VIDEO: Mother Sarah Kooperkamp and Mother Kimberlee Auletta from Church of the Holy Apostles, Brooklyn launch the 2021 Episcopal Ministries Annual Appeal.
The Transformative Power of Sharing Abundance
May 18, 2021
At the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Mother Kimberlee Auletta and Mother Sarah Kooperkamp of Holy Apostles Church in Brooklyn turned to their parishioners and the surrounding community to understand their needs as the world as they knew it started to change forever.
Inequalities and disparities of all kinds were laid bare. During a chance encounter with a parent from Red Hook, Brooklyn, the parish was made acutely aware of how educational inequality was deeply impacting remote learning. The basic requirements of having paper and pens at home were simply not guaranteed for students from lower-income families, particularly as the pandemic threatened and eliminated so many sources of income. For families that were housing insecure or undocumented, the challenges were amplified.
For the first time, children would only have access to the educational resources available to them at home, making learning even more inequitable.
Mother Kimberlee attests that, when called upon, the parish “responded with the same abundance that God showers us with.”
Within weeks of lock down, 30 Holy Apostles families “adopted” over 100 students from neighboring public school 15 (PS 15), providing the students and families with books, workbooks, arts and crafts supplies - even diapers for students with younger siblings.
With the passing weeks and months, the involvement and innovation of the parishioners at Holy Apostles Church continued to expand. As their neighbors were at risk of losing their housing, parishioners donated to pay the rent of 5 families for three months each.
When the time came for students to return to school, the parish was organized and equipped by donations and a grant from Episcopal Ministries to supply each of PS 15’s 475 students with back-to-school supplies. Parishioners gathered outside the church to pack hundreds of bags to be distributed to their neighbors.
When recalling how supporting an entire school full of children was even within reach of the parish, Mother Sarah and Mother Kimberlee admit that it did not seem possible at the start of the pandemic, but that they trusted that whatever needs arose, God and their community of neighbors would rise to meet the need.
“We don’t necessarily know where we are going, but our connection and relationship with each other and with God will bring us there. Being in relationship and sharing our abundance with our neighbors is truly transformative for all involved,” concludes Mother Sarah.
This initiative was funded in part by Episcopal Ministries of Long Island’s COVID-19 Frontline Funds. Episocopal Ministries is deeply grateful to Mother Kimberlee and Mother Sarah for the video sermon they shared with us for our Annual Appeal. Their work and the work of their parishioners has brought the enduring love of Christ to our neighbors throughout the Diocese. You can learn more about how Episcopal Ministries is resourcing and amplifying ministry across Long Island on our website and make a gift to support this work.