Submitted by Linda Craven, member
St. Edward’s parish in Silverton, Oregon is a small parish in terms of numbers of people but it is large in heart and audacious in their intentions of living and acting on the words of Jesus Christ. Key values of the congregation begin with the characteristics of people who live the gospel in their day to day lives. We embrace the affirmation of all by welcoming everyone for who they are and as God made them. The congregation values faith, community and building strong relationships. Through celebrations of each other and graduations, anniversaries and birthdays, we express love and care for each other.
St. Edward’s Cottages
The ministry our congregation is excited about now demonstrates the tenacity of our members. We are the drivers of the St. Edward’s Cottages project: a plan to offer housing and care for unhoused women in Silverton. We are building four small cottages, each to temporarily shelter single women as they are supported with wrap-around care that include resource navigation and case management, physical and mental health services, spiritual care, peer support and financial literacy and employment support. The congregation navigated the city council hearings and has received the permits and changes necessary to make structural changes to our building and begin construction of four cottages on the church property.
What was once a thought in the mind of our vicar became a reality with 100% buy-in from the congregation. As our vicar Shana McCauley preached one Sunday, “When the world says you are too small or you are not enough, or when you tell yourself that you are not enough, remember what Jesus said, ‘Love God. Love your neighbor.’ It’s that simple; two things: love God and love your neighbor.” Our parish community encompasses these words.
Our vision is living our mission in real time, every day.
To practice what we preach (corny but applicable) and to walk the talk requires faith, energy, and a vulnerability to put ourselves out in the community and act on our values and beliefs. We will accomplish what we plan to do. At the groundbreaking event for St. Edward’s Cottages on June 9, Pentecost Sunday, the wind of the Holy Spirit was present for all 130 people attending the event to witness this change in our community. Everyone was invited to embrace this project with their talents, money, prayers and positive thoughts.
Who is a leader in our congregation?
We all believe that we are led by the words of Jesus and inspired by our vicar as she celebrates her tenth anniversary at St. Edward’s parish this year. We are all important and all gifted with different talents and strengths; that is the strength of our congregation. After all, as Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”