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October 14, 2018: Longstanding Connections at St. Mary's Court

by Mother Elizabeth Orens


All Souls contributes to a lively ministry at St. Mary’s Court in Foggy Bottom, which has a mission to provide affordable housing to seniors and to those who are physically disabled and live on limited income. It opened in 1979, thanks to funding from the Episcopal Church, HUD, and the city of Washington. John Walker, the diocesan bishop at the time, humorously remarked: “When you get the Episcopal Church, the DC Government, and the Federal Government to cooperate, you definitely have proof of the existence of God.”

Clergy from All Souls have long committed themselves to supporting worship at SMC for decades, offering a monthly low mass in the living room of the residence. Joe Howell, a longtime parishioner of All Souls who has expertise in housing development for seniors, has also served on the board as our bishop’s representative since St. Mary’s inception. An endowment grant from All Souls has also long helped subsidize SMC’s evening meal program so that all residents can benefit from both a reliable meal and the accompanying social interaction each day, regardless of their ability to pay.

During the interim period at All Souls—before the parish called Fr. Jadon—I offered the mass at St. Mary’s Court. I also organized time for fellowship, and a poetry circle. Helping me with this developing ministry was All Souls parishioner vEnessa Acham, along with Joy Kraus, a friend and local poet. With Fr. Jadon’s support, I have continued and expanded this ministry. For the past three years, my own Sacred Arts Group—which includes parishioners from All Souls—has presented an annual “Arts Evening” at which our artists share the stage with artists from St. Mary’s Court. One artist remarked: “Bringing together these two groups was a powerful bridge. Together we created an evening of value, of transformations.”

The Holy Spirit likes transformations. Within the last year, the All Souls Women’s Group has become more involved, as members have helped with the mass, the fellowship, and the poetry circle. Parishioner Joan Shapiro has also begun a remarkable art class that meets twice a month. If you have ideas of new ways to be involved, or would like to be part of any of these efforts, please let me know! All Souls brings an exceptional ministry to St. Mary’s Court. I am impressed by parishioners in our midst who feel deeply called to bring their gifts to this community. In this stewardship season, we have a unique opportunity to prayerfully reflect on the gifts we can bring to a world in desperate need of our love, our care.

Weekly Messages in October are related to our 2019 stewardship campaign’s theme, “Toward love and good deeds.” More info at www.allsoulsdc.org/giving.

Last Published: October 11, 2018 11:12 AM
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