I grew up in the Missionary Church and later became an American Baptist. But I found the churches to be too conservative. We found a home in the Episcopal Church.
In 1992 we moved from Quincy, IL to Ballwin, MO. We weren’t sure how to find an Episcopal Church so we looked in the yellow pages. St. Martin’s was closest so we went there.
The first people we met were Spot Hodgson and Helen Ludbrook. They did an excellent job of introducing our family to the programs St. Martin’s had to offer and the people who would later become our friends.
The church, at that time, was constantly changing. Howard Park used to say that the congregation changed every three years because companies transferred people so often. The church had programs to meet people. We had supper clubs and special Sunday School classes for adults. In this way, you got to meet the new and old members alike. And we took part in many of their programs.
I have served on the Vestry before. The first time I had responsibilities for Outreach. One of the outreach programs then was the Early Intervention Center (a special needs pre-school) that used most of the downstairs.
A few years ago, I joined the choir. Choir has been very important in keeping us connected to St Martin’s. It is wonderful to stand surrounded by so many worshiping voices. Friendships develop as we spend time together.
I see my current Vestry assignment to encourage us to consider the needs of those who have not been participating as much, as well as the needs of the regulars. St. Martin’s exists to serve our whole neighborhood: those who don’t come (yet) as well as those who do, those who don’t believe (yet) as well as those who do. It is vital that we remove any barriers that may be keeping us from inviting others, anything that would make visitors feel unwelcome.