This Week at St. Stephen’s–February 12, 2012

INN FROM THE COLD

Chief among our outreach ministries at St. Stephen’s is Inn From the Cold, a ministry of shelter and hospitality to the homeless of our city.

The early days of the Inn are shrouded in myth: Inn From the Cold was inspired by a Christmas Eve sermon preached at St. Stephen’s by Bob Purdy, Rector at the time. It was a cold night and a man was found sleeping beneath the outdoor stairway. As a response to Bob’s sermon several parishioners began exploring what we could do to provide shelter for the homeless. Five months later, after consultations with other concerned churches and citizens, the first Inn was held here at St. Stephen’s. The year was 1997.

Inn From the Cold quickly grew into a city-wide movement, a not-for-profit society supported by over seventy faith communities. As literally thousands of volunteers across the city became personally acquainted with the homeless population, stereotypes dropped away, and larger questions were asked about the root causes of homelessness. That awareness spawned the “Ten Years to End Homelessness” initiative of the Calgary Homeless Foundation.

We at St. Stephen’s continue to offer two “Inns” a month, on the second and fourth weekends. Sue McPhee, who has been involved right from the beginning, serves as our Coordinator. New volunteers are always welcome, and donations can be made at any time to support this vital work. The poor may always be with us, as Jesus said, but there is no reason we may not also be with them.

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