Merrilie and Bob Crafts

May 31, 2022 | Members Corner

We joined St. Paul’s in October 2011 after moving to Wilmington full time from Kernersville, NC, where we were parishioners at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church. While part-time residents of Wilmington, we attended many of the Episcopal churches in the area, including St. Paul’s.

After relocating, it was time to find our new church. There was one very close to our house, but the service times were not quite right. Another church that friends attended was just too far away. We remembered the services at St. Paul’s and decided to visit again on a Sunday where during the announcements the senior warden reviewed the options being considered for the future of St. Paul’s—close, merge with another church, or rebuild. Thankfully, the third option was chosen! And then there was the Peace: Friendly people actually got up and left their pews to pass the Peace! Thanks be to God, we had found a home at St. Paul’s! 

We quickly became immersed in St. Paul’s church life, enjoying the spirit of renewal, making new friends, and finding ways to contribute time, treasure, and talent. Bob joined what was then known as the Thursday Morning Guys (now the Gentlemen of Noble Poverty), helping make building repairs and perform general maintenance, and Merrilie joined a hospitality team. One Thursday morning our parish administrator, Jeria, was having problems with her computer. Bob said, “Let me see if I can help” and thus became the St. Paul’s IT guy, a role he still enjoys (most of the time) today.  Bob also mentioned that he was treasurer at St. Matthew’s in Kernersville and, well you know what happened next, he became treasurer for the next 5 years. And not to be outdone, Merrilie took on maintaining the St. Paul’s membership register and co-founded St. Paul’s Samaritan Ministry, a forerunner of the Help Hub.

And of course there were the fundraisers and events—newcomer dinners, full English teas, BBQ’s and Coastal Carolina Christmas all being very successful. We both enjoyed the challenge and the camaraderie of helping with these events, from planning, promotion, ticketing, food prep, setting up, serving, cleaning up, and finally…to celebrating our successes.

Our love of God, our love of St. Paul’s and our love of our church family has continued to grow. During the dark days of Covid, we kept in touch through emails, phone calls, and Zoom. Bob and Bryce O’Dell became the Stream Team, bringing St. Paul’s into the homes of our St. Paul’s families and friends. Later joined by Keith Calder and now Tom Erway, this ministry continues to help spread the good news of God from St. Paul’s every Sunday.

We have truly been blessed by being part of St. Paul’s over the last 10 years and look forward to many more. Thanks be to God indeed!