“For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For in fact the body is not one member but many.” (1 Corinthians 12: 12, 14)
Shirley and I have found that saints abound within Holy Communion. This last year has been a challenge, for within two days of my retirement, we entered Methodist Hospital Germantown and resided there for upwards of a month. What began as the removal of Shirley’s gall bladder became an intestinal blockage, followed by an infection, ending with an operation in which the doctors found ovarian cancer. We didn’t see that one coming.
Immediately, the members of our church’s body went to work to provide food and spiritual sustenance that would bring us through eight chemotherapy treatments in eight months. Which members of this body provided these valuable nutrients of food and spirit?
The knitting ministry covered Shirley with prayer as she wore her prayer shawl in the hospital as well as at each chemo treatment. The Daughters of the King provided prayers every day when she wasn’t able to pray for herself. Shirley received 70-plus cards in the hospital and they continue to arrive daily. When she was too weak to even read, I would hold them up before her (a stack three to four inches high) and tell Shirley that people love you this much.
The Gailor Guild sent many of those cards, brought meals and prayed for Shirley. They offered to take her to appointments, treatments and do shopping for her. The Sunday Flower Ministry brought beautiful flowers from the altar that had been blessed and were shared by everyone at church that day. Pastoral Care ministered to us every week with calls, cards, meals and more. There were people upset because they couldn’t do more.
And the clergy. We can’t count the times that Randy, Sandy and Nancy O’Shea came to visit us in the hospital. They have continued to call, pray and ask what more the church could do. Sandy came directly after the Easter Vigil Service to the emergency room to pray for Shirley. He knew that Shirley was frightened and needed to be covered in the presence of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Last, but not least, the people, the saints of Holy Communion (the members of one body), were such loving and giving people, around the clock, inside and out of the hospital.
We are blessed beyond words to be members of Holy Communion. This journey has taught us how to be a blessing for others. The ministries of our church work through all kinds of unexpected events. Through our gifts of stewardship, Holy Communion may continue to sustain each member, the parish and the community, just as it did for Shirley and me.
Andy and Shirley Pouncey have been members of Holy Communion for approximately 20 years. Shirley is a retired kindergarten teacher, having taught 25 of those years at Riverdale Elementary in Germantown. Andy recently retired from the City of Germantown, where he served 11 of his 24 years as assistant city administrator, and the balance with the Department of Economic & Community Development. He currently is consulting as a planner and landscape architect, assisting developers who choose to bring their plans through the Germantown process for approval. They love their garden, traveling and spending time with friends.