Outreach & Justice Ministries

In Holy Baptism we make solemn vows to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves” and to “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.” At St. Michael’s, we believe that worship and action go hand-in-hand as two sides of the same coin.

There’s a lot of activity happening at St. Michael’s — we welcome your involvement! In general, the Outreach & Justice Council meets the first Thursday of each month at 7:00 pm in the Parish Hall. Please check the calendar to confirm. All are welcome to join us to express your interests and concerns. Contact Co-Coordinators Lynn Baker or Susan Barnett to be put on the agenda.

Listed below are a few of the current outreach and justice ministries at St. Michael’s.  If you’d like to find out more or get involved, or if you have a new ministry that you’d like to start, please contact us via Contact Page.

Advocacy Action
Advocacy Action formed out of the enthusiasm generated by our Bread for the World letter-writing campaigns. Advocacy Action meets on the third Monday of each month from 7:00 to 8:30 pm in the Raphael Room. The purpose of the group is to get together once a month and discuss issues in need of advocacy, and to support each other in our advocacy efforts. These efforts would include calling or emailing public officials, writing letters or postcards, or even visiting our elected representatives. Members of the group would be free to pursue their own issues and interests. The meetings would provide an informal space to discuss these issues and an opportunity to circulate letters for those who might want to sign on. There’s an oft-quoted statistic that for every letter or phone call to a public official, there’s at least 100 people who would do likewise if they had the time, energy, or know-how to do it. We’re here to help! For further information, please contact Alice Hardesty,

AIDS Walk Participation
Led by current youth-group member Alazar Manning and his “A” Team, St. Michael’s has sent walkers to the annual Cascade AIDS Walk for several years now, and many more parishioners and supporters have sponsored Alazar. Cascade AIDS Project is committed to raising money for AIDS education and awareness as well as working toward an eventual cure. Alazar and his team raised over $7,000 this year (over $36,000 in the last six years).

Alternative Giving Catalog
Every Christmas, starting at Advent, St. Michael’s offers our “Alternative Giving Catalog”, enabling parishioners to make donations to ten different nonprofit organizations in honor of their loved ones as a very special Christmas gift. We have featured many worthy organizations in our catalog, and we encourage everyone to visit them online and consider giving an honor gift for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, or any special celebration: Central City Concern, El Porvenir described below, Episcopal Relief and Development, Good Samaritan Ministries/Zambia, Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East Women Build, Lahash International, Maria Luisa Ortiz Clinic, Medical Teams International, and Sustainable Harvest International. These organizations thank you for your generous support.

Bread for the World
Bread for the World is a faith-based organization designed to help churches and other groups use public policy advocacy as an effective way to fight poverty and world hunger. Volunteers who care about these issues are needed to write letters to their legislators encouraging effective, lasting policy change at the state and national levels. Visit the Bread for the World website to find out more about this organization’s services.

The Community Meal
The Community Meal is a spaghetti lunch served at St. Michael’s on the last Saturday of the month, when there’s often “more month than money” for many of our low-income neighbors, from 11:30-12:30.  Trader Joe’s also donates two tables full of food items each month for folks to take home. Volunteers are needed to make meatballs and do other prep on Friday, and also on Saturday from 8:00 am-2:00 pm for setting up, preparing the meal, serving, and cleaning up.

Daybreak Shelter Network
The Daybreak Shelter Network is an overnight shelter ministry for homeless families operated under the auspices of Human Solutions. Approximately every 9 weeks, St. Michael’s shares hosting responsibilities with Rose City Park United Methodist Church. During our hosting week, volunteers are needed to provide a meal, stay overnight, or drive the shelter van to and from the Day Center. Visit Human Solutions to find out more about this organization’s services.

Department of Human Services (DHS) Partners with St. Michael’s for Foster Kids
Backpacks photo for websiteFor the last few summers, St. Michael’s has held a drive for school supplies and backpacks for schoolchildren in the foster-care system. School-supply lists have been available for parishioners to take with them when they do they shopping in July and August. In mid- to late August, a backpack “packing party” is held during the morning Forum time to get the backpacks packed and ready to deliver to DHS, who then distributes them to children in their system.

For several years, St. Michael’s, in conjunction with DHS, also hosted parties just before Christmas for foster children and their biological parents. Children, parents and volunteers have all had fun together with crafts, games, gifts, good food, and a picture of the family with Santa. DHS workers appreciated our help in making this a memorable annual event for families experiencing difficulties.

