Celebrating a Small Victory

The Little Church with the Big Heart Celebrates a Small Victory

When “The little Church with the Big Heart”—as St. John’s Westphal is known in Dartmouth—was tasked with installing vinyl siding on its 170-year-old building, warden Jeff Rodgers anticipated that putting a stop to chilly drafts would lower heating costs and make the building feel better. “What I did not anticipate,” says Rodgers, “is how this project would help the congregation to feel better.”

Like so many churches across Canada, Covid-19 has impacted fellowship opportunities and left many at St. John’s feeling isolated and disconnected from one another. “We are a close group and genuinely enjoy spending time together,” says Rodgers, “this has been a very long and quiet time.”

Thankfully, the silence was broken in early January. “When the siding was done, that’s when the phones started to ring,” says Rodgers, “one parishioner had called another and said, ‘Have you seen the church?’” From phone to phone, that once-familiar warm feeling of connection began to spread. “Soon enough,” says Rodgers, “there were several paths in the snow where people had come to see the siding for themselves.”

Rodgers says everyone has been impressed by the quality of the materials, chosen to resemble the original siding. “We have not lost any of the character of our little church.” By far the greatest benefit, at least in the immediate term, has been “hearing the excitement in the voices of our parishioners as they talk about all the work and effort that had to come together to make this project work.”

Rodgers is grateful for the opportunity to celebrate this small victory for the parish in the midst of a global pandemic. “This project has been a revitalization event not just for our building but for the congregation too.”

In a recent letter to AFC, Rodgers wrote:

“The $10,000 grant from AFC has allowed us to complete our project…. Every year we have received a letter from AFC looking for a little money on behalf of other churches that need financial assistance for special projects. We have always sent a little, never knowing that one day it would be our turn to ask for help. We needed help and we asked, and AFC said Yes! From all of us here in Nova Scotia: Thank you!”

If you have ever received a grant from the Anglican Foundation, you know first-hand how the generosity of other Anglicans made it possible for you to reach a little further, to imagine more than you could have on your own. That’s the pay-it-forward energy at work. And it feels even better to give it than to receive it. That’s the greatest donor benefit of all!