Outreach, Justice, and Community Service:
Our community partnerships and collaborations
Christians are charged by Christ to love, serve, and do justice. That's not only a Christian responsibility, all religions of the world follow that universal command. The Gospel of Matthew (24:35-36) says, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Jesus also sent his disciples out two by two which is why St. Gabriel’s partners with many organizations in its ministries of outreach, justice and service.
We volunteer and collect food for the food insecure (Loudoun Hunger Relief, Grace to Go, Backpack Buddies). We provide clothing for those in need for Mobile Hope. We serve those without homes at the Volunteers of American Shelter and the Loudoun Abused Women's Shelther, and we support LGBTQ+ teens through local teen support groups.
In December of 2015 St. Gabriel's launched its Spanish language worship service at St. James Episcopal Church (14 Cornwall St. NW) which helped broaden our identity of authentic inclusion. In addition to a Spanish language service at 3pm and because of our relationship with Latinos in Leesburg, St. Gabriel’s partners and collaborates with organizations that serve immigrants in Leesburg and Loudoun County (DREAM’ers’ MOMS, Loudoun Free Clinic, Mobile Hope, LAWS, Loudoun Cares).
Saint Gabriel’s initiated a collaboration with DREAMER's Mom's of Northern Virginia. This collaboration resulted in the EQOLS Partnership where diverse community volunteers and St. Gabriel’s volunteers teach with love - “Educando con Amor”. The program provides written and read Spanish classes for children so that they can become fully bilingual, the second offereing is for adults who want to learn English using a practical “life skills methodology”, and last but not least we offer a multigenerational STEM program for adults and children in collaboration with volunteers from Janelia Research Campus.
We collaborate with pro-bono attorneys and legal services organizatiosn to provide legal counseling and occasionally legal representation for Loudoun County residents. Call the office for more information.
Check out the many ways that St. Gabriel’s follows Christ’s commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves!
SHELTER THE HOMELESS AND FEED MY SHEEP, SAYS THE LORD
St. Gabriel´s collaborates with the County homeless shelter services. During the winter there is a Cold Weather Shelter that everyone should know about and refer homeless neighbors to use.
Some info you should have:
The Loudoun County Cold Weather Shelter opened on Thursday, November 15, 2018, for adults in the community needing a place to sleep. The shelter provides a warm indoor sleeping environment and is open from 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. seven nights a week. In addition to providing a place to sleep, the shelter provides case management, mental health services and other resources. A photo ID is required and bags are checked for safety prior to being admitted.
This year, the Cold Weather Shelter will operate at the Sterling Community Center, 120 Enterprise Street in Sterling due to renovations at the Loudoun County Homeless Services Center in Leesburg. From November 15, 2018, through March 31, 2019, the county will provide free transportation from the Douglass Community Center, 405 East Market Street in Leesburg, to the Cold Weather Shelter. A shuttle bus will depart nightly at 9:00 p.m.
Please refer those interested in Cold Weather Shelter to call the Loudoun Homeless Services enter’s Main Number at 571-258-3033 rather than the Sterling Community Center.
FOOD JUSTICE MINISTRY
Whenever school has an extended break St. Gabriel's is there to send food home for school children who qualify for the free and reduced lunch program in collaboration with Backpack Buddies and Loudoun Hunger Relief.
"Feed the hungry"... we need not be given further instructions from Jesus than this command! Saint Gabrieliites take the commandment to heart as we partner with Community Table of Loudoun and other collaborators to provide a spectacular dinner event for the food insecure. Delicious food is served, entertainment provided, and a great time with all the guests as we break bread together. The photo below was taken at the kitchen of the Leesburg Senior Center where some of the CTL dinners take place.
Saint Gabriel's partners twice a year with Community Table of Loudoun to prepare food, serve, provide entertainment, clean up and meet our neighbors. For more information email email@example.com. Also visit the Community Table of Loudoun's website for more volunteer opportunities. Click here
LITERACY AND IMMIGRATION MINISTRIES
EDUCANDO CON AMOR - EDUCATING WITH LOVE - A LITERACY MINISTRY
Launched In March 2016, Educando Con Amor (Educating With Love), is a multi-generational literacy program in Leesburg for English and Spanish Language Learners. The programs are part of St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church´s literacy and immigrant ministries and supported by community partners including DREAMers MOMS™, Loudoun County Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Prevention, Loudoun Hunger Relief, and Janelia Research Campus. Together these organizations empower children and adults with education, an education given with love. Educando con Amor is directed by Ms. Sarah Ali and the children's programming is coordinated by Ms. Eva María Torres-Herrera.
