would say God is there everyday. Through personal  interactions, people will come in, and they might be having a bad day, and after some friendly talk, they leave feeling much better.  Feel a little more at ease. God is everywhere.

Dcn. Adam: Karen I have to ask you, as you have been working with Gordon Parks and you see the footprint that Outreach is for STA in the community. Do you ever have any doubts that one person (or the outreach commission) in the work we do is not enough for the world?

Karen: Do I have any doubts?  I always have doubts if I am doing enough. Honestly, I think that it is why we are a church. We always want to do more, go deeper and wider. I always look at it as if we are a village and that God will show us the need. If we hear and listen to what is being asked of us and pray for the courage to do so, as a village we will do it. We see this through Andie’s Pantry that feeds the hungry, Free Store that clothes the poor, and Welcome House who gives shelter to the men with drug and addiction issues and a place where men can find help… It is all a gift of love.

Dcn. Adam: I hear you mention village a lot, when someone has a doubt regarding how they can help, I think the village is a place where someone can be part of it to help. It would be hard work to do for one person by themself, we all need one another. Do either one of you feel you have been healed, been renewed or changed your life for the better?

Karen:  Yes, when I see a need and if I help, it makes me feel that I am worthy.

Craig: St. Andrew’s has changed my life for the better. I think this gets back to Stewardship. I have been thinking about this, as to why we ended up at STA. Stewardship is more than just tithing, more than just time and talent. It is about, for me, being responsible managers and respectful of the resources God has entrusted to us. Everyone at STA is respectful of these gifts and involved in daily Stewardship. That is why we are at St. Andrew’s.   My being asked to be a barista is just one way of passing God’s love onto others.

Dcn. Adam: In Paul’s Letter to the  Colossians 2:7 says: “Let your roots grow down into him and let your lives be built on him.  Then your faith will grow stronger in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. What does that mean to you?

Karen: I thought of the Jesse tree and that we are all children of God and a branch on that tree. We are fed with God’s word, God’s service to others and our community. With that, we grow (i.e. our branch grows to God) and we have other limbs growing from our branch and we nourish one another.

Craig: The passage conveys that we need to grow our own roots deep in faith with God. Our life will be filled and transformed in God if we deepen our own faith.

Benton Glaze and Ben Wake

Transcription of podcast interview with Dcn. Adam James. Listen to the podcast.

After growing up at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (STA) what brought you back to the Church and what kept you here?

Ben: For me it is a sense of family.  I felt comfortable to keep coming back.  I enjoy both services, the 8:00am and the 10:15  I connect with the rituals and traditions.Ben Wake and Benton Glaze

Dcn. Adam: How has leading acolytes been? 

Ben: I like being with people, leadership and showing young adults how to do “things.”  I have been heavily involved in Boy Scouts and Acolytes since I was a child.

Benton:  I lived on the east coast from 2012-2018.  When I came back to Kansas City, returning to my church home, STA, was a no brainer.  Growing up at STA I was very involved as a youth ; I sold Christmas Trees with the youth group, I was part of Happening, and I was a representative for the Diocese of Western Missouri at the triannual Episcopal Youth Event.  It was these memories and experiences that highlighted my youth.  It was also the STA community that brought me back.  My wife and I were married here last year. STA is where we hope our children will start their journey with God.

Dcn. Adam:  How has your journey with Christ evolved from where you were as a small child growing up at STA as opposed to an adult choosing STA?

Benton:  My faith journey has definitely evolved.  Growing up at STA or any church leads itself to almost a default belief in christianity.  A faith or belief untested is a belief that cannot stand up to testing. Life is a long series of being tested.  The 6 years I was gone I now realize how much I missed STA and the purpose.

Dcn. Adam: Absolutely, the stories of John the Baptist, or Jesus in the wilderness, we realize the things we miss.

Ben: I think back to Sunday School here at STA and how you grow up.  I loved the history part of the church.  As you grade up in Sunday school you learn more and “things” make more sense.  Honestly, COVID is what really got me more involved, because I worked at home 8-5.  The services and the prayers online helped keep me connected. By listening in the digital means, I found myself craving to be in person once we got back.  One vivid memory are acolytes on St. Andrew’s Sunday and leading the bagpipers in with the acolytes, it is just awesome.  Helping with the acolytes was such a natural fit.

 What has called you that has helped your faith grow deeper and wider and to become more engaged in the church?

Benton:  I have a very specific answer to this question; Jean Long and Bill Hesler.  It was the ask from these two people.  Jean asking me to help with the acolyte program and Bill Hesler asking for my help on a consistent basis with the St. Paul’s Food pantry.  Personally, that is the type of engagement that works best for me and my personality.  I feel more spiritually engaged in an active way.  Faith through action is faith lived in my experience.

Ben:  No is hard to say.  I have a couple of people that have personally engaged me  as an adult; Pete Vogt, Joy Bower, Connie Smart and of course Jean Long.  It is so hard when a church “family” member asks you for help. What I mean by that is, of course I am going to say yes and then I am hooked because I really enjoy it.  Being on Vestry as a youth and being at retreats, bonds were formed.  They had trust in my abilities and let me grow into it. 

Do you ever have doubts about what you as one individual can do to make an impact on the world?

Benton: Absolutely, there are 8 billion people living on the plant today.  What can a single person do to have an impact on a global or regional level?  Personally the answer can be daunting, maybe we think only if we are Bill Gates with our billions fighting malaria in Africa our scope is limited.  So I would phrase the question, more to what can we change? What can we impact?  Picking up trash by the roadways keeps our roads clean.  Donating supplies to St. Paul’s Food pantry helps feed people in our community, making dinner for a fellow parishioner experiencing loss or pain helps them feel more connected and loved.  I think that is the answer, do what one can out of love and care, whenever and wherever you can.  Every little bit counts.   The story of the Stone Soup, we all contribute and we all grow spiritually.

