First Bank of Greenwich Community Corner: St. Saviour’s: A True Community Church
By Richard Kaufman
For 101 years now, St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church in Old Greenwich has opened its arms to those in the community. As they begin their second century of worship, the church is doing so under the guidance of Rev. Margaret Allred Finnerud.
Twenty years after graduating from Duke University and an international career, Finnerud completed her Master of Divinity in 2010. After completing an STM in Anglican theology and history at the General Theological Seminary in New York City, she was called by Rev. Edward Pardoe, the Rector of St. Barnabas Church in Greenwich, to be his assistant.
After returning to North Carolina as the first female Rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Southport, N.C., in 2015, Finnerud came back to Greenwich as a supply priest. She became the Priest-In-Charge of St. Saviour’s in February of 2018.
Finnerud said the church, which also houses an interfaith elementary school and dance school, has a real component of joy and hope. She called Old Greenwich, “a very intimate, safe place” which has made the church a “wonderful communal refuge” for the community.
“A lot of people walk here, which is so unusual. You really have this feeling that this is a home away from home. People trust each other readily. It’s a very positive atmosphere, because it’s youthful,” Finnerud said. “We’re skewed as a community to families with very young children, since we have a preschool. But on Sundays when we come together as a congregation, we’re 18 months to 94 years.”
Serving people of all ages is something the church has in common with the First Bank of Greenwich. Finnerud first found out about the FBOG when Tom Steen, a parishioner and former member of the bank’s Advisory Board, recommended their services.
Finnerud said she likes the personal attention the bank provides, and the feeling that they’re both involved in the same community.
“It’s more of a partnership,” said Finnerud, who is now an Advisory Board member herself. “In churches, one of our biggest challenges is money management, because we’re typically not made up of people who are financially savvy in that regard. The relationship with a bank becomes more important.”
Finnerud touted the bank’s courier service as a positive.
“We operate on Sundays when other people don’t, so we feel we can call upon this bank in emergency situations, which thankfully we’ve never had and don’t hope to have. We’d like to have a person on the other end of the line on a Sunday,” she added.
FBOG President and CEO, Frank Gaudio, has tried to become involved with various foundational aspects of the community. He said he’s excited to begin his partnership with Finnerud and St. Saviour’s.
“What they do here is what I believe in, and the work they do is amazing. It will coincide with what we do at the bank. Our ‘congregation’ is from two years old to 100. We open our arms up to people in a different way. This will be a way for us to really engage the community here in Old Greenwich,” Gaudio remarked. “Just like Rev. Finnerud grows her congregation here, that’s how we grow our group: one by one.”
Sunday service at St. Saviour’s is held at 10 a.m.
“Don’t miss our casual Beach Chapel this summer. Weather permitting, we will meet on the lawn, Sundays at 5 p.m., so come by after the beach and bring the kids,” Finnerud said.
For more information on the church, the preschool and dance school, go to saintsaviours.org.