3916 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104 Sunday at 11:00am

Stewardship at St. Mary’s

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St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Hamilton Village
3916 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104

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You can download a 2017 stewardship pledge form here.

Stewardship Reflections from our 2016 Stewardship Campaign

Sally Hillman Redman, People’s Warden

“The Bells of St. Mary’s”

Good morning, my name is Sally Hillman Redman, and I am member of your Vestry. I was born in Plainfield, New Jersey but moved to Middletown when I was two years old. There I grew up in a stereo-typical Baby Boomer community where all of the split-level homes looked alike, and you always had tons of friends to play with outside.  In 1960, I started first grade at Saint James Grammar School on the other side of the Navesink River, two miles away in Red Bank. A year later, all dressed in white, I received my first communion in the beautiful St. James Catholic Church. A decade later Bishop Ahr confirmed me in the same church. In 1968, I crossed the parking lot from my grammar school to attend Red Bank Catholic High School for four years. While at the University of Delaware, I broke my mother’s heart when I told her that I was stepping away from the Roman Catholic Church.

All was going well until my high school sweetheart and I decided to get married at the end of college. We both wanted a church wedding; just not a Catholic wedding. Interestingly enough, my husband’s fraternity adviser at Dickinson College was an Episcopal priest! When we were casually discussing our problem with Padre at a cocktail party, he asked the big three questions of our faith: do you believe in the Last Supper, do you believe that Christ died for your sins, and do you believe in the resurrection of Christ? When we both said yes, Padre told us that he would be proud to marry us.

So, we were married on June 12, 1976 in St. John’s Episcopal Church in Carlisle, PA. When asked about my transition from the Catholic Church to the Episcopal Church, I joke that the Reformation suited me just fine.

I was officially received in the Episcopal Church in 1990. We raised our two children, Katie and Max, in Episcopal Church. I attended medium size church in Pennsylvania, a small prairie church in Minnesota, and a growing church in New Hampshire.

When I lived in Hanover, New Hampshire, it seemed that I was involved in everything at St. Thomas. I loved my church community!  I am especially proud of co-founding the Jumble Sale that annually raises over $12,000. I also loved my four years in EfM, Education for Ministry. If you would like to know more about this continuing education program through the University of the South, or Sewanee, I would be happy to share. I am happy to report that our daughter, Katie was married in St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Hanover in 2015.

Meanwhile, I moved to Philadelphia in June 2011. I mourned the loss of my church community at St. Thomas and my life in Hanover. I did come to St. Mary’s on Pentecost in 2011, but it was a low attendance Sunday and I was still missing my previous church. I decided to take a break from church until I got settled in my new job and new life in Philadelphia.

A one year break turned into three. But on Easter Sunday 2014, I heard the bells of St. Mary’s ringing and ringing. Oh, here is an important fact that I need to mention: I live across the parking lot from St. Mary’s. But the bells made me realized that I was being called back church, back to a faith community. I came to church the next Sunday, and since then have seldom missed a Sunday. After I met The Rev. Mariclair Partee Carlsen and many others at St. Mary’s, and I realized that I was where I belonged. This is where I say: “Thank you, Jesus!”

Even though I planned to take it slow in 2014, I am as busy as ever with church activities. I am on Altar Guild, on the Vestry, working with the St. Mary’s Refugee Committee, the newsletter and more. I invite you will join in the fun since this is what giving of your time and talent looks like with stewardship!

Once The Rev. Mariclair Partee Carlsen spoke about our responsibility to pass this beautiful church building on to the next generation.  I pledge some of my treasure to this church in thanks for current good works that happen here in this building every day. But I also pledge to help pass this building on to those who come after us. My pledge is a tangible expression of my gratitude for all of the blessing that I have received through Christ our Lord.

