The Outreach Committee at Transfiguration works with 18 charitable agencies and projects. These parish partnerships include mostly local agencies with the exception of Happy Homes Preschool in South Africa. In many cases, the partnerships have lasted decades, although some new partnerships have been formed in the past few years. According to committee member Kathleen Ray, “The committee works to impact the community on behalf of the parish as well as seek opportunities for the parish to mobilize and put faith to work in our community.” But raising awareness for these great organizations does not happen overnight. The parishioners on the committee work to increase awareness through regular communication efforts, collection initiatives, Outreach Recognition Sunday, and special projects.
As part of their communications strategy, the Outreach Committee began spotlighting organizations throughout the year in 2018. Each spotlight focuses on providing a comprehensive review of a single parish partnership. Committee members hope that each spotlight will motivate parishioners to discover more about each organization, help their cause, and get involved. “The spotlights help us look beyond our doors as we seek to serve others, especially those who are struggling to have some of the basics many of us take for granted,” said committee chairperson Linda Ayres.
After two years of spotlights, there has been a significant increase in awareness and participation within the parish, resulting in a rise in volunteerism. More parishioners have learned about the incredible work these agencies do and found causes about which they are truly passionate. In addition, there has been exceptional generosity exhibited during collections, proving there is a real desire among the parish to learn more, give back, and help others. Whether parishioners are informed about opportunities to help Austin Street Center, Genesis Women’s Shelter, the Transfiguration Food Pantry, or one of the other amazing partner agencies, there has been an intensely positive response from the parish. Ultimately, the goal of each spotlight is to inform, inspire, and ignite action.
The committee also orchestrates Outreach Recognition Sunday each February. On this Sunday, representatives from parish partners are invited to attend a church service at Transfiguration and be recognized. They are encouraged to talk with parishioners, provide information about their agency, and distribute handouts after the services.
Later that day, the Outreach Committee organizes volunteer projects in which parishioners can participate. This provides a special opportunity for individuals to learn about organizations and get involved all in one day. These projects either take place at the church or onsite at one of the agencies. Ultimately, the dedicated volunteers that serve on the Outreach Committee strive to connect parishioners to a wide variety of agencies that help with different causes, are financially responsible, and offer a variety of ways to get involved that speak to diverse skill sets, interests, and schedules.
This article was taken from the Winter issue of Illumine, a quarterly magazine from Transfiguration. You can read the full publication here.
About the Author
Rain Galetka is the Communications Assistant at Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration.