In particular, we are all invited—summoned, actually—to discover, through following Jesus, that this new world is indeed a place of justice, spirituality, relationship, and beauty, and that we are not only to enjoy it as such but to work at bringing it to birth on earth as in heaven.
- N.T. Wright, Simply Christian
One of St. Brendan’s four core values is Kingdom Action in the City and the World. We try to express this value through our vocations, volunteer work, simple acts of loving neighbor, prayer, opportunities for mission trips, and financial giving. One of the commitments that St. Brendan’s has held since our 2005 beginning is to give away for outreach purposes 30 percent of the tithes and offerings we receive. Although a small congregation, we are grateful to have met this commitment almost every year with the help of God, and the generous financial support of The Falls Church and other donors during our early years.
Our outreach giving focuses on three main areas: 1) support to the diocese; 2) giving to ministries in the city; and 3) giving to international ministries with which we partner. Giving in the city has varied, but in recent years has primarily been to ministries that bring shelter, rescue, hope, and renewal to the homeless, those on the margins, or those struggling with various types of addiction in Washington, D.C. Our main partners include Samaritan’s Inn and Central Union Mission, which hosts us weekly for our Sunday evening worship service.
We give internationally to four main partners in three geographic areas. Our partnership with each ministry grew from relationships that different members brought with them when they joined St. Brendan’s.
BOLIVIA: St. Brendan’s partners with an organization called Word Made Flesh (WMF) Bolivia, which ministers to prostituted women and children in El Alto, an impoverished area above La Paz. Giving varies from year to year and has included support for the capital and operational costs of La Casa de Esperanza (House of Hope), support to individual missionaries, and sponsorship for women participating in Suti Sana, a holistic transformation program that helps women find healing, new life, and livelihoods outside of prostitution. Staff members have visited us and we have visited them on multiple occasions, spending time with the women in the brothels, volunteering in La Casa de Esperanza, and offering contemplative retreats for staff.
SUDAN: Through a friendship with the Rev. John Daau, St. Brendan’s has supported the Good Shepherd Leadership Training Program in the Anglican Diocese of Bor, Southern Sudan. Giving has varied per year and has included support to John in his work at Daystar, and support for various needs in his ministry in Kakuma Refugee camp in Northern Kenya, which some from our community visited in 2007. Most recently, we provided support for the construction of a tukul (hut) on the land in South Sudan where John hopes to build the Good Shepherd College/Seminary. We have also provided funding for retreats for World Relief staff working in Darfur to enable them to find some rest and renewal from their work.
INDIA: In June 2008, a few members of our community traveled to Orissa, India, in order to visit with the extended family of one of our members, volunteer at two homes for girls, and explore what a relationship might look like between our communities. Later that year, our parishioner’s family and members of their village and the surrounding area experienced great persecution and displacement at the hands of Hindu extremists. Over the past three years, our parish has provided support to those living in camps and to those that have lost their livelihood. We have also given support to pastors and help to two others to start a business and return to school. This past year, we provided funds to enable the rebuilding of a church that was burned during the persecution.
We are grateful for these small opportunities to be a part of the work and ministry of these great partners. We praise God for them and look forward to hearing ways in which the Kingdom comes through the work of the Spirit through them.
For more information on any of these ministries, please contact St. Brendan’s in the City.