As I wandered the rooms and halls of Trinity this past week, skirting children as they drew on our sidewalks with chalk, practiced violins, or listened to teachers on tablets, I considered what a different place the church felt like these days as a result of our agreeing to host a distance learning pod. I remarked on this to a member of the congregation who said that actually it doesn’t feel all that unusual or new to her because she remembered back when Trinity Church operated its own foster home as a parish ministry.
I realized then that many of you do not know this part of Trinity’s history, and while it was difficult to nail down some exact details, I can share with you that the driving force behind the Trinity Foster Home was Anna “Petey” Cerf, a local legend and community activist who also was part of the formation of the Kansas Advocates for Better Care (which works with nursing home care reform) and Audio Reader. For years the home provided loving care for children in the community who were in a transitional place legally speaking, under the supervision of Dr. Richard “Rocco” Spano and his wife Penny.
Eventually, out of growing concerns regarding licensing requirements, Trinity Church sold the facility to a private entity that eventually became Trinity In-Home Care, which exists to this day. The proceeds of the sale of the facility because the corpus of Trinity’s endowment, which is restricted to the original vision of Petey’s ministry insofar as it can be used to support outreach, particularly to children, in the community.
I’m sure many of you can provide even more details about the foster home, and I’d welcome you sharing what you know. But I’m also appreciative of the fact that, in some small tangential way, for a brief period of time, we are reclaiming a ministry to children in the community from a time remembered fondly by many in the church.
As always, my thanks to the many, many volunteers who are helping make the distance learning pod a success. I’ve talked to parents who are being spared the difficult decision of leaving their jobs or supervising their children’s education, and can say without exaggeration that we are keeping families in homes and out of dire circumstances. Thank you and God bless.
Yours in Christ,