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common cathedral

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.

Photo by Daniel McAfee 


Joan, State House and Fountain

Common cathedral is the outdoor church of Ecclesia Ministries. We gather every Sunday at 1 p.m. 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. (Click here for the story of the birth of common cathedral).

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, prayers, celebration of birthdays, the sharing of Eucharist, and lots of singing. First we are fed with food that nourishes our bodies, then also from God's table we are fed with spiritual food.   People from housed congregations from over  New England participate by standing side-by-side with us in worship, and by bringing sandwiches and other goodies to distribute before the service.  The service includes members from traditional parishes and those without church affiliations, as well as tourists, visitors from urban and suburban parishes, and local residents - many of whom volunteer time, clothing and food.   

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

ALL are welcome! And ALL are welcome to participate!


To schedule a date for groups, (e.g., youth groups) to worship with us and bring lunch, 
please call 617-247-4927 or e-mail info@ecclesia-ministries.org



Ecumenical Ministry

Common cathedral welcomes everyone to participate fully in our worship and extended hospitality. Youth and adults from Protestant and Catholic churches, as well as people who are not affiliated, join us for worship on the Common and participate in CityReach and other Ecclesia programs.

Because common cathedral is a church and exists as a community with folks who are homeless, who have been homeless or are housed calling themselves regular members, there is a particular spirit of dialogue which surrounds how we preserve the feeling of community among those who worship with common cathedral.

Joan serving the Eucharist

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

Visiting Congregations

common cathedral Weekly Schedule

  • Sunday
    • 12:30pm simple lunch at Brewer Fountain (hosted by visiting congregations)
    • 1pm – common cathedral Worship at Brewer Fountain on Boston Common
    • 5:30pm – Eucharist at the Barbara McInnis House respite center (run by Boston Healthcare for the Homeless)
  • Monday
    • 2pm Homeless AA (led by a member of the common cathedral community) at St. Paul’s Cathedral, 138 Tremont Street
  • Tuesday/Thursday
    • Pastoral visiting at The Barbara McInnis House
  • Wednesday
    • 8am common art Leadership Team, Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury Street
    • 10am – 2pm common art open studio (materials/mentoring/exhibition)
  • Friday
    • 2:30pm common cinema (movie & popcorn)
  • First/Third Saturday of each month
    • 10:30am – Neighbors at the Table (Faith Lutheran Church Brunch at Fr. McCarthy House)
  • Fourth Sunday of each month
    • 7:30pm – Neighbors at the Table (Reunion Church Dinner at Tuttle House)

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P.O. Box 51003
Boston, MA 02205