If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a parish to support each other.
We had an example of that last Sunday when our priest Bambi (Rev. Bambi Willis) “took a sinking spell”, as we say in the South, as she was standing at the altar. She was unable to continue as she was beginning the communion service. The acolyte and the LEMs, recognizing what was happening, supported her to her chair and gently questioned her to discern the problem. A nurse and another trained medical person quickly went forward to assess the situation.
At least two parishioners hurried out to call 911 on their phones, after the nurse signaled to us that this was the prudent action. A Vestry member waited outside for the ambulance to arrive.
In the meantime, the congregation remained seated, unsure of what to do next, and I am quite certain many prayers were offered on Bambi’s behalf. At least one parishioner prayed fervently that we didn’t have to use our new AED (we didn’t). We dismissed the 8 o’clock service by saying the Lord’s Prayer together, clearing the sanctuary so the EMTs could do their work.
Two Vestry members flew to the phone and began calling priests, very mindful that a baptism was scheduled for the 9:15 service. David (Fr. David Casey) was already conducting a service at another church and didn’t answer his phone, which we guessed to be the case; he called us back at his earliest opportunity, as well as a few other times during the day to check on things. However, our hero Jere (Capt./Chaplain/Rev. Jere Hinson) did answer the phone, was thankfully in Fredericksburg this weekend (thank you, US Navy!) and hurried immediately to the church to conduct the 9:15 and the 11:00 services. So the service started at 9:30, the baptism went as scheduled (well, almost on schedule) and her family and friends were received warmly at the reception afterwards.
We alerted the two Vestry members on duty at the 9:15 and 11:00 services and the head of the shepherds to be ready to explain the situation to parishioners as they arrived for the two services following the incident. Some parishioners arriving saw the ambulance departing.
Some of us went to be with Bambi at the hospital and ferried her car there when it looked likely that she would be released (she was home by about 2:30 PM after a reviving IV and a thorough check-up).
Were we prepared for this? No. Had we done this before? Well, sort of, except it wasn’t the priest needing attention, so he directed the “show”. Will we be prepared next time? Yes, we will, and we do know how the AED works, just hope we never have to use it.
If you are a medical professional, we would appreciate it if you would tell us which service you attend by emailing
, chair of Health Ministry Committee, or calling or texting her at 540-226-2628. We were very fortunate to have that help available last Sunday when we needed it to assess the situation.
We know that we can switch to the Morning Prayer service without a priest standing in front of us. Some of us will prepare ourselves to do that. As a Vestry, we will discuss our leadership role if an emergency occurs during the service we are attending.
The good news? Bambi is fine, probably just depleted by not having eaten breakfast – she likes to share the meal with us at Café Trinity on Sunday mornings. And as we age, we all learn the hard way how critical hydration is to us. She wants us all to know how thankful she is for her Trinity family.
We pulled together as a parish to do what needed to be done. As usual with Trinitarians, people stepped up and did what they knew how to do without waiting to be asked. And other parishioners will do the same, should another such emergency occur in the future.
So thanks to all, from me, the Vestry, and most of all, Bambi. We are indeed a family.
Maybe we should start handing out donuts with the bulletins to be sure everyone’s had breakfast!