One afternoon this summer as I was driving down Ponce de Leon, I received a call from a woman named Jill that about broke my heart. Her sister, Joy Gatreau, an All Saints’ parishioner and Threads volunteer, had died, a victim of domestic violence. Jill wanted the Threads volunteers in particular to know of Joy’s death.
If you ever wonder whether the Episcopal Church is real and matters, please read Joy’s letter written to her mom a year before her death:
Jill and their mother gave me permission to share this letter with you. The priest in Louisiana read her letter at the service. Dear God, it touches me.
And here is what Jill wants us to know about her sister who loved our church:
Jill loved her family and her church. She loved to travel and loved working with people. As her obituary says, she was a flight attendant with Delta Airlines. She loved all animals, especially dogs. She volunteered at Threads and at Atlanta Pet Rescue and Adoption and contributed to many charities that benefited people, animals and the environment. She was very kind and thoughtful and worked continuously on being a better person. I recently read in one of her notebooks some goals she had set for herself. One goal was – Prayer Life: Closer relationship to God. Develop strength through faith and understanding in God’s plan for me. Learn how to relate to people in a way that pleases God and give others hope, joy and peace.
Rest in Peace, Joy. Looking at your face, we think you are so well named and pray that the angels greet you every moment into eternity in the arms of the One who made you and all of us, and loves you and all of us forever and ever.
And Saints, if any of you would like to reach out to Jill and her mom with a word of comfort, Pat Kiley (firstname.lastname@example.org) has Jill’s email and mail address.