Robin Morjikian

Why We Give: Stephanie Gee & Kimberly Pate

Growing up at Calvary, Stephanie Gee remembers singing in the choir, Christmas pageants and mission trips to Arizona, Belize and Jamaica. Kimberly Pate, her friend, remembers Sunday school lessons, her confirmation, and singing hymns as Dorothy Pett and Dick Clark played piano and led the youth in music.

Steph and Kim then

While those activities helped cultivate their faith and commitment to the church, it was the support the women received after their mothers died that deepened their appreciation for Calvary and furthered their involvement at the church.

Steph and Kim now

Stephanie was 26 when her mother, Sonia, lost her battle with breast cancer in 2009. In the wake of her mother’s death, Calvary’s Deacons helped organize a reception to celebrate her life. Dr. James Emerson, the church’s then Pastor Emeritus, as well as Dr. Laird Stuart and Rev. Catherine Oliver, prayed with her family. And members of the congregation brought food to her family’s house during their time of grief. 

The death tested Stephanie’s faith. She faced the challenge that confronts many people who have lost a loved one: Should she blame God for taking her mother’s life, or find comfort in her faith?

In honor of her mother, who was active at the church, Stephanie chose to deepen her involvement at Calvary. She went from going to church for the social hour to listening more closely to scripture. She became an Elder, joined the Faith in Action team and assumed leadership of international missions, helping guide Calvary as it became a sanctuary church.

“Through her example, my mother helped plant the seed for my faith, and being an Elder has continued to grow it,” said Stephanie.

In 2016, when Kimberly was 34 her mother, Joy, was hospitalized and unexpectedly died. Calvary’s Deacons brought casseroles, roast chicken and enough food to last for three weeks. Victor Floyd stopped by the house to check on the family and put together a moving service to celebrate Joy’s life. 

The outpouring of support put new significance in Kimberly’s commitment to become a Deacon. She had a deeper appreciation for what Deacons do and the role Calvary plays in the lives of parishioners facing hardships.

Because of her experience, Kimberly brought increased empathy to her outreach as a Deacon. She joined other Deacons in calling parishioners who haven’t attended church lately to ask how they’re doing. She began making her mother’s chicken and artichoke casserole for families who lost a loved one. 

“Being a Deacon gives me an outlet to be more like my mom, by caring and taking action when someone is in need,” Kimberly said. 

Stephanie and Kimberly donate more than time to Calvary. They pledge each year, believing that their financial commitment allows the church to support its work for the congregation and wider community. 

“I give to Calvary because, even if we sometimes may disagree, the community is my family who I love and want to support,” Stephanie said.

More to Explore

Talking with Kids About the Order of Worship in the Bulletin.

If I visited Calvary for the first time and had not been to a Presbyterian church before, I would want someone to help me understand what I was doing throughout the order of worship. This blog provides an example of how some churches annotate their bulletins so children, youth, and adults can learn more about why we choose to read, sing, pray, and listen at certain times during the worship service. Harvey Browne Memorial Presbyterian Church ( in Louisville, Kentucky offers a model of how to explain the order of worship. Being transparent about how we worship together is in line with our reformed tradition. We can read and interpret the Bible ourselves, as well as worship and say prayers with our own bodies. Many years ago, a priest would do all of this while the congregation sat or stood. It is important for parents to share with their children that all people have the freedom to contribute to a worship service. By singing, listening, praying, and sharing, we get to know each other and witness each other’s talents and inspiring work. Fellowship and education events are only part of the ways that we form our faith together. Participating in worship is what binds us together each Sunday, so that we can support each other at or outside of church during the week.

Support Trans Kids

Calvary Presbyterian Church continues to support transgender youth and adults. March 2023 is Transgender Awareness Month. We show our continuing support through messages such as, “Trans Lives Matter,” “Believe Trans Kids,” “Support Trans Kids,” and “Protect Trans Kids.” This blog will offer some insight into Presbyterian and San Francisco organizations that actively support and advocate for LGBTQI+ people. I hope that you will take time to read through these resources. There is hope. So many inspired people of all ages are working together for freedom, safety, and love. Now that I am raising two teens I have come to more clearly understand the context and reality that LGBTQI+ youth live in every day. It is crucial to support the growth and development of transgender children and youth who sense that their “gender identity does not correspond with, or sit comfortably with, the sex they were registered at birth.” That is the definition of transgender offered by Twinkl, an education website for children ages preschool to 8th grade. See more definitions at the end of this blog. Transgender children, youth, young adults, adults, and senior adults do not want to be "othered" as they are children of God. We want to believe, support, and protect them, so that they can live safely and freely without fear and shame. When adults do not see or support children or youth as they are, the risks of gender dysphoria and youth suicide increase. God created all of us in Their image. May we have the courage to send out Jesus’ message of love and acceptance to ourselves and all people.

2022 Annual Report