A little over two years ago, when I served as Interim Rector at the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration in Lake St. Louis, Paul Jokerst approached the Vestry about Laundry of Love. After partnering up with Trinity Episcopal Church in St. Charles, the firstLaundry of Love started in St. Charles. Another Laundry of Lovehas been started by the Church of the Holy Communion in University City. Below are excerpts from an article in Sunday’s “St. Louis Post Dispatch”. It was written by Doug Moore and entitled: “Church offers love by the load at a University City Laundromat”. It features the Rev. Mike Angell, Rector of Holy Communion, some parishioners, John Sadl, owner of Classic Coin Laundry in University City, and Paul Jokerst.
Angell wanted to begin offering free laundry service one night a month — a basic that can sometimes be out-of-reach financially for a family struggling to get by. As a Christian, the idea struck Sadl as the right fit for the business he has run across from Heman Park since 1981. “Following Jesus means following Jesus out into the neighborhood,” Angell said. Otherwise, it is hard to know what kind of help people need, he said. A laundromat provides a captive audience, customers flipping through magazines or staring at their phones waiting for washers and dryers to run their cycles.
“We have the gift of time. Why not engage people?” Angell said. “What if we turned doing laundry into something you looked forward to?”Tapping into a national model, Laundry of Love was introduced this summer in University City. “We’re not here to proselytize or evangelize,” Angell said. “We have wanted to make a bigger footprint in the neighborhood and our folks get to know our neighborhood.”
One evening last month, the parking lot of the Classic Coin was filled to capacity. Trunks popped open, exposing heaping baskets and bulging bags of laundry. Children helped their moms carry the mounds into the laundromat, where they were met with church volunteers. Customers were asked to sign in and include their ZIP code, number of loads of laundry and how they found out about the service. They were given quarters, laundry detergent and fabric softener. Kenna Sutton, 43, stood near one of six washing machines with her sudsy belongings inside. She has a washer at home, but a broken dryer. With six boys and a husband, dirty laundry is a perpetual condition. “This is a big help for me,” Sutton said. Not only can she get a large amount of laundry done at one time, it’s also a significant cost savings. Jessica Jones said it can cost her family $80 a month to do laundry. With those funds freed up, “you can use the money for buying groceries, gas for the car, taking the kids out for ice cream.”Jones, 30, an early childhood educator, said churches often seem to be the ones with their hands out, “asking for tithing and offerings.” “This shows humanity,” she said, looking around the crowded room.
The idea of a congregation taking over a laundromat has been around about a dozen years, beginning in Venice, Calif. It started as a way to help the homeless, who seldom have access to clean clothes, but through the years expanded to help anyone who needs it. It has grown to at least 100 laundromats across the country, according to Laundry of Love, a nonprofit that took the idea from an act of kindness to a national movement. Although Episcopalian congregations are the primary operators, synagogues and mosques also have started similar programs.
The program run by Holy Communion is one of the newer ones. The congregation held its first free laundry night in July. Last month, through word of mouth and fliers posted at the library, community center, groceries and food pantries, the amount spent on providing the laundry service was five times higher, Angell said.
Paul Jokerst helped start a Laundry of Love program in St. Charles County two years ago, thanks to a speech he heard Angell give in 2014 at the annual conference of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri .
Jokerst, who was a St. Charles police officer at the time, took the laundry program idea back to his congregation at Transfiguration Episcopal Church in Lake Saint Louis, which partnered with Trinity Episcopal Church in St. Charles. Their first laundromat adoption was two years ago in St. Charles; two months ago, the congregations added a Wentzville location. “ If you make the gesture that you are there to help without being a sales rep for the church, it goes farther in today’s world,” said Jokerst, who is serving as police chief of Paola, Kan., while finishing up his schooling to become an Episcopalian deacon.
