We take the church out onto the street
to those who cannot or will not reach it on their own.

Founded in 2003, the Outdoor Church is an ecumenical Christian church for homeless and street-involved men and women in Cambridge, MA. Each week, through worship services held outdoors and extensive programs of street outreach and pastoral visiting, we share a message of hope and unconditional love with those who need to hear it most.

Staffed by clergy from different denominations and supported by over 40 local churches and organizations, the Outdoor Church has become a Cambridge institution. The hallmark of our ministry is consistency: our worship services and street outreach take place year round, in all seasons and all weather.


# of homeless people in Cambridge
# of sandwiches distributed each year
# of volunteers active each month
# of Sundays cancelled in 13 years of ministry


<strong>Rev. Jedediah Mannis</strong>

Rev. Jedediah Mannis

Minister & Co-Founder
<strong>Rev. Patricia Zifcak</strong>

Rev. Patricia Zifcak

Minister & Co-Founder
<strong>Rev. Thomas Hathaway</strong>

Rev. Thomas Hathaway

Minister & Executive Director
<strong>Rev. Kate Layzer</strong>

Rev. Kate Layzer




Written by Outdoor Church co-founder Rev. Jedediah Mannis, Joseph Tuckerman and the Outdoor Church explores the ministry of Rev. Joseph Tuckerman, a Unitarian minister who created and led a street ministry in Boston in the 1800s and has come to be known as father of American social work.The book examines and interprets Tuckerman’s theology and ministry of outreach in light of the Rev. Mannis’ experience as pastor of the Outdoor Church of Cambridge.


Worship Services

The Outdoor Church’s worship services are based on the Book of Common Prayer and incorporate other prayers that have particular meaning to our congregants. They can range in length from 20 to 40 minutes.

The most notable difference between Outdoor Church services and most other worship services is that, in place of a sermon, the congregation is invited to share their own responses to the day’s scripture reading. All viewpoints are welcome and contribute to a fuller, richer conversation.

Everyone is welcome to participate in our services as they feel comfortable: to take communion or not, to say a prayer or not, to sit down, stand up, or even walk around!

After the benediction, we share a time of fellowship. Congregants are offered sandwiches, socks, and toiletries. At our Sunday morning service, we also enjoy hot coffee and donuts!


Thursdays, 6 p.m.
240 Albany Street Shelter (see map)

Sundays, 9 a.m.
The Porter Square T Station (see map)

Sundays, 2 p.m.
The Cambridge Common (see map)

Want to come to a worship service?
Let Us Know!

Street Outreach

Street outreach is one of the hallmarks of the Outdoor Church’s ministry. Several times throughout the week our ministry team hits the streets of Cambridge to meet homeless folks and offer them spiritual and material support.

On Saturdays and Sundays, we carry various combinations of sandwiches, juice boxes, snacks, socks, and toiletry kits to offer to people. Other days, we simply offer conversation and a pastoral presence. Communion and prayer are always available to those who request it. Because our walking routes are the same each week, our ministers and congregants know when and where to find each other.

Our program of street outreach has a simple agenda: we want to meet homeless men and women exactly they’re at – physically, emotionally, and spiritually – and offer them whatever support we can.


Tuesdays, 7 – 9 p.m.
Harvard and Central Squares

Wednesdays, 1 – 3 p.m.
Harvard Square

Saturdays, 3 – 6 p.m.
Harvard and Central Squares

Sundays, 2:30 – 6 p.m.
Harvard and Central Squares

Want to volunteer for street outreach?
Let Us Know!

Pastoral Visiting

Each week, our ministers visit local soup kitchens and the largest homeless shelter in Cambridge to offer guests conversation and pastoral care. We make a special effort to visits our parishioners when they find themselves in hospitals, prisons, or other institutions.

The Outdoor Church gives parishioners bright red wristbands with our name and phone number embossed on them so that they, and the social workers, chaplains and nurses who care for them, can reach us in the event of an emergency.

Interested in becoming a pastoral visitor?
Let Us Know!

Memorial Services

The circumstances surrounding the deaths of members of our community are often quite tragic and the friends and loved ones of the deceased are often left without an opportunity to formally mourn their loss. In such cases, the Outdoor Church offers memorial services for the deceased. Sometimes these services are held at a local homeless shelter; other times they are held at Christ Church Cambridge.

The Friday Café

In the fall of 2014, the Outdoor Church partnered with First Church in Cambridge to launch the Friday Café.

Each Friday, First Church opens its fellowship hall to its homeless and street-involved neighbors, seeking to create a space of hospitality, warmth, and community. Guests can come in, relax, and enjoy conversation or quiet time by themselves. And, thanks to donations from local businesses, the Café is able to offer warm soup, fresh bread, donuts, and other goodies to its guests.


Fridays, 1 – 5 p.m.
First Church in Cambridge (see map)

Interested in volunteering?
Sign Up Today!

The Bail Fund

In the summer of 2015, the Outdoor Church set up a revolving bail fund for the homeless young adults in our church who have been caught up in the criminal justice system.

A growing number of young adults in our community have been arrested for a variety of criminal offenses and are incarcerated pending trial. Some have had money bail set as a condition of their release but – even though the amount of the money bail is absurdly low (e.g. $150) – the young adults, not having a job or other source of income and not having any family or other support, are unable to secure their release pending a trial. As a result, they are behind bars, even though they are not a flight risk and have not been found to be dangerous.

Want to learn more?
Contact Us!


Join us for one of the Outdoor Church’s lively, outdoor worship services. Groups from across New England participate in our worship services every year!

The Outdoor Church’s ministers are available for speaking and preaching engagements at your church or other organization. We’d love to share stories from our ministry with you!

The Outdoor Church distributes over 3,000 pairs of clean white socks each year. Help support this essential service by collecting white socks for our parishioners!

Volunteers are an essential part of the Outdoor Church’s ministry team. Individuals and groups are welcome to join the Outdoor Church for outreach on Saturdays and Sundays!

Contact us to find out more about any of the above opportunities!

Find Out More


39 Brown Road, Harvard, MA 01451, United States

401 339 9578 
[email protected]