Many of you know my dear wife, Lori, who is a LEM, plays hand bells with Trinity Ringers, serves as an assistant den leader with Pack 777, and tries to help out in just about any way she can, and every chance she gets. You may also know our son, Liam, who is active in Trinity’s Cub Scout Pack 777 and who is also an acolyte. It is our honor to share with you just some of the ways that Trinity has made a difference to us.
We have been active members here for about seven years; and like many of you, Trinity is an important part of our daily lives. I would sum it up as this: Trinity is home. Trinity is a part of our extended family, and that is thanks in part to many of you here today.
We both grew up in homes where church played an important part of our lives. We were part of a wonderful congregation at St. Peters in Brenham, the church where we were married, and one in which my family has been continuously active since the 1840s. We were also blessed to have found a great church in Lubbock, St. Stephen’s, where we lived for the first several years of our married life. There we had the opportunity to not only meet great people, but to study Anglican theology and history. It was there that Lori, who grew up in the Lutheran church, was confirmed and I reaffirmed as Episcopalians. We felt a sense of belonging, a sense of being part of something bigger than ourselves.
After moving to The Woodlands in 2004, we attended churches in Tomball and Klein. While both were great churches, the physical distance really limited our involvement. We were missing that sense of belonging, of being in a position to contribute, rather than passively attend services.
It was about this time that we were dealt a major blow. At 32, and with a 13 month-old baby, Lori was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a very turbulent and stressful time in our lives, and one that many of you can relate to personally. We got through it by the grace of God and with the love and support of friends and family.
One effect the experience had on us was to limit our travels. In the process, we started visiting other churches close by and then re-discovered Trinity practically in our own back yard. There was a new priest here by the name of Father Gerry, who looked strangely familiar to me, albeit I could not place him. We enjoyed his sermons, and started attending semi-regularly.
Then, the other shoe dropped. After a couple of years of remission, we were told that Lori’s cancer had returned. Suddenly, it felt like the world was crashing down around us all over again. The next day, God revealed to me just who this familiar-looking priest was. As I was driving home from work, I spotted him–a new neighbor a few houses down the street. It was Father Gerry walking back from his mailbox.
I have to admit, I must have seemed a wreck, and a bit neurotic. I hadn’t slept for at least a couple of days, and I had been crying. I stopped the car and tried to incoherently introduce myself. He listened patiently as I explained the position we were in and asked him to pray for us, which he did. He also invited us to services at Trinity. Other members of the church reached out to us. Lori was provided with a prayer shawl. Others provided meals, and a thousand other kindnesses were shown. By God’s grace, there has been no sign of the cancer for several years now.
In the years since that time, Trinity has continued to grow in importance to our family. It has given us a chance to be involved and help others while also serving as a support to us in our own times of need.
One of the greatest things about Trinity in my opinion is the way the clergy and the congregation are so pastoral to the needs of the members and the community as a whole. Our family has experienced too many examples to enumerate at this time, but just for starters:
When Lori’s father passed away, Trinity was there. Father Sean called and prayed with us. A rose was placed on the altar in his memory, and on every major holiday that first year following his passing, we received a personal note signed by Trinity staff, letting us know we were being thought of and prayed for.
This past summer, Lori had major surgery that required a great deal of rest. Loaves and Fishes provided sustenance through delicious meals, as well as spiritual food including a visit from Mother Vivian, who shared communion with us. The Petal Pushers brought a gorgeous arrangement, helping to cheer us up. Last, but certainly not least, we felt the powerful prayer warriors of Trinity, sending healing wishes and positive messages of care and concern.
We feel a true connection to Trinity. Whether attending a couple’s retreat at Camp Allen, sharing in the delicious Shrove Tuesday pancake dinners or fish suppers during Lent, or helping to spruce up flower beds on our beautiful church grounds, we feel at home here.
Last Sunday, Father Sean gave a very nice sermon on how the desire to contribute in a positive way and to be a part of something bigger and more noble than ourselves is a natural part of our humanity. For so many of us here today, Trinity plays a great role in our ability to do this: to belong to something bigger. To support and be supported by others in Christ. This is Trinity, and that is how this church makes a difference.