by Peter Wood
Frances Haas and Clara Lee Miller joined St. Barnabas Episcopal Church soon after it was established in the early 1980s, at a time when the small but growing congregation attended Sunday services held at Sycamore High School. They quickly became active members. Their outgoing personalities and talents helped in welcoming new members, providing support to Father Hill in growing the young church, and creating a number of programs that still exist today.
Fran Haas, who was the head of the drama department at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts, produced the first St. Nicholas Day children’s pageant during this early period of the church. Fran continued to be responsible for organizing and producing this wonderful pageant for many more years, both in the high school and the current church building.
Clara Lee Miller was a student counselor in the Cincinnati school system and was a regular lay reader at St. Barnabas. During the late 1980s, she became personally involved with the Findlay Street Neighborhood House (FSNH). With help from Fran and other St. Barnabas members, a number of whom are still active members today, an outreach program was started and quickly grew into providing programs for the children at FSNH during the summer holidays, food and presents for FSNH families at Christmas, and food for Thanksgiving dinners. The original once-weekly delivery of baked goods to FSNH donated by Kroger has now grown into deliveries of about 4,000 pounds of donated food from Kroger and local stores each month, helping 430 families in the neighborhood.
Fran and Clara Lee were also active in growing “Friends in Fellowship,” a program focused on strengthening parish life during the earlier years of the church through dinners initially at member’s homes and then in the undercroft.
Sadly, health issues caused Fran and Clara Lee to stop attending St. Barnabas about 15 years ago. Clara Lee passed away in 2006, and Fran in December of 2018. Fran remembered St. Barnabas in her will, and we are honored to continue many of the ministries these women started.