In Rev. Patricia Snickenberger's opinion, the windows in the sanctuary of in Libertyville sum up what the church is all about.
"To me, it says it all. St. Lawrence looks out into the community and the community can look in an see it all," said Snickenberger. "It's our window to the world."
And it's that world that St. Lawrence Episcopal Church aims to be a part of. From community dinners to the open mic nights that the church hosts on Libertyville's First Fridays, the church wants to serve the community.
"Our location is tremendous, and we want to be and are being a community resource," said Snickenberger.
She said one of the church's major outreach programs is its Helping Other People Everywhere (HOPE) Food Pantry.
"It has really become an all-parish outreach thing," said Snickenberger. The church has a dedicated space where the food and toiletries are stored. The food pantry is open on Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on Thursdays from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
"One day last week, we had 17 people, I think — and the numbers have been increasing," said Snickenberger. She said the pantry has seen upwards of 40 people visit in a week.
Snickenberger said while parishioners have traditionally donated the items for the pantry, the church just joined up with the Northern Illinois Food Bank to be able to purchase inexpensive food for the pantry.
The church has also started a community meal program, which is open to everyone. There have been two community meals so far, including one at Thanksgiving that saw parishioners donating turkeys and side dishes to serve guests.
St. Lawrence Episcopal Church regularly opens its doors to the community-at-large, Snickenberger said. The church has hosted recitals, theater groups, scout meetings and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
"We really feel it's part of our mission to allow the community to use our space," she said.
The community is also invited in for the Open Mic nights that the church holds during Libertyville's First Fridays. Anyone can come to play or listen to music, Snickenberger said, adding that it's primarily non-parishioners who stop in for the coffeehouse-like setting.
"Everybody's welcome," she said. "It's amazing what people share."
The church offers "Coffee in the Park" at the each Thursday after its 8:30 a.m. service, Snickenberger said, and invites vendors to stop in and cool off when the weather is hot like it has been this week.
Pet Blessing Ceremony July 8
At 11 a.m. July 8, during "Dog Days of Summer," Snickenberger and Deacon Mary-Jane Leeves-Kirk will hold a pet blessing ceremony in Cook Park. Snickenberger said her parish's involvement with Dog Days of Summer can be attributed to late parishioner Hans Karstedt, who was involved in planning the "Starbarks Cafe" that offers treats for dogs and people.
"He was one of our most-beloved parishioners," said Snickenberger. "In many ways, this is something that helps keep his memory alive."
At the pet blessing ceremony, Snickenberger said she'll offer a prayer and will then bless each pet with holy water.
"Dogs love it, and people seem to love it," said Snickenberger.
For more information about St. Lawrence Episcopal Church and what it has to offer, visit the church website or call the office at (847) 362-2110.