Over the years parishioners have asked what does it mean to be a member of the parish? And as a member of the parish what am I expected to do? Our rector, Father Chuck Treadwell, has responded to these questions with the Expectations of Parishioners and core values listed below. Each core value is brought to life by the witness of a parishioner who has responded in their own way to show their gratitude to God.
Membership at St. David’s Episcopal Church
Active members are baptized Christians who pray daily, attend worship on most Sundays, continue to mature in all aspects of discipleship, especially by discerning how they can serve the common good, and by contributing to the financial well-being of the church and her ministries.
We expect parishioners to pursue these core values:
Seek and Serve
Actively pursue a relationship with God and God’s people, discerning how God is calling you to learn, serve, pray, worship, and mature as a member of the Body of Christ.
Bring your full and true self and all your gifts to the work of the Kingdom of God.
Receive God’s grace and share God’s grace with others.
Become Connectedand Committed
Become regularly involved in at least a small group, formation, or service ministry. Provide financial support as a regular part of your life at St. David’s.
Seek God on the margins not just where it is safe. Expect God’s love to pull you to an uncomfortable place so you can grow and help the world grow.
Let people in your life know you are part of St. David’s by using car stickers, sharing sermons, social media posts, etc. Invite your friends to come to church with you.
Seek and Serve
Doug Bell, St. David’s Parishioner
As a parishioner of St. David’s, I have a mission to seek and find what God wants from me. While He wants me to love and accept one another, He also asks me to find those who feel excluded or discouraged. He asks me to live as Jesus lived, serving all whom he encountered who are facing difficult challenges. Jesus took care of the poor, the sick, the blind, the widow, and the stranger. Jesus gave us the second greatest commandment which is to Love your Neighbors.
Over the decades our parishioners have stepped up to this challenge in many ways. In 1924 St. David’s opened a medical clinic that became St. David’s Hospital. In the1960s St. David’s decided to stay in downtown – as the light on the hill – leading God’s kingdom however we could.
I have witnessed when the society around us changed we changed as well. We met our homeless neighbors and gave them love, respect, and hospitality. Now we provide social workers to help them solve their desperate problems of hunger and shelter. As a part of that effort, we invite them in for breakfast on Sunday mornings, and worship with them on Sunday afternoons.
When our society changes, we have changed too. When the LGBTQ community entered mainstream society, we did not condemn our brothers and sisters. We accepted them as full members of our congregation. and honored them in their walk with Jesus.
When one of us falls down the others pick them up. When someone needs help, we are there reaching out to that person. We strive to be humble and admit our mistakes. We are neither a social club seeking recognition and praise. Nor are we perfect. Thus, as we accept each other with respect and love, all people are welcomed at St. David’s.
We are all sinners. And our church is a hospital for sinners. So, if you are looking for perfect people, search elsewhere. We forgive each other for our transgressions. We mourn together when one of us has problems or faces sad life changes such as death of a loved one or fear of one’s own death. But we rejoice when happy times come into someone’s life such as birth, marriage, and love of any kind. I believe that God brought us together to be there for each other. We are a family of families whether one person or a dozen. We must always reach out to each other to Seek and Serve as Jesus has taught us.
May the peace of God that passes all understanding be with us on this journey of life.
Terri and John Orton, St. David’s Parishioners
We weren’t born Episcopals, but we got here as fast as we could! We are proud members of St. David’s for three-plus years now. We continue to be impressed by how many people we meet at St. David’s who are life-long Episcopalians, some even life-long members at St. David’s! We come from various church backgrounds ourselves which we are proud of, but none of those felt as perfectly matched to us as St. David’s.
So as relative newbies we still have that fresh Episcopalian smell about us – like a new car – and a fresh perspective on the many things that make St. David’s so great. In turn, we have helped advise prospective church members in Amy’s newcomer classes on our many church programs and offerings. Our menu is akin to a Cheesecake Factory menu – there are so many good options, you don’t know what to get!
