My Saint Michael’s Story: Brad Jarocki

Posted by on Sun, Oct 13, 2019 in Giving

Hello everyone, my name is Brad Jarocki and I’ve been a member of St. Michael’s for the past 15 years.  I’m a lifelong Episcopalian, yes, there are still a few of us around.  I was asked to speak on how St. Michael’s has been part of my faith journey.  While I was tempted to talk about raising my 5 kids here and the great spiritual environment at St. Michael’s that I appreciated taking them to . . . I’m instead focusing on “me”.  Or rather not “me” but how St. Michael’s helped me focus on more than just what I needed.  How to serve.

That can be a rather difficult thought but what I mean is St. Michael’s gave me opportunities to serve.  And not necessarily to “serve” others but just to serve.  To Serve in ways that I have only found in a few places throughout my life.  St. Michael’s provides ample opportunities for me to focus on my spiritual needs.  I think about holy week and advent, which are just special times in the church year.  But serving is what brings God to life for me.

What does it mean to “serve”?  I looked in the dictionary for definitions and came up with things like “to be a servant” or “to act as a waiter”.  Those just didn’t seem to apply to the kind of serving I was thinking of.  I search for serving god and came up with words like selfless, good steward, humble . . . that’s more the serving I had in mind and reflected my feelings of service at St. Michael’s.

Back in 2013, St. Michael’s was asked to host a diocesan event called JYC, which was a multi-day retreat for middle school aged youth in the Olympia diocese.  It was the first time St. Michael’s was ever asked to host this kind of event because of the space required.  I was able to serve as one of the St. Michael’s coordinators.  While the agenda was driven by the Diocese, the bulk of the work was done by the volunteers from St. Michael’s.  Putting on an event like this for 100+ youth and staffers was a big undertaking. It included finding families to host the youth in their homes and planning, preparing and serving the food for the weekend.  It was amazing to see St. Michael’s come together to serve and be good stewards of this event.  Make no mistake about it, it was a lot of work.  But through all that prep meetings, food shopping trips (and yes, it did required using a Costco pallet) I only saw St. Michael’s members working hard to make it a special event for our youth.

Service comes in many forms.  For whatever reason, one of my favorite groups that serves St. Michael’s is the alter guild.  The behind the scenes work to prepare for each service as well as cleans up after fills my heart with joy.  Maybe it’s because I’m reminded of my mom or aunt who’ve served on their alter guilds in the past, but I literally look at the flowers on or around the alter on Sunday mornings and think about the hands that put them there.  Sacrifices of time and talent by the alter guild to make all of our time at St. Michael’s special.  You just never know what part of your service to St. Michael’s is going to have an impact on someone’s experience building their faith in Christ.

Serving and watching others from St. Michael’s serve brings strength to my faith journey.  I see selfless behavior throughout St. Michael’s.  It grounds me.  I’m grateful to have St. Michael’s in my life, to allow me to serve and to grow closer to Christ.