The Outreach Ministry at St. Stephen’s strives to make God known to others by opening our doors and ourselves in God’s name.
For nearly four decades, St. Stephen’s has maintained a weekly hot meal program (“St. Stephen’s Table”) for people in the Pittsfield community. This is St. Stephen’s “flagship” outreach effort. The program currently serves dinner on Thursday and Friday evenings to approximately 75 – 90 people each night and a Saturday lunch once a month that serves 40 to 50. The parish provides the entire financial budget for this ministry, including the salary of a professional chef/program coordinator. Volunteers include both parishioners and community members.
St. Stephen’s also supports these ministries with pledges of financial assistance, volunteer participation, or other in-kind contributions:
Laundry Love: In April 2015, St. Stephen’s launched the first Laundry Love initiative in Western Massachusetts. Since its inception, the program has offered the gift of clean clothing and bedding to the community once a month. The effort has evolved over the years; it is now a partnership among St. Stephen’s, Zion Lutheran Church, and Cathedral of the Beloved (see next entry).
Cathedral of the Beloved: An outdoor community and feeding program that meets every Sunday afternoon. The mission of “Cathedral” is to create a space where people can come to know the joy of being God’s beloved. During the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Stephen’s has worked with Cathedral of the Beloved to open our sanctuary twice a week as a respite place for those displaced by the closures of other indoor public spaces.
Habitat for Humanity: St. Stephen’s is a Bronze level sponsor of the Central Berkshire chapter.
Thanksgiving Angels: This collaboration of 19 local organizations provides more than 1,450 families with food to celebrate a Thanksgiving meal in their own homes.
12-Step Programs: St. Stephen’s provides meeting space for 15 different meetings each week.
Berkshire Interfaith Organizing (BIO): A consortium of 19 congregations throughout the county which seeks solutions to social justice inequities by building relationships, forming alliances, and speaking truth to power. Current issues being addressed by BIO include racial and immigrant justice and inadequate transportation opportunities. St. Stephen’s is a founding member of BIO.
Berkshire Immigrant Center (BIC): This vital community organization calls the 2nd floor of our Parish House home. The parish receives rental income from BIC at a below-market rate.
Berkshire County Arc: For several years, the parish’s weekday building cleaning and maintenance has been provided by a crew from Berkshire County Arc. St. Stephen’s has been recognized by the Arc as an employer of the year.
Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts: As one of its larger congregations, we are proud to support the diocese’s many innovative initiatives.