Philip Lewis, who lives in Newtown, Pennsylvania, has practiced and taught medicine for more than 20 years.
I am a lifelong Episcopalian and currently attend church at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Trenton, New Jersey. I also work on congregational development in the Diocese of New Jersey as a volunteer and teach Environmental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. For me, The Episcopal Church is one tradition within the larger universal Church.
I have personally contributed to The Episcopal Church Annual Appeal and also to the Absalom Jones Fund for Episcopal Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). I graduated from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the 1970s and was one of only 12 African-American students in my class. I appreciate how important HBCUs are today as educational environments where students of color don’t have to think about their race or where they come from, but can just focus on learning and being excellent.
I think one of the biggest challenges of Christian life is that people can think that, once they’re baptized and confirmed, they’re done – “Now I’m a fully formed Christian.” But we all have farther to go. I consider giving as one of the ways that I grow as a Christian; it’s a discipline, just like reading Scripture and commentaries and talking to other people about following Christ. For me, giving is sort of like going to the gym and lifting weights – it hurts in the beginning, but over time, you just get stronger. I give because everything I have belongs to God – money is a tool God has given me that has no value on its own unless I use it to help build something.