The Rev. Gina Brewster-Jenkins
Mtr. Gina is the chaplain for St. Paul's Episcopal School, and leads the church's youth and children's ministries.
Are you walking the walk?
Every few years Fr. Rob plans and organizes a pilgrimage to the Holy Land as an extraordinary opportunity to deepen your connection with the roots of our faith. Participants will walk in the footsteps of Jesus, the patriarchs and matriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs. This is an outward and visible demonstration of walking with Christ, but what about our inward and spiritual walk with Christ. Are we walking the walk?
I am not suggesting that we walk around praying and announcing the good that we do like the hypocrites who want to be seen and rewarded publicly (Matthew 6:5). It's not about seeking recognition or public reward for one's actions but about genuinely living out the teachings of Christ. The recent Sunday gospel readings emphasize the importance of love and respect for all people over rigid adherence to laws.
Jesus teaches by word and example, and he expects no less from us. When we tell a child to "do as I say not as I do" it is confusing to that child, and we can call ourselves hypocrites. Likewise, as a church we need to exemplify the love of Christ to all who enter our doors. To paraphrase C. S. Lewis, “every parent is pleased with their child’s first attempts to walk. But every parent hopes and expects their child to grow into a healthy, fully walking adult.” As Christians, we are continually growing and learning to walk with Christ. It's a journey that we don't undertake alone; we walk with Christ and the support of our faith community. Becoming disciples means not only hearing God's voice but also gladly doing his will as we embody the teachings of Christ in our daily lives.
The St. Paul's Youth, Children, and Families Ministries Renovation Team, along with our consultants at Ministry Architects, has made great strides in the past two years. You may have noticed that our vision has come to life. St. Paul’s is walking the walk. We set goals for programing for our children and youth. We developed job descriptions and identified the needs of volunteers and materials, and we found many volunteers. The work of the church is never done so programing will continue to be a work in progress. The church is committed to providing a welcoming and inclusive space for all children and youth, reflecting and embodying our values. It's a testament to the church's commitment to walking the walk and to living out its mission.
When visitors and members come into our church, they will notice that children are important to us by seeing the bags hanging in the narthex filled with activities to help our young children attend to church; a space in the small chapel that is welcoming and ready for our children to learn and grow in their faith; adults who are ready to greet each person with the love of Christ; and donuts in the courtyard! Programs for our middle and high school children are developing and growing, too!
It is an exciting time at St. Paul’s, and we are so thankful for all the hands and feet that contributed to the work. It is a message of inclusivity, growth, and a living faith that serves as an inspiration for the congregation and newcomers alike.
Walk the walk with us. Your pilgrimage can be as simple as discovering Jesus and the prophets through the eyes of a child.