Surprise Legacy Updates Sanctuary

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Gene Rachels came to visit St. George one Sunday; Paul and Peggy Foerster invited him to lunch, and he knew he had found his church home. Having retired from the military, he adopted San Antonio as his home and was happy to find a church where he felt welcome immediately.

Gene didn’t just attend on Sundays – he volunteered for a number of positions, most notably greeter. He was the quintessential greeter who always had a smile on his face and a kind word for everyone. He would ask about your family and love waiting to hear the answers. Not only was he a greeter, we was also an Office Angel, regularly stuffing Sunday bulletins and preparing packets for our shut-ins. He was active in Jerry Fulenwider’s men’s group too.

Sadly, Gene began a fierce battle with cancer, but when he was able, he was in attendance at St. George. The battle was one of ups and downs as he improved and declined a number of times, but never did his smile or his grace leave him, even at his sickest. Upon his death, Gene received a glorious send off to heaven in a Ft. Sam Houston military funeral. As I watched the funeral, I had to smile and think of how it suited him so well.
Sometime later we were notified that Gene had left a bequest in his will for St. George. Imagine everyone’s surprise to hear that that bequest totaled $60,000. I can imagine his smiling face as he anticipated the surprise of his church family.

The timing of the bequest was serendipitous as it came just after the new Leadership Center was opened. Immediately Ram donated $10,000 to the camp scholarship fund because of Gene’s love for children and children’s ministries. Additionally, Gene’s generosity paid for the refurbishment of the sanctuary to match the other new campus buildings, including new flooring, new paint, kneelers, pew pads, pew refinishing, Bibles, Prayer Books, and more. The renovation of the bathrooms across from the parish hall was celebrated by all. Finally Gene’s largesse paid for the Adirondack chairs on the patio of the Leadership Center. It just so happened that the Head of School Rob Devlin and Father Ram were standing on the patio one day looking over the beauty of the courtyard, discussing how the patio needed comfortable chairs for enjoying the scenery and engaging in peaceful conversations. Thus Gene’s money provided those chairs.

The beauty of the way in which Gene’s bequest was used is how he was represented in the choices. He was a greeter and a loyal Sunday parishioner, he loved children, and he loved conversations with those in his church family. We can all thank him every Sunday when we see his gifts and know the heart he had for St. George and its people.

Written by Pam Piedfort with thanks to Haley Bankey for remembering the details

Generosity Funds Pastoral Ministry

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Clara Willmann was a tiny lady who has had an outsized impact on the pastoral care work of St. George Church in the 36 years since the inception of the Clara B. Willmann Trust. Although we hear and read about the Trust often in our church life, many of us may not know the story. Clara was a parishioner who had a vision of the people of St. George doing the work of Jesus among those struggling with emotional, spiritual, and physical needs. So much did she have a passion for the work that she gave 61% (or about $625,000) of her estate for the ongoing pastoral care of the St. George community. Part of the subsequent trust was the Willmann family home on Castle Lane, known as the Willmann House, which has been used over the years for everything from temporary housing for parishioners to youth group gatherings to temporary church offices during the recent capital campaign.

The purpose of the trust was specifically and narrowly laid out to meet Clara’s wishes to establish a Pastoral Care Ministry at St. George. As stated in the Trust documents, “Pastoral care ministries are caring and healing ministries, as demonstrated by the life, teachings and ministry of Jesus Christ, to individual people dealing with their individual, as opposed to group, needs and involve meeting and dealing, in a personally caring way, with the human emotional, spiritual and physical needs of hurting people.”

The Willmann Board has been invested and stewarded since the initial very generous contribution for 38 years with the interest income being used as Clara requested. The Trust provides for a salaried pastoral care administrator who is currently Marilynne Herbster. She monitors the pastoral care needs of St. George parishioners and keeps the trustees informed as to the ongoing programs. Parishioners and agencies in the San Antonio area can apply for grants which are dispersed yearly. For instance, last year grants were given to Christian Assistance Ministry, Larkspur Elementary School, Magdalena House, Pay It Forward (Clean and Sober Living), and West Avenue Compassion Center.

Clara Willmann’s generosity has made a dramatic impact on St. George life, insuring that the work of Jesus among the emotionally, physically, and spiritually hurting continues.

 By Pam Piedfort

Suggest a Mini-Drive

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Submitted by Marti Nodine 

St. George Church and School members have always been so generous to contribute to whatever planned donation drive comes up: Thanksgiving meals, Christmas Angel Tree gifts, back-to-school backpacks, CAM food drives, Chain of Love, and so on. However, two clever St. George parishioners, Pat Barger and Linda Canas, create their own mini-drives several times a year.

They are part of a group of women who have an August Celebration for some of the group who have birthdays that month. Cards were usually exchanged in lieu of gifts until a decision was made several years ago to bring gifts for charity. At the most recent August get together, attendees were asked to bring underwear and toiletries for homeless women who come to CAM downtown for a sandwich lunch and a change of clothes. The celebrants responded with piles of products to donate! The CAM clients will experience some normalcy after being able to wash their hair, brush their teeth, put on clean clothing, and even smell better. When Linda has a dinner party and guests ask what they can bring, she says, “The food is taken care of. Why don’t you bring something to donate to charity.” We can all institute mini-drives throughout the year using the example of these generous women.

Praise and Poetry- Haiti Mission Trip Fundraiser 2017

By | Called to Serve, Charitable Giving, Community, Stewardship, Uncategorized, Worship | No Comments

Join us on the evening of Friday, June 16th at 6:00PM for a wonderful evening of praise and poetry! Come celebrate our “community of love” as we offer songs, prayers, words, and scriptures that lift up the spirit of our mission and ministry with our brothers and sisters at St. Benoit in Mombin Crochu, Haiti. Words of Poetry will be offered by  our very own, Carol Reposa,recently named 2018 Poet Laureate of Texas, and local poet, Harold Rodinksy. Fr. Ram will also offer poetry and reflections.   All will be led in song and praise by Keith and Shannon Earle as we lift up the power of God’s music in song in our lives singing of the journey that calls us into mission and what it means to be a “community of love”.  Join with us this night and celebrate the upcoming trip to Haiti, where Fr. Ram Lopez, Keith Earle, and Greg Merritt will be present at St. Benoit for the dedication of the new worship space this July 11th.  Greg Merritt will also have some of his beautiful Haitian photography for purchase in the narthex.  This and all offerings taken during the event are in support of the Haiti Mission Trip happening in July. Click here to contribute before the event. Thank you to everyone who has helped already as we are on our way to raising our goal of $5,000.  Every dollar counts, and no offering is too small.