“My life at St. Paul’s” by Joe Shafranek

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My life with St. Paul’s started June 21, 2009. My spouse Tom Hickey and I were looking to deepen our spiritual life together. We had gone to the PRIDE event the day before and got information about St. Paul’s and their services. When we came to services, we were greeted by Gwen and Walter Briggs as well as other parishioners. It was their Love and acceptance that struck us. On that first day we had the whole St. Paul’s experience, as the parish had a picnic in the afternoon and then the solstice Compline service. We felt at home. To me this what keep us coming back. We have seen so many changes in the parish with people and staff changes over the years. In fact, for a time Tom was a warden and treasurer, so we saw behind the curtain which could get you disillusioned. I told Tom that there is no perfect church or parish on this earth, but we come to worship God and be with our Christian family. It’s the love and fellowship that has kept us coming back to St. Paul’s.

Now this has been a hard year for me as my spouse died last March of pancreatic cancer, we entered the pandemic, and the world seemed to be going into chaos. It has been my faith and St. Paul’s family that has keep me going. To that point, I took a leap of faith to help with offering morning prayer meditations to give back to the family I love. I know this is a very strange time for all of us and we need each more then ever. It’s our prayers and love that will keep us together during this time of so much change and transition. I hold on to our main core beliefs of radical welcome, love, and acceptance that will get us through this time. The wonderful music will come back when we can safely do this. But now let our love and connection to each bind us in the love of Christ, our first love.

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