Giving to ST. JOHN’S LAFAYETTE
The 2019 Annual Giving Campaign
Stewardship Talk #4
Given by Lloyd & Steve Brewer
4 November 2018
Steve I’m Steve Brewer. I came to St. John’s in 1992. It was a long path to get here: from The Churches of God of North America, to the Presbyterian, Methodist and Episcopal churches. I’ve been married twice and both of my wives have come from the Episcopal Church. I love and respect the openness and non-judgmental nature of our Episcopal Church. Our wonderful music program is particularly meaningful to me. I also love the weekly birthday Blessings.
Lloyd I’m Lloyd Brewer, a lifelong Episcopalian. My father left a successful business career to become an Episcopal priest when I was in Jr High. I have attended St John’s since I moved here over 20 years ago. As a single woman I found it easy to be involved and welcomed into the St John’s family.
Steve St. John’s can help shape wonderful Life Stories through both Sorrows and Joys. After happily attending here for 8 years, my first wife, Betsy, died in 2000. We had a beautiful memorial service for her. St John’s was incredibly supportive, caring and generous. Later, over a dinner, Jon and Betty Amy, who had both lost a spouse, helped me see that things could get better. I felt their “transforming generosity”.
In 2002 I promised my concerned mother that I would try to be more social and decided to start by dating a woman named Lloyd with whom I had served on the Vestry. She turned out to be a perfect fit for me. I never looked back and still have vivid memories of this congregation’s ebullient response of Joy for Lloyd and me. The congregation was just as much a part of my life in this joy as it had been in my sadness for loss of Betsy.
Lloyd It was very meaningful to us that so many of you were able to accept our invitation to our wedding and celebrate with us.
Church is a rare organization that has no requirement for membership, financial or otherwise. My parents always made their church pledge a place of priority even on a tight budget, so an annual pledge has always been a part of my life. We give because St John’s means so much to us as a place to experience God’s presence and grow in Faith with our community.
There are many opportunities as meaningful as a pledge for participation in St. John’s and I find that what may seem an intimidating commitment often offers unexpected rewards. For example: Many of you have mentioned how much you enjoy coffee hour – a place to visit friends and welcome newcomers. You could host once a year or just help a host clean up. I enjoy hosting but 16 years ago I helped my friend Caryl Matthews clean up after she hosted. As I left church that day Steve Brewer asked me to join him for lunch. The rest, as they say, is history. Unexpected rewards. Just sayin’.
Steve Getting our church picture taken last week reminded me that four years ago, just after the prior church picture was taken, I was diagnosed with brain cancer. Initially, I had very little hope for my future. My beloved wife pulled me through that dark time and we began to research options for treatment. Some wonderful medical research by my sister led us to Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City where I endured a new strong chemotherapy and was then ‘rescued' with a stem cell transplant. Our congregation once again was incredibly emotionally supportive, but also powerful and persistent in their prayers. I felt that strongly. Some things I particularly remember: One Spring morning after my transplant, Michael Bennett called us in the Hospital in New York and had the choir sing live over the phone “The Earth Adorned”, an anthem for Spring that is a favorite of mine. We also got a giant ‘get well’ card with signatures by many in the congregation and a welcome home banner on our door after six months away. All this support meant a great deal. And I can tell you, PRAYER WORKS!
Lloyd We received amazing support throughout the years that were - yes, at times - hell. I won’t list all the amazing acts of kindness lest I leave someone out. We wondered how people without a church family survive such an ordeal. Your prayers brought us through and at one point we had to talk Bradley out of jumping onto a plane to NYC when things took a downturn. He settled for FaceTime only when we could assure him Steve was improving and being released from ICU.
Steve St John’s is woven tightly into our lives in times of despair and joy. Lloyd and I hope to join with you in enabling St John’s to continue to be the rock on which we stand.