By Catherine Twing, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – When Reverend Deacon Suzy Kenyon notices someone is in need of support, she is there. You might find her serving meals and sitting with folks at June’s Table, or visiting someone who is homebound. You may also find her chatting with residents in recovery homes.
“She is always cheerful, upbeat. Really willing to do ministry among those who are struggling with addiction, mental illness,” said Father Michael McKinnon of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Marlborough.
With a master’s degree in social work from Simmons College and a career as a clinical social worker, Kenyon knew she wanted to continue serving people in some capacity following her retirement.
“I was wishing I could reach more of a person, spiritually. I prayed for a long time on how I could do that, what was next,” she said.
That next step came when a friend at church asked McKinnon if he had considered Kenyon as a deacon.
“There are several ways we discern if someone is called to ministry,” said McKinnon. “One way is when people, unsolicited, bring up that they can see someone in that role.”
Now having served as a deacon for over seven years, Kenyon serves through several missions, with her social work background as a foundation.
“Social work is very helpful for church work. It helps with understanding people better, but now when I speak with people, I can reach them in a totally different, faith-based, way,” Kenyon said. “I love that one-on-one ministry.”
Deacon Rhonda Cotton described Kenyon as a “bubbly person, always really cheerful,” regardless of what she is going through in her own life.
“She is willing to meet people where they are,” added McKinnon. “I’ve sought her counsel and advice on how to best approach people in situations. She is a value and an asset.”
Kenyon enjoys when the church staff is able to connect with neighbors on Lincoln Street, many of whom speak Spanish or Portuguese.
The church offers a free summer lunch program for children, and parents are also invited. This is an opportunity where children can translate, and the staff can communicate with the family.
“It’s that moment where they understand ‘you care about me,’” she said.
In 2017 the church started serving a weekly meal at June’s Table, to augment the meals served at Our Father’s Table in downtown Marlborough. June’s Table is named after June Davis, former manager of South Middlesex Opportunity Council and someone whom Kenyon knew well through the church’s outreach work with local recovery houses.
Kenyon is co-coordinator of June’s Table which offers a free meal on Saturday nights from 5-6 p.m. at the hall next to the church. It is open to anyone in need of a meal or fellowship.
They serve a plated meal to the attendees rather than a buffet style – an important difference.
“It’s more of a family, we develop relationships,” he said. “They feel less like they are being served just because of an economic position or need. This is fellowship of the community within the neighborhood.”
Deacon Praveen Mutalik, one of the church’s four deacons, described the way Kenyon sits down and talks with those who come for a meal, some of whom are in challenging situations.
“That makes a huge impact on people who maybe had never been shown that kind of respect,” said Mutalik. “Her strength is the ability to connect with people, take care of people.”
Outside of the church, Kenyon’s passion is her family; her greatest job is spending time with her husband of 48 years, their three children and six grandchildren.