For decades, St. Stephen’s parish has shown a strong commitment to looking beyond our walls to seek opportunities to strengthen the community around us. Whether that community is in the Twin Cities, out-state Minnesota, or in another country, we seek to live out our faith through supporting a wide range of ministries within our outreach focus areas:
Issues Facing Youth
Our efforts in these areas are guided by our Outreach Ministries which includes not only our grant awards but an army of volunteers who actively particulate in the life of our outreach partner programs. Tens of thousands of dollars and countless (thousands?!?!) of volunteer hours are given annually – outreach is at the heart of who we are as a parish.
It may surprise you to learn that outreach funding is not a line item in the operating budget. The bulk of funding for outreach comes from two sources – the annual Bash After Dark fundraiser and the church’s endowment, the St. Stephen’s Fund.
The St. Stephen’s Fund has been committed to supporting outreach ministry for many years. How committed you might ask? Very! The Fund has contributed over $300,000 to outreach over the past decade. And, as you might guess, these funds have been vital to enabling our parish’s extensive outreach efforts.
Over the years, the dollars given from the St. Stephen’s Fund have played a key role in providing grants to organizations that directly work to address hunger, homelessness, and poverty and that fill gaps in preschool education and services for seniors, indigenous peoples, women, families, children and youth.
For example in 2017, almost half of our outreach funding came from the St. Stephen’s Fund endowment. A few of the outreach partners we supported included –
- 66 West Apartments, providing housing for formerly homeless young adults
- EpiscoBuilders, a partnership with Twin Cities’ Habitat for Humanity
- Grant Community Nursery School, a 40+ year partnership in North Minneapolis providing a kindergarten readiness program
- First Nations Kitchen, offering nutritious organic food to indigenous people
- Holy Cross Anglican School in Belize, for building improvements and teaching tools
- Keys to Success Program at Families Moving Forward to help end homelessness
- Meals on Wheels, a 30-year partnership for St. Stephen’s
- Volunteers Enlisted to Serve People (VEAP), a multiservice agency in the south metro area of Minneapolis
- White Earth Nation, youth mission trips
It’s hard to imagine life at St. Stephen’s without our Outreach Ministries. They are the outstretched arms of the parish – a living sign of how we live out Christ’s call to show mercy and compassion to all people.
The extent to which our community can reach beyond our walls is dependent, in part, on the availability of funding from the St. Stephen’s Fund.
Those who choose to give to The Fund, either through legacy gifts or special gifts, are called Bridge Builders and, to date, over 100 families have joined this group.Won’t you join them?
You may easily learn more about becoming a Bridge Builder by attending Sunday brunch with us on May 20, 2018!