St. Nersess Seminarians Serve at Local Homeless Shelter
On the evening of March 26, the St. Nersess seminarians volunteered with the Emergency Shelter Partnership (ESP) in Northern Westchester County. Founded in 2004, the shelter can be described as a ‘traveling shelter’ which is run by ESP and is supported by different faith communities in the area. Each day, during the winter months of November through March, they provide the clients with a place to sleep, a hot dinner and dessert, as well as breakfast and a packed bag lunch for the next day.
This week, the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Armonk was hosting. The opportunity to serve at this location was presented by Fr. Mardiros Chevian, dean, to seminarian Timothy Aznavourian, who led the effort on behalf of all the seminarians.
The seminarians and Fr. Mardiros arrived at St. Stephen’s at 8:30pm to set up tables and the dinner. Two seminarians served the meal to the clients while the other seminarians and Julianne Aznavourian (wife of Timothy) prepared the bagged lunches for the next day.
The seminarians and Fr. Mardiros had an opportunity to interact with the 14 men and women who had gathered for the meal. Before serving, everyone gathered around the table for a prayer and blessing. Timothy stayed overnight to assist the ESP supervisor and the clients, while the others departed by 10:30pm.
St. Nersess Seminary cook, Wilma Petrossian, prepared the main meal for the clients as well as the food for the lunch bags, while DeCicco’s & Sons grocery store of Armonk provided leftover prepared food and breakfast to the clients.
“I am grateful to Fr. Mardiros, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and all the Armonk faith communities for undertaking the task of providing emergency shelter to the northern Westchester community,” commented Timothy Aznavourian. “Providing such emergency shelter is a small but necessary step in addressing wider issues of housing justice in Westchester County. By taking part in ESP, St. Nersess Seminary was given the opportunity to strive to live out Jesus Christ’s command that, ‘I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’ (Matthew 25:35) “
Since the founding of ESP, no homeless person has died sleeping outside during frigid temperatures. More information can be found at https://emergencyshelterpartnership.org.