From its inception, St. Clare’s Episcopal Church has been a testament to the power of community-led ministry. Rooted in the hearts and determination of the people of Snoqualmie Valley, it began as the ‘North Bend Preaching Station’ in 1982. This unique genesis set the stage for a church deeply committed to service and community engagement.
The church’s outreach has been integral since its early days, with involvement in local initiatives like the Soup Kitchen and Helping Hand Food Bank, which started in 1987. “The outreach our small congregation does makes a big impact on our community,” shares Kelly Stokesbary, encapsulating the spirit of St. Clare’s.
In November 2019, St. Clare’s Essentials Ministry was launched in partnership with the Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank. This initiative, born from a desire to help the local community, provides essential non-food items to ease financial burdens for families. What began as a small pilot has now become a vital monthly service.
The church’s compassion extends to the Reclaim Shelter in Snoqualmie. Each month, members of St. Clare’s diligently prepare and deliver meals. Their commitment has been unwavering, even amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
A representative from Reclaim Shelter lauds their contributions: “Since 2020, St. Clare’s Episcopal Church has been providing monthly meals to Reclaims Congregate Shelter. They provide warm, home-cooked meals for our guests, many of whom haven’t had a home-cooked meal in several years. St. Clare’s has also been a major part of supporting our meal services during the Holiday season, ensuring that houseless individuals in our community feel included, loved, and go to bed with full bellies. We are immeasurably grateful for St. Clare, their support, and kindness.”
The Knitting Ministry at St. Clare’s is a heartwarming example of how simple acts can bring immense comfort. This dedicated group has been crafting Prayer Shawls and Lapghans, symbols of support and solace, extending their reach beyond the local community to touch lives globally for six years. During the colder months of December and January, they also create scarves and hats, distributing them through the Essentials Program at the Snoqualmie Valley Food Bank. This ministry not only weaves threads of yarn but also weaves stronger connections within the community, offering tangible tokens of care and thoughtfulness.
St. Clare’s Garden Ministry, initiated in 2017, has flourished into a significant source of fresh, chemical-free produce for the North Bend Food Bank. Each year, the garden, cultivated by dedicated volunteers, yields between 700 to 800 pounds of produce, grown using successive gardening practices. Generous donations and grants, including support from the Snoqualmie Valley Rotary and a Green Grant from the Diocese, have bolstered the success of this ministry. Starting with two large gardens built by the parishioners, the ministry has expanded to include more beds, with further growth planned, thanks to a donation from the North Bend food bank. This ministry provides nourishing food and fosters a sense of communal responsibility and care for the environment.
Reverend Patty Baker says, “Our mission statement is –We Grow in God to Serve the Community. That community involves not only our congregation but also the greater communities of the Snoqualmie Valley, our region, and the world. We strive to serve the people that Jesus cared for: the hungry, the naked, the sick, the poor, the outcast, and the lonely. In doing so, we find the community of St. Clare’s blessed in amazing ways.”
The impactful work of St. Clare’s Episcopal Church in the Snoqualmie Valley exemplifies their deep commitment to community and service. From providing essentials through their ministries to offering warm meals to those in need, every initiative undertaken is a testament to their belief in the power of kindness and support. Their efforts, transcending mere charity, showcase a genuine dedication to nurturing and uplifting the community, making a tangible difference in the lives of many.