Park Point parish promotes community participation

By Megan Hayes

The street out front is lined with cars. As you walk up the sidewalk, you are drawn in by the chatter of people as they walk through the giant red doors. You hear friendly greetings as people catch up on their week. That sound continues to grow as people begin filing in the pews for the service.

The organ plays as people continue to talk with their neighbor. As the organ stops, the chatter slowly dies down and you hear the creaking of the pews as people adjust and finish taking their seats.

There are 19 rows of pews, a few rows of chairs, and a standing room in the back. They are all filled and the sanctuary is packed with smiling faces. For what may seem like a small room, there is an abundant amount of love.

This is what can be seen and heard at St. Andrews by the Lake Episcopal Church.

The bells chime and one of the priests welcomes the congregation by sharing her weekend fishing trip, which included catching two trout. People laugh and openly comment on the story.

Casual conversation allows the priest and congregation to build relationships and make connections with each other.

During the announcements, members of the congregation stand up to share their community updates. From someone talking about the church softball team to another who was thanking the church for all that they have done for her and her family; people share while others intently listen.

St. Andrews is like a big family, said Ken Oliver, a member since 1980.

Oliver said that there were about ten families when he first started coming to the church. There are now around 135 families that regularly attend.

“I have watched it grow and grow. It’s still growing,” Oliver said.

Oliver used to belong to a church in Superior before and after he was in the military service, but they didn’t have much to offer to younger patrons, so he left. He didn’t go to a church for a while, but then he found St. Andrews.

He said that St. Andrews is very active with the youth. They have a barbecue out in the front of the church during the Park Point Rummage Sale that is held in June.

“The barbecue is a fundraiser for the youth,” he said. “Around 12 kids are going to Washington, D.C.”

St. Andrews is also very supportive of the community. Oliver said that every year in November they hold a 5 kilometer race. All the money that they collect goes to the education systems in foreign countries, especially third world countries. They also collect Hope's Chest, which the money received goes to Haiti.

“We do a lot of outreach,” Oliver said. “Whatever we take in we give 15 percent out.”

St. Andrews works with Episcopal Relief and Development. According to their mission statement, “Episcopal Relief & Development faithfully administers the funds that are received from the Church and raised from other sources. It provides relief in times of disaster and promotes sustainable development by identifying and addressing the root causes of suffering.”

Whether it’s during the church service or outside of the church, members are actively involved and participating events.

St. Andrews values its congregation, from youth to long-time members to guests.

During the “passing of the peace,” the people of the congregation make sure to shake hands and give hugs. The congregation embraces each other much like a family would.

If it is your birthday expect to have it recognized. On your way to the front of the church, the congregation recites a birthday prayer.

The sound of the organ symbolizes the end of the service, but not the end of the afternoon for members. A trail of laughter and chatter can be followed into a room for refreshments. People catch up and chat as they finish off the powdered sugar donuts and coffee that fill the tables. View Larger Map

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