On the mind of the Rev. Deacon Denise LaVetty

Jul 21, 2023

Greta Garbo, a popular actress of the 1920s and 1930s, was famous for saying “I want to be alone”*.  I can relate.  I often think I am most effective, most happy, when I undertake projects and tasks all by myself.  I confess to occasionally bristling at the suggestion to “work in groups”.  Working together can seem like just more work but it’s usually better work.

I want you to know about a developing collaboration our parish has with neighboring Good Shepherd Church on East 31st Street.  Their parishioner, Angela Hayden, runs a program she named “Little Lambs Closet”.  She collects clothing and supplies and identifies organizations with such needs and donates them.

I was connected to Angela through the priest at Good Shepherd, Stephen Morris.  I was impressed with Angela’s energy and enthusiasm when I met her a couple of months ago as I stopped at Good Shepherd to load my car with a huge donation of gift bags filled with baby products which she earmarked for Hour Children.  There were over 50 bags!

While at an alumni event at General Theological Seminary, I ran into a former classmate who is now a rector at a parish in Brooklyn.  He asked me if I could suggest a one-off outreach project for his parish.  I put him in touch with Angela and things are happening there!

Similarly, my friend Deacon Lisha Epperson (who will be ordained to the priesthood in September), from St. Peter’s Chelsea, asked me for a suggestion for an outreach project and I mentioned children and baby clothes and told her I had just the organization for this and connected her with Little Lambs Closet.  She collected three large bags and has turned them over to Angela at Good Shepherd for distribution.

Last week, I picked up another huge haul of baby gift bags and donations of baby items from Good Shepherd and delivered those to Hour Children.  (See photo of Angela and me below.)

Much is getting accomplished by this collaboration with Good Shepherd.  We’ve been able to give so much more to our parish outreach endeavor with Hour Children by simply bringing others onto the team.  I’m liking this.

In August, Incarnation will begin a Back-to-School Backpack drive.  More details to follow on that.  Good Shepherd will partner with us on this drive and Angela is going to pull in the Brooklyn parish as well.  All bounty from this will go to Hour Children.

Yes, sometimes “I want to be alone”.  But there’s beauty and value in looking out at the wider Kingdom and embracing the possibilities of collaboration.

Deacon Denise

*Greta Garbo denied that “I want to be alone” meant she really wanted to be alone.  She claims she meant she wanted to be “left alone”, for example, from being bothered by paparazzi, fans, etc.  Now, THAT problem I don’t have.