Educando con Amor for children provides after-school biliteracy instruction to low-income, at-risk Latino children in Pre-K through seventh grade in Leesburg on Friday evenings from 5pm to 7pm at the Fields of Leesburg Education Center. The students learn to read and write in Spanish so that they can perform better academically, pursue higher education, and ultimately be better positioned for desirable jobs that seek bilingual employees. The curriculum also seeks to foster an appreciation of Latino culture and heritage and build strong future Latino leaders and advocates.
Educando con Amor for adults is a “life skills” based English instruction program focused on learning the everyday vocabulary needed to interact effectively with people in the community. The methodology teaches basic English conversation quickly using simple dialogue models, flashcards, and interactive activities where students practice speaking to people in their community - teachers, bank tellers, store cashiers, librarians, bus drivers, clinicians, employers, and their children. The adult learners also receive instruction and support in achieving specific goals such as creating a resume, filling out an application for U.S. citizenship, and preparing to take the citizenship examination. Ultimately our students are seeking to gain practical communication skills focused on enhancing their economic stability and quality of life. In other words, Educando con Amor is about improving communication skills through self-advocacy.
A STEM curriculum (science, techonology, engineering and math) for children and adults was launched in March, 2018 with the support of Janelia Research Campus volunteers. The STEM programming is offered on Saturday mornings from 10am to 11:30 a.m. at the Fields of Leesburg Education Center.
HEAL THE SICK
St. Gabriel´s Prayer Shawl Ministry - St. Gabriel’s Prayer Shawl Ministry
The Prayer Shawl Ministry meets monthly except in the summer months of July and August to knit and crochet blankets for the newly baptized and prayers shawls for the infirmed and shut ins. Each item is blessed at church and distributed as needed by the parishioners and clergy upon request. This ministry started very slowly in 2018, and suddently there was a Holy Spirit spark! The interest grew and people showed up with shawls, blankets or to volunteer and teach others how to knit/crochet. There are 2 quilters, several novice and experienced crocheters, and many novice and experienced knitters. All are welcome!
There is a need for these handmade items, as they are given to people in need as soon as they are completed. We have asked for both congregations to consider trying knitting or crocheting to help make blankets or shawls, to consider donating yarn or needles/hooks, or to please continue to pray for the people making the shawls and the people who need them. People who gather to use their hands and hearts for the benefit of others learn a lot about themselves and each other. We have yarn, some needles and hooks, and lots of fun.
The following is from the shawlministry.com website. Whether they are called Prayer Shawls, Comfort Shawls, Peace Shawls, or Mantles: The shawl maker begins with prayers and blessings for the recipient. The intentions are continued throughout the creation of the shawl. Upon completion, a final blessing is offered before the shawl is sent on its way. Some recipients have continued the kindness by making a shawl and passing it onto someone in need. Thus, the blessing ripples from person-to-person, with both the giver and receiver feeling the unconditional embrace of a sheltering God!
Please call the office at 703-779-3616 if you wish to participate and/or donate yarn, cash or knitting/crocheting materials.
St. Gabriel's Project Linus - The St. Gabriel's faith community makes warm, fuzzy, fleece blankets each December for for children ages 0-18 who are sick, traumatized, or otherwise in need. These blankets tell a child that St. Gabriel's cares. The blankets are distributed to children and their families through Loudoun County hospitals, cancer centers, homeless shelters, foster care homes, and Fire & Rescue teams. Project Linus is a multigenerational family service project. See the December calendar for specific information.
MINISTRY OF PRESENCE
As children of God we take our Baptismal Covenant seriously by rubbing elbows with our neighbors in community events. The Ministry of Presence at St. Gabriel's means letting our neighbors know that we not only worship locally but that we are an integral part of our communiity. St. Gabrielite's can be found supporting and partnering with the Arc of Loudoun on a number of projects, raising funds to support Loudoun Cares, LAWS, and inviting budding musicians from the Catoctin School of Music to perform publicly with our congregation at different times of the year!
Our prayes and actions are part of our ministry of presence in the community and are indicative of St. Gabriel's response to God's urgent call to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ in this part of the kingdom as Christ's agents and missionaries.