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“For surely I know the plans I have for you says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope” - Jeremiah 29:11
Saint Barnabas is the best church ever, but we need money to keep being this cool. So, give us money, lots and lots of money. Watch the videos below to get inspired to give us all your money.
Keith and Marybeth Standbridge
I, along with others, have been asked to speak to you as part of St. Baranabas’ month-long
stewardship campaign. The 3 things we are to share are:
1. Who I am
2. Why I am here AND FINALLY
3. What it means to me and my family to share our resources with St. Barnabas
So, I’ll start with who I am. I, like many other Episcopalians and even some of you out there, am
a product of compromise. My mother was raised as a Catholic, my father as Serbian Eastern
Orthodox. They married in the Serbian Orthodox church. I came across my mother’s diary
following her death. Marrying outside of the church was addressed in it, where she said she
“nervously wrote to her brother”, who was at Georgia Tech, at the time, “to make sure he was
ok with her leaving the church”. She wrote of her relief when he gave his full blessing. Luckily
my Catholic grandparents were also “cool” about marrying outside the church, because many
were not at the time. My mom lost a best friend because of her decision. Hard to think these
times existed, not that many years back.
I myself, was baptized in the Serbian orthodox church, and would have remained, except my
father was transferred to a small town, where no orthodox church existed. My parents felt
going to church, on a weekly basis, was important; so, they chose the compromise Episcopal
church. When I met Richard, I don’t think I gave him much of an option, but he gladly agreed to
become Episcopalian, changing from his Presbyterian upbringing.
What keeps us at the Episcopal church so many years later is that 3 legged stool – where
Scripture, Tradition and Reason are valued equally. Though 3 legs of varied lengths will still
enable a stool to not totter, only a stool with 3 equal legs will allow one to sit, or exist, upon a
firm balanced position – not leaning too far forward, backward, or sideways. In a world where
politics, the news, and social media want to tear us apart in many directions, it is comforting to
find a place and teaching of balance and reflection.
So now, why are we here, at St. Barnabas? We moved to Cincinnati, for the 2nd time, in 1992,
with a 3 month and 16 month old. Moving to the far southeast corner of West Chester, we
were equidistant between St. Anne’s and St. Barnabas. It was a time before the internet, so
finding out about a church was handled by calling the office to find out when Sunday services
were held, and to make a Sunday visit. Our first visit, and actually only church visit, was to St.
Barnabas. I think the fact that Fr. Hill and Amy were graduates of IU, was more than enough
reason for my IU husband to realize that this was the place. Richard finds “his people” if they
love IU basketball, as much as he does. Fr Hill even had the extra distinction of marching at IU’s
only visit to the Rose Bowl.
But, we quickly realized, that St. Barnabas was much more than a place with IU as a backdrop.
The church community that Fr. Hill, Amy, and the early founders built, was truly remarkable.
We have always felt this to be a compassionate and nurturing community. What we are looking
for in a church community has changed through the years. Early on, we looked for a church
with a dependable nursery and fellow families with young children. Now, we look for a church
where sermons from the pulpit, or discussions in the Adult Forum, give us something to reflect,
and perhaps act, upon.
Another strength of St. B is it’s strong tradition of music. Not every church has a Michael
Chertock , Janet Beckmeyer, or Joshua Gaines whose preludes, offertories, and postludes are
worthy of a concert hall. And I can almost certainly say that no other church has a rector
emeritus that plays the timpani (so brilliantly I might add) during the hymns.
And finally, the answer as to why we share our resources with St. Barnabas. One reason is
because we want all to be welcomed here – whether you are a young family needing a nursery
for their 3 month old, a Sunday School program for their 6 year old, an 85 year needing to be
held in community after the loss of their beloved spouse, a couple trying to find a compromise
of their religions and backgrounds, an international family looking to find family within these
walls, someone who wants to find balance in a religion, or someone looking for a place where
they will be accepted. In addition, I believe one of St. B’s strengths, is that it supports members’
passions. Look at the many areas, where a parishoner’s vision, became an outreach to serve the
community within and outside – Finley Street, Habitat for Humanity, Prayer Shawls, Godly Play,
Matthew 25, Prison Ministry, St. Barnabas Termites, Barney Bears and the Summer art camp to
name a few. While many of the programs existing within and outside of these 4 walls require
“just” a great deal of sweat equity, others do require strong financial commitment and backing.
When we were a young family, “paying” for our part, of what went on within and outside of
these walls, was very undersized from what we were receiving. Buying our first big home,
outlaying the many expenses for childhood, there was not an overly abundance. You’ve heard
the term “pay it forward” – I think giving to St. Barnabas in our case is a more of a “paying it
backward”. Members will fall on many parts of the commitment spectrum. If you can “pay a
little more forward” or “pay a little more backward” – do so. If you have time or talent you can
share – do so. But most importantly, stay here and be a part of this community. Share with us
your passions and visions, help us to not only see, but do more. I feel we are about to embark
upon a very new and exciting chapter in this thus far xxxx year journey.
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