common cathedral Ministry

common cathedral is an outdoor church and related ministries serving the homeless population in Boston, Massachusetts.

Outdoor Worship

The first time I ever encountered common cathedral was the very first day you started... I just happened to be cutting through the Common like I normally do... and the thing I could hear from the distance by Park Street station was, “Come, listen. I have some good news.” So I thought to myself, this ought to be thrilling, ‘cause I haven’t heard any good news for a long time.
— Gary

What is common cathedral?

We gather every Sunday at 1 p.m. for outdoor worship by the Brewer Fountain on Boston Common, as well as for weekday programs and pastoral care throughout the week. On Easter Day 1996, when The Rev. Debbie Little first gathered people who live on the streets of Boston to form a worshipping community on Boston Common, the participants named the service common cathedral. (Read the story of the birth of common cathedral here)

It is a lively service, beginning with "Kumbaya", and ending with "We Shall Overcome." This very accessible celebration includes scripture reflection by the minister, as well as by the congregation.We pray, celebrate birthdays, share Communion, and SING! We share food for our bodies as well as, from God’s table, our spirits. Members of housed congregations from all over New England bring lunch to share with everyone, and then stand side-by-side with us in worship. Guests include those from traditional congregations (or no church affiliation at all); tourists and other visitors; local residents; and additional volunteers who give their time, clothing, and other supplies. 

common cathedral serves as an important community for people experiencing homelessness, and for parishes who want to be in community with unhoused people.   About one-fourth of Sunday worshippers are from housed congregations.

ALL are welcome! And ALL are welcome to participate!


Ecumenical Ministry


common cathedral welcomes everyone to participate fully in our worship and other programs. Youth and adults from Protestant, Catholic and non-denominational congregations, as well as those with no church home, are welcome to join us for worship on the Common and participate in CityReach and other programs.

Hundreds of churches from many denominations have contributed to this ministry, invited us to speak or preach, worked on projects, participated in CityReach, and/or have worshipped at common cathedral. We seek opportunities to engage and invite new people to be with us.


common cathedral Weekly Schedule

  • Sunday

    • 12:30pm simple lunch at Brewer Fountain

    • 1pm – common cathedral Worship at Brewer Fountain on Boston Common

    • 3:30pm – Communion at the Barbara McInnis House respite center (a respite care facility of Boston Healthcare for the Homeless)

  • Tuesday/Thursday

    • Pastoral visits at The Barbara McInnis House
  • Wednesday

    • 8:00am common art Leadership Team, Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury Street

    • 10:00am – 2:00pm common art open studio (materials/mentoring/exhibition)

  • Thursday

    • 11:00am Bible Study - upstairs in the food court at South Station

To schedule a date for your group  to worship with us and bring lunch, please call 617-247-4927 or contact us by e-mail.

Click on the photo for more!