St. John's News

St. John’s Serving in the World

“I spent the biggest part of my life in the refugee camp back in Africa. I could not stay in my home country because of the wars.”

Those are the words of Ayamba Sungula, who was finally able to leave the poor conditions of a refugee camp – lack of education for his children, and poor food and water. He and his wife Ungaobe Asaku immigrated to America in 2015 after a five-year application process. They first moved to Florida, and then to Roanoke, more affordable for them and their 11 children. “I like it here – I like the kindness of people. I’m still fighting for my family to have a better life. I thank Habitat for Humanity for the fact that they are helping to build this dream of my family.”

This past season since Christmas, we’ve been exploring the ideas of Epiphany – God in the world, God for all peoples, the divine in the everyday, light, inspiration and doing the work of faith with and for our neighbors, close by and far away. We read prose and poetry, asked politicians questions, heard about Haiti. And while Epiphany transitions into Lent in just a few short days, our work in the world continues.

On February 24, we held another Rise Against Hunger event at St. John’s, packing over 17,000 meals to go to Haiti. On May 9, 10 and 11 we will collaborate with churches in the Roanoke area on another Habitat for Humanity Apostles’ Build – a six-bedroom house for Ayamba Sungula’s family. 

And we continue to work with Family Promise of Greater Roanoke and Congregations in Action – Gates DeHart will give a talk on their work on April 2, an ECW (Episcopal Church Women)-sponsored event that is open to everyone (including dinner – see our center spread to reserve your spot).

How can you practice Epiphany beyond Ash Wednesday? What is your call to work in the world? How can you practice incarnation? During this coming season of Lent, we invite you to take that journey of discernment.