St. John's is at the center of an effort to make Charleston an official Compassionate City. Under this initiative (charterforcompassion.org), communities pledge to engage in efforts that increase compassion both among its citizens as well as its institutions. The effort is ongoing, and an initial step has been to create a Compassionate Charleston Facebook page, which presently has hundreds of members. We invite you to join this worthy cause!
Grief groups are organized as the need arises, and run for eight weeks. Groups address new grief as well as unresolved grief related to loss, tragedy, trauma, or illness. Grief may be the result of the death of a friend or family member, moving to a new city leaving friends behind, the loss of income, divorce, or other life-changing experiences that leave one unsettled. The Rev. Marquita L. Hutchens facilitates the groups.
In 1976, the Rev. Jim Lewis, St. John's rector at the time, fed a homeless person a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That single act of kindness has blossomed into Manna Meal, Inc. Today, Manna Meal is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that operates a soup kitchen located at St. John's. St. John's is proud of this ministry that has grown from one lunch to now feeding over 400 people a day "no questions asked". Manna Meal serves breakfast and lunch 365 days a year. In addition to the soup kitchen and food pantry, Manna Meal tends a large garden in South Charleston. The garden helps to supply thousands of pounds of vegetables to the soup kitchen and many local food pantries. It takes hundreds of volunteers each month to operate Manna Meal, Inc. St. John's supports Manna Meal through volunteering and individual monetary contributions, a relationship that both groups respect and cherish.
Located in the rear of St. Elizabeth House (the small green building next door to the church) and in operation since the 1930s, the Back Door ministry offers gently-used clothing and more, at yard sale prices to the community. All items are donated and proceeds are used for special projects within the parish and for other charitable causes. It is staffed by volunteers and is open to the public the first Sunday of each month from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and weekly, Tuesday-Thursday from 12-3 p.m.
St. John's Outreach committee meets at noon on the third Sunday of each month to plan ministry projects in the community and the world. Through its various activities and events, Outreach gives financial support to community projects as well as our partner agencies Manna Meal, Religious Coalition for Community Renewal and Covenant House.
Reading Camp offers intensive instruction to children in grades 2 through 4 who are identified by their schools as being behind grade level in reading. Campers enjoy the relaxed, stress-free and failure-free atmosphere and leave camp with new understanding of the joy of reading, as well as other skills that will help them in every area of their lives. Reading Camp is free to all campers and is staffed by volunteers. St. John's held its first Reading Camp in summer 2014.
This is an occasional series of presentations and discussions focused on important social issues affecting our state and community.
SAGA is an inclusive group founded by St. John's with a mission to advocate the dignity of human sexuality in all of its orientations, genders, and life-enriching relationships in the spirit of God's love. The group meets at St. John's on the second Sunday of each month (except June) from noon to 1:30 p.m. in room 209 for lunch, fellowship and planning. There is no membership fee and meetings are open to visitors as well as regular attendees. The group's activities are funded through private donations as SAGA is an interfaith rather than Episcopal organization and receives no monies from the parish budget.
Meetings available at St. John's include the following:
This group of Christian, Jewish and Muslim clergy and laypersons have come together for the purpose of helping refugees, in light of the current crises in Syria and other places around the world that have displaced millions of people. The group is the newest in a network of 31 sites affiliated with the national Episcopal Migration Ministries. The U.S. State Department recently approved WVIRM's application for refugee resettlement in Charleston. This ministry will soon be housed in St. John's and expects to welcome refugees in summer 2017. For the latest news, visit wvirm.com.