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Farewell to the Coffee Hour Queen!

On Sunday, we formally—FINALLY—let Coffee Hour Queen Sandy Stumpf step down from her duties and hand them off to Lainey Johnston and Jennifer Pedersen!

We asked her a few questions on her way out. Scroll down for her reflections as the Coffee Hour Ministry Team Leader (a.k.a. Queen).

How long have you served on the Coffee Hour ministry?

The first thing that pops into my mind with this question is a precious memory from the late 1980's. Jim and I came to St. Luke's in the late 80's. I was still fairly new when the parish started planning their big 40th anniversary. It was also a larger congregation at that time. Plenty of people to choose from for jobs needing to be done. On one Sunday Betty Scheeden—founder of Gresham Hospital, Mt Hood College and St. Luke's Episcopal Church; it was her families property on which St. Luke's was built—comes over to me at Coffee Hour and says, "I think you should be in charge of the Sunday tea for the Anniversary." So I want you to understand that this was not an ask when it came from Betty. This meant, Okay, you are in charge of the tea. My jaw dropped. I looked around the room and felt myself silently screaming help. Help arrived as others surrounded me, laughed and told me, "We've got you," a phrase that became part of my life with St Luke's. From that time Jim and I have always been a part of the Coffee Hour crew.

What has been the most life-giving part of this ministry for you?

I have served in many ministries and committees at St. Luke's over my years here. My prime-time ministries have been Children's Education, Labyrinth Guild, and Coffee Hour. I am grateful for each of them.

There was a time around ten years ago when we could no longer sustain an organized Coffee Hour due to lack of volunteers. We let it go. I was the Sunday School Director, a greeter and also my father's caretaker at that time. I felt like I had enough to do. However, I was feeling such a disconnect in our parish. I couldn't let it go. I knew we were missing Coffee Hour. One Sunday Rev. Jennifer asked if anyone would take on reorganizing Coffee Hour. My hand shot up so quickly that I am sure Jim thought I was waving with gusto to someone in the parish. I truly felt called to take this on. I had thought this through. It was time to make some adjustments on my part. St Luke's needs this. It iwas not only a social time. The purpose of a Coffee Hour was real. Like the lyrics in the song, "You don't know what you got till it's gone." 

Coffee Hour is where we meet each other and truly learned what's going on in someone else's life. Are they in need? Do they have a special skill? What brought them to St. Luke's? Do they want to be the new coordinator for the Coffee Hour Ministry? People could sit and brainstorm ideas in mini-meetings. There is so much that goes on during this time. But my biggest thought was when the unexpected stranger came through the doors we could not only invite them for the service and Christ's Table in the sanctuary but we could also invite them to our "Other Table." So many ideas have spun together over the years at Coffee Hour.

Coffee Hour is a ministry. The purpose of Coffee Hour is real.

What has been your biggest challenge in this ministry?

Getting enough people to participate. When we started back having Coffee Hour I had a surprising number of volunteers. I had about 10 groups. We were still trying to sustain a weekly Coffee Hour. We simplified expectations of what was to be served. We started by trying to inspire the gratefulness of just having this opportunity to spend this time together. Judy and Sally were always there to back me up with support. Then COVID hit. No church, no Coffee Hour. We all followed Rev. Sara led with her brave heart through this no man's land of isolation. We were so fortunate. So we propped up our feet, did Sundays online, lit candles and had our own Coffee Hours at home. We had a few short weeks that we got to come back together, and this group jumped for joy. They were ready. Then another shut down. When we came back the next time some of our people had moved, others had illnesses and some said to me, "I just can't do it."

Reset time. Just keep the same dedication to the purpose. Change the Coffee Hour to twice a month. Stay welcoming. Bring people to the "Other Table." The last two years have been hardest to draw people to help with up with this ministry. You might not know that because the few are a dedicated bunch. But it is a joyous time together on the Sunday when we break bread at the "Other table."

Do I have advice for Lainey and Jennifer who are taking over this ministry?

Lainey has been doing Coffee Hour for a long time. Jennifer has partnered now with Lainey for the last year. They are a great duo. This is going to be a fun.


 It's in their hands. More importantly, I would like for people to really know what a simple thing it is to take turns being part of the ministry. There is nothing we do as simple as hosting Coffee Hour. St. Luke is your spiritual house in which to host. You don't have to clean it before company comes. I am so grateful that I had this time for this ministry at St. Luke. I feel that as member of St. Luke's Coffee Ministry that I grew within myself and my beliefs. This is what I want to feel with any ministry in which I participate.

What is next for you?

I'm not sure what is next for me. I would like to spend more time at our cabin in Maupin on the Deschutes River. I feel like the Spirit brought us there. 

We do attend the community church there some Sundays if we're are not online with St. Luke's. We enjoy the small Maupin community. Our home church remains St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Gresham. For now my time with St. Luke's is dedicated to helping others discovering their path on the labyrinth. It's a marvelous mystery. This church without walls always calls to my soul. I love helping others find what it can do for them. I have spent about 20 years listening, studying and loving my time with the labyrinth. That is another story in my life.


One last thing I like to say out loud occasionally:
Thank you for my neighbor, Vickie Ebberts for bringing us to St. Luke's so many years ago.

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