Living Our Faith in the Community
Community ministries are in integral part of life at St. Mary’s. Involvement with community ministries is an important way that we live out our baptismal covenant, both to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves,” and to “strive for justice and peace among all peoples and respect the dignity of every human being.” Community Ministry activities involve direct engagement with community groups as well as a variety of fundraising activities that support non-profits in San Francisco and the world.Below, we list a variety of ways that you can become engaged with community ministries at St. Mary’s, from direct engagement with community groups to fund raising and granting efforts. Please join us in this fulfilling and life-giving work!
Community Ministries in Action for Senior Housing
Over 50 St. Mary’s parishioners and friends (including all current and two retired clergy) have shared photographs of themselves in support of Faith in Action Bay Area’s (FIABA) No Senior Without a Home Initiative. More than 150 people from 70 congregations participated in the city-wide summit on July 21st to learn about the initiative and commit themselves to further action.
On August 11th, more than 600 people joined Bishop Marc to virtually present this demand directly to the City Budget Committee. Twenty-four St. Mary’s clergy, parishioners, and friends participated in that action. Fifty-four sent photographs of themselves with the sign, “No Seniors Without a Home.”
Now, the people of St. Mary’s are contacting the Supervisors directly to make sure that they put $5 million in the budget to directly subsidize senior housing. In addition, we are demanding that all unhoused seniors be immediately placed in available hotel rooms and that they be kept there until permanent housing (not shelters) can be provided. Federal and state funding has been available for months to get seniors off the streets.
You, too, can help keep seniors in their homes. At the very least, contact your Supervisor and the one who represents St. Mary the Virgin (Dist. 2, Ronen). Time is short. The Budget Committee must make its recommendation by August 31st, and the full Board must approve a budget by September 30th. When you email your Supervisor, be sure to copy their staff members. Supervisors and staff can be located here: sfbos.org.
Yes, this is political, but it is not partisan. It is about advocating for people with little power before people who have much. It is political in the way that Moses demanded of Pharaoh, “Let my people go!” It is political in the way that Jesus of Nazareth overturned the tables in the Temple. It is political in terms of the Sermon on the Mount. The theologian Richard Rohr is clear: Faith without action is false. We don’t believe our faith; we live it. That is the Episcopal Church of St. Mary the Virgin.
Direct Engagement with Community Partners:
San Francisco Marin Food Bank: delivering food to those in need throughout our city
Volunteers in teams of two deliver healthful food to 55 pre-registered senior or disabled participants. The food, provided by the San Francisco/Marin Food Bank is delivered to our courtyard, every Thursday at 8:30 a.m. Deliveries are made in neighborhoods throughout the city. It is a ministry between volunteer and participant, each sharing joy and compassion with the other! We currently have 25 regular and substitute volunteers. We invite you to join us. For more information about volunteering, contact Tim Smith email@example.com or Barbara Addeo firstname.lastname@example.org
Edward II: Preparing meals and building relationships with formerly homeless youths
During the COVID 19 Shelter in Place directive Sunday Dinners have been suspended. We have continued to support the residents at Edward II with deliveries of fresh fruit/vegetables about once a week. St Mary’s has kept in touch with the staff at Edward II and hope to be able to resume monthly meal preparation with/for the residents soon.
St. Mary’s Justice Ministries
A committed group of St. Mary’s parishioners has come together to live our Christian call to justice. As the Rev. David Erickson phrases it, the goal of justice ministry is “to address systemic evil with systemic good.” Justice goes beyond charity to address the systems that cause and support injustice. In addition to feeding the hungry, for instance, justice asks that we identify and address the sources of hunger. Justice invites us to recognize the incarnate Christ in everyone and actively live our Baptismal covenant to “strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being.” If you wish more information or to be included on the Justice Ministry e-mail list, please contact Margaret Stafford, or Please see the Justice Ministries page for more details.
COVIA (formerly Episcopal Senior Communities)
COVIA, formerly “Episcopal Senior Communities,” is a nonprofit organization that serves seniors in the community and at home. https://covia.org/services/social-call/
Many of St Mary’s parishioners have participated as volunteers at our monthly senior lunch and as a volunteer for “Social Call,” a friendly visitor program.
During Covid 19 Shelter in Place, volunteers may participate in the phone call ministry; please visit https://covia.org/services/social-call/ for details.
Emergency Volunteer Opportunities
The City of San Francisco has created the website below offering opportunities to volunteer during this time. If you are comfortable volunteering, and fulfill the requirements for the volunteer opportunities, we hope you will consider lending a helping hand. It is one way to share Christ’s grace and love throughout the City. Please click HERE for more information on how to be a volunteer.
