Outreach, Justice, and Community Service
Every Sunday is a speacial Sunday, July 16, 2017
St. Gabriel’s and DREAMER’s Moms partnered in a literacy ministry that was piloted last year at Health Works in Leesburg. After its first year, the pilot program proved to be a success. So much so, that we outgrew the space. The six volunteers and twenty children who are learning how to read and write in Spanish have moved to a new free location!
Thanks to Deacon Holly’s community networks, we were granted use of a free apartment in The Fields of Leesburg, an “affordable housing” complex of 405 apartments on Plaza Street. The apartment has been continuously used by the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse prevention for after school programming over the past twenty years, and as of last Friday, our Educando con Amor - Educating with Love literacy program began using the space at 75 Plaza Street M-104.
The founding teachers (Eva Torres and Araceli Martinez) who are members of St. Gabriel’s, a mom - who was a participant and is now a volunteer, and her son - a current participant of Educando con Amor, were the homilists at both services. In keeping with the gospel theme of sowing Christ’s seeds on fertile ground, they shared how their seeds germinated and how they will continue sowing seeds of love for the use and benefit of members of the Leesburg community. See the video in the sermon section, and be inspired by their inspiration!
We are proud of our youth in action. Check out the video on the top right by Allie and her family. Allie has inspired her family with her commitment to feeding the hungry through St. Gabriel's ministry partnership with Loudoun Interfaith Relief. Allie, her sister and parents not only coordinate the pick up and delivery of our biweekly food collection, they even created the promotional video you can check out here! St. Gabriel's is proud! A picture paints a thousand words! Come join us as we serve those in need around our community and beyond!
St. Gabriel's @ Ashby Ponds - An email from one of our Asbhy Ponds parishioners 1/19/16
"Dear Father Daniel: Sorry that you had frozen car locks this morning and that you were unable to transport yourself and Father Bill to Ashby Ponds today! We who did not have to cope with the icy blast of winter missed you, for sure. But we managed a spontaneous, patchwork service on the spur of the moment which reflected the fact that "when two or three are gathered together in my name...."
Always helpful, Raul Castillejos from St. Gabriel's was with us of course, and had the scripture reading that you sent on his cell phone. We discovered there are no Books of Common Prayer in the Chapel, but someone went to her apartment to get her 1928 version, which we used to improvise a service of Morning Prayer!
Conveniently, last night another person had made a dozen copies of your service of healing to take to her discipleship group at Holy Comforter Episcopal in Vienna on Wednesday morning. So I fetched them from our apartment, we distributed them to those in the chapel, and she led us through that beautiful service. Then, thanks to the Methodists among us, we found "Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee" in a hymnal that was left in the Chapel and we sang that together.
We then asked Raul to share with us his recent family travel to the Philippines. He was wonderful, and all present were touched and fascinated by his impromptu sharing of this marvelous experience for him, his children who accompanied him, and his Phillipino family and in-laws. So it was a lovely gathering, appreciated and enjoyed by all who came together for it, and we all will look forward to next time with you and Father Bill."
Ministries of Christian Justice - 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.
St. Gabrielites follow Christ's charge close to the letter through our Christian Justice Ministries. We volunteer and collect food for the food insecure (Loudoun Hunger Relief, Grace to Go, Backpack Buddies). We provide clothing for those in need through Maggie's Closet and Mobile Hope. We serve those without homes at the Volunteers of American Shelter and the Loudoun Abused Women's Shelther, and we've supported LGBTQ+ teens through a local teen social and support group called Loudoun out Loud.
In December of 2015 St. Gabriel's relaunched 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. In the past year we initiated a ministry collaboration with DREAMER's Mom's of Northern Virginia: one is a literacy program for Latino adults and children's/teen to learn how to read and write in Spanish. In a collaborative effort with pro-bono attorneys, St. Gabriel's offers free legal counseling services each month for residents of Leesburg.
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.
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 Leesburg Aurora School at Paxton Campus by offering a joint Interfaith Spirituality and Support Group for parents of children with disabilities; we raise funds to support Loudoun Cares, LAWS, and the local young musicians from the Catoctin School of Music, who have performed at our outdoor Chapel in the Woods!
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.