Currently St. Paul’s offers a neighborhood BBQ every other Friday evening throughout the summer. This ministry of St. Paul’s attracts many neighborhood people including young teens. What if we looked into Laundry of Love? Do you have one free night a month? In the article Fr. Angell said that churches are supposed to be a blessing to their neighborhood. Are you willing to be present at a neighborhood Laundromat for a few hours one night? Are you willing to engage others in conversation? Remember, this is not about evangelizing; rather it is about being a neighbor. Something to pray about, think about, and converse about – Jesus always calls out of our “comfort zone” to be a presence to others.
“Following Jesus means following Jesus out into the neighborhood.”
~ Fr. Al Jewson
Christian song writer Mark Schultz composed this song. Here is a sampling of the lyrics:
In a sanctuary filled with silent prayer
And age to age
And heart to heart
Bound by grace and peace
Child of wonder
Child of God
I've remembered you
Recently, Maryellen Bell and Madelaine Nador decided that the parish of St. Paul’s should reach out to our members, not only for birthday and anniversary celebrations, but also, those who are sick or homebound and those who have endured a family tragedy, in other words, just to remember our members. When they visited me about this ministry I gave them my wholehearted support. Maryellen and Madelaine have begun gathering greeting cards and other information to initiate this ministry. Please support Maryellen and Madelaine in this ministry by offering suggestions concerning to whom “remembering” cards should be sent.
We seem to live such busy lives these days that we tend to forget about remembering others in the long term, especially in face of sadness and loss. We are good at the moment, but what about the following weeks and months. Some persons are really conscientious about such remembering, but most of us just tend to get on with our lives. It’s not that we do not care, we just forget. Perhaps knowledge of this new ministry will help all of us to remember.
When the color of a sunset fills the sky
When you pray and tears of joy
fall from your eyes
~ Fr. Al Jewson
In Sacramental theology there is a principle called “ecclesia supplet”, Latin for “the church supplies”. The term is most often applied to circumstances in which the clergy person forgets something in the sacramental rite, thus the Church supplies what is lacking in the minister. You see, we clergy are adjuncts of the wider Church and cannot act by our own authority or initiative, but rather, are agents of the Church; in reality it is the Church performing the sacramental ritual, thus if the clergy person forgets something the Church supplies the validity.
Enough of Sacramental theology – what I really want to share with you today is another notion about the church supplying what is lacking. You know, summer time is a time of leisure, going places, laying back and relaxing, and other non-taxing activities. It’s really a neat thing for individuals, couples and families to go on a vacation; perhaps a weekend camping or hiking, or fishing, even visiting old Aunt Georgia. I commend all who are able to get away for a while during the summer.
At the same time, St. Paul’s Church continues to operate. We continue to have to pay the utility bills, pay expenses, meet payroll, pay our assessment to the diocese, etc. The problem comes when a parishioner forgets that vacation time still means to give one’s pledge or offering to St. Paul’s Church. In other words there is no “eccelesia supplet” for our financial responsibilities during the summer time.
Another way to always make sure your pledge or contribution always gets to St. Paul’s Church is to arrange for your bank to deduct it from your account and send a payment to the church.
Please do not forget your commitment to the wonderful work that is going on at St. Paul’s Church and remember to mail your pledge or offering to the church when you are away.
For your convenience: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
6518 Michigan Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63111
As always, God love you and keep you safe.
~ Fr. Al Jewson
“We believe in one God” resonates on Sunday mornings as we recite the words of the Nicene Creed. Did you know that the word “creed” comes from the Latin “credo” and is translated, “I believe”? However, the word, “credo” is far more than assent to and belief in something, for it means I give my “self” to this; I embrace it with all my heart.
When one combines the principle of “I embrace this with all my heart” with the theology of God’s abundant gifts to us, it’s impossible to look at self, family, ministry, and even life itself from an idea of scarcity. The theology of scarcity refuses to embrace the abundance of God’s gifts to each of us and lacks trust in God to provide these gifts. The theology of scarcity starts with self and my needs and stays there. In addition it often expands to using my gifts, whether skills or money or time, as a weapon or a bartering tool. One cannot embrace the Good News of Jesus Christ and live out of scarcity. The Good News will settle for nothing less than all my heart, my soul, my mind.
