When was the last time you reached out to a family member, neighbor, friend, fellow parishioner, or a person in need? This is an invitation to be respectful, vulnerable, kind, compassionate, and loving.

The past couple of years have been filled with fear, isolation, separation, and shutting down from interactive relationships. The best solution, for me, has been to stop using a cell phone, limit my time on screens, and focus looking into the eyes, hearts, and souls of other humans. This has taken me out of my comfort zone and into a challenge that has strengthened my faith. This has given me an opportunity to deeper dimensions of relationship. We need one another. We can be nourished or depleted by fellow travelers on this journey called life. Life can get frightening when we become real, raw, and exposed. This can build us into more courageous followers, so we trust God and one another more intimately.

At Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Middleburg, Virginia, we offer one another the opportunity to grow in the universe of community. This is not easy, but it enriches and gives us abundant life.

I was encouraged to reflect on a new facet of my life a couple of years ago. Anita Bown asked me if I would accept the responsibility of chairing the annual gathering of Emmanuel’s Treasures. After prayer and consideration, I accepted. This event takes place in the Parish Hall, located next door to the church at 105 East Washington Street in Middleburg. This includes the collecting of donated quality items that are offered during the Middleburg Sidewalk Sale. The donors call and make an appointment (with me), donors bring donations to the Parish Hall, and receive Charitable Gifting papers for their accounting purposes. The donors know that these quality items will be put in the sale, and 100% of the proceeds go to Emmanuel Episcopal Church ministries. During the annual sale, folks are guests in the Parish Hall and can purchase quality items for reasonable prices. 

On August 5, 2021, dozens of people waited outside the front door of the Parish Hall for the opportunity to be the first to see and purchase the quality items on display. This allows volunteers to serve, love, be gracious, and show hospitality to our neighbors and friends. The best part is the warmth that our guests feel from the joy, fun, and laughter they experience being expressed in our community. God is breathed into our lives when we serve one another. It is incredible how a drive into the country, and this community of faith, can renew our spirit. The guests look forward to this event each year.

Many are to be thanked for the success that we received this year. Father Gene LeCouteur for putting up with the gathering, storing, and shifting of the donations year-round. Jill Winter, the Parish Secretary, for being a dear supportive friend during my craziness. Viviane Warren for being there to help me adjust, strengthen and align my armor as it shifted to and fro. The armor of God is taught in the book of Ephesians. It helps me to stay focused and know my position in the warfare of challenges that come daily. I respect Viviane’s steadiness, accountability, and wisdom during moments of this process. Tam Hayter for her assistance in pricing and sorting items, Norris Beavers, the church accountant, Kevin Daly for his strength and presence when I asked for help. The town police overseeing my early morning set up before opening, Boy Scouts Ryan and Jake Buttner, for their assistance with setting up. A special thank you to the wisdom and advice from Mrs. Motion and Geraldine Peace from Middleburg Tack Exchange, Linda and Roger Mason from The Antique Emporium, Paul at Aliloo Carpets, Karen Jackson and Darlene of Tully Rector, Punkin Lee for all her support during the sale, donors Pat and Brian Walker, Peggy and Daniel Kovacs, Dody Vier, Gerry Chittick, Mrs. Tiedeman, and to my many volunteers: Molly Wade, Alice Christenson, Annabelle Haney, June Thompson, Dale Thompson, Linda Platt, Alan Platt, Barbara Sharp, Pat Reilly, B.J. Farrey, Pam Stokes, Jeff Baldwin, Marlene Baldwin, Romey Curtis, John Denegre, Peggy Denegre, Andrew Kozak, Jane Kates, Ann Hillegas, Elizabeth Lopez and her daughter, Barbara Schultz, Althea Prins, Curtis Prins, Penny Schmitz, Casey Schmitz, Andy Weyer, Barbara Pirrone sweet Marsha Stine, Carley Bryan, Colleen Bryan, Linda Wine, and James Costello. Also, a shout out to Richard Danker, Janet Danker, and Tyler Curtis for all they did for me in a pinch and their donations…I will never forget those moments…I am grateful to those who step in at the last moment. Many donors are not named, but I am thankful for all you gave. 

There is one thank you that I must acknowledge. This is to my brother, Charles Krieger, for going above and beyond the call of duty with humility. He assisted me, behind the scenes, in ways that will never be forgotten. I could not have accomplished as much without his constant help and support. Family is very important, and I am blessed to have a grand family. Thank you, Jesus, for this blessing.

I look forward to the coming year’s possibilities and positive experiences for building deeper relationships in our community and beyond. This is an extraordinary community. May we share this joy!

When doubt swells up in my mind, I must have the strength to reach out, share my need for connection and vulnerability with others. I must invite my radiance to beam from the deepest parts of my inner being and shine on and share my insecurities with others….we all fall short of the glory of God, and, in a relationship, we can nourish and lift one another with encouragement and acceptance.

My life verse: Romans12:1-2- Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. 

Be of service to one another, and do not look for what you will receive but continue to serve and watch your life transform. Hasten to The One who listens. To Jesus be all the glory. Surrender all.

Over this coming year, if you find yourself in a mode of downsizing, clearing out a basement, attic, barn, or storage area…remember Emmanuel’s Treasures. Please make an appointment with me. Bring your items to the Parish Hall, receive Charitable Donation papers, and know that your gifting will go 100 % to ministries in the church. This is a win-win experience. Be part of this powerful blessing.

I am grateful to all who make this a memorable event…the donors, volunteers, purchasers, and most especially those who show the love of Jesus to one another without fear. I cannot list all those that made this happen. Thank you, God, for your grace and for giving us the desires of our hearts.

Christine Krieger Chair of Treasures at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Middleburg, Virginia.

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