On the occasion of his 100th birthday Fr. Ed talked about being on the Pilgrim’s Road with the people of St. Andrew’s. Since then, and perhaps because I also had a birthday in March, I have been reflecting a lot about these 43 years that I have traveled with so many of you here at St. Andrews. What might have been different if I had or had not made one choice or another? I realized one single event had a significant impact on my life. It challenged and changed my perspective of what Micah 6:8 means when it says “and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? “ 

In 1979 I was working at the University of Puget Sound School of Law which was in downtown Tacoma. My office overlooked the streets of Tacoma. Day after day I left my home, drove to the law school, parked in the two-story parking garage and walked the skybridge over Market Street to my office. I never really thought about what was going on outside my window overlooking Broadway. One year Sam and I decided to participate in month-long series of classes offered by UPS and PLU called Communiversity. I chose “Sunday Afternoons in Tacoma”, led by a local homeless advocate. I have no idea why I chose that course. Two by two we went exploring the downtown streets with a straightforward set of tasks that involved talking to people, finding services (restrooms), finding a spot to linger or even sleep, etc. Needless to say, my eyes were open to the enormous needs of our most vulnerable neighbors. It was a profound experience and one that changed me. 

After 10 years of working at the law school I yearned to find work that filled my soul and helped others. An opportunity presented itself to work with a program helping low- income single mothers move towards self-sufficiency (WWEE). This was 1989 and for the rest of my career I worked with programs focused of helping others. In addition to my job, St. Andrew’s provided many opportunities to help. I remember scrubbing floors for Anna and Peter, a Lithuanian couple who received help through Volunteer Chore Ministry. I remember cooking for the families of Ruby Slippers, our ministry to homeless families. And I remember Fr. Ed faithfully making Rice Krispy Squares for the children’s Christmas party at WWEE. I was drawn to our mission of outreach to the community and the decision to tithe 10% of the church’s income towards outreach. (I also remember the Annual Meeting “battle” of fixing the roof of the church vs the 10% tithe. We did both!) 

So many stories come to mind. All of them are a part of the pilgrimage that we have taken and continue to take together. 

On more than one occasion, Fr. Martin has used the quote: “Traveler, there is no path, The path is made by walking.” Antonio Machado’s poem continues: 

By walking the path is made And when you look back You’ll see a road
Never to be trodden again. 

I think of this often and look forward to continuing our travels ahead. There is much to be done. In the Great Thanksgiving, a part of the liturgy of Holy Communion, we pray “open my eyes to see your hand at work at the world around us.” I pray that our eyes will remain open and that we continue to be His hands. We don’t have to look far to see the needs that surround us. 

Vestry Viewpoint by Margo Fleshman