- October 28, 2010
Several priests, a few rabbis and various ministers walked into St. Armands Key Lutheran Church on May 26 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Sarasota Ministerial Association. The group met for a luncheon to mark the occasion.
The SMA, which used to be called the Downtown Churches and Ministries Organization, brought in about 60 members and community partners to the church on the Circle. Rev. Ken Blyth, who leads SAKLC, opened the luncheon and thanked everyone for coming. When the organization began in 2001, President and founder Tom Pfaff said there were 12 members. Today, about 90 ministries are represented in the group.
As lunch wound down, Pfaff began the program. There was no need to elect any new members to the board of directors, so after Pfaff led a ceremonial swearing-in, the group moved to one of the big events of the afternoon — the Good and Faithful Servant Award. Given annually, it's an award that Pfaff said is given to a member who "multiplies the grace that God gives many times over."
This year, it was Father Fausto Stampiglia from St. Martha's Catholic Church. A longtime leader, Stampiglia was born in Rome and gradually found his way to Florida. He's ubiquitous in the community and respected for his willingness to be there for everybody, no matter how long they've known him, and always signs his letters with, "God loves you and so does Father Fausto."
"Everybody knows him," congregant Sara Brinn said. "It's amazing."