Christ Episcopal Church
We are an intentional, open, welcoming, and affirming congregation. People who worship at Christ Church and come to the church for community activities represent society at large. We are of all colors, varied political ideologies, different ethnicities and gender identities. Together we live out our call as a faith community to be Christ's hands and heart in the world. Living into the promises we make through baptism we actively strive to: love God and love our neighbor as ourselves; work for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being. We understand these promises to include all people of every race, ethinicity and gender identity. We are invested in and active in the interfaith community of Dearborn. One of our primary passions is feeding people. We strive to feed people in mind, body, and spirit.
Our mission to feed people in mind, body, and spirit is expressed and lived into through worship, the food pantry, the organic community garden, the water reclamation project that waters the garden from rain collected off the roof of the church, reduced impact on the environment through conservation of electricity, education opportunities for the parish and the wider community to learn how to be better stewards of creation through water conservation, organic gardening, and organic composting.
Christ Church is an artistic community, bringing the arts into our worship with Sunday morning organ pieces that anchor the service, as well as a variety of musicians who may play throughout the service. Our children offer their artisitic gifts at the annual Christmas pageant and the Lenten play (Sunday before Palm Sunday, the fourth Sunday of Lent).
But, not only are we diverse and creative, we are also concerned about the world around us. We have a food pantry that feeds 30 families and indiviuals each month. We participate, along with other Dearborn churches and schools, in Blessings in a Backpack, feeding local school kids over the weekend. We have partnered with a church in Liberia to build a K-12 Episcopal school. We host AA, boy scouts, and several civic groups who have office space in our building or gather here for meetings.
In these, and many other ways, Christ Church is a creative, energetic church with something for everyone.
The Food Pantry
The Christ Church Food Pantry is a fully stocked pantry with dry goods, canned foods, eggs, milk, cheese, bread, cereal and other items. The food is donated by parishioners of the parish and the items available change from time to time. The Pantry is open to the public during office hours. To access the pantry one needs to check in with the office. Food is distributed on the honor system, people are invited to take what they need, leaving enough for others who are also in need. As available we also have $10 Kroger gift cards to supplement the food pantry.
Blessing In A Backpack
More than 200 Dearborn Public Schools students get extra food each weekend thanks to donations and dozens of volunteers working for Blessings in a Backpack - Dearborn. The food is stored at Christ Church, with additional space provided for volunteer groups to pack the backpacks each week.
Parishioner Chris Burkhalter is the program coordinator, scheduling the weekly packing and helping to organize the food delivery and storage. The menu varies by week, but a typical backpack of food includes granola bars, a fruit cup, instant oatmeal, canned tuna, canned soup and a box of macaroni and cheese. Items are kid-friendly, easy to prepare, and have long shelf lives.
The bags go home each Friday with “kids who may not have food stability in their home,” Burkhalter said. “We find they come to school on Monday ready to learn.”
For the 2019-2020 school year, Blessings will distribute approximately 220 bags each week to elementary students at Long, McDonald, Nowlin, River Oaks, Whitmore-Bolles and William Ford Elementary schools. It costs about $90 per year to feed a child on weekends througout the school year.
The group buys the food at discount from Meijer, and also holds donation drives for items like jars of peanut butter that enhance the allotment, especially over a holiday break. Dedicated volunteers pick up the grocery deliveries, unbox and set up the items for packing, and pack backpacks with food. Bags are packed on a weekly basis through the school year, and discreetly distributed to students at their schools.
The program enjoys the support of numerous volunteers from around the Dearborn community, and works in close collaboration with Dearborn-area churches, religious institutions, PTAs, service clubs, scout troops, and community groups, as well as with the school teachers and staff. The program is supported by donations and local fundraising events, as well as by grants from organizations such as the Diocese of Michigan Social Services Ministries, Meijer, Kroger, Thrivent, Northwestern University, The Walmart Foundation, the Dale Jr. Foundation.
Christ Church Community Garden is an award winning organic garden with 10'X10' and a couple of 10'X20' plots available and open to the public, as space allows. Plots become available in the late winter or early spring. To register contact the church office at 313-565-8450 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. A small fee to cover water use (the plots are on a drip system for regular and environmentally friendly watering) and garden upkeep is required with registration.
Caring for the environment and attending to our impact on the environment is a primary goal of Christ Church. Our community garden is watered, in large part, by a water reclamation project that we built using gravity to draw water off of the roof and running it through pipes to fill these tanks. Drip lines pull the water into the garden, watering crops at an efficient rate.
Other ways we aim to be good stewards of creation is our vibrant recycling program, including styrofoam. Bins for paper, plastic, glass, and styrofoam are located just inside the doors, and up the stairs, at the Chapel entrance. These bins are open for use by the public.
As a community many of us strive to reduce our use of plastic and chemicals. We try to use only fair trade coffee for our social and church events, making a conscious effort to contribute to economic justice in the world in ways that we are able. We recognize that our impact may be small, however we believe that every effort makes a difference.
In January 2011 the Vestry (governing board) of Christ Church passed a resolution defining Christ Church as an intentionally "Open, Welcoming, and Affirming" community of faith. This resolution reflected two years of discussions the parish held during its interim time 2009-2011 in which members of the parish articulated the core values of this church.
Not every member of the parish was prepared for this resolution and some have struggled with it. However most people in the parish affirm the teachings of Jesus to "love your neighbor as your self" and to embrace all people as equal in God's eyes. The parish includes single and partnered LGBTQ persons as members, some of whom serve in leadership roles. This is one of the areas in which this parish is growing in maturity and faith, seeking to deepen our relationships with all people, and be a faith community for every one who is seeking to know God more fully in their lives.
The Rector (priest) and Vestry, along with Bishop Gibbs, celebrate marriage equality. We have performed same gendered blessings since 2011 and same gendered marriages since 2015.
Christ Church is a moderately diverse faith community, reflecting our metro Detroit location. We, along with the city of Dearborn, seek to overcome our racist history. We hold racial diversity as a value in this parish and strive to be welcoming and inclusive to all people. People of color serve in all areas of parish leadership, from Vestry to Sunday morning worship. We also recognize, as a predominantly white community, that racism exists within us, often in ways we do not see. We actively work to recognize how we, unintentionally, participate in the systemic and institutionalized racism in this country and try to dismantle how it manifests in parish life. Our current Rector, Terri Pilarski, engages the parish in discussions on race during the sermon time on Sunday morning. We also hold, from time to time, forums on racism and diversity awareness training. We're far from perfect, but we are trying to be kind of Christian that Jesus calls us to be, loving our neighbor as ourselves, recognizing that we are all one in God's eyes.
Sacred Ground Race Dialogue Circles
Sacred Ground is dialogue series on race, grounded in faith. Small groups are invited to walk through chapters of America’s history of race, racism, and whiteness while weaving in threads of family story, economic class, and political and regional identity. The 10-part series is built around a powerful online curriculum of documentary films and readings that focus on Indigenous, Black, Latino, and Asian/Pacific American histories as they intersect with European American histories.
Sacred Ground is a resource coming out of Becoming Beloved Community, The Episcopal Church’s long-term commitment to racial healing, reconciliation, and justice in our personal lives, our ministries, and our society. This series is especially designed to help white people talk with other white people, while being open to all racial/ethnic groups. Participants are invited to peel away the layers that have contributed to the challenges and divides of the present day – all while grounded in our call to faith, hope and love.
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120 N Military St
Dearborn, MI 48124-1035