For the joyous ceremony, a large group of people representing L'Arche Portland presented the award to an equally large contingency of people from St. Andrew. Andy Noethe, community leader and executive director of L'Arche Portland, shared with the large assembly, "St. Andrew Parish offers all people a place to be nourished in the Gospel and Sacraments, welcoming people's gifts fully, even when they emerge unexpectedly and spontaneously during liturgies. There is also beautiful intention to support all people who want to participate more fully in liturgies."
Mr. Noethe continued as Jerry Deas and Marilyn Petruzzelli presented the award, "We honor you because our communities need each other. We need you to continue to welcome all of us to participate fully in the life of the Church, and to be a model for other churches of what is possible when a faith community is open to receiving and sharing the gifts of people who experience intellectual disabilities. And we will continue to welcome you and your members into our L'Arche community as a way to live the Gospel through mutual relationships and love."
On behalf of St. Andrew, Fr. Dave Zegar shared in receiving the award, "It is humbling to be awarded for something that we receive as a great blessing to our community." The award this year was a painting created by the Assistants and Core Members who share life in Nehalem house, many who attend St. Andrew every Sunday.
The evening featured music from pianist Jeremy Doney and singer Aaron Hobson, the announcement of a new $20,000 matching gift from the Howard Hedinger Family Foundation, and the introduction of the Board of Directors newest two members, Frances Sexton and Tom Soma. Guests were also invited to make contributions to benefit both L'Arche Portland and L'Arche communities in third-world countries.