As we make the transition to summer-mode at St. Paul’s I would like to take up two items for your consideration. One, to pause and reflect on the good work begun with this past winter’s Inn From The Cold project. And two, to introduce you to our new Deacon, The Rev. Alicia B. Todaro.
The Inn From The Cold program was conceived as a way to combat the problem presented by the lack of adequate shelter for homeless persons. During the winter of 2007-2008 in Rensselaer County there were 301 persons living out in the cold. The director and staff at Joseph’s House, a year-round shelter in downtown Troy, invited churches nearby to a meeting to develop a plan to provide temporary seasonal shelter.
The program eventually included sites at Christ Church, United Methodist (December 2008), St. John’s Episcopal (January 2009), St. Anthony of Padua Roman Catholic Shrine Church and the Roarke Center (February and March 2009), and St. Paul’s Episcopal (April 2009).
On the evening of May 14th Joseph’s House gave a celebration banquet at The Roarke Center to publicly recognize the organizations that provided the shelter sites, and to honor the numerous shelter volunteers. Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen Jimino was on hand to present certificates of commendation from her office. I was pleased to be able to accept the award on behalf of St. Paul’s Church. Among the many kind and complimentary things that Ms. Jimino said during her remarks that evening, one comment stood out from all the rest: This past winter no one died in the county because they had to sleep out in the cold. It is my hope that we will open our facilities again next winter to continue to be part of the Inn From the Cold program.
Our New Deacon
Bishop Love has assigned The Rev. Alicia B. Todaro to St. Paul’s to assist me with the pastoral and program work of the parish. Deacon Todaro is a graduate of RPI and teaches chemistry at Siena college. She and her husband Mark have a daughter, Susanna, who has just finished her first year at Harvey Mudd College.
In addition to pursuing her teaching vocation and pastoral duties, Deacon Todara will serve at the altar at the Eucharist in the liturgical role of Deacon. The diaconate is one of the three clerical orders of ministry in the Church (the others are the presbyterate (priest) and the episcopate (bishop). The role of the deacon is to embody servant-ministry, and the main tasks given to the deacon in the liturgy are to proclaim the Gospel, preach, assist in the administration of the Eucharist and to serve the poor and outcast. At the service of ordination of a deacon the Bishop says, “you are to interpret to the Church the needs, concerns, and hopes of the world.” It is my prayer that our new deacon will assist us at St. Paul’s to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit, so that we may join her in serving “all people, particularly the poor, the weak, the sick, and the lonely.” (BCP, p. 543)
The Rev. Michael I. Gorchov, Rector