Outreach & Social Justice

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There are no great things to be done. Only small things with great love.

-Mother Theresa

Mission

Saint Mark’s seeks to make our community a better place for all by providing spiritual and material assistance to those who are hungry, without housing, without resources necessary for daily life, without a voice, or who live without a support network. We strive to educate our church community on the needs of the individuals and groups to whom we provide assistance. We Educate, Provide Care, and Raise Awareness.

Saint Mark’s seeks to be good stewards of the resources it has been entrusted with and will oversee expending those resources to support the community. We work to proactively identify needs and will ask for help and support from the congregation for those needs in the local area (Upper Arlington & Central Ohio), The Diocese of Southern Ohio, as well as the national and international mission field.

Each year the Outreach Ministry receives its base funding from the annual budget of St. Mark’s. The Ministry is also funded from generous donations directed to Outreach by individual members of the congregation, as well as from fundraisers and donation drives held by groups of the Ministry.

In deciding which projects to fund, the Ministry strives to support needs that are faith based and in which Ministry members participate actively. The goal is to have feet on the ground in all activities where there is also a financial investment.

Every member of Saint Mark’s is encouraged to be the hands and heart of Christ reaching out into our world. Here are just a few of the ways we educateprovide care, and raise awareness.

To give to Outreach, click Here.

To Be the Hands of Christ in the World

Episcopal Relief and Development

One of the largest faith-based providers of humanitarian assistance in the world, Episcopal Relief and Development is also consistently ranked as among the most cost effective charities in the country. Each year, Saint Mark’s Outreach donates a portion of the money provided by the Vestry directly to Episcopal Relief and Development. Donations are also made from parishioner contributions following major disasters such as hurricanes, flooding or fires.

Member contributions can be designated specifically directed to Episcopal Relief and Development HERE.

Learn more about Episcopal Relief and Development.

United Thank Offering (UTO)

Saint Mark’s Outreach provides collection boxes to raise donations for United Thank Offering (UTO). Members are asked to save coins in the boxes and they are then collected at a special ceremony during a Sunday service. The Executive Council of The Episcopal Church (TEC) designates how the funds will be distributed to applicants.

Migration Ministries

Episcopal Migration Ministries networks across the country to help with the re-settlement of individuals and families moving to the United States.They are also a strong advocacy voice regarding the migration movement.

Learn more about Episcopal Migration Ministries.

The Saint Mark’s Migration Ministries Committee (3M) is an effort among members of Outreach and parishioners to support and raise awareness for refugees and asylum seekers locally and nationally.

Learn more about Community Refugee & Immigration Services (CRIS).

To Be the Hands of Christ within the Diocese

Layette Ministry

On the Diocese of Southern Ohio level St. Mark’s partners with Trinity Episcopal Church in McArthur, Ohio for the Layette Ministry.

Vinton County in Southeastern Ohio is the second poorest county in the state.  Trinity Episcopal is a small congregation in McArthur that provides layettes to needy families recommended by a local social service agency.  St. Mark’s provides diaper bags and money to supplement their purchasing of supplies for the layettes.  Our parish knitting and sewing circle has partnered with Outreach to make bibs, blankets, hats, mittens, and toys for the layettes.

We also host a Baby Shower each year and ask the whole congregation to donate gowns, clothing, diapers and other items needed by newborns.

To Be the Hands of Christ at Home

We don’t have to travel outside of Columbus to find those in need of life’s most basic necessities.

St. John’s Town Street Episcopal Church

Saint Mark’s provides hands-on help with St. John’s Episcopal Church Franklinton  to feed homeless and low income residents of central Columbus. Volunteers prepare and serve nutritious dinners for approximately 80 people four to five times per year. Additionally, we assist in the Street Church ministry on Sunday afternoons, providing lunch five times a year for 60 to 80 people at the empty lot on the corner of Broad and Central Streets after a short Episcopal service.

CATCH Court (Changing Actions To Change Habits)

CATCH Court is a specialty court of the Franklin County Municipal Court. CATCH stands for Changing Actions Through Changing Habits. The participants are women who have been victims of human trafficking as well as having drug problems. During the four-phase, multi-year program, under the supervision of the Court the women work to break their addictions and resolve their trauma issues. They complete education, receive counseling and learn job skills. Saint Mark’s supports the program volunteers by taking lunch to court once a month. Individual members have also served as mentors for members of the program.

Learn more about CATCH – Changing Actions To Change Habits

Freedom a la Carte

The nonprofit organization, Freedom a la Cart, was created to provide support and training for the women participating in CATCH court. They also provide ongoing support for the graduates of the program. Freedom operates a catering business that offers the women a chance to learn job skills, financial management, how to build a resume and how to work effectively in a job. Outreach supports Freedom Ala Cart financially and participates in their adopt a family Christmas Program. Individual Outreach members volunteer in the cafe kitchen. Others serve as delivery personnel for the Freedom at Home meal program.

Learn more about Freedom a la Cart.

NNEMAP Food Pantry

NNEMAP Food Pantry (Near Northside Emergency Material Assistance Program) is a non-profit social service agency distributing food and other resources to residents of Columbus, Ohio.  Saint Mark’s has an ongoing collection station for non-perishable foods and grooming items in the lobby of the church and holds regular special collections for high demand items such as soap or dental items.  We also donate money from the designated budget. In the late summer, the congregation fills back to school backpacks that are given to children in Columbus Public Schools.  In the fall, the congregation is asked to fill a bag of grooming items. At Christmas, the congregation gladly gives gifts to the Christmas Store for children of NNEMAP clients.

Learn more about NNEMAP Food Pantry.

Habitat for Humanity

Saint Mark’s joins other Columbus-area churches to build 1 to 2 houses per year in vulnerable neighborhoods.  In addition to a small funding contribution, St. Mark’s regularly provides lunches to workers on the job.  We sometimes have a volunteer helping with the building of the house by framing or painting.

Learn more about Habitat for Humanity.

Women Affirming Women – Women’s Respite Program

In partnership with other churches we provide amenities for a two-day nurturing weekend for women who may never even have celebrated a birthday. The women are identified by local social workers as having a need for a little assistance.

Learn more about Women Affirming Women.

My Brother’s Closet

St. Mark’s collects men’s suits, sport coats, shirts, ties, and shoes for the Columbus Urban League’s effort to tailor for men just out of prison, who will be trained in job skills and will be interviewing for jobs.

Learn more about My Brother’s Closet.

Outreach Fundraising Activities

Each year Outreach holds a Cookie Walk just before Christmas. The funds raised by this event go to one of the Outreach projects.

The “Help Heal Hunger” Bake Sale during the annual Arts Festival at Northam Park raises funds for one of the Ministry’s hunger-related projects. Outreach coordinates the event on behalf of the parish. Everyone donates baked goods which are sold to raise money for a hunger related project. Members of the congregation staff the tables, and hand out free popcorn and water to those passing by the Church on the way to the art festival in Northam Park. In addition to raising funds for hunger, Saint Mark’s gives back to the community.

Members of the parish, as well as their families and friends, are encouraged to reach out from their hearts—letting their hands help bring the peace and justice of God’s kingdom into our world.

Get Involved Today!

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Saint Mark’s Outreach Is Open to Everyone!

Saint Mark’s Outreach is open to Everyone! Meetings are held the 2nd Sunday of each month in the Canterbury Center following the 10:30 service. If you don’t want to be on the committee, but would like to participate in an activity, reach out to any Outreach member.

For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you invited Me in; naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.

Matthew 25:35-36