We take seriously what Jesus told us about loving our neighbors as ourselves. We work together to make donations of our time, talents, and treasure. We also help connect people with volunteer opportunities, allowing members to find projects that let them work where their deep joy meets the world's great need. Below are some of the things we do. We welcome ideas for more outreach opportunities. Contact Joan in the office (734-284-8777) if you would like to help. Here are some of our ministries:
Year Round Activities
We have a small food pantry where people can come to get a bag of food to tide them over until they receive a check, register for assistance, or visit a larger food pantry. Our mission is to be a place where people can come in an emergency. Each week, the congregation is asked to bring specific items to help keep the shelves stocked. We have the current needs listed on the front page of our website. Please call the office if you want to make a donation or if you are in need of food. Our regular hours are Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 10 am - 3 pm.
Created as an Eagle Scout project, our Blessings Box is outside the front doors of the church. People can get food 24/7 - and people who have extra can leave it, too.
In 2021, we became a founding sponsor of FedUp Ministries. FedUp is a new food truck in Southeast Michigan. They are a ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Southeast Michigan Synod, ELCA. FedUp serves good, healthy, food truck style food with dignity to communities that are food insecure and economically exploited by unjust racial and economic systems in the United States. We plan to continue this relationship and work with them to help end food insecurity.
Caring for Each Other
We are a community where we all care for each other. Our secretary Joan sends the weekly bulletin to people who are sick or unable to get out. We also have a group of Eucharistic Visitors who will bring Communion to those who can't attend services.
During the pandemic, we've created a Prayer Partners program, where people receive a framework for Morning Prayer and are mailed the weekly readings, and are matched with a partner. The partners get together by phone to pray Morning Prayer together, catch up with each others' lives, and enjoy a sense of connection. Please call the office if you'd like to have a Prayer Partner.
Stand With Trans
Stand With Trans is a Michigan-based organization that provides support and advocacy to trans kids and their families. Before the pandemic, we had a Stand With Trans group for parents and teens that met in our building. They're now meeting online. We currently provide financial support to initiatives like Trans Empowerment Month (September) and College Information Night.
From its inception as a part of Mimi's Mission, we provided space for Autism Acceptance to hold twice monthly meetings of autistic kids and their families. We also bought Christmas presents for the kids. During the pandemic, the group started meeting outside the Flat Rock Community Center, and they are continuing meeting there, indoors and out, as the space is more conducive to their needs. We are exploring ways to continue to support autistic kids and their families.
Socks for Kids
Our collection of socks for kids at Garfield Elementary was so well received that we have made it a year-round program. The school told us that many kids come to school without socks in all kinds of weather - cold, snowy, rainy... We collected a giant tub of socks last winter and the office gave them out in two days! Recognizing this need, we have decided to collect sock year-round. Plain white socks are best, but any kind are welcome. You can drop off the socks at church on Sunday or call the office to make arrangements to drop them off at another time.
A dedicated group of knitters and crocheters make shawls, wraps, and lap blankets, which are then blessed during worship. People who are ill, grieving, or struggling in any way receive the blankets, which symbolize the way that the congregation is wrapping them in prayer. Prayer shawls are also given to babies who are baptized. This is a perfect way help others if you like to knit or crochet. You can even do it in your own home!
Dresses for Haiti
People in our congregation make dresses from pillowcases that are sent to girls in Haiti. Helpers to make dresses are always appreciated as are donations of pillowcases.
We have a growing lending library available to the community in the choir room upstairs and downstairs in the family room. People are welcome to borrow a book for as long as they would like.
Although not affiliated with St. Stephen's, three twelve-step recovery groups use our building five days a week. Please see the listing of Wyandotte AA groups to find details on time, dates, and types of meetings.
Collection of School Supplies for Garfield Elementary
Every summer, we collect school supplies for kids at our neighborhood school, Garfield Elementary. Please bring in pencils, notebooks, glue, crayons, markers - anything kids might need.