Aaron Todd

I have been attending St. Mary’s for about 6 years now and I recently joined the vestry.  I first came to St. Mary’s during a difficult time in my life.  I had just completed my undergraduate degree at Temple University, and had only recently embraced my sexuality.  Having been raised in a Presbyterian church that does not celebrate gay relationships, I couldn’t fathom how church would fit into my new identity.  I was very fortunate to meet my partner Thomas, who, at the time, was a grad student at Penn and was already an active member at St. Mary’s.  Through him, I was introduced to an incredible community of open-minded individuals who celebrated diversity in every sense of the word.

While I found St. Marians to be very welcoming, it felt like a daunting task to step over the threshold and become a member.  It wasn’t until I joined the choir that I felt comfortable enough to call St. Mary’s home.  Music has always been something I can relate to, and the choir initially provided me with a safe space in which my introverted self could build relationships with people one-on-one.  6 years later and I’m stilling enjoying the reciprocal nature of giving to the choir, and therefore the church, and the way it gives back to me.

The Rev. Mariclair Partee Carlsen frequently talks about investing our “time, talent, and treasure” in St. Mary’s.  Devoting my time and talent to St. Mary’s is what got me in the door and made me feel like a part of this community.  Investing in St. Mary’s is not only a surefire way to personally benefit from this loving community, but your time, talent, and treasure help to expand the reach of our mission and strengthen our community.

If you haven’t already, or if you are a relative newcomer to St. Mary’s, I encourage you to explore what you think you can invest.  Think about the skills you possess and an area of St. Mary’s that could benefit from your talent.  Whether it’s participating in the choir or the altar guild, preparing food for coffee hour or Sunday brunch, doing community outreach, or dropping your pledge in the giving plate, there’s something meaningful that you can do to keep St. Mary’s going.

Holman Massey

As you know, St. Mary’s is in the midst of it’s annual stewardship campaign, and as a member of the vestry, I would like to share with you why it is important to me to support the ministry of this church.

When my wife Gail and I arrived in Philadelphia in the summer of 1974, fresh out of graduate school in Baltimore, one of our first priorities was to find religious communities where we could feel at home as members of a mixed Episcopal-Jewish marriage.  After visiting a number of churches and synagogues, we settled on St. Mary’s here at Penn and Society Hill Synagogue in Old City.  Both of these communities were welcoming, nurturing and supportive of our non-traditional relationship.

We came at a time when the country and our faiths were in a state of ferment and change.  The Vietnam War was just ending, and the counter-cultural revolution was in full swing.  Civil rights, women’s liberation, including women in the priesthood, LGBT rights were hot and divisive topics in the nation and in our religious institutions.  Just out of graduate school, we were products of this time of ferment, just taking our first steps into independent adulthood.  I feel like I grew up at St. Mary’s.  In the midst of what seemed to be a turmoil that threatened to tear the nation and the church apart, St. Mary’s, always on the forefront of change, provided a laboratory where ideas and ideals could be tested in the context of values, principles and spirituality grounded in the long history and witness of our faith.  This congregation was a lodestone in a dark and stormy sea, and today that beacon continues to serve us, as many of the same issues resonate in the contemporary climate of political and spiritual unrest.  Indeed, St. Mary’s has continued throughout these many years to nurture and challenge – challenge and nurture – ideals and principles grounded and honed in faith, and realized in the life and witness of this loving faith community.  To me it is home.

Over the years, St. Mary’s has also been home to the St. Mary’s Nursery School, the Neighborhood Bike Works, the University City Hospitality Coalition which serves meals to the homeless, the University City School for Asian Youth which taught English to Southeast Asian refugee children flooding in during the boat people crisis, the Cherry Tree Folk Music Co-Op, the Bearded Ladies Cabaret, numerous Penn student groups – and these are only a few of the many activities that have found home under our roof.

And then there is the beauty of our worship.  Don’t let me forget the choir.

But before I go on too long, let me say that all of these things need a home – a place to come together – this beautiful building and its Parish Hall.  And this property needs to be maintained, and our staff need to be paid.  And that’s why we have stewardship drives, so please consider what this church means in your lives and what you can commit within your means to see that St. Mary’s continues to have the resources to continue on with its mission.

Thank you, and God bless you.

