Simple question, right? Several years ago, we asked our parishioners to tell us a story about their relationship with St. Andrew's. Here are some of those stories and why our parishioners call St. Andrew's there home:
These Boots Were Made for Walking
A little over 18 years ago I set out on my church shopping journey. In my heart I have always known that my theological hiking boots are Episcopalian. Though I wore mostly Catholic ones prior to getting married it is in these boots that that I am most comfortable treading my spiritual path. This path has not always been easy and there have been many times that I have wanted to hang up my boots altogether. Thankfully God led my family and me to the shelter of St. Andrew's, and it has turned into more of a spiritual home then simply a resting spot.
How I got here is a long and convoluted tale. "Why did I stay?" The answer is simple. was invited to coffee. I drank coffee and was made to feel welcome for who I am. Just as I am. I was invited to participate. I was asked what I thought, and I was asked "how are you", not just as a passing greeting, a real "how are you?". I stayed because I found people who are a family. St. Andrew's embodies a group of people who are authentic and care for each other and for those around.them. Over the years I have seen God's hand at work, in and through these people. The faces may have changed somewhat since I have been coming here, but one thing is for sure. this family knows that there is a God in heaven and a place at the table for all of God's children. All are truly welcome at St. Andrew's, and here you are fed well in both body and spirit. I am very blessed to have found this place.
One of my first memories of being here was at the instillation of. our then new rector, Gwendolyn-Jane Romeril. and a young girl. Emily Brown performing a spiritual dance down the aisle. Again there was dancing after the instillation of our current rector Scott Allen. I found out that this is a family that is not afraid to roll up its sleeves and help the community, particularly where food and hospitality are concerned, faithfully feeding Victory house and the homeless, voters and each other. After my second child was born food seemed to appear out of nowhere. The youth group helped with building a home for Habitat for Humanity. This is a hard working family. This church also raises an incredible amount of money for CROP Walk! I remember Bob Romeril and Charles Johns pulling my children in a wagon the entire length of the walk one year. The choir is small, but amazing! I sit in the back of the church and my ears are treated each Sunday to wonderful music. and occasionally also to Mitchell and Brown family harmonies. I have enjoyed watching Nate and Diane grow up while singing together each Christmas.
People here seem to meet you where you are in life. I remember Scott Moore taking a troubled youth under his arm and walking to a corner of the room during coffee hour and chatting with him for most of that time, after which the youth was clearly made to feel better. Children are seen and heard. St. Andrew's is very much like afamily and we don't always agree. But we don't let that stop us from talking out a problem and seeing it through to the other side. We have had our share of problems and difficulties, and if nothing else they have made us a stronger people who are not afraid to say "Yes, we can". Nothing is impossible with God! The shelter, the food pantry, Journey to Adulthood, Nursery School, numerous outreach programs are all a testament to that.
I didn't know all those years ago that stopping by this place would lead me to become the director of St. Andrew's Nursery School and the Sunday School. I had no idea that I would become so involved in a place that I thought I would simply be stopping in from time to time. I had no idea what a unique sort of family I had wandered into. I had no idea that these boots would lead me to a place that truly has become my spiritual home. Thank you God!
A Few Words about Our Beloved Choir
For twenty-something years I've been singing in the choir. I don't remember how it started, just that there were no auditions. The first choir directors I remember were Phyllis and Bill Theodore. We practiced in the choir room and we typically sang in unison at the church services. Father Jones was rector during that time.
After the Theodores retired to Florida Dr. Faith Ingles became director of music. She had a doctorate in music and a fondness for Ralph Vaughn Williams and John and Charles Wesley, about whom she wrote her doctoral dissertation. We sang in parts when there were enough of us and when they're weren't, she found music for young choirs that was easy to sing. We performed several musicals, her students had recitals at the church, and there were times when a children's choir sang. During the time when my mother was dying from cancer, I'd take the kids to stay with her on Thursday nights and go to practice. Although it was a very difficult time, singing and the regular visits to my mother during the week were good for all of us.
Faith worked with many priests during her time at St. Andrew's- Father Jones, The Rev. Kilmer Sites, Father Edd Schultz, The Very Reverend Robert D. Schenkel, The Rev. John Warden, and The Rev. Leslie Evans. After a fall in her home, and a summer spent in a coma, Faith recovered but was not able to continue as music director.
Evelyn Michaels heard about the need for a director of music at St. Andrew's through word-of-mouth and was hired by The Rev. Leslie Evans and she continues to serve in that capacity with our new rector, The Rev. T. Scott Allen. Evelyn has a special fondness for harmony and a contemporary style. She has nicknamed us "The Gumby Choir" because there have been times when we were so few, that we had to switch parts in order to achieve harmony - often quite a stretch for us. Patience, flexibility, and a sense of humor are essential for everyone in this group!
Throughout the years the choir has been a regularly scheduled connection with practice every Thursday night, another on Sunday morning, and additional practices for special times. We do have summers off and after practice we sometimes get together. We've enjoyed camaraderie at each other’s' homes and other events such as plays and musicals - Super Bowl Parties, Summer Picnics, Christmas Party/practices, and Paul has taken us sailing on his boat and tried to teach us how to sail. It's a pleasure to be with this group of folks who make a joyful noise!
St. Andrew's Episcopal Church
1900 Pennsylvania Ave.
Allentown, PA 18109-3187
The Rev. Dr. Gerard Gaeta OblSB
St. Andrew's office
10:30 AM on Sundays
Masks optional and CDC
Wednesday Study Group
Lively discussion and spark spritual growth on Wednesday mornings from 10:30 to noon in the downstairs Harry Large Common Room. We are currently exploring the book of Genesis. Please join us!
Ministers of the Parish
The Rt. Rev. Kevin Nichols
The Rev. Dr. Gerard Gaeta OblSB
Supply Priest (through 2023)
The Rev. Abraham Valaith
The Rev. Lane Perdue
Organist/ Choir Director
Finance Committee Chair
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