Community Engagement

To do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

At. St. Paul’s, we strive to seek and create a more equitable, loving, and just community in Richmond and beyond. We do this in the following ways:

  • nurturing followers of Jesus’ Way of Love to strive for justice and peace for all people and planet.
  • telling the truth about our history.
  • serving as advocates for healing and justice to foster God’s Beloved Community. 

Every member of St. Paul’s is a member of the Community Engagement Ministry, and our work arises from the members of St. Paul’s and our community. 

We believe that God is already at work in our community and that God calls us to join in that work in partnership with others.


St. Paul’s supports the work of many community partner organizations, both financially and through the volunteer hours of many parishioners.

In addition, the Community Engagement Ministry at St. Paul’s has five focus areas: Racial Justice and Healing, Downtown, Education, Global, and Environmental Stewardship. Please scroll down to learn more about each of these priorities:

Contacts: Jerry Gilbert, Angela Loughridge, and Rev. Gwynn Crichton 

Racial Healing & Justice

Racial Justice and Healing is a central focus and priority of the St. Paul’s Community Engagement Ministry.  As we continue to tell the truth about our racial history, we also seek to be repairers of the breach through education, exploration, and advocacy to transform our hearts and the unjust systems of which we are part. 

Telling the Truth: A Faith-Based Program on Race in Richmond This is our new broad-based initiative on race and racial justice in the Richmond community, seen through the lens of the church. Two programs under development are: 

  • Walking with the Enslaved: The Church’s Role in Slavery This is a faith-based program, which will include a guided walk along the Richmond Slave Trail followed by theological reflections led by a trained facilitator.
  • Researching Your Church History: How We Did It  We are developing a toolkit and resources to share our journey of uncovering and acknowledging our challenging history.

Seasonal Book Studies  Each spring and fall, we offer small group book discussions on racial justice issues. For example, in the fall of 2023, we will study The Night Is Long But Light Comes in the Morning: Meditations for Racial Healing by Dr. Catherine Meeks.

Gun Violence Awareness: Every second Sunday we wear orange to raise awareness of the scourge of gun violence in our nation, and read aloud the names of those who have died of gun violence in Virginia in the previous month. 

Contacts:  Julie Seward and Rev. Keli Shipley Cooper

Faith and Action

This series provides a monthly symposium to educate our congregation on the role of Christian witness and advocacy in the public square regarding the most urgent social justice issues. 

2023 Forum Dates and Topics

September 24, 2023:  Trans Youth Policies (in honor of RVA Pride month)

October 22, 2023:  The Church and Racial Reparations (part of Reconciliation Weekend)

November 19, 2023:  Affordable Housing    

December 17, 2023:  Reducing Gun Violence

January 21, 2024:  Criminal Justice Reform

February 18, 2024:  Black History  

March 17, 2024:  Book Banning

April 28, 2024: Creation Care  

Contacts: Denise Williams, Phyllis James, Rev. Gwynn Crichton


St. Paul’s has been a longtime member of the Downtown Cooperative Ministry along with four other downtown churches. We serve lunch and provide health and wellness support every Thursday through our Emmaus program to as many as 150 persons experiencing homelessness and food insecurity. We also support and  partner with ACTS (Area Congregations Together in Service) to help prevent homelessness.

Please volunteer by using the new Emmaus SignUp Genius for spring and summer (April 18th through August 29th)!

selective focal photo of crayons in yellow box

Contact: Chris Yates and Sheena Mackenzie


St. Paul’s created the Micah Initiative, a partnership of faith communities with the Richmond Public Schools that mentors, tutors, and volunteers through a network of twenty-three schools. St. Paul’s members volunteered for years at Woodville Elementary School and remain committed to working with the children in the East End as we build new partnerships in a changing community.

Contacts: Joe Kearfott


St. Paul’s has a longtime relationship with the village of Mwitikira in Tanzania, and many parishioners have traveled to sub-Saharan Africa over the years to offer assistance on the needs identified by the people or their priest.

Contacts: Tom Smith and Lisa Guthrie

Environmental Stewardship

Environmental Stewardship is a new ministry at St. Paul’s, focusing on the goals of sustainability, love of creation, and environmental education. Issues and activities include monthly hikes and field trips, recycling and composting, community volunteer projects, and energy conservation initiatives. 

Community Engagement Leadership

The Community Engagement Steering Committee comprises Lynn Blankman, Susan Brooks, Rev. Gwynn Crichton, Lisa Guthrie, Barbara Holley, Sheena Mackenzie, Steve Otto, Tom Smith, and Chris Yates.  

Please contact Sheena Mackenzie, Community Engagement Steering Committee Chair and Vestry Liaison 


Rev. Gwynn Crichton, Interim Associate Rector for Community Engagement and Pastoral Care with any questions, ideas, or comments!