April 8, 2020

Dear St. Martin's Members,

This is a Holy Week, but it is a solemn week. When I woke Monday morning, the number of Americans who have succumbed to the COVID-19 virus topped 9,600. My dear bride, Laura said, "That would be the entire membership of St. Martin's." We certainly have plenty to dampen our spirits, but there is no question that Laura's observation put a startling reality on our current situation. What if, tomorrow, all the members of St. Martin's were taken away from us because of this virus?

Well, there are a lot of answers to that ominous question, but one answer is that so much good that happens in our community would also be taken away no doubt about it. The members of the St. Martins' family are a wonderful band of saints who make large dents in the darkness of the world we do that by our love, our prayers and our sacrificial giving of time, talent and resources. I know you good people are looking for something to "do" to make a tangible difference in the crisis before us. Toward that end, I encourage you to:

  • Continue to gather canned goods and similar dry food items and take them to the Christian Community Service Center (CCSC). Twice already, Laura has "hosted" a food drive on our street. Leaving her car in front of our home, she invites neighbors to bring donations and then she delivers them. This is a very easy thing to do and I encourage you to consider it.

  • Also, consider making a financial gift to St. Martin's above and beyond your regular giving to St. Martin's. Send a check or give on line to our COVID-19 Recovery Fund. After meeting with key members in our missions department, we have decided to divide gifts made to this fund among the Houston Food Bank, CCSC, The Beacon and Paty Children's Apparel Company. Every $1,500 that we give to Paty, Inc., will cover the cost of approximately 650 masks. I spoke with the CEO, Derrick Vellion, and he assured me that masks produced with our donations will be donated, not sold. So, please consider such a gift–and don't delay! We hope to make these funds available for these purposes as soon as possible. Yet please remember, this would be above and beyond your regular gifts to St. Martin's because we do need that support as well, perhaps now more than ever! Please note, your gift will be tax-deductible to the fullest amount allowed under the law.

Lastly, I am working with the Gulf Coast Blood Bank, at the suggestion of the Rev. Jonathan Adams, to see if we can host a Blood Drive here at St. Martin's in early May. If this works out and you are able, please be prepared to come and donate blood during this crucial time.

Thank you, friends. Let's keep being the St. Martin's we are called to be disciples who follow Jesus, and pray, love and serve as He would have us do.

The Rev. Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr.