Trinity volunteers are active at two soup kitchens in New Haven, Columbus House and the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen (DESK). Each provides sustenance, comfort and fellowship to those in need who otherwise have little means of fending for themselves. Trinity volunteers choose and work assigned shifts once a month or more frequently—a few hours in early evening each time.
Since 1982, Columbus House, along with its core of loyal supporters, friends and volunteers has remained committed to fulfilling its mission: “To serve people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, by providing shelter and by fostering their personal growth and independence.”
Last year over 100,000 meals were served to over 4,000 people. Each year, Columbus House is able to help many chronically homeless adults break the cycle and overcome their addictions, obtain mental health treatment and find housing. Our success is attributable to a wonderful staff of over 85 people, all of whom are compassionate and who are credentialed and certified as necessary.
Every third Tuesday of the month, Trinity sends volunteers to work in the Soup Kitchen. If you want to help, contact Warner Marshall.
New Haven homeless shelters do not have the capacity to admit everyone seeking shelter. Every winter, even with shelters taking in more clients than normal capacity allows, men are still turned away.
Trinity Episcopal Church and group of 15 churches and synagogues in New Haven and the suburbs decided to address this problem through a program called Abraham’s Tent. Congregations volunteer to provide meals and overnight shelter to 12 homeless men from Columbus House for the duration of their week – alleviating overcrowding in the shelters and demonstrating support for the homeless members of our communities.
The average homeless person walks 8.5 miles a day. Shelters typically make their clients leave between 9:00 and 5:00, and they have to walk New Haven’s streets. Shoes, socks, and feet take a beating. Once a year Trinity sponsors a foot-washing ceremony. This is no typical ceremony of foot-washing that traditionally and symbolically takes place on Maundy Thursday before Easter in Christian houses of worship. In the spirit of Chapel on the Green, the ultimate Mary and Martha outreach program, it combines religious spirit practical work.
In 2012, the event was was a full wash with podiatric clinic sponsored by Trinity Episcopal Church and its outreach program to the homeless, called Chapel on the Green. The service commemorates and recalls Jesus’ washing the feet of his disciples. Also, Abraham’s cleaning the sand off three visitors to his tent in the desert, in Genesis, visitors who turned out to be angels.
Below is a video filmed by Ronald L. Grimes while at Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music, who has kindly shared it with Trinity. He describes the somewhat windy day and the event as follows:
“Chapel on the Green is a weekly outdoor service sponsored by Trinity Episcopal Church, New Haven, Connecticut. On Maundy Thursday, 2012, grounded by the rhythms of Drums Not Guns, volunteers, church members, and clergy combined the ancient ritual of foot-washing with medical foot care for people who walk the streets. After many feet were washed, massaged, and outfitted with new socks, vouchers were given for a pair of shoes, and an outdoor meal was served.”
Being in a church is about building relationships. Trinity’s many organizations help to make our church a truly vibrant community.
Trinity’s lively and active parish community is led by volunteers who engage with each other through numerous committees, ministries and interest groups. Here are key contacts to guide your search for activities of interest to you.
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