Here is our weekly collection plate, offering some of the good things that Episcopalians and their congregations have done that made the news this past week. And other news fit to print.
Easter with Elmo
What, no bunny suit? The news was chilling. What would Easter be for children at Eureka's Serenity Inn without the big basket-toting bunny? For years, I had borrowed a bunny suit for my annual visit with children whose parents have fallen on hard times. With baskets of candy and toys from Christ Episcopal Church, I would stumble from one room to another for a moment's visit with a wide-eyed child.... I begged for any barnyard animal suit, chicken, rooster, cow -- even llama. Nothing, except for the Elmo suit up on the rack. Elmo, the colorful Sesame Street character who kids like to tickle a lot.__________
Teens at St. Christopher's Episcopal Church in Chatham are cooking for others, too. About a dozen cook community dinners for up to 60 people and two Sundays a month prepare three-course dinners later delivered to the elderly, struggling young families or those who have a new baby or have had a death in the family.... But charity by local teenagers doesn't end at home. Several Cape and New Bedford area churches sponsor teens on mission trips to help those in need in such places as New Orleans, El Salvador, Honduras and Africa. The teens raise the trip money themselves. ...While some people may perceive today's teenagers as self-involved and lazy, a recent study by World Vision, a Christian relief and development organization, indicates that this generation is concerned about others and is willing to take action to make a difference.__________
Mike Mears of Spirit Lake and Terry Shively of Spencer, members of St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Spirit Lake, traveled to Swaziland as part of a mission sponsored by Safe Water International Ministries under the auspices of the Episcopal Church of America, in Swaziland known as the Anglican Church. Joining them were the [bishop] of the Episcopal Church of Iowa and 14 other missionaries. It was the second trip for Shively who had gone to Swaziland in 2006. ...In Swaziland, Mears and Shively distributed water purifiers to villagers. The purifiers used solar-power batteries to convert salt to chlorine which was then added at the rate of five ounces for every 200 gallons of water, or about 10 drops a gallon.__________
Dinner with Grace, a ministry of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco has received word that the Yahoo! Employee Foundation has given a $5,000 grant to the a two-year-old collaborative ministry of Grace Cathedral, Episcopal Community Services and formerly homeless residents of the Tenderloin neighborhood, which will enable the ministry to serve a second single-resident occupancy hotel (SRO), the Coast Hotel in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. ... With this grant, more than 200 residents will now enjoy a home cooked meal, prepared by and shared with Dinner with Grace volunteers. Today, there are more than 60 ministry volunteers both from the cathedral and Bay Area community. Since 2007, Mentone Hotel residents have shared a meal and conversation with ministry volunteers on the second Wednesday of every month.________
Fifty years ago St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church floated its outgrown church building down the Indian River Lagoon on a barge to its new home in Satellite Beach [FL], where it became Holy Apostles Episcopal Church. ... “It took a few days to get the church onto the barge,” said long-time church member Camerone Elizer. “I watched them load it. First they had to roll it down to the water, and then they put it on the barge.” ... Stained glass windows, removed from the old building before it was floated down the river to its current home, line the back wall of the church [pic]. ... “The acoustics in this church are wonderful,” said [The Rev. John] Liebler. “And because of its size, it has been the center of a lot of events throughout the years. This building has served St. Andrew’s for almost half its history, and has been prayed in and worshipped in all these years. It’s a very special building.”