February 13, 2012
Ascension Episcopal Parish
William Temple House Sunday Remarks

“Love is helping someone through their battles.” I wanted to offer an image which would capture your attention and believe this graphic from Charles Schultz does the trick. It illustrates last week’s sermon about service and today’s gospel reading from St. Mark about healing. This is the central mission of William Temple House: to restore hope and renew strength in individuals and families in a welcoming and respectful atmosphere.

Established in 1965 by Rev. Canon Clarence T. Abbott, William Temple House continues to offer a unique opportunity for Christian service in the Portland-Metro region. It is named after the Archbishop of Canterbury who served the poor from 1942-1944. If you have not visited recently, I encourage families, groups, and individuals to schedule a tour with our Executive Director, Allen Hunt. Observing initial client intake procedures in the lobby is heartwarming. Dignity is key. Social Services and Counseling Staff Directors and volunteers approach each new client with the Martin Buber I / Thou approach. In other words: “Your appointment with God is with the next person you meet. There holiness waits.” We serve the working poor with short term individualized plans of action, and client’s lives are transformed. Counselors, volunteers, and clients are invested in the process. Specific information about our services and volunteer opportunities are in today’s bulletin inserts. I will have additional handouts in the narthex (also known as the back of the church) after our service. Please check out the William Temple House website for further details. We also have a powerful 3½ minute video featuring Fr. Steve Norcross, Director of Pastoral Services, posted on our Facebook group webpage. Those who serve and those who are served benefit immeasurably at William Temple House. It is a sacred force for good.

We minister to the mind, body, and spirit of each client. During 2011 William Temple House fed more than 3,500 families through our food pantry. We are grateful for an alliance with the Oregon Food Bank. We also clothed more than 130 schoolchildren through our Children’s Clothing Closet. Each child received 5 new complete head-to-toe sets of clothes. For some, this was a first experience in receiving new clothes. With the expert leadership of our Clinical Director of Counseling, Dr. Susan Bettis, William Temple House counseled over 750 individuals and families. We also served over 60,000 customers at the William Temple House Thrift Store.

We are affiliated with Episcopal Diocese of Oregon and receive no government funding. Over 85 cents of every dollar is spent directly on client services. The prayer of St. Teresa of Avila expresses our proactive implementation of Father Abbott’s initial sacramental service vision: “Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion looks out on the world. Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good ... and yours are the hands with which he is to bless us now.”
Thank you.

Brad Mersereau
Board of Directors Secretary

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