Around the Episcopal Church in Minnesota, St. James in Marshall is known as a church that is "small but mighty." Although we only average about 10 members at worship every Sunday, we are active in the larger church and especially in contributing to mission efforts both globally and locally.
Our most recent effort has been the NetsforLifeCampaign. In partnership with Episcopal Relief & Development, St. James joined with the other Episcopal churches in Minnesota in a commitment purchase the equivalent of one mosquito net per Episcopalian in Minnesota. These nets will be used to prevent malaria in sub-Saharan Africa where 3,000 children a day die from mosquito-borne malaria, and the simple act of sleeping with a net can save lives. Each $12 net can protect three people for up to 5 years. St. James has raised $360 which purchased enough nets to help protect 90 people.
This project joins our ongoing efforts with Rwanda Reads, the community center in the Mhunga District of Rwanda that we began our involvement with in 2007. So far St. James' contributions to our project there have helped complete the center and supply it with books, sewing machines and supplies that help community members reclaim and rebuild their lives after surviving the genocide.
St. James reaches out not only globally but locally. We have an ongoing collection for the local food shelf, which one of our members delivers monthly, and next week we will have the opportunity to hear from Ken Noyes from the Refuge about how we can participate as a congregation in helping the homeless in our own community.
In addition to acting congregationally, our individual members contribute in various ways to improve the lives and welfare of those "at the margins" both here and in the larger world. When we are baptized we make some promises including "seeking to serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as ourselves" and "striving for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being," and "with God's help" the people of St. James Marshall are carrying these out.