Congregation Close-up: St. Mary, Gardiner

Congregation Close-up: St. Mary, Gardiner

Locally known as “The church with the red doors on the hill,” St. Mary is the only church in Gardiner, an unincorporated area about two miles north of Reedsport in the South Coast region. With 15 regular attendees, parishioners work together to maintain their building, whose cornerstone was placed in 1908, and to carry out Morning Prayer services on the Sundays when a supply priest is not available. The values of caring for each other and their community drives them into faithful action.

For many years, the ECW group at St. Mary has adopted the children of the local elementary school, holding drives to collect donations of clothing and shoes to be distributed to children in need. Parishioners donate food and cash to a food bank run by several churches in the Lower Umpqua area and volunteer on distribution days. One or two months a year, they offer Vespers services at Lower Umpqua Hospital.

Another outreach activity is partnering with the Red Cross in disaster preparedness. Already their church is a designated temporary shelter, and parishioners plan to expand by working with the Red Cross to support a Citizen Emergency Response Team based at their building, as well as put in place a shipping container with food and other supplies that would allow them to shelter people for up to three days.