As a student of history, I marvel at the series of fortuitous events that led to the founding of Church of Our Saviour in 1867. New Englander Frances Jones Vinton dreamed of establishing three houses of worship,
which came to fruition in Providence, Rhode Island; in Clermont, Iowa; and here in San Gabriel. Although she was destined never to visit this place, she forged ahead and gave us this remarkable gift we affectionately call COS.
Debbie and I first visited Church of Our Saviour in the mid-1970s but did not officially become members until 1983. The first time we came to COS with our two daughters was the Sunday that Brown Hall was dedicated. As we assembled on the crowded patio for the ceremony, I looked around and asked myself, What kind of people are these who would build such a beautiful building? The answer is, of course, a people with great faith in the future. Church of Our Saviour is a church, not of the past, but for the future. That is why I have focused so much of my time and energy on the Strategic Planning Task Force, working toward the future that God wants for us. Debbie and I are huge supporters of our rector Jeff Thornberg and his wife, Annie. Jeff’s vision for this church is a forward-looking one that will position our church as a flagship for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.
Now, as then, we are drawn here primarily because of the exceptional people we call our friends. Debbie will tell you that COS is a place where people share values and interests and are committed to sharing their gifts with the world. She succinctly sums it up by saying, “COS enriches your life.” In this fractious world, where else do you see people of different stripes coming together, praying, breaking bread, and learning and growing in the Christian life? Debbie and I offer our treasure because it sustains the church’s ministries and programs, and we offer our time and talents because Jesus clearly calls us to do our part in healing a hurting world.
Mrs. Vinton’s faith reminds me of a miracle story from Matthew’s Gospel (8:10). After remotely curing his servant, Jesus marvels at a centurion’s faith, saying, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.” Together, I believe our common values and great faith will ensure our future and bring exciting times ahead at COS.