Shining moments: ‘Just like us!’

For years, as I drove into the chapel parking lot here in Orlando, Fla., I would glance over at the church next door and see members of St. Matthew's Episcopal Church as they parked their cars and entered their own sanctuary. After being called as the ward home, family and personal enrichment leader, I knew that one of the first things on the agenda would be to meet and make friends with those women who had been our neighbors for so many years.

Summoning up my courage, I stopped at St. Matthew's Church office one day. The secretary there, Mary, was more than a little surprised when I introduced myself and told her of our desire to meet and perhaps be of service. As we talked, I was surprised to learn that their ladies group met the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. for dinner — the exact time of our home, family and personal enrichment meetings.

Mary promised she would give my name and phone number to Jennifer, who coordinated these dinners, and as I left the building I could hardly contain my joy at the prospect.

After several delightful phone conversations with Jennifer, the dream was realized. On Tuesday, July 12, 2005, at 7 p.m., the women from these two groups met together for an evening of food and fellowship. We enjoyed a lovely dinner together. How pleased we were to see that there was no clannish behavior on the part of either group. Everywhere you looked in that fellowship hall there were LDS women and Episcopal women sitting next to one another and talking, smiling and laughing. During the evening, comments were heard such as, "They're just like us!" and, "When can we do this again?"

Toward the end of the evening, we learned of two upcoming service projects our new friends were working on — gathering school supplies for local children in need and a blood bank drive. We received permission from our priesthood leaders to participate and look forward to an Easter service project. — Jenny Hawkins, University Park Ward, Orlando Florida Stake