If you would have asked me 5 years ago where I'd think I would be today, I never would have said "living in intentional Christian community and working for a beautiful Anglo-Catholic Church in Center City Philadelphia." I was raised Roman Catholic, and while I am grateful for many elements of having been brought up in the Catholic tradition, I unfortunately never saw women in positions of leadership. The Catholic church's misgivings towards women was not only heart-breaking for me to witness, but it was enough for me to find myself no longer attending Mass while I was at university. My faith was still very present, but I had yet to find nourishment from a church community. Jump forward to now, and I find myself sitting in a meeting with the rector and assistant rector (two males), where they turn to me and ask for my input, suggestions, thoughts and genuinely value and appreciate them. The 14 year old Catholic Gabi is still amazed by this... To see how God can make the church the one place I no longer thought could be healing... turns out to be the very place where I have found healing. On most days, you will find me in the office working hard with our Verger, serving at the Altar for weekday Masses, teaching the little ones on Sunday, and baking bread on Saturdays with very cool people and feeding our food insecure neighbors in this beloved city of Philadelphia. I thank God every day for a roof over my head, for daily bread, for the wonderful life-long friendships I have made here, for the inspiring colleagues I get to work with, and for the opportunity to serve God and neighbor in love in this wonderful city of Philadelphia.
I often find that I have a hard time describing exactly what I do at Saint Mark's, because there's just so much. I think that the best way to break it down might be threefold: Worship, Outreach, and Community. With regards to worship, throughout the week I'm privileged to attend and lead the daily office, to serve at the low masses, and on Sunday's & Feast Days, to join in worshipping at the high altar as anything from a Subdeacon to a torchbearer. When not worshipping, I facilitate the church in its mission to reach out and serve those in need by managing the Food Cupboard, collaborating with the Soup Bowl team, and leading or assisting with the planning and executing of the other parish ministries to the needy. And lastly, I take part in the communal life of the church at coffee hour on Sunday, after school with the Boys & Girls Choir, with our children's christian formation classes, at dinner with the 20s/30s, and on a smaller scale, in the Rectory, at dinner, retreats, and all of the other small moments that make up life. All in all, I'd say it isn't half bad.