St. Peter at the Gate

peterBy Peter Hahn

Because I am the lead receptionist, David Boyd likes to call me our church’s “St. Peter at the Gate,” and I humbly accept the role as long as I don’t have to make determinations about personal salvation. But what passes before our desk is a “heavenly crowd” of parishioners, children campers, homeless neighbors, Rotarians, vendors, equipment support people, worshippers, out of town visitors, Holy Grounds patrons, garage customers, all the inhabitants of the J. J. Pickle Federal Building, our friends in the Omni and the Austin Centre, our beloved clergy and staff, people seeking a spiritual home, people asking directions or a recommendation for a good Tex-Mex restaurant, seekers of lost water bottles, our valued devotees of Thursday Public Lunch, our hospitality customers who choose Saint David’s for their events, deliverers from FedEx, UPS, 6th St. Printers, and USPS, students and teachers with the AISD GO project, musicians, artists and teachers with Art from the Streets, concert-goers, St. David’s Pre-School children and teachers, and the staff of the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes. And that doesn’t even include our worshipful visitors at Christmas and Easter. Hardly the old colonial country church I grew up in back in New Jersey. The energy is at once exhilarating and exhausting.

From the desk I have observed the kindness of one to another, gratitude for help provided, sensitivity and attentiveness in lobby exchanges, and the joyous chaos when happy children leave for home with their parents. For many, St. David’s is home for worship, study, friendship, and service to God and his people. We are seekers of something that is at once personal and shared. Nowhere is this more evident than in our church’s entrance foyer where so much of the character of St. David’s is evident. Simply stated, all are welcome and people are so darn NICE to each other! No matter how I feel at the beginning of my day, after this huge dose of kind and considerate interaction, I always feel better at the end. On any given day, a homeless person will be given directions to find help, a parishioner will sign up for a Journey Group, a newcomer will be connected with our staff, and people are connected with each other in meaningful ways. In many cases their connection with God is renewed and strengthened.

So here is my challenge: If, until now, your busy life has kept you from visiting St. David’s during the week, make some time and come see for yourself. Thursday Public Lunch is a good time or for any of our weekday worship services. While Holy Grounds offers food, beverage, and gifts, from where I sit, there seems to be a lot of conversation spiced with laughter going on in there. Try volunteering at Trinity Center to experience true joy. Good with children? Help out with Vacation Bible School or Camp St. David’s some time. Or just bring your laptop and hang out in the lobby getting those pesky emails written. The WiFi is free. Then you’ll see what I see every day.

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