Sabbath Stories: The Salvation History of the People of St. John the Evangelist Church in Davison, Michigan
Richards, Julie Ann
Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology
St. John Parish is one of the largest parishes in Genesee County with just over 8,000 souls. The parish began 135 years ago as a small community and has attempted to retain that “country church” hospitality through its enormous growth. One of the main reasons people have joined our parish is because of that hospitality, although we hear with increased frequency that “the faces in the pews are less and less familiar.” People who switch their mass attendance due to changing work or vacation schedules often comment that each liturgy is made up of more and more new faces. Consequently, St. John Pastoral Council and the Parish staff are always searching for new ways to bring people together to connect spiritually and socially. Our new Family Center is currently teamed with one of the area hospitals as a satellite of the hospital that offers physical therapy to neighboring patients. It also houses our Parish Religious Education Programs (PREP) and RCIA and RCIC as well as a host of other parish meetings and community programs (area blood drives, basketball leagues, wedding receptions, open houses, etc.). We also reach out through our parish website as well as through the nearly one hundred ministries within the parish community. Because of our efforts, our parish mailing list reaches membership in fifty-five zip codes throughout Genesee County and beyond, with some parishioners driving 45 minutes to an hour to worship with us at weekly liturgies. There is a genuine need for people to feel connected both to their parish and to the community it serves. Likewise, there is a need for people to tell their story and for that story to be heard. Each personisa unique, holy child of God. The telling and retelling of lifetime stories is one way that history has been passed down through the ages. St. John Parish is here to be of service, as stated by our Pastor, Fr. Andrew Czajkowski, in his welcome letter on the parish website. This project is yet another avenue for people to tell their own salvation history: how God is working in their lives.