A Ministry of Small Moments
In the following piece, Fr. Mike Jones writes about St. John’s response to recent flooding in Whitesboro, NY.
Some disasters are hard edged. There are 1800 households in Whitesboro, a suburb of Utica. The flood of July 1st was only a calamity for fifty of them.
Ministry began when a stranger handed a hundred dollar bill to the granddaughter of a St. John’s parishioner. She used it to buy muck boots to clean their home that ended up being condemned. It was a rental, but nothing put out to dry was salvageable.
St. John’s Discretionary Fund gave the family $300 and the Red Cross added to that.
Since you CAN have too many sheets and towels we gave them used linens. One of the children had lost all his toys so we bought him a Spider-Man figure, t-shirts and Spidy paper plates.
Rev. Bev and I offered a small ministry of presence.
Then somebody invited the family for a free meal at our monthly spaghetti dinner. With the smallest encouragement the idea bloomed. All flood victims were invited for comfort and food. Parishioners handed out flyers to anyone they could find. Extra meals were prepared.
We put out big boxes of crayons and thick coloring books for children. We placed a bowl of different candies so that people might smile at having choices again.
We knew some of the flood victims and others were distinctly damp. They refused to accept the free meal and were happy to pay.
Jesus told the Apostles to become fishers of men, and so they dragged the ocean for countless souls. Today ministry seems to use a bamboo pole, a hook and a worm.
But the Great Comission is still obeyed. Many people live out their love for many others.
It is a ministry of small moments.
Michael S. Jones
Parish Priest at St. John’s, Whitesboro
Fr. Mike and Dcn. Bev Jones are trained in disaster response. Between them they have ministered following three hurricanes, two tornadoes and two floods.