St Mark’s Shelter Ministry traditionally has conducted two activities in support of families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and/or neighbors in need served by Capitol Hill Group Ministry, Inc. Many St Mark’s parishioners participate in one or both of these activities, Family Nights and the Summer Shelter, which offer opportunities for direct service to needy neighbors. Many more parishioners support CHGM through their own giving. Collectively, all pledging members support the Shelter Ministry and the work of CHGM, in general, through the budgetary allotments made by St Mark’s Outreach Board.
Twice a year, in August and December, St Mark’s takes the lead on sponsoring a gathering of CHGM clients for fellowship, a program, and dinner. Other churches on Capitol Hill also sponsor Family Nights on differing months. Parishioners have the opportunity to have dinner with CHGM clients and interact with their children, a most rewarding experience.
On Monday, August 18, 2014, St. Mark’s again will host at Capitol Hill United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, the same venue we used in 2013 due to our own Parish Hall being under construction. CHGM staff invites families who are part of their supportive housing programs and other client families. For the last 5 or so years we have had a children’s entertainer who has been a hit with both with the kids and the grown-ups. A highlight last year was presenting the back-to-school back packs St Mark’s parishioners had donated. The children’s smiles were terrific.
On Monday, December 15th, 2014 Family Night will be a festive holiday party with carol singing and topped off with the arrival of Santa with gift books for the children.
Summer Shelter 2014
St Mark’s volunteers, as you may recall, in Summer 2013, were scheduled and ready to serve in another church’s shelter location (Emory United Methodist Fellowship’s dedicated duplex) as the construction at St Mark’s made our shelter space unusable. Due to unexpected changes in the city’s shelter system, of which CHGM is a part, no clients were assigned to the CHGM’s congregational based shelter program that St Mark’s supports. As of March 25, 2014, this remains the case, much to the frustration of the CHGM staff and its board of directors. Those of us who visited what we dubbed “Emory House” were very impressed with the residential duplex and how it is managed. If and when CHGM clients again are placed in Emory House, St Mark’s volunteers will be needed to augment the Emory volunteer force. St Mark’s parishioners volunteering at Emory House can make this a year-around facility which will alleviate extra stress on client families. We hope that the log-jam in the city will be broken and families will again be able to move into the CHGM program and thrive.
In any event, program mangers Marlan Green and Susan Sedgewick are standing by to ensure St Mark’s can step up to serve if needed. If you would like to help shape and support the Shelter Ministry, please contact them.