St. Stephen’s community has become my 2nd family

I am Winifred Bellido or “Fred” to my friends. Since 2003 the St. Stephen’s community has become my 2nd family. The greatest gift that St. Stephen’s has given me is simply that I can be myself and express myself and feel wholly accepted. It’s a feeling that many of you feel too I know.

Another gift has been the amazing Presence Group of which I am a member. The group continues to help me to grow spiritually. Its effect on my life is immeasurable.

My giving history has varied widely over the years. Financially I am comfortable now, but it has not always been that way. In the 80s as a single parent with 4 children, I was just keeping my head above water. One unforgettable Easter the church my children and I were going to presented each of my children with beautiful Easter baskets with lots of candy eggs and stuff. My young kids were all a ga-ga. I was overwhelmed.

I have never forgotten that act of goodness. Ever since then I have found something to regularly give the church I belonged to. I consider both the gift of my time and of pledging money as part of my giving plan.

St. Stephen’s is a 2nd family for many of us and the 1st family for some. I accept my part of the responsibility of upkeep for my 2nd family’s dwelling.

I looked into the history of the building and read that two lots at the corner of West Alabama and Woodhead Streets were bought by the Diocese in 1924 for $6000, and in April 1928, St. Stephen’s parish was dedicated. The parish had a new building to use that year on the site.

Did you know you are still using that same building now? The 91-year-old structure that was built before air conditioning is hiding under the façade of the Gathering and Offices areas.

Dwight Wolf our Junior Warden in charge of building and grounds can tell you horror stories about leaking roofs and broken-down AC units, burst pipes, the need for making the church accessible, and it goes on and on.

When I was an Office Angel sitting at the reception desk, I could hear the students in the classroom above me jumping about and I worried that they would come through the ceiling. It sounded like they would the way the old floor trembled and groaned.

The 91-year-old building is worn out. We are the stewards of all we survey here. It’s important that we stewards not wait any longer, but rather gather the money to build anew.

So, I pledge three times now.

First, my time, I volunteer for the church,

Second, my annual pledge and

Third, my pledge to the Capital Campaign.

I found money for the Capital Campaign in the funds the government insists I take a percentage from yearly.

I urge you to consider, to examine your time and your finances, to see how you can help your St. Stephen’s home renew itself.

Thank you.