The SMM Connection Team has started a program to help members get to know each other better. The program is called First Impressions: Connection Stories from St. Mary Magdalene.
Each month or so the Connection Team will interview different members of the congregation (new and veterans) to hear their impressions of our church. Today we meet the Costner family and Carrie Reeves.
When in search for a good thing--check Google. Walter Costner, an MD-General Surgeon and his wife Kara Costner, a Speech/Language Pathologist, were in search of a church home closer to Harrisonville, where they live. Church has always been important to them. Walter was raised Methodist and Kara, Lutheran. They decided that the Episcopal Church better fulfilled their needs. They were married in an Episcopal Church. After visiting several churches, Walter decided to go to the internet. That is where he came across St. Mary Mag. So in 2010 Walter, Kara, Ashley, Caitlyn, Madison and Ben became members of our parish. Why St. Mary Mag? They named three main areas: children's programs, quality of sermons and a good music program. They would definitely recommend the parish to other families.
Walter currently serves as a member of the vestry. Kara is involved with the children/youth ministries and if you want to see the whole family in action, check out the hall after the Sunday service. You will see them busily bustling around the BackSnack tables.
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Carrie Reeves says she heard about St. Mary Mag from her daughter-in-law just over a year ago. Prior to that, she had no idea SMM existed. Being a cradle Episcopalian, Carrie could not wait to visit the church. Upon arrival that first Sunday, Carrie was a little hesitant. The church was much bigger than she was used to and worried how she might be received. Now she says, "Despite its size, SMM feels small, family oriented, and warm". Carrie loves the sermons and after just two Sundays she transferred her membership from her home church in St. Louis as she had "found a new home".
When asked what keeps her coming back, she commented, "the people." Carrie feels everyone is accepting, kind, and generous with their love and time. "Deacon Peisha, offered to pick me up and take me to a small group meeting. Others picked me up on Sunday mornings and brought me to church when I did not have transportation. I have been visited in the hospital by Father Jason who brought me a prayer shawl made by the ladies in the church. I was even blessed with a scholarship to attend a wonderful retreat at Rivendell with many of our women at the church. Recently I broke my foot and have been unable to attend. Lay Eucharistic Ministers Mike Barnes and Cyndi Troyer brought the Eucharist to my home. I feel very blessed."
Carrie says she loves her church home and family. She also relates that she has seen much evidence in her personal life of her own growth and faith since attending SMM. Carrie has recently begun to serve on the cleaning ministry. She considers it her opportunity to serve the church that serves her.