Food for Kids in the Summer
The need for food assistance is huge. Over 900 children in Wyandotte who receive free or reduced price school lunches have signed up for Blessings in a Backpack, which provides them with food on the weekends during the school year - but in the summer, kids can't eat at school and Blessings in a Backpack doesn't operate. So, each summer, St. Stephen's works with the Wyandotte Ministerial Association, the Green Box Recreational Program in Wyandotte, and Meet Up To Eat Up (a federally funded program) to provide almost 1,000 meals. (These programs have been on hiatus during the pandemic, but we are ready to support them when they start up again.) We also work with the Ministerial Association to pack grocery bags with food for kids to eat on the weekends in the summer, which we call Brown Bag Blessings. About 1,200 bags go out each summer.
Christmas and Street Art Fair Parade Hospitality
We provide free cookies on Chestnut Street during the both the Christmas Parade and the Wyandotte Street Art Fair Parade in the summer. At the Christmas Parade, we offer free hot chocolate, and in the summer, we offer free bottles of cold water. These acts of hospitality allows us to serve our neighbors as Jesus taught us to do. (The pandemic has also disrupted these activities. We hope to resume these ministries of hospitality as soon as we safely can.)
At Christmas, we provide food baskets with everything needed for a family dinner (including a ham or turkey), plus gifts for each child, winter weather gear, and a $100 Meijer gift card. We usually give out 10-12 baskets a year.
"White Gifts" for Men in Recovery from Substance Abuse
Each year in December and January, the Men's Club collects donations of personal items (socks, underwear, deodorant, etc.) for the men in recovery from substance abuse at Mariners Inn in Detroit.
Bishop Park Clean Up
In 2021, our Pastoral Intern, Tom Ferguson, is passionate about environmental stewardship, so he led us on a Saturday morning clean up of Bishop Park. We picked up trash, weeded flower beds, and met our neighbors. It was a beautiful experience, and many of our young people participated.
Supporting the Wyandotte Ministerial Association's Food for Kids Program
In 2021, our Lenten project stayed close to home. We raised over $1,000 through donations and a take-out pancake supper! This money helped the Ministerial Association buy supplies and any needed groceries for their Brown Bag Blessing Program.
Helping People Connect
In 2020, we raised $1,500 for the Bacon Public Library to help provide free mobile hotspots to people in need in the community. As students and workers went online, unequal access to the internet became a problem. The library allocated some funds for purchasing hotspots people could check out, but demand exceeded supply. We were happy to help!
Lenten Collection to Retire Medical Debt
In 2020, our project was to help abolish medical debt. Currently, unpaid medical debt tops $1 trillion – that’s $1,000,000,000,000. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, almost 43 million Americans have unpaid medical bills. Six in 10 American adults (both insured and uninsured) say that their medical bills make it hard to pay for other basic necessities; one third of those report having to make choices between paying medical debt and eating, staying warm, or having a safe place to live. Medical debt is responsible for 60% of all bankruptcies. We donated to RIP Medical Debt, which purchases medical debt in bulk (which is what collection agencies usually do) and forgives it – no strings attached. Every $1 you donate forgives at least $100 of medical debt. We raised $1,000, which forgave $100,000 in medical debt.
Stomping Out the Stigma of Mental Illness
Our dinner, silent auction, and raffle raised over $1,500 to Stomp Out Stigma often associated with mental illness. The evening featured great food provided by Jay Ray's BBQ, music by Nico's DJ Enterprise, and lots of fun and fellowship. All proceeds went to support the Mental Health Foundation.
Helping Our Veterans
In Lent 2019, we were encouraged to give each time we felt thankful. Pastor Andrea said she would match donations up to $250 from her discretionary fund. By the end of Lent, we had collected $677 for Downriver for Veterans!
Collection for Nicaragua
In 2018, civil unrest was causing food shortages and widespread suffering in Nicaragua. We raised over $500 for a partner church in Caterina to use to help people in need.
Flint Water Crisis Lenten Program
The Flint water crisis is affecting "the least of these," the people on the margins of society whom Jesus told us to help. During Lent 2016, we responded to Jesus's call with a traditional three-fold discipline: prayer, study, and giving. To see more, please go to the Flint Water Crisis page. We raised $500!
St. Stephen's Day Dinner for the Community
In 2015, we hosted our first free dinner for the community. St. Stephen was the first deacon, and we celebrated his feast day by offering a feast to those in need of food or fellowship in the community. We were joined by volunteers from Grace Episcopal Church in Southgate in preparing and serving this meal.
Got an idea?
We love new ideas! If you have a ministry you want to start, contact Pastor Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-771-0618.