“Where you are Welcomed to feel like you’re at Home with Family”
By Selena Roth (10/30/2011)
My husband Eric and I moved from Florida to South Huntington, New York in July of 2009. We attended a nice St. John’s Episcopal Church in that area. We moved to Wantagh in August of 2010 to be closer to our jobs, so after getting settled we began looking for a new church because we didn’t want to drive about 45 minutes each way. Upon trying the service at four different churches in a few towns, we began to feel frustrated and considered going back to Huntington. We didn’t get the peaceful feeling we seek after the service, the people there were not very welcoming, Eric and I like the service being kept focused on the words of God without any politics and current news events, and we like the service to consist of the same traditional agenda that most episcopal churches feature. We searched and searched and the Lord seemed to show us to this nice church named St. Michael & all Angels Episcopal Church in Seaford.
During our first Sunday at St. Michael’s, I cried and thought about my Mother a lot. There were two of Mom’s favorite hymns sung. The sermon spoke to my heart and I felt that the Holy Spirit was truly present. I felt that Jesus and my Mom were helping me to release my grief and pain that I still had been feeling almost every day since her passing.
As Eric and I were driving away from the church that first Sunday, we agreed that we really like the way in which Father Fred celebrate and preach at the Holy Eucharist and also enjoyed the cheerfulness of the hymns that were sung. Father Fred focused on the teachings of Jesus Christ and we got the feeling from him that he really has love and compassion for guiding and teaching as many of each and everyone that he can. There were no negative news topics in the service and the congregation gave us a warm welcoming. We felt that if we want the news or politics, as we do enjoyed that, reading a newspaper or watching it on television are the ways we’d prefer to get it. Church should be for peace and the words of God. The Church is a house of prayer, where we seek to experience God’s love and care and get our nourishment of the sacraments. Eric and I want peaceful loving feelings as much as we can, and we get that from this wonderful church after every service.
As to the lay leadership of this parish, we were invited to Coffee Hour by many of you and Kathy (Junior Warden) never gave up on trying to get us involved in some activities such as Epistle Reading. We never thought we would be so involved with St Michael’s, but two weeks ago I asked Eric if he thought he’d ever stand at the podium and do a scripture reading and he said “yes,” which is a big change from “No, I’m not going to do that”. I felt the same way before, but well, here I am, not only reading the Scriptures, but testifying before you and doing volunteer work for this loving church. Thank you all for making us a part of St. Michael’s All Angels of Seaford family.
“Why I Accept Leadership at St. Michael And All Angels”
By Kathy Lang, Junior Warden (12/8/11)
When Fr. Fred asked me if I would speak about why I accepted leadership at St. Michael’s, I said yes without giving it much thought. Shortly after, I realized what I had agreed to and thought, ‘oh my, what have I gotten myself into this time’. Basically, I had the same reaction to accepting the position of Junior Warden. I thought about how much easier it would have been to let someone else fill the position, but I guess it was a calling from God. Later that evening, my husband Tom and I discussed it, then I thought of the church we had previously attended when first started going to St. Michael all Angels (SMAA).
The other church is one of those types that are very big and impersonal. During the time we attended that church, Tom and I offered to become more involved and do some volunteer work for them, but we were told that our help was not needed because we didn’t have children attending with us.
A year or so later Chris started asking us to come to SMAA to help her out in one way or another or to come to a healing service. It’s been approximately 8 years now since we started going and I am very involved with most of the aspects of this great ministry.
This little church that was willing to accept help from us because we wanted to be more involved, gave us a feeling of belonging to a family. We had become a part of the SMAA church and wanted more of it everyday.
I have a lot to be grateful for. In some ways more than most because 11 years ago I had an accident in which I received 3rd degree burns. The doctors told me I would never be able to use my arm again. After 5 ½ years of intense physical therapy and hands on healing I was able to prove the doctors wrong. At this point in time I can happily say I have about 95% use of my arm. I see my service to God through His Church as my way of giving back and showing my gratitude. Maybe I was blessed from my giving too.
I believe SMAA can grow and flourish again. I have faith that if we work together as the Church Family we have come to be, this can come true. Every family needs unity and leadership to keep it together and to lay a foundation for growth. I hope as Junior Warden & President of ECW I can be part of that foundation.
TESTIMONY: WE ARE A CHURCH WITH NO OUTCAST
By Maria Saladino, Vestry Member
Twenty years ago, as I look back, I was wearing my “rose colored glasses.” I had a wonderful husband; beautiful healthy children and we had just bought our home. Life couldn’t get any better. But then, again, as I look back, it was time to remove my glasses.
“Mommy, Mommy,” my youngest daughter called out. “Paul keeps telling me that he’s gay. Tell him to stop”. To make a long story short, our son came out to us to say that he was gay. In all honesty, I cannot say that I was clueless, because who knows their children better than parents. We just chose to ignore what is true, and that’s what we did.
Reality set in and it hurt: emotionally, mentally and spiritually. What will our family and friends think of us, were we to blame, what did we do wrong? How can he live freely when Church and society have deemed him an “outcast”? These were a few of the many questions we asked of ourselves and of God.
Our family was raised as Catholics. We were never very religious, yes, we went to church for the major holidays, but other than that, we just instilled in our children to be honest and loving. After all, isn’t this what God wants us to be?
Before he came out to us, our son had gone to our Church for guidance. The priest told him to leave the Church, as he was an abomination and didn’t belong in “His” house. Our hearts broke, as he recounted to us how alone and abandoned he felt. Our Church failed us. We were angry with God. How can our son be an “outcast” in his eyes, after all, wasn’t he made in his image?
As years passed, our daughter came out to say that she was a Lesbian. Oh God! Once wasn’t enough? Questioning Him again. As we looked in her scared and tearful eyes, we knew what we had to do…we embraced her strongly. We realized the true meaning of “unconditional love” that day. We made our peace with God, but never went to Church unless there was a funeral.
Until…our grandson was born. We wanted to have him baptized in church. We wanted him to be Christian. Since he came from two divorced parents, the Church would not allow him to be baptized in the Catholic Church. “That was the last straw”. We realized that it was time to find ourselves a new religion. We found it in the Episcopal Church.
Our son was the first to have chosen this particular Church. He explained to us that the Church never refuses anyone in their Home and they preach love and acceptance of all people. “Look, they accepted me” he said, as he laughed.
We found this small Episcopal Church in Seaford, New York ---St. Michael and All Angels. I loved it at first sight. I saw the simplicity of it and felt that “I had come Home”. We went to Mass the following Sunday, not knowing what to do or what to expect. We were greatly surprised as to how we were so warmly welcomed by its parishioners. The solemn worship, the inspirational preaching, the loving fellowship and the missionary outreach all indicate that the church is inclusive.
Our faith in God who loves unconditionally and our understanding of the church as a community with no outcast, has been restored. Looking back, God didn’t abandon us, as we thought. He was guiding us to a greater path. We questioned, “Why”? He answered, “why not”?