Allie Schreffler

For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Allie Schreffler, and I am a first-year veterinary student here at Penn. This is also my fifth year as a parishioner of St. Mary’s and my third year as a member of the vestry.

One thing that I love about the modern Episcopal church is that it puts its money where its mouth is. When its clergy or parishioners claim that they believe something, they substantiate that claim with actions, often by dedicating time and money to support a cause that they believe is important.

However, we students—and young people in general—tend to excuse ourselves from the need to turn our claims into tangible actions. I know that I certainly do. But I have always wanted to be someone that acts on my convictions. This is what I want to be when I grow up.

We often don’t like to admit it, but we are growing up right now. Our words and our actions here in college shape the kinds of adults that we will become.

Of course, we are busy, and of course, we are pretty short on cash. And yet, I always seem to have time and treasure left to give. Lately, I have donated very generous amounts of time to Netflix and perhaps too much treasure to Wawa. I like to believe that Netflix and Wawa are not two of the most important things in my life. So if I have the means to give my limited resources to these two rather trivial causes, couldn’t I allocate an hour and a few dollars from those expenditures each week to give to St. Mary’s, an organization that is a significant part of my life?

That’s what I strive to do. Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I don’t. But it’s important to me that I at least try. I believe strongly in the work that St. Mary’s does for this community and for the world beyond. If I put off supporting that belief with my actions until I have lots of money and free time or until I feel like a real live grown up, then this wonderful organization might have to wait a very long time.


Stewardship Reflections from our 2015 Stewardship Campaign

Sally Hillman Redman

Why do I pledge? I guess the bigger question is why do I come to this particular place on Sundays.

Is it because I love coming to this beautiful building with its amazing stain glass windows and the altar that helps me to focus on our Lord’s sacrifice for my sins? Yes, of course that is the reason that I pledge.

Is it for the beautiful music that transports me by the words and angelic sounds? Yes, of course that is the reason that I pledge.

Is it the words of the Book of Common Prayer that are like poetry to my ears? Yes, of course that is the reason that I pledge.

Is the Gospel, the Good News, the reason why I come here? Yes, of course, that is the reason that I pledge.

Is it the thought provoking sermons that stay with me throughout my busy week? Yes, of course that is the reason that I pledge.

Is it the fellowship of St. Marians where all are welcome with no exceptions? Yes, of course, that is the reason that I pledge.

Is the good works that this congregation does in Christ’s name? Yes, of course, that is the reason that I pledge.

All of these are true and valid reasons to pledge my time, my talent and my treasure to St. Mary’s. However, on a Sunday that follows the horrors in Paris, I need to come to a place. I need a place where the lights are turned on, where our beautiful rituals are observed, and where we sing to praise our God. I truly need to hear the word of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and a sermon that will comfort and heal me.

I need to be in a fellowship that knows what the two greatest commandments are. The first is to love the Lord your God with your whole heart, with your whole soul, and with your whole mind. Today I need to be with people who also know that the second greatest commandment is to love one another. Yes, to love one another without exception, to even love those who hate us.

Yes, of course, that is the reason that I pledge.

Frank Innes

The Manayunk Bridge Trail which opened on Friday shows what good stewardship of our tax dollars can accomplish.  An obsolete railroad bridge has been transformed into a recreational asset for now and many years to come.

As a pledging member of the parish, I have seen what the transformative power of good stewardship can do.  Your pledge to contribute a set amount of money, time, and talent enables us to maintain St. Mary’s Church, Hamilton Village as a home for many ministries that have evolved over time and continue to evolve:  from creating the Nursery School in the ’60s, teaching English to refugees from the Vietnam War in the ’70s, to providing a home base for the University City Hospitality Coalition, to maintaining the Women’s Spiritual Sharing Group, to recreating an active Sunday School several times over the decades- these are just a few of the ministries we have created and enabled.

I cannot leave out the love and support so generously given to me and my family by fellow St Marians over the years.

