Outreach, Justice, and Community Service
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 (25:35-36) 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 partner with and support community agencies dedicated to food insecurity in Loudoun County (Loudoun Hunger Relief, Rise Against Hunger, Grace to Go). We partner with community agencies that provide clothing for those in need INMED Partnerships for Children and Mobile Hope. We serve those without homes at the Volunteers of American Shelter and the Loudoun Abused Women's Shelter, and we collaborate with organizations and churches providing literacy programs.
In December of 2015 St. Gabriel's launched its Spanish language worship service at St. James Episcopal Church, which helped broaden our identity of authentic inclusion. In addition to a Spanish language service at 3 p.m. 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 (Kids in Need of Defense, DREAMers' MOMS, Loudoun Free Clinic, Mobile Hope, LAWS, Health Works for Northern Virginia)
Our mission and vision for outreach, justice and service at St. Gabriel's is to not reinvent the wheel, which is why we rely on collaborations and community partnerships. These are some of the ways how at St. Gabriel's we love our neighbors as ourselves!
Food Justice Ministry
"Feed the hungry"... we need not be given further instructions from Jesus than this commandment! Saint Gabrielites takes this commandment to heart through our partnership with Loudoun Hunger Relief and Grace to Go. St. Gabriel's created a special program with Loudoun Hunger Relief during COVID time. Deacon Holly Hanback and a team of volunteers formed the Alleluia Ministry to provide a weekly food distribution to families who had no form of transportation to pick up food at the pop up sites around the County.
St. James' Episcopal Church in Leesburg has a food ministry called Grace to Go and St. Gabriel's sends out a reminder to families each week to remind them of the prepared food distributed on Sunday's at the Leesburg Apartments.
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 and Sterling.
The programs are part of St. Gabriel's Episcopal Church´s literacy and immigrant ministries and supported by community partners including INMED Partnerships for Children, the National Institutes of Health, Irene Saucedo Dance Studio, Amazon, Sterling Community Center, and Janelia Research Campus, Loudoun County Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Prevention. Together we empower children and adults with various forms of literacy including traditional ESL programs, robotics for children, 3D printing classes, web design for small business owners, and more. Educando con Amor is directed by Ms. Eva Maria Torres Herrera.
Educando con Amor for children provides after-school biliteracy instruction to low-income, at-risk Latino children in Pre-K through twelfth grade in Sterling and Leesburg. Students have the opportunity to explore new skills and develop talents in a safe environment of peers with facilitators who educate with love. A STEAM curriculum (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) was launched in March, 2018; the newest community education programs include painting, folkloric dance, programming and various technology programs so that the participants can gain confidence and trust in their academic abilities , 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.
Heal the Sick
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 calendar for specific information.
Ministry of Presence - Borderland Ministries Partnership with the Diocese of El Río Grande
In addition to local presence our knitting ministry began providing prayer squares and shawls to immigrants served by the Borderland Ministries. The knitting ministry is now comprised by knitters, crocheters and sewers. In addition to our prayers we send knitted and sewn dolls, hats, and scarves to our sisters and brothers crossing the border.
The prayers and actions of our faith community 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.