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Eastern Lake County Coffee Contacts; Annual Perseverance in Hope luncheon

On Thursday, June 15th, our first event for the day was an Eastern Lake County Coffee Contacts, as it often is. This time the locale was "The Hildegarden" which is a spiritual center in Fairport Harbor.

When door prizes were handed out, we were please to win a beautiful booklet of photos of products created at "Flux Metal Arts" which is a jewelry and metalworking studio in Mentor.   Also in terms of individuals crafting lovely items, we visited with Mr. David Gin, President and Co-Founder of "The Cleveland Candle Co., LLC" where friends and family can go and have a good time together making candles. Mr. Gin and his assistant, Mr. Nick Paulus, manage locations in Mentor, Cleveland Heights, and very soon plan to open one in Lakewood. Mr. Gin is third generation Chinese-American and we hope to perhaps sometime interview him for "I, Foreign Born."

As for "The Hildegarden", We recall attending its opening in September, 2016 and writing in this blog:

"It used to be St. Michael Byzantine Church which had been closed for years. The building and property were purchased by Dr. Shannon Sterringer and her husband, Mr. Rick Sterringer with the goal of creating this center whose goal is 'helping women and men grow in wholeness.'...Dr. Sterringer, who is also Pastoral Associates as St. Anthony's, spoke of how she was inspired by the teachings of Germany's St. Hildegard of Bingen; so much so that she traveled to Europe to study her more extensively. According to the literature we obtained, St. Hildegard 'promoted a concept that she called viriditas which translated from the Latin means 'greening power.' Viriditas encompasses much more than one's relationship with the environment, although that is an important part. To be rich in this life-giving source of greenness requires a healthy relationship with oneself, with others, and with the Sacred. It is a concept based on personal wholeness and wellness.'"

On this day, Dr. Sterringer, Founder and Executive Director, spoke about about how "The Hildegarden" has been accepted into the community, upcoming programs, and new opportunities now that it has been given 501C3 status. Once again, she emphasized that this was a spiritual center instead of a church; she went a little farther and said that "The Hildegarden" could be regarded as "a monastery for lay people to come to escape hectic life for a little while." As for ourselves, we would love to live in closer proximity to it so that we could walk over and kick back in a comfortable chair and read for awhile.

Along these lines, Pastor Peter Mihalic from St. Anthony of Padua Church in Fairport Harbor told us that someone who had been to "The Hildegarden" described it as an "atmospheric, anti-depressant" which we think is most appropriate.


Our second event for Thursday also concerned a place that offers spiritual comfort, as well as physical, to those in need which is "Joseph's Home" and on this day we attended its annual "Perseverance in Hope" luncheon that took place at Windows on the River in the Flats.

As Ms. Christine Horne, Executive Director of "Joseph's Home", wrote in her letter that appeared in the program, "Joseph's Home serves as the only homeless service provider in Northeast Ohio exclusively focused on medical respite care. While men stabilize their physical illness in a nurturing faith-based environment, they also develop their individual housing plans and connections to behavioral health supports."

Upon arriving we said "hello" to Ms. Carrie Benedict, the current "Joseph's Home" board chair who asked us to thank Ms. Margarert W. Wong for her support. We then chatted for a couple of minutes with Mr. Dick Clough and Mr. Bill Denihan, former board chairs who together purchase an ad for the program which read, "Joseph's Home...The loving place where the pieces of broken lives are put back together...Best wishes for continued success."

During lunch, we sat next to Mr. Robert A. Costello and Ms. Ellen Kennedy, a very nice couple. When we told them that we worked for "Margaret W. Wong & Associates" Dr. Carolyn E. Gordon, sitting nearby, recalled an occasion four years ago when Ms. Wong was scheduled to address "Church Women United of Greater Cleveland" an organization that she is involved in. Unfortunately, Ms. Wong was grounded in court and couldn't come at the last minute so she sent her nephew, Mr. Francis Fungsang to speak in her place. Dr. Gordon told us that everyone there loved Mr. Fungsang's presentation and believed him to be quite knowledgeable on the history of immigration to the United States from Africa. Dr. Gordon and the other members loved it that Mr. Fungsang brought copies of Ms. Wong's book, "The Immigrant's Way" for everyone there.

The highlight of the luncheon program was when Mr. Dan Moulthrop, CEO of "The City Club of Cleveland" conducted a panel discussion featuring four men whose lives had been turned around by their experiences at "Joseph's Home." These men were Mr. David Henderson, Mr. Jerome Nash, Mr. John Mytrysak, and Mr. John Seawright. What impressed us that most about what they had to say was that they were doing very well until they encountered health, financial, or chemical dependency problems which rendered them homeless. We couldn't help thinking that this could very easily be us and thus made the need to support "Joseph's Home" more apparent than ever.

We understand that in the past year "Joseph's Home" provided temporary housing to 42 homeless, medically frail men and helped 52 others, who had been through the program, continue to pursue their ultimate goal of medical and housing security.

As our dear friend Sister Judith Ann Karam said in part in her invocation that the Gospels remind us "by your endurance and hope you will gain your lives," and so we pray for our "Joseph's Home" family...We also ask our God for continued healing, a safe place to reside, a community of support and love...We ask our Gold for continued healing, a connection with family and friends, a bridge toward community resources...We ask our God for continued healing, engagement in holistic healing like art and emotions, spirit and laughter, forgiveness and belonging...May all who are part of our "Joseph's Home" family be blessed."



Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC