Mallory is 8 years old. She, her mom and her baby brother, Elijah, stayed overnight all last week at the Cathedral as part of the Family Promise Program.
After dinner on the first night Mallory was here, she visited our sanctuary. “Oh my gosh!” she said. “This is a castle!” She loved the fountain in Burwell Court. She made herself right at home in our kitchen and in Taliaferro Hall, helping our volunteers make salad for dinner, set the table and clean up afterwards.
She was a wonderful guest.
Isaac, another one of our guests, is 9 years old. He dreams of singing in the Jacksonville Children’s Chorus. Last Friday evening, he took in the concert at St. John’s by the River City Men’s Chorus. His eyes were wide with amazement as he listened. The next day, on a trip to the Museum of Science and History, he sat down to jam on one of the city’s colorful outdoor pianos just outside the entryway, and drew an appreciative crowd. “I taught myself how to play the piano,” he told me.
Isaac’s dad is blind, and his mom, who was recently in an accident, had to be hospitalized during our Family Promise week. Isaac is so responsible about helping them. He was also eager to help in the kitchen. He was delighted when 9-year-old Mitchell Donahoo from our parish came for dinner one night with his family. And he became fast friends with members of our youth group who provided supper on Wednesday night.
He was a wonderful guest.
Alyssa is 3 years old. She and her mom are new to the Family Promise program. The corner of the cathedral she liked the best she called “The Little Room,” a.k.a. the nursery. There she could play with toys and cuddle dollies. She loved dancing on the stage in Taliaferro Hall and making art and Play-Doh sculptures. She ate every bit of broccoli anyone served her.
She was a wonderful guest.
This program is a great help to the adults who get job counseling, educational direction and respite from financial stress while they move from church to church as participants. And in keeping these families from becoming homeless, Family Promise is an absolute lifesaver to their children.
And these children are an inspiration to us all.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our most recent Family Promise host week at St. John’s Cathedral. The generosity of our parish was phenomenal. I especially want to thank our cooks: Bill and Pat Chatfield, Jackie Uitti, Tommy and Jennifer Donahoo, Nicole Andrews, Liesl Gavronsky and the Youth Group, Cathy Guevarra, and Mark and Mary Anderson, Bill Dunford, Bill Fouraker and Donna Meyers-Perry (as well as Nancy Altman, who organized the youth group’s dinner).
Thanks also to those who spent the night in Ingram Lounge: Martha, Jim and Ryan Cox, Linda Martin, Bill Fouraker, Patricia Young, Mark and Mary Anderson, Bill Dunford and Espia Gatson. Thanks to Courtney Kreimer for helping gather diapers, paper goods, detergent and many other supplies before our guests arrived. Thanks to our sexton staff for their hard work.
And thanks to everyone who contributed groceries, linens and money to this project. We will be a Family Promise host church again in a few months and welcome the support of anyone who would like to donate or volunteer.
Theresa Johnson, Cathedral Executive