In our case we have participated in New Members, Confirmation, Men’s Group, Movie Group, Ramp Builds, Service Days, Arbor Terrace, Stewardship, Ushering, Crossings, Finance Committee, and probably a few more that we are forgetting. The point is, there are many options for us all to participate.
And since we Episcopalians tend not to be evangelists, there are many opportunities to serve others who need a helping hand, as Jesus would have offered. We can all walk the walk that our Savior would have us walk through the many social outreach programs at St. David’s.
But the church doesn’t run on good intentions and good deeds alone. In order to further our mission of caring for each other, caring for others, and caring for our community, we need resources. Our Time and Talent are hugely valuable and needed! We also need Treasure as well to fund our Historic Church, our clergy, our staff, our programs, our community, and our future. Please support St. David’s financially as you are able. As Jesus said, “For Where Your Treasure Is, There Will Be Your Heart Also.”
Susan Driver, St. David’s Parishioner
St. David’s Church is in me … it’s in my brains, my heart, my hands, and my feet. It’s in every part of me. It’s even in my car. When I get in my car on Sunday mornings, I get a message about how long it will take me to drive to St. David’s. My car knows that’s where I go on Sunday mornings.
When I get in my car on Sunday mornings, I get a message about how long it will take me to drive to St. David’s. My car knows that’s where I go on Sunday mornings.
As wonderful as the Zoom meetings and online streamings have been during the coronavirus outbreak, I miss being at St. David’s.
I miss Juan’s warm welcome when I enter the church on Sunday mornings. I miss talking with Mary Ann and Todd and the other worshipers that sit near me during Sunday morning services. I miss the choir and beautiful music that so enhance our worship. I miss the cup of hot coffee and sitting next to old and new friends during Sunday morning formation classes. I miss the interesting conversations with Chris at the reception desk before Wednesday night dinners and Bible Studies. I miss Chef Ray and all the folks who serve at Café Divine.
But this “missing” has an upside. St. David’s is still here. We will start coming together again. And we’ve never stopped being there for each other. I know I’m encountering Jesus in all of these experiences and in all of you. I praise God for his abundant love and blessings. Thanks be to God.
Become Connected and Committed
Art and Sandi Boone, St. David’s Parishioners
For many years we were a “drop in sometimes” person at our prior church, and that connection was tenuous at best. When we joined St. David’s and were presented with a red folder we could hardly keep the many groups straight, much less decide where we wanted to start connecting. But St. David’s takes welcoming to a new level and we felt connected within a short time.
We all know the difference between walking into a room of people you barely know, and walking into a gathering of friends. The difference is connection. It was when we finally made the effort to show up regularly that our connections built quickly and life at St. David’s became more meaningful.
As part of our life at St. David’s, we make an annual financial commitment. This commitment is an integral part of being a member of St. David’s for us. Supporting St. David’s ministries is a joyful statement of our faith. We are mindful that dedicating 10% of our income to God’s work is the historical Judeo-Christian guideline, and while we also support the work of other worthwhile organizations, we know that St. David’s changes and strengthens hearts, which is a necessary first step to all good works.
While we have many ministries we love at St. David’s, Art’s most cherished endeavor is building ramps for those in need with the ramp build team. Art’s back is usually sore but luckily he still has all his fingers after the ramp builds are completed. Art always looks forward to these monthly events because he knows his heart will be enriched. He particularly enjoys building ramps for people who need to simply get in and out of their homes. The ramp build teams are helping those outside our parish in a way that is immediate and tangible. This group activity embodies the power of group strength and spirit in a way none of us could do alone. Members regularly invite friends from outside St. David’s to work alongside us, so Art gets to deepen his relationship with those on the ramp build team, meet new people, and literally embody God’s love.
Sandi is the current chair of the Stewardship Committee and every day she gives thanks for the generous spirit of so many members, and the responsible financial management and long-term planning of our professional and lay leaders.
