Advocacy + Outreach · May 19, 2020

An Opportunity to Expand the Ecumenical Outreach Partnership

An Announcement from Associate Pastor Kate Dunn

Dear Friends,

We are excited to announce that Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church has received a generous grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation that will enable us to expand the work of the Ecumenical Outreach Partnership. The grant was announced in early March, just days before the church was closed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is a one-year grant, subject to renewal.

As you know, the Ecumenical Outreach Partnership is our collaborative ministry with St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Saint Thomas Church that serves New Yorkers experiencing homelessness. Despite the temporary suspension of this program, plans are in place to leverage the grant to hire additional staff, increase vital services, and enhance business operations, governance and administrative support as soon as public health officials, and the church, indicate that it is safe to reopen.

These new capabilities will significantly expand a program that has been managed so capably these past three years by John Sheehan, director; part-time staff members Robbie Sherman and Moira Ahearne; and our many faithful volunteers.

The grant enables us to make two immediate staffing changes. Robbie Sherman is now a full-time case manager, and Seamus Campbell, who has served as Fifth Avenue’s director of Outreach Ministries since 2016, now becomes the director of Homeless Ministries for the Ecumenical Outreach Partnership. Both of these positions are fully funded by the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation grant.

In his new role, Seamus will develop a chaplaincy program to provide pastoral care for clients of the Ecumenical Outreach Partnership. He will also continue to manage the David B. Skinner Shelter on behalf of the church and will support special events for our neighbors experiencing homeless.

Seamus believes that God has prepared him his entire life for this role. We are thankful for his four years of service in Outreach Ministries, and for the impact he has made on our congregation and the communities we serve. Seamus played a particularly valuable role in developing and expanding the Ecumenical Outreach Partnership. He has our full support as he steps into this next phase of life-saving ministry.

We are deeply grateful to the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation for its support of the Ecumenical Outreach Partnership.

The Foundation is one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the U.S. and the largest focused exclusively on New York State. Last year the Foundation awarded nearly $150 million in grants to support more than 500 activities, programs and initiatives across the state that work to improve the health and well-being of low-income and underserved communities. We are proud to be included in its diverse portfolio of grant recipients for 2020.

I also want to recognize the members of the Ecumenical Outreach Partnership Working Group, who have been working so diligently with John and the pastors of this church to plan for the most effective use of this grant. Our deepest thanks to Diane Chesnut, Meredith Fleck, Mark Moreland, Thomas Pak and Lynn Wishart.

Finally, please be assured that, even though our street outreach is currently suspended, our team is doing all it can to stay connected with and support our neighbors in need. We ask for your continued prayers as we pursue this vital ministry, and as we seek to be faithful stewards of this generous grant.

The Rev. Kate Dunn
Associate Pastor for Congregational Care and Outreach