It has now been almost 5 years since we purchased the former property of Zion Lutheran Church and made it our home. It was June of that year when Zion decided it could no longer function as a church, and ironically, the same month we began looking for a property to build a new home for Saint Miriam after being in Blue Bell for 6 years. That is how we discovered that wooded lot of almost 3 undeveloped acres at the northwest corner of our current property. We placed a bid and it was accepted and that led to negotiations for the entire 12+ acre that included the historic cemetery and a closed school.
Many no longer remember that day, but it is worth noting that the cemetery was in disarray, the church building was badly in need of repairs and upgrades, and the school had been shuttered. At their final day in June, the teachers were formally let go, the school students gone, and their families told that Zion Preschool would be no more after over 35 years of service to the community it called home.
We closed on the loan on August 26th. We opened the parish on September 9th, and we resurrected that school, too! After only a mere few weeks of hard labor, and well over 37 subcontractors and 42 volunteers, we made the deadline, hired back every teacher, increased their wages and bettered their working conditions. We welcomed back a few former students who still had not committed to another school and every year since we have made it better and better!
Our sojourn in education has led us to where God wanted. At least that is our belief. We treat our school as one of our major outreach projects and support her financially, with our prayers, and by other means of support and care. For us, our school is as important, as all of our other mission projects, because we know it is our future and incumbent upon us as parish to outreach, to grow, and to care in kindness those who will one day be our new leaders in the world.
As a priest and pastor, it always amazes me how much the church decries the lack of young people in the pews while simultaneously removing schools from their campuses and cutting educational opportunities. That is why this June, after more than 5 years of watching Zion change and morph, learning what is important to us and to parents, and designing a program we can truly be proud of, we have decided to increase our support and dedicate even more resources to our school! These changes will strengthen our identity and care for the school, as well as bring unique resources and a renewed focus and vitality to the education of the youngest among us!
Saint Miriam promises to make every child’s educational opportunities relevant, accessible, and fair. We also promise that our religious traditions will never interfere with, or be imposed upon, anyone in our school. However, those beliefs and practices that allowed us to dedicate resources to a program that has become a ‘hidden gem’ in Montgomery County, will continue to inform our consciousness to make good decisions that will bring safety, promise, and joy to everyone who honors us with their trust.
Welcome to Saint Miriam School!
Monsignor James St George, Pastor,
Saint Miriam Parish