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St. Andrew's, now 95, dedicated to serve hungry

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Tracey Waring says church keeps mini food pantry stocked.

In 2022, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church celebrated 95 years of serving the Emerson-Garfield neighborhood of Spokane.

It also marked its ninth year of offering summer Stone Soup Café meals to children in West Central Spokane.

The church began when St. Michael's and St. Agnes Episcopal churches merged in June 1927. They chose to move the St. Michael's building to 2404 N. Howard. It was the size of a one-room schoolhouse. The former St. Agnes building on W. Cleveland is now St. Gregorios Orthodox Church.

This year, the congregation celebrated in June, the month the churches merged, and again on Oct. 9, the date their first permanent priest was installed.

St. Andrew's started with 60 members and grew to 150 in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1952, they built a new sanctuary and an education wing with an office and a chapel.

Tracey Waring, the church's parish administrator said that "being small, the church made improvements by recycling its stained-glass windows, altar rail, cross, a carpet and even priests."

• In 1952, it installed stained-glass windows from a church that was being torn down.

• In the late 1960s, when Woolworth's downtown was being torn down, a church member on the construction crew asked for the balcony rail. It became St. Andrew's altar rail.

• In 2010, after one of three break-ins that happened at the church from 2009 to 2011, the cross was stolen. An Episcopal Church in Pasco that shut down in 2010 gave St. Andrews their cross.

• In another of those break-ins, carpet in the guild room was taken. A member brought a carpet from her home.

"We have even 'recycled' our last three priests, because they came to us from other traditions and became Episcopal priests," Tracey said.

• Nolan Redman, who served from 2000 to 2008, was previously Christian Scientist.

• Margaret Fisher, who served from 2008 to 2016, was previously Methodist, and so was Jonathan Myers, who served from 2016 to 2022 and is now at West Central Abbey.

St. Andrew's is in the final stages of calling its next priest.

Tracey then told more about the church offering school children the Stone Soup Café for summer breakfasts and lunches with funds provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

They served more than 1,600 meals this summer at West Central Abbey, 1832 W. Dean.

St. Andrew's is near Garfield Elementary School, where 75 percent of the children qualify for free and reduced-price lunches. West Central Abbey is in the Holmes Elementary School area, where 100 percent of the children qualify for free and reduced-rate lunches.

"It is one of the poorest neighborhoods in the state," Tracey said.

The cost for food for the meals was sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane and the Kalispel Tribal Foundation.

Tracey, three youth  and member James Brown from the St Andrew's prepared the meals and sat at the tables with the children to converse.

"The church youth, who like to interact with the children, say they have gained different perspectives from getting to know these children," Tracey said.

Stone Soup Café served 20 to 30 lunches a day Mondays to Fridays.

A mother and daughter who love to bake provided baked goods for the meals. With the end of summer, they are now partnering with Volunteers of America of the Inland Northwest to provide home-baked goods for their shelters.

For the 18 months during COVID, the Stone Soup Café served 45,000 meals to homeless and hungry adults, as well as children. Funds were raised to support the meals for the adults.

In addition to the meals, St. Andrew's set up a mini food pantry outside their building in 2016. Caritas installed it. In it, church members place 200 pounds of food each week. A room near the front door stores food to keep the mini food pantry filled.

Before the pandemic, a member donated 500 books so the church could set up a mini library beside the mini pantry.

"Twenty of our 45 church members are involved in our ministries," Tracey said.

"My faith motivates me to serve," she said. "I believe in the Benedictine rule that we are to treat everyone who comes through the door as Christ, because everyone has value."

Tracey was baptized in an Episcopal church, but her mother sent her to Sunday school in Congregational, Non-Denominational and Salvation Army churches. While she came back to the Episcopal Church as an adult, she said the Salvation Army shaped her focus on helping others and her outlook on giving.

While she did not experience hunger growing up in Stamford, Conn., many in subsidized housing in her low-income neighborhood did.

"My mother believed that no matter how much food we had, there was always room for one more at the table," Tracey said. "A stone soup can always be stretched to provide for people experiencing hunger."

Her mother grew up in Okanogan near the Colville Confedersted reservation, where her grandfather worked with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Her parents met when her mother was working at Woolworth's. They married after the war and moved to Stamford where her father's family was. They lived there 16 years. Her mother wanted to buy her own home, but they couldn't afford one there, so they came west and lived in the Portland area for many years.

"I worked in various jobs from janitor to operations supervisor," said Tracey. "I wanted to go back to school and found a program at Eastern Washington University that gave credit for life experience."

She graduated and earned a master's degree in social work in 2010.

During her undergraduate studies in 2006 and 2007, she set up a Clothing Closet for people coming out of jail. First, it was based at St. Andrew's and then at Salem Lutheran.

As parish administrator, Tracey is responsible for day-to-day operations and for encouraging and supporting members to be involved in mission and outreach.

Tracey is also a member of The Fig Tree board.

For information, call 325-5252 or email office@standrewsspokane.org
 
Copyright@ The Fig Tree, November 2022