When Stewardship and Beth-El Center come together you hear the echo of Christ’s words from Matthew’s gospel. “When I was hungry you gave me to eat, when I was thirsty you gave me to drink.” A social outreach ministry, Beth-El not only provides soup kitchen services and shelter to the needy in our community, but it also offers us the chance to reach out in love to others, the true meaning of Stewardship.
The soup kitchen offers lunch-time meals and some weekend support to anyone in need.
How can you share your love and your gifts through this vital ministry? Once a month our parish hosts Pizza dinner for the center’s residents.
If you are over 18, volunteer! The Center also needs help in the kitchen (food prep, cooking, serving and clean-up) and at the shelter (clerical support, data entry, answering the phone and the door). Volunteers with special skills including accounting, construction, personnel, financial development, social work and building maintenance are also welcome. Periodically we host weekend picnics for residents.
Whatever your age, we encourage you to support Beth-El’s fundraising efforts – the Walk for the Homeless and the holiday Spirit of Love Concert.
Be a driver! Help deliver the non-perishable food items, cleaning supplies and paper goods that the parish donates so generously.
Pray for the homeless Beth-El serves and for the stewards who serve God through Beth-El. Ask for more workers for this small but important “vineyard.”
Continue your financial support by using the donation envelopes that you’ll find at all the church doors.
The Giving Vines
The Giving Vines is a true ministry of love. The vines appear in the church in the weeks leading up to Christmas and again celebrating Christmas in July, resplendent with fragile paper ornaments that are the wish lists of people in need. Generous parishioners remove the ornaments and return them attached to the gifts they have purchased. As the ornaments are removed the empty vines give eloquent expression to the kindness of our parish family.
A ministry that began in 1989 as the Giving Tree has evolved into Giving Vines and has always been close to the heart of what it means to be a Stewardship parish. Thanks to the good-hearted people of Saint Ann’s we are able to support a large variety of community organizations as well as homebound parishioners and families in need. Each year we deliver close to 1000 gifts to the needy.
Giving Vine stewards serve in a variety of ways. Some create the ornaments, others sort and process the gifts as they are returned, and some don their Santa hats to help with deliveries.
The posters go up at all the church doors ,sounding the call for volunteer sign-ups. Just what is HomeFront and what kind of Stewardship opportunities does it represent?
A community-based, volunteer-driven home-repair program, HomeFront provides free repairs to low-income, elderly, and handicapped homeowners, enabling them to remain in their homes and enjoy an improved quality of life.
HomeFront volunteers provide hands-on help and hope as part of a “one-day” community-based repair blitz on the first Saturday in May each year. The Saint Raphael team, under the leadership of a House Captain, an Assistant House Captain and a Volunteer Coordinator invite you to sign on.
If you are skilled in the building trades HomeFront offers a terrific way to share your time and your particular talents.
Teens For Service T4S
Teens 4 Service is open to teens in grades 7-12 who want to make a difference. This group meets monthly from 6 to 7:30 pm or for special projects. Some projects & events include: Souper Bowl of Caring, Basketball Derby benefit, Adopt-A-Mom baby showers, care packages for soldiers, pizza dinner at Beth-El Center, visits to West River Healthcare Center, & clothing collection for homeless teens.
Through our Bereavement Ministry the parish offers consolation and support to grieving parishioners. We do this in two ways: by assisting families in planning funeral liturgies for their loved ones and by offering comfort to the recently bereaved through our Bereavement Support group.
Prior to a funeral a member of the Bereavement Ministry meets with the family of the deceased to assist in planning the funeral Mass, helping them choose readings and select music. We encourage family members to participate in the Mass as readers and as gift bearers. We make every effort to plan a funeral Mass that is personal, prayerful and consoling, a true celebration of the life of their loved one.
Bereavement Support Facilitator
Through our Bereavement Support group we offer comfort to those who mourn, helping them on their journey from grief to healing. Co-facilitators plan the meetings. They encourage the recently bereaved to work through the natural process of grieving by sharing their thoughts, feelings and experiences with others who are struggling with grief. The group meets on the second Sunday of every month at 2:00 PM in the Saint Ann Children’s Chapel.
As Catholic Christians we are called to comfort those who mourn.
Healthcare Facility Visits
Stewardship is about sharing, and nursing home visits provide a wonderful opportunity for you to share your time, your talent and the treasure of your presence with people confined to local nursing homes.
Bring the gift of song and the sunshine of your smile to those who may be ill, lonely or troubled. With the right lyrics you can put them on Broadway, take them out to the ballgame or perhaps encourage a stroll down memory lane.
We make quarterly visits to Four Corners Rest Home, Golden Hill Health Care Center, West River Health Care Center and Milford Health Care Center. We stay for about an hour, usually on a Saturday, a troupe of parishioners and friends of all ages.
The group is fun, flexible and welcoming. Depending on the facility, we stroll the halls, stage single-room sing-a-longs, harmonize and sing a cappella. Some of our most memorable visits have included dance and instrumental soloists.
We’d love to add new members to our “traveling troupe” – people who love to sing, dance, play an instrument. Nursing home visits can be a family affair – the residents are always delighted to see children.
Come as you are and when you can. No auditions or rehearsals required. A recent Confirmation project visit was so well received we’re contemplating “teen performances.” Perhaps you’d like to come on board!
Rides To Mass
Rides to Mass is a simple, straightforward exercise in Stewardship. There are parishioners who would love to come to Mass on the weekends but who cannot walk to the church and who do not drive. Stewards in our Rides to Mass ministry bring these members of the parish family to Mass and then bring them home.
Talk about “giving someone a lift!” Someone who was housebound can now be a part of our family meal, the celebration of the Eucharist. Someone who might have felt isolated can now sing for joy in the presence of the Lord.
If you are available to “give someone a lift” to a weekend Mass or special liturgy (Holy Week), or perhaps a special event such as our Winter Wellness series, please consider signing on to this ministry of service.
Prayer Shawl Ministry
We invite you to share your time and talent as part of our Prayer Shawl ministry, a “ministry with a big heart.” What began as one cancer patient’s way “to give back” has burgeoned into a beautiful ministry of concern.
People who are undergoing chemotherapy are often lonely and almost always cold. When we provide a shawl or lap blanket, created in love, we are providing warmth for body, mind and spirit. With one simple gift we are sharing our love, concern and prayers with those who face a devastating illness.
The need extends beyond cancer patients to the wheelchair bound, to residents of health care facilities and to women’s shelters, which need blankets for infants and toddlers.
If your strengths include knitting, crocheting,, sewing or quilting, please consider this beautiful way to serve. Patterns and colors are limited only by your imagination
Not gifted in this way? Perhaps you can help by donating yarn, making phone calls or delivering wraps, lapghans and blankets to those who need them.
Please call the church office (203-874-0634) to sign on to this very special ministry. Let us know also of anyone – parishioner, family member, neighbor or friend — whose spirits would be lifted by the gift of a wrap or blanket. All information is kept strictly confidential. Thank you for the warmth of your love.