Our Church: Not Empty, but Filled to Overflowing
Since 1901, the buildings of All Saints have been a place of worship, of solace, and of comfort. We have gathered together to sing and praise, grieve our losses and celebrate new beginnings, new life, and new ministries. We have been roundly supported in our spiritual life while basking in the love of our fellow parishioners, and our buildings have embraced us through all the chapters of our lives.
In March, when we were asked to “Stay Home, Stay Safe” in an effort to not overwhelm our medical community during the pandemic, our parking lot became deserted and our Nave sat empty while we learned to gather online for services and coffee hour, for Godly Play and Vestry meetings.
But recently, during this pandemic, we have been called to increase our outreach to our vulnerable neighbors, and our building has evolved to a new purpose. We at All Saints have been called to step into the vast need that has been intensified by the pandemic, and the church building has accommodated that calling.
- The Parish Hall is now a staging area for boxed lunches and "snacks for later" as we have pivoted our Hot Meals program to allow guests as well as hosts to stay safe while continuing to feed those who are hungry.
- The Narthex has become the "Sanitation Station" where goods from the St. Francis Closet such as razors, soap, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, masks, shampoo and deodorant can be given to those lacking in those basic essentials.
- The Nave has become a grocery warehouse, filled with bags and boxes of rice, beans, pasta, canned goods, dried fruit, breads, and more. The pews now serve as shelving, holding the abundance given by the Oregon Food Bank, New Seasons, Safeway, and our generous All Saints family.
- The Parking Lot is now the Woodstock Cupboard, a "Pop-up Drive-thru" food pantry where neighbors can come get a couple of bags of pantry items every Friday and Saturday.
For so many years, we have come to All Saints to be nurtured and nourished. But now we are realizing anew how this building isn't the Church. We are the Church. We are the Saints of All Saints.
Worship happens when we nurture and nourish each other. Our calling is fulfilled when we care for our neighbors. Our hearts are filled again and again when we give back what we have received here within the walls of All Saints. God's blessings overflow from our hearts and from 4033 SE Woodstock Blvd. And that is beautiful.