YMCA Ministry by Debbie Bogan, Parish Liason
In 2015, during his internship at St. Paul's leading up to his ordination as Deacon, Chuck Stewart preached about a need to reach out to folks at the margin of society. He spoke particularly about the residents at the Downtown YMCA. He became aware of a probable need of our downtown neighbors while walking the neighborhood.
I was moved by Chuck's speech and told Reverend Georgina Hegney that I would like to become involved with a ministry to the residents of the Downtown YMCA. Several other parishioners, Barbara Bell, Hal Brown III, Ruth Brown, Carol Decker, Kira Dirghalli, Jim Doyle, Betsy Elkins, Mike Goins, Marion Greenhalgh, Sophie Harris, Mary Hastings, DJ Igelsrud, David Morgan, Doug Mouncey, Barry Pickard, Laurie Sanderson, Margaret Sherwin, and David Webb took interest in this new outreach ministry. The Rev. Deacon Chuck Stewart still has an interest in this ministry.
We started this new venture serving a Christmas holiday lunch to the YMCA senior residents in 2015.
The ministry evolved into other areas, and we became close friends with our downtown YMCA neighbors.
Continuing activities included birthday and Christmas cards to 30 senior residents, attendance at First Friday dinners and soup lunches, and the gathering of cleaning supplies for the residents of the men's residence.
Continuing activities with a twist...due to the pandemic, it was not possible to do the annual Spring flowers planting with the residents, so plants and a greeting card were sent on Mother's Day 2020 to five of the women who have been most active in activities at St. Paul's. Also, in absence of the traditional summer picnic hosted by St. Paul's, the residents most active with St. Paul's were invited to an outdoor ice cream treat outing. In 2021, St. Paul's delivered Easter plants and a greeting card to all of the senior residents.
The little house Open Pantry outside of St. Paul's has been a source of supplemental food to some of the YMCA residents.
Based on the cards of thanks that we receive, we know that our relationship with these individuals is extremely important to them.
We look forward to many more years of outrreach ministry to the residents at the Downtown YMCA.