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St. Stephens Young Adults Run Marathon-Relay for ARDF

On May 4th, 2014 a relay team from St. Stephen’s Anglican Church in Sewickley, PA ran the Pittsburgh Marathon to raise funds for an ARDF project that is providing education for girls in South Sudan.

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Read the full article Published in the Diocese of Pittsburgh Trinity Magazine: 

Pittsburgh—Thousands lined the streets of Pittsburgh on May 4th to cheer on runners in the Pittsburgh Marathon. Among the more than 23,000 runners who poured out of the Liberty Avenue starting line were five young men and women from St. Stephens in Sewickley.

Like the rest of the runners, they set their minds on completing the grueling, hilly course that winds through downtown, around the Northside, along Carson Street and up into the furthest reaches of Highland Park and Point Breeze. They had another goal as well: to start an annual fundraiser for the Anglican Relief and Development Fund (ARDF) that would one day draw involvement from parishes across Pittsburgh.

The Anglican Relief and Development Fund, which is based in Ambridge, is the international charitable arm of the Anglican Church in North America and works to improve the lives of people living in the developing world by supporting sustainable community development projects implemented by local churches. The young adults at St. Stephens raised money by reaching out to friends, family and parishioners, asking for contributions to support ARDF’s work in the South Sudan. In a country where access to education is limited, especially for women, ARDF is partnering with the Anglican Diocese of Aweil and Abyei to construct the first phase of a girls’ secondary school for 320 students. The project includes a dormitory that will provide 40 students with affordable and safe accommodations.

Steve Palmer, assistant pastor at St. Stephens, organized and ran in the event. Standing on the Rachel Carson Bridge before the early morning start, he spoke about the group’s goals in this inaugural running of the Marathon-Relay for ARDF.

“We wanted to come out today as the young adults of St. Stephens to run for the ARDF project in South Sudan,” Steve said. “It seemed like a really good way for us as young adults to get involved in international mission.”

Steve was joined by four members of the young adult group, Melissa Fann, Olivia Forish, Todd Murden, and Kevin McMillan.

Charles Treichler, Communication Manager at ARDF, said their efforts demonstrate just how effective a small step can be at empowering our brothers and sisters in the developing world.

“Global poverty and suffering can seem overwhelming, and we often think it’s impossible to really make a difference, but the team from St. Stephen’s showed us that with a little creativity, you can transform lives in South Sudan without ever leaving Pittsburgh,” said Charlie. “We are so excited to partner with St. Stephen’s again next year. We are hoping to get more churches from the diocese involved, so we can transform even more lives around the world.”

Pictured: Melissa Fann, Olivia Forish, Todd Murden, Rev. Steve Palmer and Kevin McMillan

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