The following comments are from parishioners when they answered these questions, “What St. Anne’s means to me?” or “Why I come to St. Anne’s?”
“My family’s journey to St. Anne’s is a typical one. We had stopped going to the church where we had grown up. As the children got older, we felt the need to belong to a church, for us and for them. We visited several. There are many wonderful places of worship in Billerica, but none were home. We went to St. Anne’s and we were home. I was surprised my husband liked it as much as he did, it was very social and there was singing. He had complained about both when we lived and worshipped in Western MA. I think it was the faith and the genuine loving community we had found. We began to feel like part of the family.
After a year of attending St. Anne’s, the cancer that we thought had been banished came back. One of the first people we called was Rev. Peggy. It is amazing to me that we both knew this was the right thing to do. It would have never happened anywhere but St. Anne’s. But it wasn’t just our beloved priest that came to our aid, it was the whole community. Our friends, and friends we hadn’t met yet, fed us, prayed for us, visited and pastored us. The love and faith was always there. When my husband passed they sang, prayed and mourned for us.
My faith in God continues to be tested. My faith in St. Anne’s never is.” – Lisa
“I come to St. Anne’s because everyone is family. I feel that way because I have come to St. Anne’s since I was 5-and-a-half. And I have served and made friends. That means a lot to me. – Becky
“I love the people – we’re a family. Everyone has always been so welcoming and accepting. It is the only truly loving church experience I’ve ever had. There is a place for everyone here. I also love the activities, the rhythm, and, of course, the worship. People here feel and show a responsibility to each other. There is an old-fashioned sense of community” – Tracy
“I remember the first time I came to St. Anne’s. I enjoyed the service. At coffee hour I was a little nervous at first being new and everything. Yet, my nervousness quickly went away. People came up to me, introduced themselves; it made me feel quite welcomed. That was over 17 years ago. Now whenever I see someone new, I make sure I introduce myself, so that they can feel as comfortable and welcomed.” – Ron
“I come to St. Anne’s church because I feel so welcome and comfortable. No matter your denomination or past church experiences, Rev. Peggy and the congregation open their arms and embrace you.” – Stacey
“St. Anne’s is the answer! The children will find love, respect for themselves and others. At St. Anne’s they will find dedicated people who will listen to them and lead them towards a safe and secure direction. St. Anne’s people are good role models for the children. You won’t get past the front door without a welcoming smile or hug. – A grandmother at St. Anne’s
I came to St. Anne’s to attend the baptism of my granddaughter. The minister at the church we had previously attended had refused to baptize the baby since her parents did not attend church regularly. In quest of a minister who would perform the baptism, St. Anne’s name was mentioned. The arrangements were made and I who had never been to an Episcopal church opened the door to this old church timidly. As I opened the door at St. Anne’s, I was overcome with a feeling of peace. I had never had such an overwhelming feeling like it before. Rev. Peggy welcomed all the strangers who attended and made everyone aware how welcome they were at Christ’s table. For some reason, still unknown to me, I found the spiritual home I had been searching for that day. Today, many years since my first visit, I still get that same feeling when I open the door. “Welcome one – Welcome all”. Peace be with you. – Carol
I have been a member of St. Anne’s since 1967 when I moved to Tewksbury. My two children were baptized, made their first communion, and married at St. Anne’s. My Grandson was baptized at St. Anne’s also. St. Anne’s is special because of the people, and because of Reverend Peggy, who works hard to involve everybody in the church and make everybody feel that they are welcome here. The members of St. Anne’s really care for one another, and really love this little church. There is a feeling of warmth in this church, and God’s presence is felt here in many different ways. – Elaine
St. Anne’s means family to me. When I first came here 30 years ago, I felt God’s presence in the building and in the people….I still feel that. The people of St. Anne’s make it a very special part of my life. – Pete
St. Anne’s always has been a small family oriented parish and most who attended lived in the immediate area. I think this is still true today, although there are a few of us who commute. I live in Hollis, NH and it’s about a 30 minute trip to Billerica but well worth the effort and gas. When I look around at who’s in church on a Sunday morning, I see people who are involved — unlike some other churches, and it’s difficult to find someone who isn’t involved! I also see people who are loving and caring about others. St. Anne’s is inclusive — everyone’s welcome and we welcome everyone’s ideas: conservative, progressive, fundamental or liberal – doesn’t matter – everyone’s got something to contribute. My first experience with St. Anne’s was around 1956, give or take a year. That’s when we started going to St. Anne’s after attending church at St. Johns in Lowell for several years, so I have a lot of memories of youth group activities between then and 1962 when I graduated from High School and joined the Navy. The other part of that time was being an acolyte, which compared today were highly regimented — black shoes and socks, standing straight and rigid — almost military…Didn’t have much to do with any church until sometime after I left the military in 1972. At some point, I started going back to St. Anne’s simply because that’s where the rest of my immediate family went. St. Anne’s was kind of a base — my wife and I were married there during a regular Sunday morning service and both of us, kids and foster children all attended through 1985 when we moved to New Hampshire. At that point, we went to church in Nashua for a while, but that was a big city type church and not what we were used to — went then to Milford, a smaller church, but still big compared to St. Anne’s…. Several years ago, my wife Yvonne said she wanted to go back to St. Anne’s and I agreed and even though it’s a half hour commute, I haven’t regretted the decision. – Michael H.
St. Anne’s is sacred space. God talks to me through Scripture, I talk to God through prayer. St. Anne’s is a good place to hear the word of God and to talk to God, and is a Community which puts the word of God into action.
While being guilty of and having been guilty of my share of sins, I find St. Anne’s to be a “comfort zone” because there (as well as in other locals) I have confessed those sins, asked forgiveness, been forgiven, sought repentance, seek redemption; and try daily to witness such – unfortunately without complete success. St. Anne’s cares, accepts me as I am, helps me to try again, helps me to find God’s grace.
I find that for most weeks St. Anne’s provides me the most spiritual moment of the week in the execution of the Holy Eucharist. I see the world, our Church, our community, and myself to be in great need of Eucharist Worship, weekly if not more often. I get that worship at St. Anne’s.
Since coming to St. Anne’s I now have men friends, not work place acquaintances, whom I can confide in, count on. For the first time in my life, when ill I have been visited by the Rector as well as by members of the Congregation. St. Anne’s cares. St. Anne’s is people caring. – Richard H.