The Choir leads the singing in worship services throughout the year, as well as being a community of fellowship and learning. Under the direction of our talented Music Director, Jeff Jones, the singing group meets every Thursday night to practice for upcoming weekly services. In addition to performing at the 10:30 a.m. Sunday service, the choir perform special pieces during the holy seasons of Christmas and Easter.
If you are interested in joining the choir to perform a wide variety of spiritual music, and to learn singing techniques as well as music theory and history new members are always welcome.
For more information please contact:Jeff Jones St. Stephen’s Music Director email@example.com
The Chancel Guild is the ideal working group for those who like to “do” rather than “talk about doing”. Still, it offers a great opportunity for friendships to develop as guild members work on a weekly roster to beautify the sanctuary, set up for services of public worship, and care for our “holy hardware”. Traditionally the Chancel Guild has been the domain of women; but in these changing times, men would be welcome too!
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Inn From The Cold
The Inn from the Cold shelter for the homeless program now includes over 70 Calgary churches city-wide. At St. Stephen’s, we offer an opportunity to assist the homeless by hosting two “Inns” per month in our church hall. Cooking, greeting, supervising, setting up and taking down – such practical actions meet more than the physical needs of our guests. Come and see for yourself, new volunteers are welcome throughout the year.
Inn from the Cold started in 1996 at St. Stephen’s by a group of people representing eight churches, a number of denominations, and the community, Inn From the Cold (IFTC) is now a city wide emergency shelter program run by the Inn From The Cold Society.
The program’s birth was based on the words of St. Matthew calling upon us to reach out and care for others in need. The planning group had a vision that, unlike other large homeless shelters, IFTC would welcome smaller groups of homeless people into church halls throughout the city. Our guests would be offered a home-style dinner, a comfortable cot with a full set of bedding to sleep in, a hot breakfast to start the next day with, and a generous bag lunch to take away with them. More importantly, they would be offered dignity and respect, and love and compassion. With no other homeless shelters able to accommodate entire families, IFTC would accommodate families first, with remaining beds offered to single women, and then single men.
The first Inn operated on Friday, May 2, 1997 in St. Stephen’s Memorial Hall. Ten years later, St. Stephen’s continues to host homeless people in our hall two or three evenings each month.
The shelter program has grown to include over 70 congregations and synagogues, each hosting Inns on a rotating schedule. Two to four Inns are open each night, year round, 365 nights a year. IFTC remains the only shelter in the city where moms, dads and their children of any age can stay together.
At St. Stephen’s, 20 – 25 volunteers run the “Inn” each time we are open. Volunteers are organized into crews to set-up and visit during the evening, cook and serve dinner, supervise overnight, cook and serve breakfast and “close” (take-down and clean-up). Around 100 dedicated people volunteer their time in this ministry each year. Some are from our parish, others are not.
Approximately 435 people were hosted at St. Stephen’s “Inn” during 2009. The parishes of St. Mark’s and St. Phillip’s, The Calgary Islamic Centre and the Cathedral Church of the Redeemer also hold their “Inns” here, at St. Stephen’s, so in total, over 600 homeless guests were welcomed here. Without exception, our guests are appreciative of the warm, non-judgmental welcome, the compassion, and the safe haven provided by our volunteers.
Inn from the Cold is an expression of our Christian faith. We continue to learn how to open our hearts to a stranger, another child of God. In doing so, we find that we ourselves are blessed.
In going over old Inn from the Cold records, our former IFTC Coordinator, David Driftmier, found this poem in our Lower Hall, left behind by an anonymous IFTC guest in January 2010. He submitted it with a note to say, “It is positive and poignant, I think, and it reminds us of the sustenance and love that we give to our guests and the spirituality our shelter promotes.
Give to me the life I love;
Let the love go by me.
Give the jolly Heaven above
And the byway nigh me:
Bed in the bush with the stars to see
Bread I dip in the river;
There’s the life for a man like me,
There is Thy life forever.
Oh let the autumn fall by me
Where in a field I linger,
Silencing the bird on tree
Biting the blue frozen.
White as a real, frosty fall.
Here I am warm as a fireside Heaven.
Not to the winter will I yield
Not to winter, ever…
Anonymous – January 2010
For more information please contact:Sue McPhee Inn from the Cold Coordinator http://www.innfromthecold.org
Feed The Hungry
Once a year we supply food and volunteers for the “Feed the Hungry” dinner at St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral. This past year over 54 St. Stephen’s volunteers turned out to feed those less fortunate, yet left the experience feeling wonderfully fed themselves. Many others offer financial support to feed almost 400 people who came out for this Sunday meal.
This past year’s organizer Jill C. submitted the following summary and thank-you for the helpers at this year’s dinner:
On October 31, 2010, 54 eager volunteers descended on St. Mary’s Hall to assist with this year’s rendition of the Feed the Hungry Dinner. As you can appreciate, the dinner’s organizers allow for a number of no-shows in arranging their staffing requirements but, in the words of one of St. Mary’s organizers, the St. Stephen’s people ‘just kept coming and coming’ to the point where they had to send their regular volunteers home!
Altogether, we served 398 guests some 625 meals. We all know what a pleasure it is to serve hungry people in our homes, an experience magnified when serving people who are truly hungry. As the co-ordinator wrote, “Our guests cannot afford the luxury of eating out at a restaurant – the service of dinner, beverages and desserts brings that restaurant atmosphere to them in an environment of respect and kindness.”
Thanks to all of you who worked so joyfully, and donated so generously, to make this event a fine exercise of charity, hospitality and community building. Everyone pitched in, some took on more than one shift, newcomers among us made new friends and the spirit of fellowship and caring was everywhere. Together we made a difference! Thank-you!
“Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” Elizabeth Andrew
Outreach Beyond is our outreach to areas beyond our own community. Currently we are focused on assisting with projects in Africa. All funds raised in the special pink giving envelopes designated for Outreach Beyond provide needed monies for:
- The Stephen Lewis Foundation which supports community-based organizations working to turn the tide of HIV/AIDS in Africa.
- Emmanuel G. (a Rwandan priest) currently studying for his Doctorate of Ministry (DMin) at St. Stephen’s College (at the University of Alberta). With help from the National Church office, our outreach helps Emmanuel with his out-of-pocket expenses while he lives and studies in Edmonton. His official position back home is of General Secretary of The Anglican Church of Rwanda.
- Hilda S. in her work in an AIDS clinic in Uganda.