The Christian faith is meant to be communal. We grow to know and love God better by knowing and loving other people. Church life extends beyond the sanctuary and the classroom, to include special times of fellowship and fun. Gathering together to share stories, meals and activities, we learn from each other and deepen the kind of deep relationships that add meaning and color to life.
We also believe that we are called to follow Jesus by caring for those in need. Through outreach programs, our faith takes action and we grow closer to God by loving those who are loved by Him. We sponsor a number of direct service projects, we work together with other local agencies and churches on others, and we raise funds for even more projects.
Much of our fellowship and outreach work is coordinated by the Women of St. Francis. They sponsor a Thrift Sale in March and several fellowship opportunities such as: a Square Dance, Bingo & Chili Night, St. Nicholas Night in December, which is a fellowship focused on the meaning of Advent, and an Easter Egg Hunt for children on Easter Sunday. Of course, the Men of St. Francis is an important source of outreach and fellowship as well. It’s always a fun – and very tasty – time when they take over the kitchen. This year they held an “Oktoberfest in Springtime” dinner festival; grilled a luncheon for 100 men at a Rockville homeless shelter in July; and put together a November Lobster Fest dinner. They also prepare the luncheon served at House Tour and supervise parking at the homes, assist the youth group in the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper and host the Renewal Sunday Ice Cream Social.
Our large and active Savvy Seniors group provides great fellowship and meets monthly to enjoy luncheons, speakers on a broad range of topics, and engaging field trips that are open to all interested parishioners. Their members are deeply involved in all outreach activities.
The youth of St. Francis and their adult leaders are among the most evangelical of us and Student Ministry are a key part of our outreach. They use their special gifts to conduct a variety of outreach activities, which serve to deepen their faith while serving their neighbors. The 2015 Annual Report of the Parish lists their numerous activities of the past year such as after-school tutoring of students in DC’s Anacostia neighborhood through Children of Mine. Ongoing activities include annual summer mission trips to locations throughout the United States where students renovate and repair homes and community facilities and help with other community needs, and D.C. Street Outreach where students help Capitol Hill Group Ministry each month distribute food, clothing and supplies to the homeless.
Each spring, the Sunday school raises funds for an outreach project meaningful to those attending Sunday School that year. Last year’s effort supported Bishop Given Gaula’s ministry in Tanzania. In addition to the outreach ministries noted above and special offerings such as United Thank Offering, groups of parishioners at St. Francis support Christian educational and medical endeavors in Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, and Uganda, and assist two Tanzanian Anglican bishops in their respective dioceses.
Ours is also a community of people who have grown to minister to one another in times of personal hardship. The strong personal relationships created through our active participation in worship, outreach, faith exploration or celebrations lead us to know when people are in need, and we respond with prayers, emotional support, meals, child care, or whatever is needed. Pastoral Care some of whom are also Lay Eucharistic Ministers, assist clergy by visiting those in our parish who need pastoral support through an illness, loss of a loved one, or other pastoral needs.