St. Mary’s congregation has had some unsettling stretches, but with the determination of its members and the help of the Holy Spirit, it continues to survive because of its signature ministry. St. Mary’s Food Cupboard serves an average of 284 households per month. About 10 of these households are families of more than 4 individuals, indicating that our actual sacred encounters for this program is far greater. We are proud to collaborate with other churches and organizations in and around the Episcopal Dioceses of Pennsylvania and very fortunate to have a dedicated core of volunteers. Although, over the years, the cupboard has taken hits like many other organizations due to the economy, we are blessed to have long relationships with our partner Episcopal churches who continue to donate food. We also continue to build new relationships to ensure its longevity within its surrounding community of which it serves. For 36+ years St. Mary’s has encountered many individuals from the most marginalized to the elite, including the Presiding Bishop, The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry. It goes without saying that we have touched many lives.
As a small congregation, we see our immediate future firmly established as an Episcopal presence in the City of Chester, PA with Episcopal based ministries operating as a microcosm of Christ beloved community. To that end, in addition to our Summer Early Learning Program and Summer Camp, we have made the intentional decision to be more diverse in these sacred encounters, which include reaching out to the Hispanic/Latino Community on the East and West side of the City with the help of Mothers Mission. While it is customary for the people to come to the food cupboard, Mothers Mission goes out to the people. Our goal is to make Mothers Mission another signature ministry at St. Mary’s Chester. We also regularly sponsor a community Easter egg hunt and 4 Family Fun Nights. In 2019 our sacred encounters numbered 9322.
In 2018 we reestablished our Girls Friendly Society Charter. We are excited about the possibilities of affecting the lives of young girls and women. While St. Mary's has had a children's choir for some time now, for the first time in 2019 we established our first men's choir. For the past 5 years St. Mary's has sponsored an early learning summer program in collaboration with Frederick Douglass Christian School and a summer camp during the first two weeks in August.