Stephanie Smith

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Cathedral in the Night is an outdoor church in Northampton, MA.  Our community is a blend of people experiencing poverty, homelessness, and addiction; people living with mental illness; and people seeking a social justice-oriented, progressive church. Our weekly Sunday worship services include a hot, free dinner, insuring that there is a community meal every day of the week. We serve between 80-100 meals each Sunday. Additionally, we serve a weekly luncheon at a veterans support group in downtown Northampton.

A ministry dog would be an incredible gift of support and healing in our community, where many people are marginalized and often overlooked. We strive to help each person be seen, heard, welcomed into leadership and a healing space. Members of our community who are uncomfortable around or untrusting of people in leadership positions may have an easier time connecting with us in the presence of a ministry dog. A well-trained dog would also provide much needed comfort for those who are struggling to connect, providing them with a creature of support even when they are unable to open up to a person. 

We have seen countless examples of how a dog is uniquely capable of connecting with folks in our community in a way that the general public can not always achieve. Dogs see no race, no socio-economic status, no obvious fashion faux-pas; they do not judge based on religious practice or sexual orientation. Many nights at Cathedral, we have witnessed members of our community who are having a tough time engage with a dog, brought to the service by other community members or belonging to passers-by on the street, in a way that they are not able to do with other people. We believe that having a ministry dog that they are able to form a relationship with would help us form deeper connections with people we already know, and reach people who are not as easy to reach. 

Ministry Dog for Cathedral in the Night – Outdoor Church Northampton, MA