Programs - an Overview

This page lists the many ministries provided for the homeless population in Boston by Ecclesia Ministries and common cathedral.

Program Overview


Street Ministry


Street Ministry is often the way we first meet those in need. common cathedral ministers spend hours each week sitting with and listening to un-housed men and women on the streets. We never know where we will end up when we set off in the morning. Shop doorways, disused wharves, benches and sidewalks are frequent locales but so are coffee shops, train stations and the back pews of churches. We are able, often, to direct people to resources that will meet most immediate needs such as food, blankets, and emergency medical referrals. We also work closely with medical, mental-health and housing outreach workers to better serve these needs in the long-term. The main thing we do during street ministry, however, is accompany those in pain. Sitting with people for hours and hours over days and days, and listening deeply to the stories they chose to tell us, births a process of deep-rooted healing that is hard to ignite any other way.

common cathedral has also created and sustained a Spiritual Care program at the Barbara McInnis House, a respite care facility of Boston Healthcare for the Homeless. Ministers offer the human connection that vulnerable, lonely men and women need to heal and, too often, to die with dignity, love, respect, and companionship. common cathedral also visits those in area hospitals and jails who have no one to visit or offer spiritual support.


Outdoor Worship


common cathedral is the cornerstone, and continues as the heart and soul, of Ecclesia Ministries Inc. Each Sunday, anywhere from 30-70 persons come together for outdoor worship, rain or shine, on the Boston Common. Our congregation partners with housed groups, who bring lunch for all and stay to worship. Afterwards, members of common cathedral meet regularly with staff and work together, as a Leadership Team, to chart the course of the program. Post-worship gospel reflection happens regularly to support a deeper personal connection with the community and scripture

Learn more about Outdoor Worship


common art 


common art takes place each Wednesday at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Boston. On an average day, anywhere from 40 to 75 homeless and low-income persons come together and, with the support and encouragement of our artist-in-residence and pastoral staff, create. A team of volunteers (individuals, interns and visiting youth groups) works with community members to serve lunch and provide companionship and support. Artists are encouraged to participate in local art shows – as well as to join field trips to local art exhibits. A common art leadership team, comprised of staff, community and volunteers, meets weekly to chart the course and mission of the program.

Learn more about common art



CityReach takes place up to 9 times each academic year. Currently, up to 70 guests each event (youth with adult chaperones) from housed congregations learn about homelessness in Boston – directly from those who have experienced it. Leadership for each City Reach include our clergy -- as well as up to 20 stipended members of the common art/common cathedral communities. Additionally, clothing donated by the housed congregations is made available to any homeless residents in Boston. This “shopping” opportunity provides material support to anywhere from 100 to 300 un-housed Bostonians per City Reach event.

Learn more about CityReach



When the Long Island Bridge closed in the winter of 2015, over 700 members of our community lost access to shelter and support programs.  In response, 65 leaders from institutions around Boston responded with BostonWarm, a day center created to provide a range of services from basic companionship to medical referrals.  In October of that year, common cathedral was honored to take over the management of this program, and we now welcome 70 or more guests twice each week at Emmanuel Church on Newbury Street.  

Learn more about BostonWarm