Saint Francis of Assisi Episcopal Church

1 St. Francis Drive - Gulf Breeze, Florida 32561
From The Rector

The Rev.
Tim Backus

 …And this is exactly what our parish family did this past Sunday….

I couldn’t have been more proud of what I witnessed this past Sunday following the service. And because of the importance of that experience, what was originally intended for this edition of the Messenger changed. What happened on Sunday here at St. Francis was much more important. And the way we responded as a parish was even more significant. The words from the 25th chapter of the Gospel of Matthew were placed into action. And as Christians, what was provided on Sunday is exactly what Jesus calls us to do:

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” Matthew 25:35-36 

Following the service, we had a family of four appear outside our church walls who were in need. Did they attend the service? No. Were they interested in learning more about the Episcopal Church? No. Were they visitors looking for a parish home? No. 

None of that mattered to the members of our parish community and none of these were prerequisites for reaching out to help this family during their time of need. Instead of brushing away this family, you brought them in. You fed them during coffee hour. They were thirsty, and you provided them with beverages to drink. And more than anything else, they were truly welcomed into Christ’s home here at St. Francis. 

There is a substantial difference when it comes to giving to a stranger in need and welcoming a stranger in need. Countless parishioners introduced themselves and visited with Laura, Laudi, Ronaldo and Ronaldindo. Not out of obligation, but out of the heart. Parishioners who spoke Spanish spoke with them in their native tongue. Their children were introduced to other children. Their stories were shared and many of our stories were shared in return. Christ’s presence was made known to the Nicolae family through your hospitality. This family was warmly welcomed by St. Francis. Not as strangers, but as friends. 

With the love of Christ,