St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church is deeply engaged in outreach ministries in our own community, and across the globe. By definition, the church is about mission. The formation of a community gathered in Jesus’ name is an action of God’s love reaching out for the establishment of God’s Kingdom. This “being embraced” calls us to embrace others. We follow Jesus as his disciples by this manner of life. To join in God’s work of the Kingdom is to be the church in service and love.
For more than 16 years, St. Stephen’s parishioners have traveled to the Dominican Republic and worked through the Episcopal diocese and the bishop there. Since 2006, we have focused our work on the village of Azua, and the congregations of Iglesia de la Reconciliacion and San Jorge. Working side by side with our friends in Azua, we have helped build a church (Reconciliacion), and constructed houses and latrines. We also send medical and dental teams for week-long medical missions to Azua, where over 650 patients are seen and treated in a week’s time. In 2012, St. Stephen’s youth began traveling to Azua annually, where they lead a Vacation Bible School at the church. All our groups are received with incredible love and hospitality.
St. Stephen’s missionaries, Heidi Schmidt and Monica Vega, serve in a remote, desperately poor part of northern Argentina in the province of Jujuy, in a town called Libertador General San Martin. They work closely with women and children who suffer the effects of violence and addiction to drugs and alcohol, providing them with practical help to build new lives. Heidi and Monica are engaged in projects that create a safe space and physical shelter for women and youth who are victims of violence and abuse. In addition, they are developing a comprehensive program and model to support children and youth in the community who are living in situations marked by addiction. This model will be replicated throughout Argentina. By immersing themselves deeply in the lives of these native people, Heidi and Monica are a strong presence in the community and beyond, and are able to minister well to the needs of the families. We are blessed and honored to support and participate in their work and we walk with them in this journey to as followers of Jesus.
Deb Lawrence // 804.288.2867 // email