The Welcome Church
A Church Without Walls
and especially for women...
Chat and Chew...
When women in our community were asked what they would most like to do together, the answer was, "Let's cook!" Each second Monday of the month we gather with a group of twelve women at Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church, 22nd and Spruce from 6:00-8:00 pm to cook and eat together. Our meals are often based on a "theme" chosen by the women who participate. The meals have been so amazing that we are gathering recipes and stories for a Welcome Church cookbook!
Our second women's group, named by the women as "Sanctuary Angels," gathers on the third Tuesday of each month, 6:00-8:00, also at our 22nd and Spruce St. site.
Again, shaped by our women, Sanctuary Angels begins with 30 minutes of silence in the sanctuary of Trinity Memorial Church. Art supplies and journals are available for those who wish to use them. Following the silence, we share our experiences over a light meal prepared for us by members of TMC. The evening concludes with a community building art project led by art therapist and beloved Welcome Church participant, Rachel Gucwa. Sanctuary Angels received its name based on the paintings of angels that survived a fire in the sanctuary of TMC over twenty years ago. Like those angels, our women have gone through and survived many of their own personal "fires." Each evening is marked with a photo of hands gathered together.
Women represent approximately 25% of those living on the streets of Philadelphia.
There are also very few places designated for women alone during the cold winter months. Winter 2015-2016 The Welcome Church provided a place for a small group of women known as "The Well." The women not only had a place to sleep, but also a place to share dinner and breakfast together, along with special activities such as a "spa night" and an evening of foot care offered by community volunteers. The hope of this pilot program, a team effort together with ecumenical partners from Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Episcopal churches, was to build community and safety among the women. "The Well" is based upon the story of Jesus meeting the woman at the well and changing her life; it also derives from the well traditionally being a gathering place for women in many countries of the world today. Pictured below are The Reverends Donna Maree (Trinity Memorial Church)Violet Little(The welcome Church) and Schaunel Steinnegal (The Welcome Church) holding gratitude posters made for each of us by the women of The Well.
Based on the success of last year's program, The Well has now expanded the time we are open and is delighted to be working with the staff of Bethesda Project.