The unintentional evangelist

Finding connection in wearing a mask

The unintentional evangelist

The unintentional evangelist 480 640 Episcopalians in Connection

Several weeks ago, I saw a notice that the diocese was taking orders for masks in minimum quantities of five. I figured eventually I would need more than the one pitiful mask I had made myself so I placed my order.

The author, wearing her Episcopal shield mask.

I then got a long term temporary position at the COVID testing site at Miami University in Oxford. Masks are definitely required for this job. How convenient that I had just received five new masks donning the Episcopal shield. I work 4-5 days and I wear a clean mask each day – perfect!

I put my mask on when I enter the building and except for lunch, I wear it until I leave the building 10 hours later. I really don’t think about the fact that every one of the 300-500 students who come through every day see the Episcopal shield on my face. If you know me, most likely you know that I do not consider myself an evangelist in the least. However, after thinking about it, religion somehow enters into most of my conversations of any substance. (which I think is pretty darn cool!)

I am having so much fun observing these kids! For instance, the majority of the boys answer my questions with “Yes Ma’am.” I believe this has nothing to do with my age or the changing color of my hair. The majority of the girls answer “yep,” “uh huh,” or “yeah.” Fascinating! In terms of my mask, I’ve noticed that only boys have commented. First, a young man simply said, “I like your mask.” Then a day or so later, a young man asked me if I was Pentecostal. I quickly and clearly claimed my Episcopal faith. Finally another day or so later a young man with curly brown hair and bright, dark brown eyes said, “I don’t recognize that symbol.” I said, “Episcopal.” He joyfully exclaimed, “Me too! I didn’t recognize it without the color.”

We had a brief but enjoyable chat about his home church and about the fact that he doesn’t have transportation to get to Holy Trinity Church in Oxford so he is active in the non-denominational church. As if these interactions were not enough, near the end of the day I was stretching and taking a few steps in order to try and alleviate some back pain. A nurse, whom I had just met, and I were chatting. She clarified my name and then said, “Amy, I will pray for you for healing.”

What a wonderful gift these masks have been for this unintentional evangelist.

Amy Dohn Baird is a member of St. Anne’s, West Chester