Sunday, May 3, 2009

Reflections on The St. Francis Community Forum

Well, well, well, our guest of honor?  Actually Father Terry put this marvelous day together. On this day we were about the Lord's work --- and it was refreshing!  The topic was how to improve the various community services currently available.  By improve, as Terry explained,sometimes it is just knowing what is out there and how to access it.  

Interestingly enough, there is a host of services but it falls far short of meeting he needs.  The needs, especially right now, are incredibly great.  (I see this everyday in the school in which I live.)  It was a day of sharing of information and ideas.  The Turlock, CA community has much to be proud of.  The collection of inquiring minds came from all over the north portion of the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.  

Beryl Simkins shared her Aspiranet information.  A group working with fostering and adoption of children.  It also is a crisis center in Turlock but also available in other counties within the state. (I know that it also exists in San Joaquin County).  Its needs include diapers, formula and hard cash.

Sherry Thayer shared some incredibly important information on suicide prevention.  Interesting statistics include more men than women commit suicide especially boys between the ages of 15 and 24. (I also know this as we had a very beloved nephew, our godson, who did commit suicide).  Sherry also said that tiptoeing around the word is not the way to go about this.  When one finds this situation one needs to call it suicide and call for help.  Finally, the highest months for suicide? December?  November? Nope, April, June and July.

Then Esther Rosario from Casa Del Rio in Riverbank, Ca spoke to us.  She shared how one "parking lot" mom grew into a life of service.  By the way, Christ The King and Casa Del Rio are now intertwined with the most popular service being the Food in Faith food giveaway each month. Supported also by St. Francis in Turlock student from Riverbank USD help each 3rd week of the month as 100 to 160 families are feed in Riverbank. (Note: if you recognize the little one as the consultant to the Presiding Bishop you would be correct!)

The two greatest service organizations and a tip of the hat go to the Gospel Mission in Modesto and the Turlock Gospel Mission.  They do just about everything!  The Modesto Gospel Mission says that if one wants to volunteer then come down the second Thursday of the month, they will orient you and then the sky is the limit in terms of volunteering.

The day was filled with the opportunities that only Christ can provide and we must be up to the task!  And, as an added treat we had both the Canon to the Ordinary and the Bishop present for this terrific presentation.  Yahoo buckeroos! It was a great day!

On a personal note:  Here is what community meant to me today -- our daughter had a baby still born a little over a week ago.  Our two families from Christ the King and St. Francis have responded with non-stop cards, letters, telephone calls, meals, and visitations. Clearly the community has come together to help and support her and her husband in this time of hurt. This is a hallmark of both Christ the King in Riverbank and St. Francis in Turlock and I hope and pray of every Episcopal Church in the diocese and in the country.  We are all part of Christ's family and when one is hurt we are all hurt.  Thanks to everyone who has responded.  I know you all do not do it for the recognition but you have demonstrated fully who we are, and I am blessed to call you family!

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