Dcn. Adam:  Living our faith. Secular vs Sacred.  God is in all of that.  We come to STA and we worship.  Fr John talks about intimacy (small chapel space to worship)  and majesty (a grand basilica to worship), and how they both can play a role in worship.

Ben:  I think about those red doors and every time you open them, I am back where I need to be.  A reset.

Dcn. Adam: In Paul’s Letter to the  Colossians 2:7 says: “Let your roots grow down into him and let your lives be built on him.  Then your faith will grow stronger in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. What does that mean to you?

Benton: I am going to paraphrase the book of Luke, “To Whom much is given much is expected.” I really try to live by this.  We  all have a talent(s); singing, financial budgeting, carpentry…. But the key is how we share those gifts (spiritual) and talents.  A blessing that not only improves our life, but the lives of others.  The lives of those in a broader community and maybe not even of our faith, but are our neighbors.  Jesus reminds us to love our neighbors.  Selfishly, I feel really good when I answer the call to help those in our church and those outside the walls of this church.

Ben:  Thinking outside the walls.  How do I help others?  Random acts of kindness.  People do not know who did it, but I know and I feel good.  It is not about validation, because just I know it could be a turn around for someone’s day. 

Dcn. Adam:  Craving the church again during Covid.  We are now back to being connected and we are seeing this with young adults.  The two of you are such great role models.

Benton:  You do not know what you have until it’s gone.  Then you appreciate it so much more. 

Gina Heise

My husband Gus and I have two children: Andrew and Norah. We have lived in Kansas City for about 18 years.

How did you choose St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church (STA)?

Gina: It is really less about what broughtGina Heise at the Brookside Farmers' Market at HJ's Youth and Community Center. us here and more about what kept us here. We attended our first service a couple years ago and we were immediately captivated by the music and sermon and the beauty of the worship experience and we knew we would come back.  We attended coffee hour, started meeting new people, and stepped into volunteering to help my daughter gain service hours.  Our first volunteer experience was at the Community Connections event with St. James Methodist Church on 9/11/21. From the beginning, we felt welcomed.  Through attending the Discovery Class during Lent 2022, I grew to learn more about the Episcopal tradition and met a lovely couple who have become near and dear friends to us.   

How did you get involved?

Gina:  Throughout our first year at St. Andrew’s, my daughter and I continued to volunteer at Community Connections events, and then in August 2022, St. Andrew’s (through its partnership with the Brookside Farmers Market) decided to bring its free coffee tradition outside on Saturday market mornings.  I knew instantly that this would be a great fit for me.  My son was headed off to college and I had a little more room in my schedule. And it was something deeply personal to me.  When my kids were little, I would take them to the Brookside Farmer’s Market almost every Saturday for honey bee cookies, breakfast burritos, coloring, and music.  It was our special place to go.  Volunteering at a place that I loved, welcoming people on behalf of a church community that I also loved seemed like the best use of my gifts and talents.  We have a great group of volunteers and we are building relationships with the farmers, vendors, customers, and each other!

My initial volunteering at the Farmer’s Market last summer also led to even more involvement at St. Andrew’s.  I am part of the OutReach Commission and Deanery Council, and all of these activities have helped me feel a deep connection to St. Andrew’s.  I have come to realize that if you want to be part of a community, you need to participate in that community.

Where did your passion come from?

Gina: As I mentioned, Saturdays at the Market were special as my kids were growing up. I also love to cook and eat healthy food and love getting to know the farmers who grow what I make for dinner.  And connecting with other people at the Market over a shared love of good and healthy food allows room to connect in other ways, too. Sometimes, individuals are just wanting coffee and other times they may want to chat, connect, or even find a church to call their own.  Our tent at the market and the daily coffee served by the St. Andrew’s brew crew at HJs become that bridge to community.  We meet people where they are, and at the end of day, I just want someone to have a positive interaction with a person of faith.

Do you ever have doubts that you as one person is doing enough to help those who need you?

Gina:  I think we all have doubts sometimes and that is natural to who we are as imperfect humans. I may doubt how well I am doing at my job, how I am raising my children, etc., but that is not where I usually am. My family upbringing in Chicago taught me that one person can make a difference.  My oldest sister was born severely developmentally disabled and my parents fought for her throughout her entire life to make sure she had the right care.  They were her constant advocates and even took on the State of Illinois when where she lived was put into jeopardy.  As a 10 year old, living through and watching their unwavering devotion to her has made me a better neighbor, citizen, and parent. 

 In Paul’s letter to the Colossians 2:7 says: Lets your roots grow down unto him and let your lives be built on him.  Then your faith will grow stronger in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.  What does that mean to you?

Gina: This scripture verse encapsulates the journey I have been on at St. Andrew’s. My faith has grown deeper as I have given myself more time to learn through participating in the Discovery Class and attending Thursday Trailside when possible, spending more time reading scripture, and integrating myself in the St. Andrew’s community through worship and service.  By giving me the room to dive into community here at St. Andrew’s, I am putting in deep roots. As a tree grows, its roots develop, and the deeper the roots, the greater its ability to hold on through all the seasons.  Trees also grow toward the light and Jesus is the light of the world.  If we grow toward Him, we are better able to hold on through whatever comes our way.