Canon Maria Tjeltveit
Church of the Mediator
A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God,
was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira
and a dealer in purple cloth.
The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul.
Two females are the focus of Acts 16:11-18,as Paul and his companions go into Macedonia, to the city of Philippi. One is Lydia, a business woman who eagerly hears Paul and is baptized along with her whole household. The other is an un-named slave girl, who has a spirit of divination through which her owners make money. She continually cries out that Paul and his companions are “slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation” (Acts 16:17). Paul finally drives the evil spirit out of her, which lands Paul and Silas in jail, since the girl’s owners are unhappy about losing their source of income. A miraculous release from prison ends in the jailer and his household being baptized as well (Acts 16:19-40).
Among the newer churches in our diocese are two named for women: St. Anne’s, Trexlertown, and St. Brigid’s, Nazareth. Both churches include programs for and with women and children among their varied ministries.
St. Anne’s was started in 1966, and met in the Grange Hall for over a decade before building a church at its present location. The church is named for the mother of Mary, who was the mother of Jesus. Ministry with children and youth is an important part of their life, and they are known in the community for their Nursery School and Vacation Bible School (or Discovery Camp). A recent outreach project was providing equipment so that women prisoners could record bedtime stories that could be played to their children at home. Currently, their Confirmation class is helping organize Baby Bottles for Mary’s Shelter, filling baby bottles with coins to help women with newborns who lack adequate housing.
St. Brigid’s, the newest parish in the diocese, began meeting in the basement of a bank in 1996. The church was named for St. Brigid, a nun and one of Ireland’s patron saints, in honor of Meath and Kildare, our companion diocese at the time. In 1998 the congregation moved into a former Methodist church, which was consecrated the following year. Unlike some of our parishes, a third of St. Brigid’s congregation is under the age of 18, so they are active in ministering with their children and youth. These young people lead by example, participating actively in worship and music, as well as outreach. They made blankets for Meals on Wheels, sold cookie mix jars at a Christmas Shoppe, and volunteer for the Miracle League, a baseball program for special needs children. The women of the church have a Women’s fellowship and support group. They are having a Women’s Retreat, “Irrepressible Hope,” this weekend.
A business woman, a slave, a grandmother, and a nun….
What women or children of faith have shaped your life?