Please take time to think about what St. Mary’s means in your life, and then take time to discern how you can best be a steward of this parish.  Then fill out the stewardship form available at the back of the church and return it today or next Sunday.

Janet A. Deatrick-Ash

For unto whomsoever much is given, much shall be required. I have been given much in my life in that I have had love and support. Every opportunity was afforded to me. I want to give my time and talents to help others in the best way I can.

My name is Janet Deatrick-Ash. My husband and I “downsized” and moved to an apartment in University City from New Jersey in December of 2013. We found St. Mary’s in July of 2014 after emerging from our winter-time move.  While I say that we moved to Philadelphia, in many ways I had lived part of my life in University City for some time.  I had been commuting from New Jersey since 1989 when I joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing as an Assistant Professor.

I am a life-long Episcopalian. My mother was raised Episcopalian by parents of Dutch-German heritage in Union County, New Jersey and my father was raised Presbyterian by parents of German heritage in Defiance County, Ohio.  After meeting in New York, where they both worked before World War II, they were married and had three children – my two brothers and me.

My family attended an Episcopal Church in our small Ohio town throughout my childhood.  We had the same priest throughout, and he was a major support to our family.  My younger brother served as an Episcopal priest for many years and is presently “retired” in New Jersey and volunteers at nearby churches that need a hand with services, visitation, and activities.  My older brother is a civil engineer.

I am a child of the ’60s. My nursing education in the 1960s emphasized community aspects of care, the rights of human beings to decent health care, and the role of nurses in advocating and working towards social change.  My practice, education, and research focuses on children who have serious chronic conditions or who have been diagnosed with cancer.   I direct the Center for Health Disparities/Health Equity at the University of Pennsylvania. All of these experiences put me in touch with people, places, and ideas that are vastly different than the experience of growing up in my hometown in Ohio, where everyone looked the same as me.

My husband and I met in Chicago in 1986, four years after I completed my PhD at the University of Illinois.  I am blessed by a wonderful life with John and by loving step children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren and many wonderful friends and colleagues. We have experienced our share of sorrow along the way, especially the suicide of John’s son John. Our collective and individual faith in God has enabled us through good and bad days to move forward in life- and better understand God’s mercy and love.

Bringing this back to stewardship, I think you can tell that I feel I have truly been given much in my life. I have tried to serve the Church and God by service on the vestry, in the choir, and as a Sunday School teacher. My newest adventure is as a St. Mary’s acolyte. I know that there is much more that I can do in the future.

St. Mary’s is a perfect match for me in so many ways- too numerous to mention.  I think you understand, after listening, about the importance to me of St. Mary’s mission of social justice. I hope that we all will support St. Mary’s in the way that we are able, and facilitate its important religious and social missions.


Reflections from our 2014 Stewardship Campaign

Eric Krewson

I’ve been worshiping here since the summer of 2012. I first came to St. Mary’s during a somewhat formative period for me: I had only recently become a committed Christian. I already knew Lee Ann and her daughter Nikki, and both were very welcoming. Additionally, all of you—the St. Mary’s congregation—impressed me in a way that congregations really never did. You cared, earnestly; you were interested in everyone who came in the door. Moses commands us to “love the stranger” and you did that.

The congregation’s size also appealed to me immensely; I had never experienced a small parish, and it reminded me of the house churches that Paul mentions in his letters. Both these things, the church’s kindness and its closeness, added to my feeling that St. Mary’s was a place where I might be encouraged, along with all of you, to do what I think all Christians are called to do: namely, to help build the Kingdom of God.
It’s been my goal to do this building, to place stones, in every aspect of my life: in my family; through art; and as a congregant in this community. I recently joined the vestry here, which has been a wonderful experience thus far; I occasionally take part in the music ministry: I wrote a hymn that we’ll sing together in January; and I also support the church monetarily with money that I put aside.

I would invite you, during the next month, to think about your role as a Christian in the church universal, as part of the communion of saints. Then consider what your role is, or what it might be, here in this specific community of St. Mary’s. What is God calling you to do? How might God work through you and in you?

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