Do you have a desire to give of your time, talent, and energy to your church and community?
St. Stephen’s has active local Outreach Programs including helping our community through a Water Ministry, Thrift Shop and inreach program serving our members and friends in the community.
St. Stephen’s Water Ministry involves delivering water to people in our community who have no potable water and are unable to secure safe water for themselves. Twenty percent of the homes in Northumberland and adjoining Lancaster Counties have inadequate or no water supply. This desperate need in the community is one that parishioners of St. Stephen’s have begun to address.
More than a dozen St. Stephen’s volunteers have been delivering bottled water to roughly twenty families since September 2007. In most cases these families are unable to acquire potable water for themselves because of illness or isolation. We recognize that delivering water to them is only a temporary stopgap. Many of the families with water problems are also in need of assistance around their homes with roof and plumbing repair, yard clean-up, household repairs, etc. Our longer term goal is to build relationships, assess their needs and begin assisting with these other needs where we can.
Helping people understand the water issues we face is one way we think St. Stephen’s can make a difference. Some of the ways we can help raise this awareness is by hosting educational forums and going to communities and churches and demonstrating use of filtration systems. Some wells need filtration systems to make the water potable; others require repairs; many more of the shallow wells must be replaced with deeper artesian wells. The costs range from $600 for filtration systems to upwards of $10,000 for an artesian well. The Diocese of Virginia awarded St. Stephen’s A Mustard Seed Grant in 2008 to help plan and finance the costs of broadening this ministry.
St. Stephen’s Trifles and Treasures Thrift Shop is an important part of the congregation’s community outreach. In addition to being a source of very affordable clothing and household items, the Thrift Shop has an active partnership with Northumberland High School to provide vocational training opportunities for special needs students. The Thrift Shop also provides free vouchers for clothing and household items for victims of fire and other disasters, and in partnership with Warsaw United Methodist Church’s Food Bank Program. Net proceeds from the Thrift Shop are used to help finance St. Stephen’s annual outreach donations to numerous local community organizations.