From the Bishop’s Advisory Committee (BAC) of St. Catherine’s.
We see ourselves as centered in place, but very much a part of a larger world. Our vision is to increase what we call the permeability of our church. We are gifted with a beautiful sacred space with outstanding acoustics, and a large, park-like property surrounding it. This is a gift to us and a gift to our community as well. With that in sight, we are actively seeking more community use of our building and grounds.
The Pet Memorial Garden is one example: this spring we dedicated a pet memorial garden in the back of our property. This had been under discussion for several years, and was funded as a memorial to Jean Smiset, a long time member who loved her dogs. The memorial garden is a gift to the community at large. We are publicizing it on the local list serve web site, and with flyers in local veterinary offices:
“The Jean Smiset Pet Memorial Garden is a free gift to the community—a sacred space to scatter ashes, and/or to place an engraved stone to memorialize an animal loved one. It is a contemplative space where you are invited to come and go, to ponder and remember.”
Everyone in our congregation has a role to play. Because we are in the clergy search process, and because we are so small, everyone helps. In a congregation of 30, we have a BAC of seven people, six Eucharistic ministers, six lectors, functioning Altar and flower guilds, a men’s breakfast group that meets weekly (again, permeable as not all the men involved attend St. Catherine’s), and support several local outreach activities. In the last few weeks, people have provided food for a pilgrimage group who slept at our church, cleared and revitalized our Bible Garden, and filled potholes in our parking lot.