To directly help SF General, which often helps the most vulnerable in our city, during the Coronavirus crisis please click HERE.
To support local businesses and provide food for emergency workers please click HERE [/two_third_last]
Gubbio Project Article with St. Mary’s Mention
On December 19, 2019, an article was written about the Gubbio Project detailing the extent of the good work taking place through the nonprofit. In the article, there is mention of St. Mary the Virgin and a quote by our own Rev. David Erickson!
You can read the full article on the SF Chronicle webpage HERE or read the PDF version of the article HERE.
During COVID 19 Shelter in Place, the Gubbio Project’s Sacred Sleep has been suspended.
Next Door Shelter Eucharists: worshiping with shelter residents
During COVID 19 Shelter in Place, our activities which center around a weekly Eucharistic service have been suspended.
Food Basket and Travel Toiletries
Every week, throughout the year, people donate non-perishable food and toiletry items to the box located in the narthex. Items are distributed to a variety of partner agencies in the city. The Rev. Nancy Bryan coordinates this effort. For more information, contact Nancy at email@example.com.
During COVID 19 Shelter in Place, we are not gathering at the church so this service has been suspended.
Open Cathedral: bringing food to an outdoor Eucharist for homeless persons
Open Cathedral is a weekly outdoor Eucharist service held at the Civic Center for unhoused San Francisco residents and those in transition. The service is conducted by clergy of the S.F. Night Ministry with assistance of Open Cathedral volunteers and deacons. Our fifth and sixth graders help to prepare 100 sandwiches and fill the lunch bags on the third Sunday of every third month, help bring the food downtown and participate in the service.
This activity is expected to resume when the COVID-19 Shelter In Place protocols are lifted and the Sunday School meets again in person at the church.
Rebuilding Together (Formerly Christmas in April): Renovating homes of vulnerable San Francisco residents
Rebuilding Together San Francisco provides home repair and renovation programs for low-income, elderly and disabled San Franciscans and for nonprofit and community facilities. St. Mary’s partners with St. James’ Episcopal Church to do construction work on a house or agency once a year on the last Saturday of April. Interested? Contact David Sullivan firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.rebuildingtogethersf.org.
Everyone at St.Mary’s hopes to be able to resume this activity in 2021 after the COVID -19 Shelter in Place protocols are lifted.
Fundraising Activities in support of Community Ministries
Annual Fundraiser and Grant Program
Tidings of Comfort and Joy is an annual December event where St. Mary’s parishioners raise money for local nonprofits. Each year the congregation raises about $35,000. One-hundred percent of the funds raised goes directly to support grants to community organizations. Components of the fundraiser include the sale of holiday greens and baked goods and a benefactors’ celebration.
The St. Mary’s Grant Team reviews funding requests from local non-profits and allocates money from the annual Tidings of Comfort and Joy Fundraiser. Grant Team members also visit each community organization yearly to learn about the work they are doing and build relationships between the groups and St. Mary’s. Interested? Contact Laura Wharton, email@example.com or John Schlesinger, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brainstorm Program – Eldergivers – All Saints Episcopal Church – Ecumenical House SF State – Family House UCSF – Gubbio Project – Oakes Children Center – Raphael House – Rebuild Together – SF School for Deacons SFCASA – SF Night Ministry – Sojourn Chaplaincy – Village Project – St. Dorothy’s Rest Hosp Camps
The Giving Tree: providing Christmas gifts for supportive housing residents
Canon Barcus House, a part of Episcopal Community Services, is a supportive housing program for formerly homeless families. Each December, parishioners at St. Mary’s take home residents’ gift requests which hang as “ornaments” on a tree provided by the SF Guardsmen, and purchased gifts for the residents. For more information or volunteer, contact Nancy Clark at email@example.com.
Using “Fill the Ark” calendars, videos, story books and even first-hand accounts, Sunday School children gain an awareness of the underlying causes of poverty and the very significant ripple effects of donations from individuals and parishes like St. Mary’s. A donation of $120, for instance, underwrites the cost of a pig, sheep, or goat. A heifer can be purchased with a $500 donation. St. Mary’s donated money being raised by Sunday School children during Lent. These funds helped provide animals but equally significantly, underwrote training in sustainable agriculture practices, accounting, and community-building for Heifer families. For more information, contact Nancy Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is a website with links to Bay Area organizations who could use your help. https://kpfa.org/bay-area-mutual-aid-and-covid-19-resources/