As we talk about ministry at St. Stephen’s, Mission is placed first. A church is intended to help its members, but the church is also intended to help those that are not its members.
The Hebrew scriptures teach the Jewish people to love their neighbour and that God is a just God. From Micah 6:8, “what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Jesus teaches his disciples that the teaching of the Hebrew scriptures is to love their neighbours. When a scribe asks Jesus, who is my neighbour? Jesus responds with the parable of the good Samaritan. The Samaritan helped the man who was robbed, left bleeding on the roadside and was a Jew.
The idea of mission is one of reaching out to help people who are not part of our community. Helping people in our community can also be missional, especially when the needs of people in our community help us to understand the needs of the larger community.
The parable of Jesus leaving the 99 sheep to search for the 1 that is lost is an example of being missional.
The Anglican Church of Canada summarized its understanding of mission with the Five Marks of Mission:
- To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom.
- To teach, baptize and nurture new believers.
- To respond to human need by loving service.
- To seek to transform unjust structures of society.
- To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth.
From St. Stephen’s Mission Statement, the phrase, ‘to nurture our spiritual lives as we share God’s love’, expresses our sense of mission.
At St. Stephen’s we are looking for ways to support the people in Current River and area. Here are some things we are doing.
St. Stephen’s adopts a Mission Project annually. Parishioners select an organization and raises funds to donate to it. The goal is to raise $500, but we donate what is raised. Each year a bake sale held at the Current River Winter Carnival raises funds for the Mission Project. The intent is to engage the congregation in Mission and to heighten awareness of groups and organizations doing charitable work in our community.
On the 3rd Sunday in January on Sunday after a worship service, the congregation brainstorms ideas for a project and selects one: ideas are brain-stormed, writing them on flip chart paper. On the 4th Sunday when the ideas are reviewed, an opportunity is given to add to the list, and then a vote is held. When brainstorming, people suggest a mission and are given the opportunity to explain its merits. People may submit their idea in writing so that it can be read at the brainstorming session. Children are encouraged to participate and suggest a mission; suggested missions may be reviewed during Sunday School on the day of the vote. An organization can only be selected once every 2 years.
Each person, including children, is given 4 sticker dots and voting is done by affixing them to the flip chart paper with the items listed. Parishioners who will not be in attendance may vote by proxy. A proxy must be in writing, including e-mail, identifying the name of the person and the name of the proxy.
Alternating between a local, national or international Mission may be considered when choosing the Project and parishioners are encouraged to consider the Anglican Church of Canada’s Five Marks of Mission to evaluate ideas when voting:
When possible, a representative of the organization receiving the money is invited to attend worship, speak on their organization and be presented with the cheque. Through the year, parishioners would be educated about the organization selected.
Our Mission Projects:
2023 Hospice Northwest
2022 Journey to Life Centre – Salvation Army
2021 Mission to Seafarers: Port of Thunder Bay
2020 Underground Gym, Thunder Bay
2019 Current River Community Centre
2018 Medical Equipment Modernization Opportunity (MEMO) and the Scout cabin on Dog Lake
2016 Faye Peterson House
2015 Teen Challenge
2014 Shelter House Thunder Bay
2013 Mission to Seafarers: Port of Thunder Bay
2012 Mission to Seafarers: Port of Thunder Bay
2011 Underground Gym, Thunder Bay
2010 Anglican Cathedral in Iqaluit
Current River Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Group
The Current River AA Group meets in St. Stephen’s Parish Hall at 8:00 pm on Sunday, Tuesday, and Friday evenings, except Good Friday and Christmas Eve.
Current River Churches Food Cupboard
The Current River Churches’ Food Cupboard operates every second Saturday morning at Refreshing Waters Community Church, 361 Hodder Ave.. The Current River Churches’ Food Cupboard is a member of the Regional Food Distribution Association, the central food distribution hub. This means they receive a share of community food drives, food shipments and bulk purchases.
St. Stephen’s supports the Current River Churches Food Cupboard through financial donations, the Reverse Offering on the third Sunday of the month, and parishioners volunteer at it.
It was housed at St. Stephen’s from 1995 to 2011.
On the 3rd Sunday of the month food is collected and donated to the Current River Churches’ Food Cupboard, and for St. Stephen’s emergency food bag. If you are not donating food, you may wish to make a small financial donation; use the other line on an offering envelope. Listed below are suggestions for various items to donate:
Small jars of peanut butter
Rolled oats and other cereals for cooking
Children’s lunch treats
Camp Gitchigomee is a Christian, not-for-profit summer camp located at the east end of Sandstone Lake, about a 75-minute drive southwest of Thunder Bay. It was established in 1945 by the Thunder Bay Deanery Anglican churches and became a not-for-profit corporation in 2007. It continues to be administered, maintained, and supported by volunteers and local Anglican parishes. St. Stephen’s makes a small donation each year towards its operation.
The Mission to Seafarers
- Please drop in for a visit at the Mission to Seafarers Centre during our Open House 1:30 – 3 pm Sunday, last Sunday in September. A light lunch will be provided. The Centre is located at Keefer Terminal, 100 Main St., just follow the Harbour Expressway until you get to Keefer Terminal. We have been ministering to seafarers in the Port of Thunder Bay since 1962.
- The Mission to Seafarers would appreciate donations of warm, small to large size men’s clothing. Many of the sailors on ocean-going vessels come from warmer countries and find our spring and fall weather rather cold. Donations can be put in the drop off box outside the Seafarers’ Centre or given to the Mission to Seafarer Rep at each Anglican parish.
- If anyone is interested in volunteering, people are needed to staff the Seafarers’ Centre and drive the van.
- Donations for Christmas Gift Bags are needed that will be given to seafarers in December. Donations need to be at the Seafarers’ Centre by the 2nd last Monday in November. Suggested donations include mittens, gloves, and wrapped candy.
- For further information go to missiontoseafarers.ca/thunderbay or call (807) 344-8241.
The Mission to Seafarers is an outreach of the Anglican Church to assist seafarers, particularly foreigners, who come to the Port of Thunder Bay. Transportation from their ship to shopping the Seafarers’ Centre is offered free of charge. The Seafarers’ Centre located at Keefer Terminal is a home away from home where seafarers telephone their families or connect with them on the Internet. Clothing, Bibles, and magazines are available for them to take. The Port of Thunder Bay Mission is a registered charity and supported by the Thunder Bay Port Authority, the Anglican Diocese of Algoma, churches of various denominations, other organizations, and individuals.
Primates World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF)
Remember that the PWRDF is an excellent way to contribute to relief and development work around the world. Check out their work at www.pwrdf.org. Donations can be made through St. Stephen’s offering envelopes (use the space “PWRDF”), the Electronic Offering Program or www.CanadaHelps.org.