• P. Isaac Quelly

Stewardship, 2019

Reflection given to The Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral on 11/17/2019.



Dean Judy asked to impart to you a few words about stewardship. I’ve been thinking about my “pitch” for a while– but as with most things – I procrastinated. But this time, It was because I couldn’t find the right words, but because I had too many. I’ll do my best to tell my stick to the 2-3 minutes…


I moved to Philadelphia from a small town 2 hours away with a population of only 15-hundred people, to attend Drexel as an undecided engineering student. This distance meant that, for the first time, I was without the support structure I had become reliant on for 18 years.


I visited the Cathedral for the first time with my Mom in November of 2015. Both of us being Acolytes at our home church, were astounded at the communal approach to worship in this sacred space. I saw people like Beth Hollingshead, Jane Kamp, and Gui Liem, stepping up to help clear the altar table when there was not enough hands, on what I would later learn was a community-based style for for lay-people to actively participate in the Eucharist. That day for us was a sign from God, for her and me, that I would be OK in this place.


That Sunday, or shortly thereafter, Ms Gerry Wilson gave me her contact card. She knew that, as a young college student, I might need someone to lean on. Dang was she right. In a time when I was trying to find my identity, to codify my new-found individuality, you all were here for me. I went through, and still do, go through bouts of stress, anxiety, and depression. But I opened myself up to you all, and to God, and said yes to almost every opportunity in this place. Serving you weekly, is one of the joys of my life. Even today, I ask myself “God, what did I do to deserve the joy, happiness, and love of this place and these people...


So here comes the “pitch”… As a college graduate of almost a month now, I well know that we are all in different places financially. But I ask that you look within your heart in order to reflect upon what blessings this place and God has provided to you, as well as what financial gifts that you may provide back. What that looks like is between you and the spirit, and I can attest to each one of us, that support looks different, or comes in different amounts. But I know that we all can agree that we all want this place to be around to welcome the next 18-year-old looking for a place to belong.

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