St. Thomas has a rich history of outreach and tradition of seeking opportunities for members of all ages within our parish community to help others in need. In order to realize the outreach potential of our parish, we will strive to provide opportunities for both monetary and hands-on help at levels both large and small, with a balanced local, diocesan, national, and world focus. We recognize the importance of outreach; when we reach out in service and love to others we strengthen our relationship to God.
Sharing God’s Love with the World
Past Mission Trips (Summer, 2011):
1) Santiago, Dominican Republic
From July 9 - July 19, Fr. Justin, our former Associate Rector, and several parishioners joined St. Anne's, Reston on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. They did some construction work and led Vacation Bible School.
2) Les Cayes, Haiti
In mid-July, Fr. Stephen, our Rector, and several parishioners made a "scouting trip" to Les Cayes in Haiti to explore the possibility of establishing a mission relationship with an Episcopal parish in the city. We subsequently decided to enter into a mission partnership with the church.
Upcoming Mission Trips (Summer, 2012):
1) Dungannon, VA
Senior High Youth Mission Trip
For many years in the first week of August, senior high youth have spent a week in Appalachia, repairing substandard housing and helping those in need. This coming summer, St. Thomas’ will once again participate in this important outreach ministry. Teaming up with other parishes in Region V, youth/adult chaperones from our church will serve Christ by serving others. Our folks will stay in an old sewing factory while they are doing mission work in Dungannon. In the past, participants built wheelchair ramps and decks, removed and installed flooring, installed doors, spackled and painted, and removed and installed bathroom fixtures.
Ministry with the Elderly:
Iliff Nursing Home—Friday Morning Eucharist
For many years, lay volunteers and clergy at Church of the Holy Cross in Dunn Loring have led a worship service at Iliff Nursing Home (located near Merrifield) every Friday morning at 10:30 AM. We have joined Holy Cross in this important ministry. We think it is a great opportunity for collaboration with another parish in Region V—the northern Virginia group of Episcopal churches that includes St. Thomas’. On the 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month, Fr. Stephen will lead the 10:30 worship service at Iliff and he will bring communion to residents who are bedridden. Additionally, they are hoping that members of the parish will join them in this wonderful ministry. If you are interested and able to participate in this ministry, please contact Kathleen, our parish administrator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ministry with Youth:
Alternative House—Fourth Sunday of the Month
On the third Sunday of each month, members of the EYC (youth group) and the outreach committee have dinner with residents at Alternative House--an emergency shelter for abused and homeless teens located near Tyson's Corner. We prepare and eat dinner with the teens/staff at the shelter. This ministry offers a great opportunity for fellowship with teens that are struggling with difficult circumstances. If you are interested in participating in this ministry, please email Fr. Stephen at email@example.com.
Agencies to which we donate items/money:
SHARE, McLean – This charity operates a food pantry and clothes closet out of the McLean Baptist Church serving needy local residents. Members of St. Thomas donate food and paper goods items throughout the year and transport them to SHARE regularly. Furniture is also accepted. There are also special collections at Thanksgiving and Toys and other gifts at Christmas.
Samaritan Ministry of Washington, D.C. – This charity seeks out people who are ready to change their lives and assists with its “Next Step” program. St. Thomas helps plan and organize a Christmas party and provides gifts for needy children and adults. Volunteers may also contribute in a wide variety of ways including casework and literacy training. St. Thomas also participates in this organization’s “Walk for the Homeless.” www.samaritanministry.com/2006/index.htm
Falls Church/McLean Children’s Center – This center provides affordable quality childcare, especially for low-income working families with children having special needs. Various supplies are also collected and donated to needy families and the church makes a financial contribution. Volunteers may help by reading to children, helping maintain the playground, painting, etc. www.fcmlcc.org
FACETS Hypothermia Program – This program (www.FacetsCares.org) shelters and feeds approximately 60-80 individuals nightly from December – March with the goal of preventing hypothermia related deaths during the winter months. In 2006, St. Thomas made its first grant to FACETS for the purchase of heavy-duty boots and socks, winter hats, long-john winter underwear, and scarves. The items will be distributed to homeless clients who must face the hardship of winter without shelter.
CrossLink International – Is a Christian-based humanitarian-Aid organization that distributes medicines and medical supplies to needy people around the world and in the U.S. Since 1996, CrossLink has shipped more than $32 million in medical materials. In FY 2005, CrossLink provided critical medicines and supplies for 359 mission teams, clinics and/or hospitals which approximately 600,000 men, women and children. Most recently CrossLink has responded to the needs of Gulf Coast residents suffering from the effects of Hurricane Katrina. www.crosslinkinternational.net
Young’s Memorial Church – St. Thomas collects clothing to be distributed to needy residents in the Southeast Washington, D.C. neighborhood in which Young’s Memorial Church is located.