Hello! I shall introduce myself.
My name is Sarah Autio, I am the new Youth and Family Ministries Coordinator for St Mark’s Ocean Park.
I would like to share a little about me and how my life has led to this point. I grew up in and around BC, spending my youth in Chilliwack BC. It is during this time that I really got to flex my faith muscles and become fully engaged with youth programs and living a life of Christ.
I have always felt a strong calling in my faith to follow Christ. As a young girl of just 8 or 9, I remember saying my prayers at night and in the morning asked my Mom, “if I blew my prayer to God, would it get to him faster?” I love this memory not because of the cuteness but the innocence and true purity of wanting to be heard and seen by God.
I continued to attend my Sunday school and grow into youth programs and praise and worship. And it truly was as if I was conversing with God and leaning into what it means to live a life of Jesus and live my faith. As I grew up, I grew into different roles in the church, the Choir, being an acolyte, a member of the prayer chain, and being actively involved in the youth group and planning events and activities for us to do.
As the teen and early adult years hit, I found myself still desiring to be close on my walk with Christ, but found that there was a time of quiet, not distance, but quiet. It was when I met my future husband and settled down, I found that I was reaching out to connect with my faith. As many, I am sure, the journey to find that place of comfort and acceptance and truly faith-based worship can be hard to find. So, I did explore some different Anglican places of worship to see what fit best and reflected my journey with Christ and how I wanted to go forward.
It was during these years of finding the right fit, that I educated myself to become a Care Aid and worked for many years caring for and working with elderly patients. This eventually led me to working as part of the team on the Acute Spinal Ward at VGH, which lead to my education as a Nursing Unit Coordinator for the General Surgery Unit at VGH.
During these years I married my best friend and started our grand adventure of moving out of our city life and growing up a family of our own. It was when we had our son that I was gifted the time of being a stay-at-home Mom. During these precious early years of parenting the desires of finding the right place to put down our roots in a church, began to pull at me once again.
When we discovered our Church, at the time, our son was baptized and as he grew up into the programs of the Church, I found that God’s call to ministry really began. I found myself looking at where I was to serve in my life that would pair with my passion for gifting the love and life of Christ to our son, and to serve the Lord as I felt I was called to do.
As our son ventured off to school, I found myself working for the School District with children and youth as a Lunch Supervisor, which I found incredibly fulfilling. And enjoyed the balance it offered to be present with my family but also itch those desires to serve the Lord and care for others.
After several years of helping our son grow into his journey with Christ and his faith, through the programs offered at our Church. I realized it was time for a move to a different parish. It did not take me long at all to find the warm and welcoming parish of St Mark’s Ocean Park. Since being a part of this parish since 2018 and being an active participant in parish life. I found again this call to serve, but in a more profound and deliberate way pulling me from years of service to the School District and into Youth and Family Ministry.
It was during the time of Covid lock down and restrictions of not being able to participate in person in parish life that I found I was more determined than ever to bring Christ into our lives at home. And to actively minister within my own home and build a family life that truly reflected Christ. Through this time, I sought out bible studies and surrounding myself and our family with those who reflected the faith in our life. I am truly grateful for the people who have unknowingly supported and helped to guide me to this point. As we journeyed the storm of waves of Covid, I took up opportunities to gently reintroduce ourselves back into the world. As we did, I found more and more how grounding and deep the call of God was. And it was up to me to take that leap. Eyes wide, heart full, I did. And all my years of walking with Christ and keeping him present in my life, even in times of ‘quiet’ I know how amazing it feels to be wholly accepted for where I was and how my journey got me to this point. I have experienced losses of magnitudes I never thought possible. Losing both my siblings over a span of 8 years suddenly to car crashes and watching my family crumble. I was given the gift of love and Christ repeatedly lifting me up. Showing me that there is so much God has planned for me to continue. And it is with much enthusiasm, and deep commitment, I step into this new position to gift to our Youth and Families the gift of living daily through Christ and feeling wholly accepted to be a part of the program as they are. As I have adopted as my personal mantra “Come and you do you” and we will be there to walk with you.
I am truly blessed to be working alongside the ministry team at St Mark Ocean Park and look forward very much to what the 2022 Youth and Family Ministries holds.