Feature of the Month: Manna House
Each month, we will feature a particular servant ministry opportunity that you and/or your family can participate in during the whole month.
You may recall the Red Kettle was featured in December (we raised $5,000!). This month, we are featuring Manna House, not only because the need is great with the swinging temperature in these so-called "winter months," but also because it offers a great opportunity for making human connections in the name of Christ. At the end of this month, the director and co-founder, Dr. Pete Gathje, will speak at our next SOUL Supper on March 8. Please read below the ways you might jump in:
Manna House is located on Jefferson just west of Cleveland on the edge of midtown and is a place of hospitality for homeless people and others in need. At Manna House, we welcome each guest with respect and compassion. It is a place to sit and visit before and after a meal offered by St. Vincent DePaul down the street. It is a living room for people from the streets.
Manna House is open Mon, Tues and Thurs from 8 AM to 11 AM. We offer a place where people can come inside for conversation or rest. In warm weather the backyard picnic tables are gathering spots for many. We offer coffee, water, a bathroom, a shower and clean clothes. If you volunteer, you will be serving coffee, refilling sugar and creamer containers, keeping tables clean, distributing vitamins, and visiting with guests. Manna House is not a social service agency; rather we are people welcoming other people to share ourselves, our gifts, and gifts we have received from others. We seek to be stewards of God's graciousness and to create a community of hospitality in which all are welcomed as children of God.
Consider setting aside just one morning this month to take yourself to Manna House. It's okay to be a little apprehensive. If you are going for the first time, we recommend you join a current volunteer like Lucy Blackwell, Whit Tanner, or Fr. John who can show you the ropes.
If you are interested in volunteering, please email lublack [at] bellsouth [dot] net or contact the church at (901) 323-8597.
Mission and Vision of Servant Ministry
"Yes, we go out to do the work of Christ, but we can only do that because we are centered and energized." - The Rev. John W. Sewell
Servant Ministry grows from our baptismal promise to "seek and serve Christ in all persons" and to "respect the dignity of every human being." We must answer God’s call to action and work to spread his joy and love with gratitude, becoming the hands and feet of Christ in the world.
Our vision for Servant Ministry is driven by eight core ideals that guide where we commend our volunteers' time and energy. These ideals also guide our financial support, so that we create harmony and focus in our work. In other words, we wholeheartedly support a targeted investment of ongoing Christian service in both volunteers and financial support to promote the greatest impact.
On the left side of this page, you can navigate to each of our subpages, where we provide details on the ministries we currently support, opportunities to serve, and a point person for each one. They are grouped into larger categories: Children in Need, Food for the Hungry, and Hospitality & Shelter. Continue reading below to review our core ideals.
- Prioritize organizations that offer direct service, rather than funding middle-men.
Parishioner Hands-on Involvement
- When we say we want to serve as the hands and feet of Christ in the world, we mean it! We choose to commit time and money to organizations that place our parishioners directly into the work.
Opportunities to Work Together
- Prioritize two-way relationships and working together to promote the dignity of "Christ in all persons," rather than "drop-off" or "give and receive" relationships which foster dependency and separation.
Movement of the Holy Spirit
- Does the organization or ministry have clear signs of the Holy One moving through it? We prioritize such ministries to help maximize our impact and team-up with God.
- Focus first on local ministries, especially those near Saint John's, both in time given and money granted. Then branch out into city-wide partnerships and beyond.
Impact of Contribution
- What effect will a gift of time and money from STJ have on the organization? Will it be a small donation for a well-established fundraising machine or a difference maker that enables an important ministry to blossom?
- Organizations we support need to have an established accountability structure and transparent use of funds. This is not exclusive to large-scale, corporate non-profits, but we seek to avoid those groups which do not demonstrate good stewardship of their resources.
- Some needs we encounter are truly emergencies and merit direct intervention on a short term basis. This includes individual emergencies and disaster relief. However, such assistance is given careful consideration and not available to walk-in requests.