ECW Announces Annual Outreach Recipient
The tradition of the Episcopal Church Women Board’s Annual Retreat and Meeting has been to spotlight a mission from our parishes around the diocese we represent. As we are blessed to be able to attend these retreats, we pass on blessings to our greater community. In the past, we have been able to help stock St. Stephen’s Food Pantry with personal care products specifically for women. Last year, we brought forth our thanksgivings of portable personal care products to Neighborhood United, a mission at Christ Church Cathedral. The outpouring of gifts is overwhelming to see! This year, we chose All Saints, Farmington as our recipient for these love gifts.
On Sept. 15, 2019, current president of the ECW Board, Deborah Caby and Kathleen McDonald, this year’s chair of the retreat, traveled to worship and talk with the women of All Saints, asking if they would allow us to be of service by asking the attendees of the ECW Board Retreat and Annual Meeting to bring items for the All Saints Blessing Box as a thanksgiving.
Meeting the needs of the community is where mission begins. We come to church to worship. We leave the worship service with the charge, “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.” Krissy Bender-Crice, of All Saints Church in Farmington, walked out the door at church and looked around her asking how she could serve God. Across the street was a mental health facility, behind her was the high school and the town has many working poor (as do many rural communities across this nation).
Always there is a catalyst where the seed of mission begins. Often it begins with a personal story. Hearing of a young man who was unhoused while attending the high school had Krissy wondering how to help without causing embarrassment to him. Thus began the creation of The Blessing Box located outside the doors to the parish. Anyone who is in need can take what they wish from the box, no questions asked. The Blessing Box is stocked with non-perishable food items, personal care products, diapers, etc.
Danielle Voyles is in charge of stocking the Box twice a week. Krissy and Danielle have been great examples for the entire community.
Other organizations have noticed and there are three additional Blessing Boxes around town.
This year’s ECW retreat will be held at the Marianist Center in Eureka, MO on October 18 & 19th. It is an opportunity for women in the Diocese of Missouri to gather for fellowship, worship and education. The Rev. Leslie Barnes-Scoopmire will be our retreat leader, whose theme is Encountering God in Nature. This will be a short 24-hour period where women can disconnect from the outside world and focus on their needs as individuals where they will have a guided experience to help them connect with God in a natural setting. You do not have to belong to an organized Episcopal Women Church group to attend the retreat.
Thanks to Deborah Caby for submitting this story and photo.