Mission of the Holy Spirit




Nearly 20 years ago, a sixteen year old black male played basketball at Park Place’s Boy Club with an adult who happenedto be the curate of a local Episcopal church.  The teen asked the priest, Father Mike, can we come to your church?  Thus began the story of the Mission of the Holy Spirit.  In the following years, this special ministry to inner-city youths grew from a group of 6 or 7 teens to a congregation of 60 or so adolescents and their parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and younger siblings.  But while the Mission has experienced growth and change over time, it has not altered its primary focus:  the  spiritual nourishment of its members, who currently gather every Sunday afternoon for a worship service at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Norfolk.   The service is always followed with a meal provided by one of its 5 partner churches.  In recent years, the Mission has developed educational and psychosocial programs for its community:  tutoring and homework assistance onTuesday evenings, health and wellness guidance from ODU student nurses on Wednesday, and group counseling by lay pastor Keith Josey on Thursday.  And just as with the Sunday service, a meal follows the midweek programs.


For a number of years, Megan Miller and her mother Sally organized Ascension’s young adults group to cook a meal once a month; from time to time, they prepared it themselves.  After the group disbanded, there were few volunteers to feed the midweek groups.  Enter Ascension’s Kitchen Angels — Elizabeth Murphy and husband Tom, Margaret Daly and her many kitchen friends, and Nancy Long – who offered to cook three of the four Thursday evening meals.  They have treated 30 or so appreciative teens and adults to chicken-vegetable casseroles, subs, soup and sandwiches, turkey dinners, and many other wonderful dishes.   Elizabeth even volunteered to tutor students in math as the need arose.

Each Sunday, members of the Mission recite a creed written by the youth many years ago:

I am somebody.
I am a Child of God.
I can make a difference.
I will make a change.


Thank you, Ascension, for your prayers and support for this important ministry.  Your efforts continue to demonstrate God’s grace and love to Mission members — and are helping them develop the life skills they will need to make their creed a reality, to live hopeful, productive lives.  Interested in learning more about the Mission of the Holy Spirit?

Contact Mary Louise O’Brien.

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