They broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and sincere hearts, praising God
Youth • Families • Parish Community • Covenant Groups • Welcoming • Fellowship • Hospitality • Food
We purposefully create a space for individuals, families, guests, and newcomers to feel a sense of belonging, fellowship, and companionship throughout the week. We experience these connections during our fellowship time on Sundays, and at our Wednesday night dinners, which provide an opportunity for parishioners of all ages to gather, enjoy fellowship, and check in with each other. We see this sense of community in action when we welcome new families in the neighborhood with food or during Wednesday afternoons when our music director leads our children in making music before our communal dinners.
I was totally overwhelmed. I needed to sell my home. And on a Saturday, I became even more overwhelmed, but not because of the pressures and stress of this event, but for the number of people that came to my home to paint, repair, clean, landscape. And they came with a sense of purpose. It was very humbling and meaningful to me, for individuals that I even may have not known to give with their heart to me and my family. I felt loved and transformed; I felt with others “being the church.” We loved being together blessing the heck out of someone who needed it
No matter where individuals may be in their spiritual journeys, we welcome everyone to join us in our community, whether through a Covenant Group, a Men’s or Women’s retreat, a Parish camping trip, or a Pentecost barbecue.
I love the fact that all three of my children have a sense of belonging and a way to get involved. Eric runs the soundboard, while Meredith is a lector and acolyte. Jack loves the Ark (our Nursery). The best of all this is that my kids have other adult mentors — Peter, Anne, Janet, Julie, to name a few — which is wonderful as a single parent. The children also have a sense of being needed, accepted and invited to participate. It has been a great source of growth, support, and positive reinforcement for them, even with such a large age range in my family.
The spirit of our community is also seen in the involvement and influence of our youth. Youth participate in Breakfast Club, counsel at Vacation Bible Camp, and help with Godly Play. Children and youth are welcomed and participate actively in many of our activities and events such as the rummage sale which many preteens and teenagers help run. At our annual Oktoberfest — one of our fundraisers to support Santa Maria Urban Ministry — youth serve alongside adults as waiters, sous chefs, and the late shift clean up crew.
I came to St Tim’s fresh from a divorce with joint custody of my four- and six-year-old children. It has been eighteen years since I came to church. My father urged me to go to St Tim’s as a new rector was just brought in who was developing a ministry suited for young families. Anne asked me to be part of a Covenant Group, which became very important for me, as it was very supportive and did not really make demands on me. All I had to do was to show up.
If the spirit of our community is felt in our youth, the heart of St. Timothy’s lives in an enduring network of small groups called Covenant Groups. Currently 12 covenant groups meet weekly either in parishioners’ homes or at the church. Covenant groups are open groups that invite parishioners and friends into a relationship with God and one other. In Christ-centered friendships, we share our concerns and joys, deepen our understanding of scripture, and offer support and prayer for all members of the group.
Covenant groups are built on the assumption that individuals grow as they experience the power of God manifested in relationships of spiritual intimacy. The power of God emerges naturally from personal sharing, scriptural reflection, and prayer. Weekly meetings typically begin with a prayer and a group sharing of “highs and lows.” Discussion of a Look Book Took Bible study follows. Look Book Tooks are written by a group of volunteer parishioners based on the Gospel and the sermon of the week. Some groups prefer to read Christian books and discuss them. Covenant group meetings end with intercessory prayer.
The Covenant Group was invaluable for me during a four-month period of my life dealing with my mother’s stroke, hospital stay, move to a nursing home and eventual death. I appreciated the opportunity to share this difficult time weekly during my highs and lows, and was specially moved by the cards and prayers when my mother passed away
Covenant group friendships often extend beyond these weekly meetings. Some groups perform community service together such as wrapping and delivering gifts to families of prisoners at Christmas. Others may support a ministry within the church by cleaning the kitchen after a fundraiser dinner or preparing materials for the Men’s or Women’s Retreats. Covenant group members care for each other in times of stress through home visits and providing meals. Covenant groups sometimes provide an entry point for new members as well as a natural vehicle for pastoral care and spiritual development.
The Parish Profile continues with Who We Hope To Be