by Andrea Meier
Parishioners Rebecca Pinckney and her husband, Sean, are relatively new to St. John the Divine. In their short time here, they have become involved in several ministries, from the SJD Chorale to young adults to the Associate Vestry, and Rebecca spearheaded the new Service Saturday events that began earlier this year.
Rebecca and Sean relocated to Houston in November 2021. While looking for a church home close by, they decided to try out St. John the Divine. Rebecca recalls being “floored” by the music at the first service they attended in the church. Experiencing the music on Sundays was one of the main reasons she and Sean decided to make St. John the Divine their church home. Rebecca joined the Chorale as a soprano. “I grew up leading worship music and have always been involved in church music”, she says, “so the music program and the welcome of the SJD Chorale was very formative in our decision to stay.” Rebecca and Sean also became very involved in St. John the Divine’s young adult ministry. Rebecca recalls that connecting to this ministry allowed them to meet new friends in Houston. “We feel now that some of our best friends in Houston are here (at SJD).”
After settling into life at St. John the Divine, Rebecca felt a call to dig into the community and make an impact. Past service experiences fueled her initiative. “I was really involved in serving almost every Saturday at a food kitchen and ESL program in New York,” she recalls. “I served all through the pandemic even when we couldn’t go to church. So really, service was my church for years in New York. When I came to Houston, it just felt natural to find a community to serve with. And I noticed that there were not many opportunities to serve outside of weekday working days at St. John the Divine.”
Rebecca’s passion for serving was harnessed through the Find Your Purpose class led by parishioners Andy Breckwoldt and Tony Mayer. “That class was incredibly impactful for me because it helped remind and highlight for me the different skill sets that I have and how I might bring them to the church community. I just really felt called to organize these service projects with the church.” Her participation in this class led her to create Service Saturdays earlier this year.
So far, Rebecca has organized six Service Saturday events, empowering St. John the Divine parishioners to serve organizations such as A Lighted Path, Bread of Life, and The Center for Pursuit, with more monthly events coming this fall. She hopes that both parishioners and neighbors will discover how St. John the Divine is embedded in and integral to our local community through these projects. “My goal is for St. John the Divine to really feel that connection to community and catch the bug of making an impact because I think that’s very powerful.”
These community connections have already resulted in newly formed relationships. “In the case of A Lighted Path, one of our Service Saturday projects was to clean up the campus for our Adults in Training at DePelchin and have a BBQ with them,” Rebecca notes. “Since then, we have gone back. We’ve helped an Adult in Training move to her new apartment, and we’ve done a vision board workshop for the Adults in Training group. Those aren’t official Service Saturdays, but a broadening of a relationship that Service Saturdays started.”
Service Saturdays continue to be an opportunity for anyone in the church to serve at different organizations once a month. Rebecca hopes that volunteers find ways to build relationships not just with each other, but with the people and places they are serving. “We hope that the Service Saturdays are an appetizer for the entrée of entering into community.”
Sign up to serve on one of our upcoming Service Saturdays:
October 21, 11 am - 2 pm: Work alongside A Lighted Path's Adults in Training to help set up for Oktober on the Boulevard on the SJD campus
November 11, 9 am - 1 pm: Agape Development Ministries work day
December 9, 12 pm - 1 pm: Distribute gifts and holiday cheer with the Christian Community Service Center Jingle Bell Express