Lisa Puccio -Coordinator for Special Needs and Family Faith Formation
AUTHOR: THE REV. JAMES M.L. GRACE
I am pleased to announce that in January St. Andrew’s will welcome Lisa Puccio as our new full-time Coordinator for Special Needs and Family Faith Formation. Lisa comes to us from Christ Church Cathedral, where she has served as the Director for Children and Family Ministries formore than twelve years.
Lisa’s job description is in two parts, as her job title suggests. Half of Lisa’s time at St. Andrew’s will focus on beginning a new service on Sunday mornings for children with special needs and their families. The service will be a weekly Eucharist and will feature a story in place of a sermon, as well as many other creative and play-filled opportunities for these children to engage scripture. My hope for this service is that it will be ecumenical, so that no matter what faith tradition families might claim, they will be welcome for this very special service.
While at the Cathedral, Lisa and I worked together on a similar service that was held monthly. Month after month I witnessed Lisa’s enthusiasm for this unique ministry grow, and at the time I left the Cathedral, we averaged about twenty-five people per service. Lisa has a heart for this ministry, and when I shared with her I would be coming to St. Andrew’s months ago, she initiated a conversation with me about moving the service here into a weekly format. To my knowledge, St. Andrew’s will be the only Episcopal church in the entire city of Houston to offer such a service every week.
The second half of Lisa’s responsibility at St. Andrew’s will involve overseeing our children’s Sunday School classrooms. Lisa will work with our current teachers, help to recruit more in the future, and provide support when needed for our classrooms. In her time at the Cathedral, Lisa built a children’s Sunday School program from scratch that now regularly sees approximately 50 children weekly.
In addition to her work in children’s ministries at the Cathedral, Lisa also serves as the Vice President of Forma, a national association of Christian educators and formation professionals that celebrates and upholds the diverse ministries of Christian formation across the Episcopal Church. Lisa has also generously given her time to Kids 4 Peace, where she has helped to lead groups of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian children from Israel and the United States to build interfaith communities that embody a culture of peace and empower a movement for change. Lisa and her husband, Mike have been married for thirty-two years. Mike serves as the Operations Director for the Beacon Day Center. Together, they have four grown children.
What a blessing Lisa will be at Saint Andrew’s! Lisa said, “I'm very excited about coming to St. Andrews and working with Jimmy again. I've had an opportunity to visit with some of the people who are starting a children's program this fall, and I look forward to getting to know all of the families and parishioners. It has been my dream to help develop a weekly worship service for special needs families in a place that will invite them into the community. I am grateful for the vision of the St. Andrews leadership and the support of the congregation.”
We will have a parish-wide reception on Sunday, January 4, to welcome Lisa as she begins a new chapter in ministry at St. Andrew’s. Until then, please hold Lisa, and her ministry in your thoughts and prayers.