Ministry Minute: Roberta and Arthur Walmsley

IMG_1232A: I’m glad John asked us both to talk this morning about support for Holy Cross. You have to go back fifty-five years to understand where we’re coming from.

R: We were married at Christmas time in 1954, took a wedding trip for three days, and moved to a new apartment. Then I went back to complete my senior year of college.

A: We had our first argument during that trip. As I remember, it was about how to organize our kitchen. Up to then, you had never cooked a meal in your life.

R: You would remember that! But I could read a cookbook. And who were you to talk, living in a bachelor apartment? Besides, on your salary, which was $3600 a year, we had to settle for a $10 a week food budget, which meant an awful lot of casseroles.

A: The best thing we ever did, young and untested as we were, was to make a decision that has shaped our life ever since. We would tithe our income – the top ten percent would be returned to God, first through the Church and then by other charitable giving. We’ve stuck to that, and then some.

R: It hasn’t always been easy, especially in those years when both our children were away in school and I was working on a master’s degree. But somehow we managed, even in hard times.

A: Putting God first in respect to family income means having to plan carefully what is done with the rest. So what does tithing have to do with Holy Cross? Why here, and not somewhere else?

R: When we retired to New Hampshire, we were weary of being at the center of the huge diocese where you were bishop. So we looked for the biggest nearby church, hoping that no one there would ask us to do anything, such as serve on committees. We had enough of being leaders; it was time to be members. So we joined St. Paul’s in Concord. And the bonus was that I could practice on their organ, my first love after Arthur.

A: Then John arrived.

R: His energy and vision made us want to come here. We appreciate this imaginative building, good liturgy, John’s preaching (when we listen), even the way he sheepishly apologizes when he makes gaffes. There’s a diverse mix of people. We celebrate the wonderful ways that young people and their families are made welcome. We marvel what Anne and her colleagues have made of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. And we love the gifts of people of all ages, and Holy Cross’s outreach. In short, this is our home. The top part of our tithe goes to Holy Cross.

  “Ministry Minutes” are presented each week during the fall pledge campaign.

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