There's news this week of Episcopal Church groups reaching out to victims of domestic violence, hungry children, people in inadequate housing and people who want to know something more about the history of where they live. Read on for a snapshot of some of the local ministry of the Episcopal Church.
First off in news of the ministry of parishes and people within the Episcopal Church is this report on the Prison based ministry of Magdalene-Thistle Farms, headed by the Rev. Becca Stevens, an Episcopal priest and her visit to a prison in the Atlanta area:
"Atlanta was the seventh stop on the prison tour and was regarded as an important target because of its high level of teenage sex trafficking, said Rev. Becca Stevens, executive director and founder of Magdalene-Thistle Farms.
Atlanta Metro State prison, which has 709 inmates, offers an active ministry that interacts with Stevens' organization.
[...]Women inmates might not be able to return to society on their own, and everyone is in agreement that groups such as Magdalene-Thistle Farms are needed to provide housing and help with jobs, housing, education and counseling."
Read the full article here. We covered Magdalene-Thistle Farms' ministry before here on the Lead, but if you missed it, it's worth your time to read the whole article at the link above and check out the organizations website here. They have some nice gifts available for Mother's Day...
Folks from All Saints in Middletown Maryland have gotten behind this year's Rebuilding Together project, an all-volunteer organization that does home repairs for people who couldn't otherwise afford them:
Joey Romagnoli, a general contractor from Middletown, has participated in the program for several years through All Saints' Episcopal Church. This year, the church sponsored three homes, and he headed up the repair efforts at all three. His groups replaced windows and carpet at one location, did major outdoor cleanup at a second location and had to conduct roof repairs at a third.
The roof required specialty volunteers, who replaced 10 sheets of plywood on the roof. It had a steep pitch, requiring the use of harnessed repairmen to do the replacing. Romagnoli said S&K Roofing of Eldersburg donated roofing materials and labor to the project, which was instrumental in completing repairs.
"There's not a lot of people willing to climb up on a roof," Romagnoli said. "Having people come out on their off time and do volunteer work is not only appreciated but a necessity."
Lots of Episcopal congregations have Food Pantries or Food Closets as part of their outreach ministry. But St. John's Episcopal Church in Elkhart Indiana has seen its Food Pantry grow over the years into an umbrella organization that is making a significant difference in the community.
Here's a list of just some:
About $2,500 will be used to start a children's backpack program with the Northern Indiana Food Bank at Beardsley Elementary School, Piechorowski said. Starting in the fall, about 50 children will be selected by school staff to receive backpacks of food to take home for themselves each weekend.
[...]The pantry participated in the successful back-to-school program at Roosevelt Center last year, he noted. "It was just so awesome," Goethals said, noting St. John's will also be part of the large "Pay it Forward" event May 1 on the RiverWalk.
[...]The pantry also is facilitating a popular children's blanket program. An anonymous volunteer has provided 120 homemade blankets since December and she's working on about 40 special blankets with pockets for mothers that will be given away just before Mother's Day, Piechorowski said. "The ministry has been very good for us. The people enjoy it," he said.
And finally this week, the folks from Little Fork Episcopal Church in Rixeyville Virginia offered their building and their worship services to be the center of the community's Remembrance Days - a three day living history experience in the region.
About 75 parishioners — mainly dressed in period garb, of course — filled the rectangular shaped church, reciting corresponding passages along with Eberle [the congregation's new priest].
Unlike modern church seating where the parishioners face the front of the room, Little Fork’s unique wooden pews are divided into low square-shaped sections around the pulpit, causing some folks to have their backs to the pastor.
Little Fork Episcopal Church, originally known as St. Mark’s Parish, was established in 1731 and is considered Culpeper County’s only colonial church.
Thanks be to God for all these offerings of ministry - reaching out to those in prison, those who were hungry, those who need shelter, and those seeking their roots.