For the past few months, the Holy Spirit vestry has been in conversation with some wonderful members of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Livingston. Since 1955, St. Peter's has run a Thrift Shop to serve the needs of the community. The Thrift Shop is a thriving, profitable, well-run ministry that has been a labor of love for St. Peter's and a service to those in the surrounding area.
Unfortunately, faced with declining membership, the vestry of St. Peter's made the difficult decision earlier this year to close the church, which of course left the future of the Thrift Shop in question. As a result, Ruth Portela and Cynthia Brady from St. Peter's began to look for a potential partner so that the Thrift Shop could continue operations. After much dialogue and a few visits to the Thrift Shop, I'm excited to announce that we have agreed to a partnership.
The people of St. Peter's have always considered the Thrift Shop to be a ministry, not just a fundraiser. As such, rather than setting up an independent not-for-profit, they would prefer to be affiliated with a congregation. The agreement will be in effect for the remainder of 2021, at which time St. Peter's property ownership passes to the trustees of the Diocese of Newark. At that point, we will revisit the agreement with prayers that the Thrift Shop's ministry can continue in the location it's been in for so many years.
It is important to emphasize that the Thrift Shop is self-sufficient and profitable, so we are not providing financial support. We will establish a separate bank account for the Thrift Shop, much as we have for the Food Pantry, to manage the incoming funds and outgoing expenses.
This partnership is exciting for several reasons. First, after meeting and talking with Ruth, Cynthia, and other people involved in the Thrift Shop, we became convinced that we were called to work together. Under the agreement, any profits from the Thrift Shop will go to outreach projects, which expands our opportunities to serve others. There's a natural synergy for our Food Pantry shoppers as well. And finally, it gives us joy to be able to help dedicated people continue a ministry that has lasted nearly 70 years.
We or members of the vestry would be happy to share further details of the agreement with you. Please be assured that the vestry had in-depth conversations over several meetings to ensure that all our questions were answered.
There are a few things we ask of our congregation as we begin this partnership. This past Saturday, Nov. 6, Bishop Hughes celebrated the final service at St. Peter's. Father Jerry, Randy, Deacon Katherine, John Rollo, Jane and Yolanda were in attendance to support the members of St. Peter's, and Sung-Hae played the organ for the service. We ask your continued prayers for the people of St. Peter's Livingston during this difficult time of transition.
Second, we encourage you to visit the Thrift Shop website to learn more about the operation. And of course, if you'd like to check out the Thrift Shop while it's open (most Tuesdays from 10 am - 2 pm), please do, and introduce yourself!
Jerry, Patti, and Jane
P.S. The Thrift Shop welcomes donations, too!