New congregation reaches at risk youth

A new congregation in the Diocese of Arizona is focusing on reaching out to young people who are headed to prison, in significant danger of doing so, or who have just been released. The Congregation of St. Jude’s is attempting to create a community of support gathered around Christ’s altar that will give these young people the power they need to turn their lives around.

An article by Greta Huls describes the congregation:

“Between 40 and 60 people gather each week as the community of St. Jude’s, sponsored with the help of Trinity Cathedral and in partnership with Urban Young Life groups at two Phoenix high schools. St. Jude’s is designed to meet the needs of 15- to 30-year-olds in a crime-troubled area of Phoenix known as the I-17 corridor who have not connected with traditional churches for personal and cultural reasons.

Much of what the members do at St. Jude’s will not look familiar or feel comfortable to many people. Some of the members know first-hand about challenges such as incest, child rape, drugs, homelessness and prostitution — and they talk about it freely during the gatherings by way of words or song. St. Jude’s is intentionally multicultural, multi-denominational, multigenerational and socio-economically diverse.

“We think that it is easy for people who are similar to love one another,” the community’s website says. “But when people who are vastly different choose to lay aside difference and worship together and live in love for one another, it demonstrates the power of the good news that Jesus loves sinners and changes our lives and communities when we follow him.”

“So it is occasionally very uncomfortable … but very right. Come see what we mean!”

The congregation started in the spring of this year and is now seeing as many as a hundred youth and families on Sunday evenings when they meet to worship.

The full article is here and has a picture of the Canon to the Ordinary and the Canon for Youth ministry baptizing one of the new members of the congregation.

The congregation’s website is here.

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