More than 10,000 members of the Episcopal Church gathered (for the first time in Utah) for the faith’s 78th General Convention in Salt Lake City.
During each general convention, Episcopalians enjoy the opportunity to complete a service project in the communities they visit. This year they joined Mormons in Salt Lake at Welfare Square for an interfaith service project, according to Amy O’Donnell, wife of the Rt. Rev. Scott B. Hayashi of the Salt Lake Episcopal Church.
Spouses of Episcopalian leaders packaged cheddar cheese, processed salsa and sliced and bagged bread for hundreds of people in need.
“I think we’ve done a good job,” said Rebecca Thompson of New Orleans, Louisiana, who volunteered to package cheese. “This is an amazingly clean, fresh environment with kindness and hospitality.”
Mary Ellen Baxter of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, thought the experience was great. “Anytime we can help people who are in need, that’s a good thing.”
“The experience at Welfare Square has been a real eye-opener for them,” said O’Donnell. “They’ve learned more about the Mormon Church by visiting Temple Square and the Family History Library.” Several stayed at the library looking for their own ancestors.
On Tuesday, Welfare Services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints delivered cheese, salsa and bread, with additional items such as peanut butter and jam, to a Salt Lake City food bank. The food donation is valued at approximately $20,000.
It’s a welcome donation to Hildegarde’s Pantry, which is operated by the local Episcopal Diocese, the Cathedral Church of St. Mark, and serves around 300 people in need each day.
Pantry manager Lydia Herrera said, “When I come here [Hildegarde’s Pantry], I always try to see if I can make a difference every day with the people.” She said she enjoys serving in the community to help the less fortunate. “We are doing God’s work together with other faiths to get something done.”
The Episcopal General Convention concluded Wednesday, July 1, with an interfaith concert in the historic Tabernacle on Temple Square. Utah choirs and musicians presented entertainment including the Kenshin Taiko Drummers from the Japanese Church of Christ, Calvary Baptist Inspirational Choir and several other groups.