Several years ago the people of St. Raphael the Archangel in Bricktown came to an understanding of what it means to live into our baptismal vows. We knew we were responsible for the care of each other and creation. Being a small community, we were very mindful of being good stewards of our treasure. We began to look at ways we might offer more without overtaxing the already generous contributors of the parish.
The answer came to us one Christmas when we realized that our annual Christmas memorials, normally used to purchase the poinsettias that adorn our church, had a very short shelf life. While they were quite beautiful on Christmas day, not long after, they were wilting. It broke our hearts to see them tossed away. This was not respecting creation in the way we thought God was calling us to do.
As a result, we decided to spend a modest budget on a few well-placed poinsettia plants, and donate the rest of our contributions to purchase animals through Episcopal Relief and Development (a contribution eligible for a Global Goals Matching Grant from the Diocese) and Heifer International, and also to make a donation to Episcopal Community Services of the Diocese of New Jersey (ECS-NJ). The animals we donated are represented in our creche.
At Easter nearly the entire offering goes to ECS-NJ, with some well-placed Easter flowers at the altar. We at St. Raphael’s are glad to support ECS-NJ as a Companion Congregation.