Monday, September 13, 2010

Cathedral Characters: "It's in how we meet people"

You may have seen her before services, bustling around the altar. You may have missed her. Konnie Dadmun is a quiet, slight woman who serves on the Altar Guild. Her quiet, gentle mannerisms belie her deep inner strength and commitment to our Cathedral.

When did you first come to St. Paul’s?
My husband, Stew, and I first came to St. Paul’s when we first moved to San Diego, 45 years ago. We were looking for a very small church for our small family. We visited other churches and they weren’t open like this one was. We were welcomed by John and Sharon McColl and many others. We lived just ten minutes away. We quickly became very close to the priest, Jack Sanford and his family.

What is a meaningful experience you’ve had here?
Being a part of the altar guild has been the most meaningful community experience at St. Paul’s. Not only what we do in preparing for community, it’s in the various services we participate in, from baptisms to funerals, ordinations to weddings. We meet people at special times in their lives when they have special needs, joys, sadnesses and I think that how we meet them is very important.

I remember one time taking a woman whose husband had died, into the sacristy to say goodbye to his ashes one last time. She wanted to go, but she was hesitant. She asked sheepishly, “Can I go in there?” I was happy to take her into the sacristy and be with her while she said her goodbye. It was something that I felt was very important.

The altar guild prepares the congregation to meet Christ. We want to have things set up so the priests don’t have to worry if all is there to serve communion.

What helps you draw near to God or to others at the Cathedral?
There are so many things at the Cathedral that help me draw near to God: sermons, forums, services – all of it helps me participate in the Christian life. We have a small group that meets monthly in our home. It began two summers ago. There are 8 of us, some part of the original core group and some have joined up with us along the way. We started as a book club and have just kept going.

What book do you think everyone should read?
One book I would recommend everyone read is The Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen. It is simply written and a very small book. Every person can find something in it. And, each time you read it, you find something new depending on what’s going on in your life.

At this particular moment in history, what is the most important work the Church can do?
The church has to be Christ to everyone. I don’t mean we have to be constantly preaching Christ with our words. While we are in this place – the Cathedral itself, but also when we go out of here and where we go – we are Christ to the world. Dorcas House is a good example of how we are Christlike to those children and yet we don’t preach to them about the Christian religion. It’s in how we meet people and are there for them in their need.

Have you ever considered leaving St. Paul’s?
Stew and I have been through a lot of changes with this church. At one time, we were under poor leadership, but instead of changing churches, we became more active, as did much of the laity. Many of the committees formed then are still in existence today! The lay leadership kept the parish going and kept it strong because they took responsibility. It’s easy when you have a great leader, like Scott, but we stuck it out through tough times because this was our parish. We weren’t going to move on whenever there was a problem. It was hard, but we’d made a commitment.

There are many ministries here. They’re all important; everybody should find where they fit. There’s so much here!

Hannah Miller will be writing Cathedral Characters, an occasional series about people in the Cathedral community. If there's someone you'd like to hear about, drop a note for Hannah in the comments!


shewrites said...

Wow, what a great idea!

meet people said...

Nice blog.. Hope many readers can read this.. :)