Meet St. Philip's, Durham
Since St. Philip’s shut its doors in mid-March due to the ambiguity of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has remained a church of worship, love and action for all people. While the pandemic has kept us apart for longer than anticipated, St. Philippians have kept in touch, leaning into new ways of worshiping and connecting. While the inability to gather in person has certainly presented challenges for many, it has also provided us with the opportunity to embrace technology in a way that is long overdue for St. Philip’s. We have experimented with offering prerecorded and livestreamed services across different platforms, as well as tested a variety of in-person offerings. It has been a season of trial and error, with the simple hope of wanting to remain connected in the best way we can.
Striving to make a difference in the Durham community, St. Philip’s continues to be an active reminder of God’s constant presence and the power of faith. When the COVID-19 pandemic began in early March, a few parishioners rallied together to make sandwiches to support our neighbors at Urban Ministries of Durham. What started as a small group of parishioners has grown into the “St. Philip’s Sandwich Brigade,” a weekly collection of sandwiches and other food items that are donated to UMD to help provide daily meals for those living at the shelter. As of the beginning of November, more than 8,500 sandwiches had been collected and distributed.
As the need at UMD continues, our volunteers have also started monthly food drives to help keep the food pantry stocked with necessary items. Additionally, we have continued our support of the Latino Education Achievement Partnership (LEAP) by helping with online tutoring, and we supported Durham Congregations, Associations, and Neighborhoods (Durham CAN) in their advocacy efforts for affordable housing.
While we said goodbye to both our rector and our associate rector this year, we welcomed the Rev. Stephen Mazingo as interim rector on All Saints’ Day. He and his family relocated to Durham from Florida in late October and are excited to be back in North Carolina. As we find ourselves in a season of transition and change, Stephen has been a key asset to St. Philip’s during this time. And with our newly appointed Rector Search Committee, we are excited to begin the search process of calling a new rector to St. Philip’s.
During the past few months of uncertainty, we have been grounded in the consistent reminder that God is present in all things. The spirit is on the move here at St. Philip’s, guiding us to embrace this season we find ourselves in and reminding us that this is no ordinary time.