For All the Saints: Time and Talent

On Sunday in worship, Anneke Krall spoke representing the entire Krall family: herself, husband Andrew, and children Tim, Caroline, Linnea, and Sabine. Every member has been incredibly active in the parish during their time here—indeed, it is hard to think of a ministry area where they haven’t served — and we are humbled by their generosity of time and talent. They were the recipients of last year’s Dusty Mairs Servant Leader award, in acknowledgement and gratitude for the parts they have all played, often quietly, behind the scenes, in helping St. John’s continue to thrive as a vital community of faith. 
Throughout our 18 years at St. John’s, Andrew and I have encouraged our children to see this church as their community of faith, with a lot of emphasis on community. To be a fully invested member of any community means to both give and receive gifts. We welcome our new members by saying, “What you have to give, we gladly receive,” and say together every Sunday the words from the Collect for St. John’s “show forth our service to you in our service to others.”

Giving of Time and Talent to the church community has looked like many different things to our family. Marching through the neighborhood on Palm Sunday as the Crucifer, or quietly stripping the altar as a member of the Altar Guild on Maundy Thursday. A term on the Vestry, or years of teaching Godly Play. Playing a solo clarinet piece during a Sunday service, or being co-chair of the committee putting on our last Cabaret. Cleaning out a refrigerator during a youth service project, or stocking medical supplies at the Kayoro clinic. We believe that to be a member of this community is to serve in any way we can, and we tried to teach our children that no expression of time and talent is too small to be useful and appreciated.

St. John’s is a thriving community because of its members. When you look around on a Sunday, many of the people you see are volunteers. Some are obvious, like the readers and ushers, some are more subtle, like the Altar Guild, or the people who count the money in the offering plates. Without each one of these members committing their time to the community, we would eventually cease to be vibrant.

When our son, Tim, discovered acting — about ten years after his last stage appearance as the Angel Gabriel in the Christmas Pageant — he shared with us one of the major principles of quality improv comedy, which is the concept of “yes, and . . .” In gathering my own thoughts for today, I frequently came back to this principle in relation to community. As we are asked to volunteer, if we can think about responding with “yes” followed by “and how else can I serve,” we will all be part of the foundation of time and talent vital to St. John’s. Sometimes it may be a big ask, but mostly, it will be small needs, moments in which we build a community together.
 
To help you figure out the answer to the question “Yes, and … how else can I serve?” one resource is this Spiritual Gift Assessment. Each of us is created, unique, in God’s image. Each of us came into this world with God-given specific gifts, passions, values, and skills. By considering the questions in the assessment and identifying your specific gifts, you can find important indicators of the path God might be encouraging you to pursue. 
Click to Open the Spiritual Gift Assessment (PDF)
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