Foundry Lives the Prayer of St. Francis

A Faith Community to Entrust My Daughter To

Ling-Stephanie-hotelGood morning. Ever since high school I have used the Prayer of St. Francis in my prayer routine. For more than 40 years, it has woven itself into the fibers of my life. It's a reminder when I feel stressed, a respite when I feel anxious, and a form of "right sizing" when I become a little too full of myself. I pray "Lord grant that I may seek to comfort, rather than to be comforted; to understand, than to be understood; to love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds..." I often think of those words as I recall what first attracted me to Foundry.

While making the rounds of churches to find our new "home" church, we came to Foundry. Once we visited Foundry in our search for a new "home" church, the search was over. We had come home. I heard dialogue and saw the actions of a community serving the homeless, assisting those seeking identification, standing up for the disenfranchised, visiting the elderly and ill. I bore witness to individuals living in faith, as a community and as a family. I witnessed ongoing, tireless advocacy on LGBT issues. I witnessed a community that embraced all who came through these doors, acknowledging that we are made in God's image. Predicated on that core belief, all here are shown dignity, love, respect and inclusion.

You see everything about Foundry is the Prayer of St Francis in action. You invited me to stretch, to get out of myself by serving on committees, engaging with the youth groups, volunteering for the great days of service and participating in special programs. Sermons, guest preachers, speaker and film programs, and the sisterhood of the women's retreat poked dormant parts of my mind and spirit. They awakened a thirst to engage and to belong once again to a faith community. They made me want to dust off the spiritual "books" put on the shelves while journeying as a new parent, and consumed with acclimating to a new city, a new job.

Most importantly you became the faith community I could entrust my daughter with. You were caring and loving. I could stand back as Ling sought input from other adults in this community. You provided your message—many times the same message, but through a different messenger. You walked in her life as confirmation sponsor, youth group leader, choir director, parents of other youth, and interested and caring Foundry members.

You are Foundry. I am Foundry. We often speak of Foundry's activities and programs as "mission work" that we are doing for people "out there." The reality is Foundry's works of faith with youth and on behalf of LGBT inclusion has touched our family very deeply. It has moved me to tears. Foundry is the first church that has affirmed me as a person, made in God's image. It is the first church where I was not told to pray harder about my "lifestyle choice," or told that I was an abomination, or someone broken, or spiritually lost. By affirming me, for who I am, you have affirmed me as a person and a mother.

You affirm all children and families of LGBT adults, who are whole and complete parents here. At Foundry, Ling is like any other young teenager dealing with her mother. Foundry is the affirmation, maybe the only refuge from a world of anti-gay rhetoric for children of LGBT people. Foundry provides the affirmation and acceptance that children of LGBT parents don't hear in their schools and sadly don't experience in their extended families. You and our church family are the surrogate cousins, siblings, aunts, uncles and grandparents for children of LGBT parents.

You are Foundry. I am Foundry. Together we are Loving. Serving. Giving. In the community, in the lives of Foundry members, and in the life that Ling and I share with you. Please join my family in financially supporting this wonderful church that nurtures its members of all ages. 

Stephanie O'Donoghue

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