Each week, the Outdoor Church’s ministers and volunteers go to a variety of locations throughout Cambridge to provide a supportive, loving presence to homeless men and women wherever they are – on the street, in shelters, the hospital, or even in prison. You can learn more about our ministries below:
The Outdoor Church’s worship services are based on the Book of Common Prayer and incorporate other prayers that have particular meaning to our congregants. They can range in length from 20 to 40 minutes.
The most notable difference between Outdoor Church services and most other worship services is that, in place of a sermon, the congregation is invited to share their own responses to the day’s scripture reading. All viewpoints are welcome and contribute to a fuller, richer conversation.
Everyone is welcome to participate in our services as they feel comfortable: to take communion or not, to say a prayer or not, to sit down, stand up, or even walk around!
After the benediction, we share a time of fellowship. Congregants are offered sandwiches, socks, and toiletries. At our Sunday morning service, we also enjoy hot coffee and donuts!
Street outreach is one of the hallmarks of the Outdoor Church’s ministry. Several times throughout the week our ministry team hits the streets of Cambridge to meet homeless folks and offer them spiritual and material support.
On Saturdays and Sundays, we carry various combinations of sandwiches, juice boxes, snacks, socks, and toiletry kits to offer to people. Other days, we simply offer conversation and a pastoral presence. Communion and prayer are always available to those who request it. Because our walking routes are the same each week, our ministers and congregants know when and where to find each other.
Our program of street outreach has a simple agenda: we want to meet homeless men and women exactly they’re at – physically, emotionally, and spiritually – and offer them whatever support we can.
Each week, our ministers visit local soup kitchens and the largest homeless shelter in Cambridge to offer guests conversation and pastoral care. We make a special effort to visits our parishioners when they find themselves in hospitals, prisons, or other institutions.
The Outdoor Church gives parishioners bright red wristbands with our name and phone number embossed on them so that they, and the social workers, chaplains and nurses who care for them, can reach us in the event of an emergency.
The circumstances surrounding the deaths of members of our community are often quite tragic and the friends and loved ones of the deceased are often left without an opportunity to formally mourn their loss. In such cases, the Outdoor Church offers memorial services for the deceased. Sometimes these services are held at a local homeless shelter; other times they are held at Christ Church Cambridge.