Grace in Action

One of the many ways the community of Grace Episcopal Church celebrates a life in faith is by serving members of our larger community in Washington, DC. Please take a moment to learn more about Grace’s TableCongregation-Based Shelter and Georgetown Ministry Center and consider joining us!

Grace’s Table

Grace’s Table is a ministry of Grace Church that provides and shares a meal and an interfaith Bible study at 11:30 am on Saturdays for persons who are homeless or on the margins of being homeless. From September 1 through May 31, teams of 3–5 volunteer hosts purchase and prepare the food, and then gather with guests to eat and socialize together. Volunteer hosts can organize themselves in any way they choose, but often they will settle on an entree and share responsibility for preparation among two or three persons, with other team members bringing salad and bread.  Georgetown University students representing the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega assist with setup, serving, visiting with guests and cleanup, and also usually bring dessert.  The number of guests varies from about 40 to 60. This ministry gives guests an opportunity to relax with friends over a hearty meal.

No one is required to stay for Bible study.  Once guests have had ample opportunity to eat, go back for seconds when there’s enough, and be on their way if they don’t want to stay, we offer reading and discussion of a Biblical passage led by Grace clergy and members. Guests take turns reading, and participate in the discussion with great enthusiasm and insight.

The program continues through the summer months, but volunteer teams get a break.  We retain the services of a principal cook compensated through Grace’s Outreach Fund, and invite Grace Sunday School families to help out by providing salad, bread and desserts. Georgetown University student helpers are often away during the summer, and can help only sporadically.

E-mail gracestable@gracedc.org (you’ll reach both Rector John Graham and coordinator David Bujard); or go to www.gracedc.org/outreach for more information or to volunteer.  Note:  the online signup system is not working properly, so please volunteer to cook and help on specific Saturdays through gracestable@gracedc.org.

Congregation-Based Shelter

The Congregation-Based Shelter began in 1992. Every year several Georgetown congregations host the shelter in blocks of a week, providing ten homeless men and women with dinner and breakfast and a safe and warm place to sleep from November through March. The shelter guests are screened by Georgetown Ministry Center staff and are among the more fragile of their clients. In addition to providing a safe haven from the harsh winter and creating a comfortable, low-demand environment conducive for the service resistant homeless people, the CBS program seeks to link all residents to the continuum of care, including case management and psychiatric services, thereby encouraging them to make the changes necessary to prevent them from returning to the streets. Parishioners, friends and community volunteers cook and serve dinner each night, engaging in fellowship with the guests. Overnight volunteers, who share the evening meal and assist the paid GMC staff member with breakfast, also are a key part of this program.

To join the email list for news about the Congregation-Based Shelter, send a message to Rev. John Graham .

Georgetown Ministry Center

Georgetown Ministry Center (GMC) was organized in 1987 by the Georgetown Clergy Association and Georgetown University, to provide a community response to the crisis of homelessness in Washington.

GMC has been housed in the at Grace Church since its founding, and in the undercroft of the Rectory since 2003. GMC offers counseling, information, referral services, showers and laundry services for the homeless people of Georgetown. GMC operates on a membership model, so that those receiving services have a voice in policy and practice.

A psychiatrist sees members regularly, and on an emergency basis as needed. while also engaging treatment-resistant homeless persons in the center, on the streets and during the Congregational Based Shelter.

GMC helps members access entitlements, transitional and permanent housing, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and employment programs.

For more information, contact Gunther Stern, Director, 1041 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20007; phone: (202) 338-8301; fax: (202) 298-8310; service hours: 8 am–4 pm seven days a week. Or visit the web site: www.georgetownministrycenter.org.