El Porvenir
The mission of El Porvenir is to make it possible for poor people in rural Nicaragua to improve their health, environment, and standard of living with sustainable self-help in potable water, sanitation, health education and reforestation. Since 2001, we have sent an annual work team to Nicaragua in January with El Porvenir on two-week mission trips to help with the construction of bathing stalls, community laundry centers, wells, and latrines. There have also been several summer work teams as well. Visit the El Porvenir website to find out more about this organization’s services.

2014-05 Styrofoam Joe and Bob - CopyEnvironmental Stewardship
The Environmental Stewardship Team helps us to be more aware of the need to care for “this fragile earth, our island home.” In addition to educational opportunities, the Environmental Stewardship team provides annual ingatherings of Styrofoam and works closely with Oregon Interfaith Power & Light and the Global Warming Steering Committee with Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and with the Environmental Commission of the Diocese of Oregon. Read more about this ministry here.

Episcopal Peace Fellowship
St. Michael’s has been involved over the years with the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, which meets at 7:00 pm on the fourth Thursday of each month at Trinity Cathedral, 147 NW 19th Ave., Portland. Volunteers assist with the newsletter, hosting information tables, peace education, and being present at peace gatherings. Visit the Diocese of Oregon EPF web site or the National EPF web site to find out more about this organization. St. Michael’s is officially a member of the EPF “Peace Partner” network, consisting of individuals, congregations, dioceses, seminaries and other Episcopal institutions who are seeking to grow their peace and justice ministries. Over the next three years, the Peace Partners initiative will encourage and support expanded access to nonviolence training, provide liturgical and educational resources to local congregations, nurture new generations of peacemakers, and promote regional and ecumenical efforts toward peace in our world. Leadership of this ministry at St. Michael’s is open at this time to an interested person.

Hollywood East
St. Michael’s parishioners have been involved with our neighbors at Hollywood East for many years. We hold ingatherings several times throughout the year for household goods and clothing. Youth members have often hosted gatherings for the residents of Hollywood East to enjoy.

Loaves & Fishes / Meals on Wheels
Loaves and Fishes serve lunch to senior citizens and others at Rose City Park Presbyterian Church. The St. Michael’s presently has about three volunteers who work with Loaves and Fishes and/or Meals on Wheels.  More volunteers would be welcome at the site from 10 am-1:30 pm any weekday, and drivers are also needed for the Meals on Wheels Program to deliver prepared meals to homebound persons. Visit the Loaves and Fishes website to find out more about this organization’s services.

2nd Saturday Lunch
Due to the growing need in our local community, we are now hosting a lunch on the 2nd Saturday of each month, to supplement our Community Meal on the last Saturday. Using gleanings from the Trader Joe’s Food Transfer Program, we offer a different entrée each month. Volunteers are needed and welcome. We also ask that parishioners pick up the invitation/meal cards available in the Gallery to give to those they encounter who might benefit from them, especially women and children in need. 2nd Saturday Lunch is a wonderful opportunity for newcomers and old-timers at St. Michael’s to share a good meal with our hungry neighbors.

Streetlight and Porchlight Shelters Meal Ministry
This ministry provides meals on the third Friday of each month to the homeless youth staying in shelters run by Janus Youth Services – the Porchlight and Streetlight Shelters. The Streetlight shelter provides short-term housing for 30 homeless youth, ages 13 to 20 who work with a case manager to exit street life. The Porchlight shelter provides emergency housing for 30 youth, ages 13 to 20, who are new to the streets or in immediate need of shelter and aid. This shelter serves over 500 youth every year by providing a safe place to sleep, nourishing meals, and hygiene facilities. Volunteers from St. Michael’s are needed to prepare fried or baked chicken (18 pieces), casseroles, canned fruits and vegetables, bread, cereal, cookies, and other components of dinner and breakfast. You can drop off your donation at St. Michael’s by Sunday afternoon if you’d like to help. Email Meg Ruby if you would like to learn more about this ministry at St. Michael’s, or visit the Janus Youth Services website to find out more about this organization’s services.

Trader Joe’s Food Transfer Program
Help distribute donated food from Trader Joe’s to the Harbor Light Shelter in Old Town and to the Northeast Emergency Food Program every Tuesday through Sunday at 6:30 am and 11:00 am. Both regular and back-up volunteer drivers are needed. A van, pickup truck, or station wagon works best for this ministry.

Thank you to all of our St. Michael’s parishioners who are reaching out and making a difference in the lives of others!