From noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3, the "Shepherd's Closet" bus will visit St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral's "Garden of Warmth." The bus will be parked near Buffalo's "Homeless Jesus" sculpture. Those in need of clothing and winter gear are encouraged to visit.
The "Shepherd's Closet" bus is an outreach program made possible by True Bethel Baptist church, located at 472 Swan St., Buffalo. The Rev. Darius Pridgen serves as senior pastor.
Since the "Garden of Warmth" was added to the corner of Main and Church streets behind Buffalo's "Homeless Jesus," numerous people have stopped to take what they need to stay warm. A sign invites those sleeping in Cathedral Park or simply passing by to "Take What You Need." Many people have called this small act of compassion a blessing.
St. Paul's Cathedral has taken in numerous bags of winter gear from parishioners and the community, and more bags arrive daily. Donations are still being accepted, but the Cathedral kindly requests cold weather items only. These items include mittens, gloves, wool socks, hats, scarves, boots and coats.
Donations may be dropped off at the cathedral offices at 4 Cathedral Park between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays.
St. Paul's strives to be not only the cathedral for The Episcopal Diocese of Western New York, but for all who work, live and play in Buffalo and the region. The cathedral offers a safe, secure and nonjudgmental setting for nonprofit groups, civic and social organizations, and others looking for a venue where important issues confronting Western New York can be discussed, analyzed and acted upon.
The church building, located at 139 Church St. (corner of Church and Pearl in downtown Buffalo), was designed by Richard Upjohn and was considered Buffalo's first national architectural landmark in 1851. It is classified as a National Historic Landmark.
The Very Rev. Will Mebane joined St. Paul's as interim dean on July 1, 2014. He serves as pastor, prophet and priest to the diverse congregation, which includes members from across Western New York. He is a graduate of Yale Divinity School and Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University.
Mebane has a passion for pastoral care. He is especially concerned with the plight of the disenfranchised. He encourages "living the Gospel of Jesus Christ through community and civic engagement to address social challenges responsible for so much pain in a broken world."