It takes a lot of energy to do big things, but the parishioners of St. Matthew’s, Eugene, both pray and act in ways that may seem surprisingly large for a church of their situation. Though the parish includes many people who commute from around Eugene and surrounding areas, they are intentional in their outreach to the neighborhood around St. Matthew’s. “We’re more involved than you might think,” notes vestry member Len Goodwin as he sips a cup of coffee in the sunny, cheerfully decorated Parish Hall.
One sign of this activity stands next to a large “LOVE” banner at the end of the Parish Hall: a dairy cooler full of yoghurt and milk, purchased through a grant from the diocesan Commission on Poverty and Homelessness. This appliance is the newest addition to the Pray BiG Food Pantry. Twice a month, over 60 families receive groceries through this ministry, which is organized by the recently retired Rena Robbins, a long-time member of St. Matthew’s. The normal assortment of boxed and canned food is supplemented by fresh produce, some of which is grown in St. Matthew’s garden plots.
Member Connie Mitchell, who is part of the Stewardship Committee, recently created a visual display of the many ways St. Matthew’s is sharing the love of Christ. It sits on a table in the narthex, opposite the doorway to the Sanctuary, where visitor and member alike will see it as they enter and exit. She says, “This reminds us of why we’re here, and encourages us to find new ways that we can express who we are.”
If you peek around the side of the display board, you’ll see a not-quite-hidden message in bold yellow letters: IMPACT. And indeed, the big prayers, big hopes, and big actions of St. Matthew’s are making a big difference in people’s lives and in their community for the sake of the gospel.