My Saint Michael’s Story: Teri Quaranta

Posted by on Sun, Oct 14, 2018 in Giving

I grew up as a cradle Episcopalian. For as long as I can remember, which was when I was still in the nursery at Emmanuel Episcopal on Mercer Island, our family rarely missed a Sunday. My parents were well connected and both sang in the choir. I stopped going when Mike and I got married and moved to Portland, although I knew I intended to return once we had children because I felt it was an important part of their education.

I didn’t have a choice, growing up, as to whether I went to church. I remember being resentful of that and now, I get it. Kids, especially upper elementary and older, will most likely choose not to come because it involves some work; getting out of bed when you could be catching up on much needed sleep, being with others who aren’t your best friends, learning how God wants us to live, and God forbid – praying out loud! But if it weren’t for my parents, who believe me, made a lot of mistakes with the 5 of us, I don’t think I would have chosen to have a strong church connection as an adult.

Luckily, although I married a Catholic, he had no strong desire (other than a little Catholic guilt) to raise our kids in his church.

I came to St. Michael’s for the first time when our oldest son was still a baby. He just turned 25. That first Sunday the greeter literally took my hand and showed me around the entire property.  That day is imprinted in my mind forever. It is the symbolism of caring and family that has become what this St. Michael’s community stands for. I didn’t need to check out the other Episcopal churches in the area. I had found our church home.

Fast forward 5 years because truthfully with 3 kids under 5 I don’t remember those years anyway. I was quickly recruited to teach Sunday school. I don’t remember the exact year, but it was about 20 years ago. Several of those years my teaching assistant (my husband) was the comic relief in my classroom. So if I had your kids during those years, I am sorry! But the important thing is he understood it was important for our kids to know we all participate in church as a family. In that respect St. Michael’s has really bonded us together as a couple.

Now that the Sunday school years are over, St. Michael’s has a different importance in my life. I have been involved in a variety of ways here over the years since becoming a teacher:

  • Head of children’s ed for several years
  • Served a term on the vestry
  • Clerk of the vestry
  • Part of the Worship commission
  • Part of a discernment team for someone considering the priesthood
  • Planner and chaperone for the mission trip
  • Team leader for the Issaquah Meals Program

These were opportunities for growth that God placed in my path that I wouldn’t have sought out, and didn’t feel qualified to participate in or lead. I’m grateful that He knew what I needed to grow as a Christian and as a person, but I had to take the first step and say yes. I have gotten to know so many people through these opportunities. It is so true that the effort you put into something is so small in comparison to what you get out of it!

So I touched on personal growth but equally important is the support of this St. Michael’s congregation. When Daniel had his accident in January, we were literally held up at a time of complete crisis, by this family, by your prayers for him and our family. We felt indebted to our church for all of their prayers and support. We all witnessed a miracle. But that is one of the many benefits to belonging and investing in a church home.

—Teri Quaranta