Our connections at St. David’s have led to friendships and support and still lead to rewarding experiences and shared insight. We will always be glancing at name tags, as we struggle with remembering names, but being with the men’s and women’s group, movie group, and even showing up to a committee meeting, is a joyful experience.
Joy and Ben Philpott, St. David’s Parishioners
Church can be part of the bubble in which someone lives; from work to home to church one can remain in that circle. Even in a downtown church it is possible to maintain the bubble; at St. David’s the bubble is dissolved.
We were drawn to St. David’s because of the way the church uses its location to engage the boundary with neighbors who are experiencing homelessness. Promises of the baptismal covenant — “to seek and serve Christ in all persons … to strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being” — are inherent to the life of St. David’s.
We saw this initially in that Trinity Center is physically part of the church, but our neighbors are welcome beyond the walls of Trinity to meals in Sumners Hall and into worship spaces just like our neighbors in the new high-rise condos. Through the leadership of Ted and Anne Clark, the church embraced Karen refugees from Burma/Myanmar. This welcome can push comfort zones of those who live more secure and affluent lives, AND it expands the world view of all. There are many churches who say “all are welcome,” but being a church who truly sees and works to ensure that all are welcome helps us live into our baptismal vows.
We are called not just to welcome those who come to us, but to go and seek those from whom we may learn more of God through relationship and service. Each week, after gathering together for the Eucharist, we asked God to “send us out to do the work you have given us to do, to love and serve you as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord.” St David’s parishioners have done this as far away as Malawi through Warm Heart International and as close to home as South Congress with Laundry Love. We’ve been fortunate in the past year to be part of groups that have traveled to Brownsville and across the border into Matamoros to support Team Brownsville in serving food and a bit of education to asylum seekers in the refugee camp just across an international boundary. In these spaces, close to home or far away, when we engage social, economic, and political boundaries—all erected by humans—when we work to dissolve those barriers, we come closer to the kingdom of God.
In engaging the boundaries, we may encounter what ancient Celts would have termed a “thin space,” a place where earth and heaven are drawn closer together. While we may tend to think of those spaces as being a geographic places, they can also be temporal spaces, moments in time when we draw closer to God through engaging and dissolving the barriers erected between humans. In the raucous hullabaloo of the Trinity Center Christmas party one year, someone looked around and declared “This is exactly what the kingdom of God looks like.” What a gift to be members of a parish that facilitates celebrations of the kingdom of God within and beyond its walls.
Misty and Eric Malnassy, St. David’s Parishioners
Misty and I feel so grateful and so blessed to be part of the St. David’s Church community. We were married here in 2004 by the Rev. Todd Fitzgerald, with whom I served on the Young Adults Leadership Team way back in the 90s! Since our wedding, Misty and I have grown on our spiritual journey in many ways in this wonderful parish. This has taken various forms – from serving as ushers, to volunteering with Bridge Builders, to decorating and wrapping gifts for our Trinity Center neighbors’ annual Christmas Party.
As parishioners, we both feel called to share our experiences at St. David’s with others. There are lots of fun ways we do this. Misty is the social media maven in our household. She enjoys sending Facebook posts to family and friends about events and happenings at church. Last year, we took “Flat St. David” on our summer travels (back in the pre-COVID days when folks did that sort of thing). She took pictures of him at our various stops and posted them. On one of those trips, we visited Johnson Space Center for the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing. Folks there asked us about why we were taking the photo, and we were able to tell them all about St. David’s. I’ve also sent links for online worship and for The Abbey to my family. So now we have visitors from Southeast Texas and Louisiana joining our Sunday worship and exploring new ways to engage in spiritual living!
Other everyday ways we share is by displaying stickers on our cars, inviting friends to church, and just being willing and open to talking about our experiences. Misty and I love St. David’s, and are so thankful for all the gifts we’ve received here. One way we manifest that gratitude is through sharing. We invite and encourage everyone in the parish community to share their experiences as well. It’s a great way to spread the Good News, and to shine our light from a hilltop in Austin out into God’s world!