by Elizabeth McCorkle, Senior Warden

What does it mean to stay connected during this strange and unusual time? I’ve participated in online meetings and virtual coffee hours conducted via Zoom and other apps. I have connected with old friends whom I long “owed” a phone call or letter to and gone on more walks with my family, enjoying the glorious scenery of this place we are all so lucky to call home. I’ve felt grateful for the family dinners filled with unexpected revelations, and the extra time back together as a family, even though I would have never wished for it under these circumstances. And in those very quiet spaces, in between all the extra dishes, silly memes and strange, new routines, I have wondered. Wondered about why I am here. And wondered what God is trying to tell me.

Last Friday morning started off like so many days lately, with just a few things on the agenda. Zach called me from Lucky’s where he was picking up donated food for CSC and he sounded a little alarmed, “Mom, there is so much food, I need help.” When I got to St. Mary’s, I saw that there was indeed A LOT of donated food, so much that the car was visibly closer to the ground. When we opened up Edwards Hall, I stopped for a minute and felt a jolt a sadness as I thought about when the room might be full again of people filing in for coffee after church, eager to catch up with each other. But the room is not empty, not by a long shot. It is full of hundreds of bags of food and donations, waiting to be distributed to the ever-growing list of those in need in our community. Transformed, but still very much alive.

A flurry of phone calls and texts ensued as we figured out how to manage the huge surplus of food. Eventually, Norma contacted Pedro and Alma, our longtime, faithful custodians and Pedro was there within the hour to pick up the food to be distributed through Iglesia de San Pablo and to families in their especially hard-hit community. His gratitude was palpable as we loaded the huge bags into his truck and he drove off.

“Did you know that Alma means ‘soul’ in Spanish?”, Zach told me as we were finishing up. And then a text from Norma, “Did you know that when Alma first came to California, she came to St. Mary’s CSC for food?” And BOOM, there it was. A sensation so strong and powerful that it took my breath away. This is why I am here. This is why God has called me to be part of St. Mary’s and his kingdom on earth. To serve together in love. That’s it. Sounds so simple, but at that moment, the connections felt at once so close to home and so universal, they were impossible to ignore. I felt energized by the joy, the laughter, the work, and even the sadness I felt in the space of just a few hours. I realized that’s also what God was telling me—that the pain and grief are all part of the deal but it is so worth it to feel the joy of being connected in love.

So, thank you to everyone who continues to serve in love during this unprecedented time. To those who have reached out as part of our Connection Team, and to everyone who continues to support CSC, Celtic Music, Prayer Shawl, Altar Guild, I-HELP, and our many other programs, thank you. And especially to everyone who prays for all of us at St. Mary’s and in the world beyond, thank you.