Justice and compassion team

The Justice and Compassion Ministry Team coordinates the efforts of St. Paul’s United Methodist church to help those in need. Working with other groups in the church and local and international community organizations, our goal is to find ways to help the hungry, the poor, and those affected by disaster.

We feed the homeless, provide school supplies for underprivileged children, prepare health kits for people affected by disaster, organize domestic and international volunteer in mission trips, and help refugees begin their new lives in our community.

We invite you to join us in helping others as an expression of our faith. There are many opportunities for service at St. Paul’s, and many ways in which you can participate.


For information on opportunities to help with ongoing efforts and upcoming projects, contact: Anne and Phil Rush, Justice and Compassion Ministry Team Leaders, annesprush@gmail.com

Ministry Partner Highlight:

InterFaith Works

Interfaith Works, founded in 1972, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency and a non-sectarian interfaith coalition of more than 165 affiliated congregations of diverse faiths, working together to meet the needs of the poor and homeless in Montgomery County, Md. Their trained, professional staff members and volunteers work with individuals and families in crisis to help equip them to lift themselves from poverty and homelessness through prevention, stabilization, and empowerment programs.

To get involved directly with Interfaith Works, visit: http://www.iworksmc.org/getinvolved/

On any given day, 981 people in Montgomery County are homeless, including 230 children. Almost 72,000 Montgomery County residents are living on annual incomes below the Federal poverty line, and 19,757 of these residents are children. The IW Women's Center Shelter, Men's Shelter, clothing center, educational, job readiness, and family programs serve those most at risk in our community.

  • BackPack Build

    St. Paul's Justice & Compassion team is again partnering with Interfaith Works to get backpacks and supplies to needy children in time for the start of school. 

    The top items needed are: 3-ring binder (2 inch size), two-pocket folders, dividers, pencil boxes or pouches, rulers, scissors, markers, highlighters, colored pencils, and the backpacks themselves! Collection will begin Sunday, July 30 and ends Wednesday, August 16. We will build the backpacks after the 10:30am service on Sunday, August 20.

    Financial contributions are also welcome – make checks out to St. Paul’s UMC and mark “Backpack Build” on the memo line. If you have questions, please contact the church office to be put in touch with Angela Harvey or Leigha Gordillo.

  • IW Women's Center NeeDS

    On June 12, 2017 the sewer line failed at the new Interfaith Works Women’s Center in Rockville and flooded the Rose Room dorm where 19 shelter residents sleep each night. All items that were contaminated by sewage had to be discarded, including residents’ clothing, documents, personal care items, and irreplaceable keepsakes. The losses turned what was meant to be a time of healing for residents into a stressful ordeal. Office equipment was also damaged, offices were rendered temporarily non-functional, water service had to be shut off entirely, and all 70 residents had to be relocated from Rockville to the Interfaith Works Empowerment Center in Silver Spring. Clean-up and repairs are still underway.

    Due to the nature of this emergency, St. Paul’s UMC is responding to the IWWC request for monetary donations to help address specific needs quickly and efficiently. Interfaith Works is one of our established ministry partners. With your help, they can replace lost items, pay for equipment repairs, and restore a safe, clean, and beautiful facility for residents and staff. 

    Through a special offering, our generous donors have provided almost $4,000 towards this effort. Donations are still welcome. Please make checks payable to St. Paul’s UMC with “IWWC” on the memo line.

Beloved Community

The Beloved Community is a sub-committee of the Justice and Compassion Team. Beloved Community formed following a Spring 2016 Supper and Study Class, "Exploring Race," and has since hosted a number of events intended to be educational and faith-forming. We bear a Christian witness of love as we work to identify and dismantle racism.

Some of our events and programs include:

  • Summer field trip June 24 to Underground Railroad Trail. Join a "conductor" at Woodlawn Park for a guided walking tour exploring how enslaved people eluded trackers and gained their freedom. This is free as part of Montgomery County Heritage Days -  contact Anne Rush (annesprush@gmail.com) to register. Both the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway and the Woodlawn Park Visitor's Center provide encounters with this historical route of escape used by enslaved people seeking freedom.
  • Ongoing: Movies that Move Us events. We gather quarterly to view relevant films, followed by a discussion on race afterwards led by trained facilitator Ernest Crosby. Recent films include Hidden Figures, Selma, and Watermelon Man. Our next movie is anticipated for Fall 2017 - stay tuned!
  • Six-week guided discussion during Lent 2017 of Drew Hart's recent book, Trouble I've Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism
  • Community Table at Impact! Silver Spring's Annual Meeting, May 2017. 
  • "From Pain to Progress: Spirituals and Sacred Songs for the Journey" concert held in January 2017 by pianist Marvin Mills and vocalist Marlissa Hudson featuring music from the African-American tradition, followed by a time for discussion moderated by Wesley Seminary professor and St. Paul's member Mike McCurry.