This fellowship is a Divine Liturgy served at the altar of the poor
(St. John Chrysostom)
We recognize that all of us are poor and rich, in different ways. At Christ the Saviour Church, we have been blessed with the resources that enable us to cook and serve one meal each month at Ray of Hope. We started this ministry in November 2009. Since November 2011, we have been blessed to serve this meal together with St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Church and Holy Trinity Serbian Orthodox Church. In 2013, St. Tikhon Russian Orthodox Church joined our efforts, followed by St. Mary Coptic Orthodox Church and St. John the Baptist Romanian Orthodox Church in 2014.
In addition to serving the meals, we collect food and clothes. In all we do, we seek to be good stewards of the resources that God has bestowed on us.
The people we serve have a name, a story, and a future. They are in need of a caring word, a listening ear, and a concerned heart, as we are, too. We offer what God has given us without judgment and expecting nothing in return. “Freely you have received, freely give!” (Matthew 10:8).
We seek to be Christ-centered in all we do in this ministry. “If we love one another, God abides in us.” (1 John 4:12). We seek to witness to God by all we do. “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35). We seek to bring Christ to the people we serve. “And yet no longer I, but Christ liveth in me. And that life which I now live in the flesh, I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God.” (Galatians 2:20).
By all we do, we seek that God is glorified. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16).
We serve the meal, knowing that we feed Christ. We give clothes, knowing that we clothe Christ. “For I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink; I was naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; […] inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:35-40).
Above everything else, we offer love to the people we serve by listening to them. “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, but have no LOVE, it profits me nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up.” (1 Corinthians 13:3-4).
The Patron Saint of this ministry is St Xenia of Petersburg. She is but one of Christ’s saints who showed love to her neighbour, thus witnessing to Christ.
Having renounced the vanity of the earthly world,
You did take up the cross of a homeless life of wandering;
You did not fear grief, privation, nor the mockery of men,
And did know the love of Christ.
Now taking sweet delight of this love in heaven,
O Xenia, the blessed and divinely wise,
Pray for the salvation of our souls.
As we gather to serve, we come in the Name of Christ and so we are witnesses and representatives of Him. As we seek to love and serve the hungry, so too we seek to serve and love the other volunteers from Christ the Saviour, St Sophia, Holy Trinity and Ray of Hope who serve with us.
Your interest in volunteering is greatly appreciated. Your effort in coming and helping in this ministry makes us who we are. We are very grateful for the opportunity to serve together.
As a volunteer, you will have the opportunity to learn new skills and meet new people. You will learn more about serving people with compassion and generosity, reflecting the heart of God. We seek to provide a safe and inviting atmosphere of encouragement and hope.
To lovingly feed Christ when He is hungry and thirsty,
clothe Him when He is naked, welcome Him when He is a stranger: co-suffering with Christ in our neighbour.
Growing together in unity and consensus, under the authority of the Church as servant leaders offering our best gifts to our neighbour as a foretaste of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Volunteering with St Xenia Fellowship
While performing valuable service at Ray of Hope, volunteers serve as role models to those served, many of whom are vulnerable. St. Xenia Fellowship seeks to meet the immediate needs of people, as well as provide interaction that may help them redefine their goals.
This section addresses the general responsibilities and objectives associated with volunteering with St Xenia Fellowship. Whatever you are doing as a volunteer, you are a valued partner who helps fulfill St Xenia Fellowship’s mission and vision.
Responsibilities of volunteers
I commit myself to behave in a manner representative of Christ. I will be helpful, going that “extra step” to serve. I will speak well of other staff and volunteers and show my regard for them while in the presence of others. I will deal with interpersonal disagreements between team members quietly and privately. I will remember that team members are there to assist each other. I will be open to team members’ feedback regarding my interactions with guests. If necessary, I will allow team members to intervene and redirect me when appropriate.
As a volunteer, I may develop an ongoing relationship with Ray of Hope guests over time (which is a natural outcome for sharing compassion with others). This may lead to off-site encounters and interactions. I will maintain a line of accountability with my priest regarding any such interactions to be “above reproach” and maintain the integrity of St Xenia Fellowship, as well as to the safety of the guest and myself.
I will keep my personal information personal. I will not provide my last name, address, or any other personally identifying information to those whom I serve with St Xenia Fellowship.
I understand that, as a volunteer, I am not entitled to receive any goods and services for volunteering. This includes snacks, meals, clothing and food supplies. When I arrive as a volunteer, my purpose is to give, not to receive.
I will not use my electronic devices for personal reasons while serving with St Xenia Fellowship, including ipods, music players, cell phones.
I will not use equipment for which I have not received training or with which I am not comfortable. I will follow the basic health and safety rules for working with food.
Code of Confidentiality
As a volunteer with St Xenia Fellowship, I understand that I may have access to confidential information, both verbal and written, relating to guests, other volunteers, and Ray of Hope. I agree that all such information is to be treated confidentially and discussed only within the boundaries of volunteering with St Xenia Fellowship.
Personal information shared by guests is confidential. It extends to everything that person discloses with the view of having a better understanding of his/her needs, current difficulties, financial, family or health status. This includes any information which identifies a particular individual or which might cause real or perceived harm, damage or embarrassment to that individual.
When volunteering, I will dress in a casual manner with clothing that does not draw people’s attention to me. The focus is on the people that I serve, not on me, the volunteer. I will refrain from wearing any clothing that may convey an undesired message. If I am in doubt about what is appropriate, I will select my clothing to reflect modesty and safety.
I will dress appropriately for the task. If I am working with food, I will ensure that my hair is tied back away from my face, or use a hairnet or other head covering. I will wear regular flat soled or low and full heeled shoes with covered toes (such as running shoes). I understand that sandals, flip-flops, slippers, or moccasins are not safe in the kitchen or when serving the meal.
As a volunteer, I represent St Xenia Fellowship and Ray of Hope when meeting other people. The image I portray is very important to the ongoing effective work of St Xenia Fellowship and Ray of Hope.