“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” - Ephesians 2:10
The Episcopal Parish of Alton (EPA) is blessed to have active and ongoing ministries in which people can serve in their own unique way based on God’s design and purpose for their life. Abundant opportunities exist for parishioners to be part of active groups that serve our community and you will find us well represented as volunteers and board members for numerous area organizations, associations and health care facilities like Alton Memorial Hospital, Pride Inc. and Riverbend Head Start and Family Services.
BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS
The annual Blessing of the Animals is an event held every fall in the garden at St. Paul’s. Open to parishioners as well as the public, all are welcome to bring their family friendly pets to the garden where our Rector blesses each of God’s precious creatures who bless so many of our lives. All donations from this event, from monetary to pet supplies, go to support 5A’s Animal Shelter.
COATS FOR KIDS
New and gently used coats and gift cards to local stores are collected and donated to this organization each fall to help provide school age children in our area with much needed protection against cold Midwest winters.
CRISIS FOOD CENTER
Food contributions collected before and after Sunday morning worship are donated to Crisis Food Center on a weekly basis. In addition to proceeds donated from our annual Shrove Tuesday pancake supper, monetary donations are made each month to help this organization located in downtown Alton to provide food to the growing number of hungry families in our area.
MARKET STREET BLOCK PARTY
As an urban church located in downtown Alton on the corner of Market Street & Third, St. Paul’s collaborates with three (3) other churches in the immediate neighborhood each year to host the annual Market Street Block Party. This event is free and offers food, recreation and entertainment to kids and adults who live in the immediate area or are in need of free medical services. St. Paul’s opens its doors to host a health fair which offerings free screenings and provides health resources and information throughout the day. In 2014, our parish nurse and volunteers assisted over 500 area residents who took advantage of these services.
NURSING HOME MINISTRY
A dedicated group of parishioners from the EPA visit local nursing homes on the second Sunday of each month and lead residents in Morning Prayer, hymns and worship.
OASIS WOMEN’S SHELTER
Ongoing collections are held within the EPA to help Oasis replenish and provide supplies needed by the significant number of women and children who walk through their door seeking safety and shelter from abusive situations.
Between March and October, parishioners volunteer their time once a month to pick up trash and litter along a section of a major area thoroughfare adopted by the Episcopal Parish of Alton in support of Pride’s Beautification and Anti-Litter campaign.
RIVERBEND HEADSTART AND FAMILY SERVICES
The EPA has been a longtime partner with this neighboring agency who serves the needs of numerous families and children throughout the Riverbend area through parish volunteer support and by opening its doors throughout the year to provide adequate space for their training programs and events.
SERVING AREA KIDS (SAK)
Alton’s free summer lunch program has had major support from the EPA since its inception three (3) years ago. From lunch preparation, to handing out lunches at 8 area parks or cleanup of returned coolers, EPA volunteers can be seen on any given day working throughout the summer in partnership with the Main Street United Methodist Church congregation who sponsors this program. In the fall of 2014, the EPA sponsored a fundraising event and donated the proceeds to help SAK continue to provide over 25,000 lunches during the summer that help feed the growing number of hungry kids in our Alton area.
SUPPORT GROUP PARTNERSHIPS
The Episcopal Parish of Alton has long been a supporter of the mission, message and members of Alcoholics Anonymous and mental health advocacy groups. Our ongoing partnership with these groups has allowed us the opportunity to share the message of God’s love by offering free use of our facilities for meetings and training to four (4) AA groups who meet at St. Paul’s each week and a mental health group who meets monthly at Trinity Chapel. The EPA is a strong advocate for those seeking to change their lives through these support groups providing financial and volunteer support for special projects as needed.