This past Sunday afternoon, I had the unique privilege of picking up the Golden Ladle at Bridges to Housing Stability. It was a sweet, sweet moment for me. It was sweet because we were so eager to win gold last year but we came in second. This year, Christ Church raised the most, and that is why we won the Golden Ladle. This effort was spearheaded by Patricia. Outreach is her passion. Outreach drives her. Everything about Patricia is Outreach. Prior to the pandemic, Patricia always had an announcement about Outreach at the 8:00 a.m. service. We had a lot going on this past Sunday. We featured Don Link and the Hessarni family from Afghanistan. Don spoke at both services, sharing with us the work his church did to resettle the Hessarni family once they arrived in the United States from Afghanistan. We invited Don and the Hessarni family to Christ Church primarily because, upon prayerful discernment, we have also decided to resettle a refugee family from Afghanistan. This is a big task in itself, but as I said on Sunday morning, with God, all things are possible. Well, once we had won the Golden Ladle, I had to represent Christ Church and pick it up. And guess who was there? Patricia. But as I made my way to the office of Bridges to Housing Stability to pick up the ladle, I received a phone call from Jan DeBoissiere, our Junior Warden. Jan shared with me that a parishioner who shall remain nameless had just donated $5000.00 towards our Refugee Resettlement Ministry. I was shocked. I couldn't believe my ears. I couldn’t stop myself from screaming in elation after that phone call. There, within that moment, I was again reminded of what I shared with you last Sunday morning... With God, all things are possible. I don’t remember if I have ever shared with you my love for solving Sudoku puzzles. But an interesting point that Patricia made in her video submission hit home for me. She made the point that “When you are helping others it makes you feel a part of the whole and that is one of the best parts about being at Christ Church.” One reality about solving Sudoku puzzles, or any puzzle, for that matter, is the realization that each part - however big or small - is a significant part of the whole. In a way, our Christian calling is akin to seeing every one of us as part of the whole, part of the puzzle - part of God’s puzzle. And the work of the Outreach Ministry at Christ Church is an acknowledgment of the fact that each part of this puzzle may not be the same. And because each part is not the same, we take steps to alleviate the burden of any individual piece of this puzzle, and we do this just so all may be whole. We do this work because you have not only chosen Christ Church as your home away from home, but because you believe in what we stand for. It is because of your generous support. It is because of our kind giving that we can do all of this work, both within our community and in places as far afield as Thailand. I once read that a difficult part about Christianity is the invitation to love people you simply don’t know, or may not even like. Heaven knows that not many of us know people in Thailand, the Dominican Republic, or Uganda, but if we believe that they are also a part of God’s puzzle, then someway, somehow, our joy should rest firmly in the knowledge that we are nothing but God’s hands, God’s feet, God’s ears, God’s eyes, and God’s mouth. We stand ready to do God’s work. Are you a part of the whole? Do you feel a part of the whole? Just as much as it may not matter how large or small the puzzle is, it may also not matter how large or small your individual contribution may be. But remember, the joy in all of this is the blessing that you are very much a part of the whole…and that is the best part about being at Christ Church. Thank you Patricia, for inviting us to be a part of the whole. ~Manny Click here to contribute to our 2022 Pledge Campaign. You can view the above video by clicking the image, or by going here.