Farewell Gift to Bishop Smith
Farewell gift to Bishop Smith will benefit young adults dedicated to service
25-year old Measha Ferguson Smith believes service is the very purpose of life. That’s why she joined the Episcopal Service Corps and is a member at the Deaconess Anne House this year.
“I am listening for how the Great Spirit is calling me to serve, how belief informs action in my life,” Measha said as she began her year of service with Missouri Health Care for All.
Measha, and all corps members serving through the Deaconess Anne House, make a conscious decision to put their own financial gain on hold during this year of service. They receive a $300 monthly stipend from The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri to cover personal expenses while they volunteer in the community.
“Many make the assumption that the modest stipend only allows young people with financial safety nets to participate in a year of service,” Measha said. “This might be true in most cases, but there are many young people who do not have such safety. And this is precisely why we participate in service work. We understand how to make the most of limitations. We understand that communal safety is generated through generosity of time, talent, and even meager finances.”
But Measha also knows that living simply can become complicated when the unexpected occurs. “A trip to the emergency room or a major car repair may mean a corps member is forced into debt or makes the difficult decision to discontinue a service program,” Measha explains. “The looming ‘what ifs’ may even cause one not to participate at all.”
The Rt. Rev. Wayne Smith, 10th Bishop of the Diocese of Missouri, understands how difficult it can be for young adults to commit themselves to a year of service. “A discretionary fund to assist corps members is important because the young adults who live there can find themselves in financial trouble in no time,” the bishop said. “A major expense at this stage of life may not just be an inconvenience, it could be a disaster.”
About the fund
Our farewell gift to Bishop Wayne Smith is the establishment of the Director's Discretionary Fund for the Deaconess Anne House. This ministry is near and dear to the heart of our bishop. DAH is a member of the Episcopal Service Corps, bringing young adults together to live in intentional community, worshiping and serving in Old North St. Louis.
Your gift to this fund will provide ongoing financial support for:
- Corps member emergency needs in times of unanticipated expenses
“An emergency support fund will help make the experience of DAH a more equitable one,” says the Rev. Michaelene Miller, Deaconess Anne House Director. “It will enable those who can’t afford to even imagine the privilege of taking a year off of regular work to be able to consider doing a year of service and spiritual exploration.”
This fund would be a safety net for members to fall into if something were to go out of balance during those initial, unstable years of financial independence. This would cover unexpected expenses like car maintenance and repairs after an accident or personal health expenses.
- Corps member continuing education and training experiences
This fund would provide corps members with opportunities to continue exploring and developing professionally, especially in the nonprofit and religious areas that the program introduces them to during their year of service.
- Neighborhood support for those in need
“Corps members often practice hospitality, giving their time and attention, with their neighbors, but sometimes the need is great,” Michaelene says. This fund would help provide non-cash items like Metro passes, nonperishable food and hygiene items. “This will help DAH live into its mission of hospitality and relational ministry with their neighbors in Old North St. Louis in practical ways.”
An investment in the future
“Living in community was profoundly impactful for me,” said the Rev. Peter Levenstrong, who served as a Deaconess Anne House intern in 2015-16. He points out that this fund will be a great recruitment tool for future members.
“From an investment perspective, it draws young people to the diocese who often stay there and continue to be involved after their year is over. It also is a profound witness to the Christian call to social justice and life in community in Christ, both of which are not easy tasks.”
After his year of service with DAH, Peter enrolled in seminary. He is now a senior at Yale Divinity School and was ordained to the Sacred Order of Deacons at Christ Church Cathedral on Dec. 20, 2019.
Making your gift
Visit the "donate" page on our website to make an online donation to Bishop Smith's farewell gift.
If you prefer to send a check, please send your gift to:
The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri
ATTN: Desiree Brattin
1210 Locust Street, 3rd Floor
St. Louis, MO 63103
*please note on the memo line of your check: Bishop Smith Farewell Gift
The Episcopal Diocese of Missouri is a non-profit 501(c)(3) religious organization.
Contributions are tax deductible. The Tax ID number for the Diocese of Missouri is 43-0653302.