On the other hand, the theology of abundance looks upon God as the provider and giver of all things and seeks to use the gifts we have received from God in ways that reflect the glory of God and for God’s purpose. It is true that we must also consider our personal and family needs in this approach, but it is surprising how readily our personal needs and those of our families are met when our perspective changes from scarcity to God’s abundance. “Bloom where you are planted” is a popular motto and another way of looking at self, family, vocation, finances, spirituality, and health from the theology of God’s abundance. The Apostle Paul was not driven by scarcity, “And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 In spite of hardship, beatings and imprisonment he continued to live the words taught by Jesus, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
We are God’s stewards at St. Paul’s Church and that means have been called by God to live out of our abundance not scarcity. God will provide if only we continue to trust in God. Currently we provide a safe haven for AA, challenge and creativity through Yoga, fellowship and nourishment through our BBQ’s and open and welcoming hearts in our worship. Are we finished reaching out?
We, the people of St. Paul’s have been called by God to expand reach out by offering hands of friendship and welcome to the community in which we live. New creative programs can expand our willingness to provide a haven of safety, challenge, grace and peace, forgiveness and renewal. St. Paul’s Church needs to continue to open its doors to new community programs that provide a safe haven and helping hand. St. Paul’s Church also needs to be here for current and future members. God has called this church to do much and holds us accountable for it. Center your trust and peace in Christ and rejoice in the Lord always.
“Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” Ephesians 3:20-21
~ Fr. Al Jewson
Last Wednesday we began our Lenten Study program. This year the “5 Marks of Love” is the theme we are using. It was developed by the Episcopal Monks the Society of St. John the Evangelist (SSJE) and is based on the “Five Marks of Mission” developed by the Anglican Consultative Council. The 5 marks of love are the manner in which we are to engage in our ministry of mission. They are a checklist for parishes about the peoples’ need to reach out beyond the church to engage the stranger. The five marks of mission are:
Why even refer to ministry of mission as a “need” we all have? Some of us may not recognize this need as his/her own, some may want to dispense with it, some readily engage in it. This “need” to reach out beyond the church community is not something new – it is a command from Christ repeated by him time and again in the Gospels.
In this morning’s podcast, Brother (Br.) Robert L’Esperance explains how the gospel concept of repentance – which literally means having a change of mind – is the essence of the kingdom, because it means that the world does not have to be the way it is. We have the power to change it. He writes,
What Jesus’ message is about is that we can choose to change how we perceive ourselves, and how we perceive one another. And the message is that we don’t have to see ourselves or one another through the lens of alienation or through the lens of being set in opposition against one another. So much of how human beings act, both toward themselves, and toward one another, is a mode of alienation, rejection, caution, suspicion, and Jesus says that there is a different way of being in the world. There is a different way for us to be in the world, with ourselves first to begin with, and once that is effected, then how we interact with one another. It doesn’t have to be—what Jesus is saying is that the world does not have to be the way it is, and we can change it. Human beings have been given the power to change it. So when we see evil in the world, when we see the problems of the world, what's the good news of the message of the kingdom is that you can change that. You have the power to change that.
I have a question for you: How can you make a difference in your life and in the lives of others? by Br. Robert L’Esperance
You know, if you look at this Gospel message from the perspective of its end goal, it appears impossible. If you look at it from inside yourself and then to the next person then there are two people trying to change the way we perceive others and act toward them. Eventually it does multiply. The entire world may not be reached in my lifetime or yours, but oh, what a change we can make in our lifetime. It’s never too late to start.
Please take the effort and time to be part of our Lenten Study on Wednesdays from 7 -8 (8:30) p.m.
Fr. Al Jewson
Rector's Corner posts written by Pastor Rebecca.