University Park

Sun Shine: Walking Together, on a mission in Worcester’s Main South

A storefront, some folding chairs and a caring heart are the foundation of an Episcopal ministry at 799 Main. As she walks, listens, helps, and even provides quarters at a local laundry, Rev. Meredyth Wessman Ward is making a gentle difference in many lives. Her work is part of the church’s recent efforts to reach out to people in new places and new ways.

Sun Shine: Arrays of light — Clark student’s solar project to aid ‘our heroes’

While helping the environment by providing renewable energy through the sun, an enterprising Clark student’s project also seeks to benefit individuals, such as police officers, military veterans, teachers and firefighters, whose everyday work helps others. Indeed the 19-year-old has already learned a valuable lesson: “If you really want to accomplish something, you have to find the time.” We suggest you find the time to check out this profile from Bronislaus B. Kush.

University Park

Sun Shine: Walking Together, on a mission in Worcester’s Main South

“Some of these projects may crash and burn and that’s OK. But it’s important that we get out into these communities to do some work. I guess you could say that this is at the heart of evangelization. We have an opportunity to do some amazing things.”
— Rev. Meredyth Wessman Ward


There are a lot of Episcopal churches in the Worcester area, including All Saints, St. Michael’s-on-the-Heights, St. Luke’s and St. Matthew’s, among others.

Some of the church buildings are majestic, with their distinctive old-style bell towers and steeples. Others are more low-key, snugly blending into the comfy landscape of suburban Central Massachusetts.

And then, there’s the “church” that’s run by the Rev. Meredyth Wessman Ward.

It has no nave, no kneelers, no spires, no altar.

In fact, an individual could pass by it without knowing that it is a house of God.

University Park

Sun Staff / Worcester Sun

Rev. Meredyth Wessman Ward at a recent Wednesday morning outreach session at University Park.

You see, Rev. Ward is an Episcopal “urban missioner” and her church sits smack in the middle of gritty Main South, just a stone’s throw from the YMCA’s Central Community Branch on Main Street.

It’s located near a lot where a homeless man, a few years back, was found frozen to death in a car he sought refuge in.

Sun Shine: Arrays of light — Clark student’s solar project to aid ‘our heroes’

Folks who have visions for special projects to benefit society often spend years, decades, and even lifetimes in order to turn their ideas into useful, practical and workable accomplishments.

Not Krissy Truesdale.

Krissy Truesdale, Clark's latest aspiring social entrepreneur

Mark A. Henderson / Worcester Sun

Krissy Truesdale, Clark’s latest aspiring social entrepreneur

It took the Clark University student only three years to transform her innovative plan to benefit the environment, while financially helping deserving everyday “heroes,” into a reality.

But the short turnaround time isn’t the only thing that makes Truesdale’s project remarkable.

You see, Truesdale started bouncing around the idea for “Solar for Our Superheroes,” a project aimed at providing solar power to the homes of people who benefit their communities through their efforts in the workplace, when she was a sophomore in high school.

Work to install solar panels on the project’s first home may start as early as this August.

Angelo Padin

Angelo Padin is a young entrepreneur on the cutting edge

“Too many barbers who own their own businesses still live in the Stone Age,” said Padin, president and founder of WooCutz, a small firm in Worcester that advises mom-and-pop barbershops on how to effectively use social media platforms. “I want to help them out.”

Sun Shine: Church’s intervention divine for dozens of area students

Contemporary American life is filled with stuff to do, which makes it very difficult for many folks to carve out precious time in order to voluntarily help a worthy cause. Sometimes, it takes a little “incentive.”

In Robert Pape’s case, it was a pizza.

Specifically, a garlic pizza … from the first incarnation of Wonder Bar on Shrewsbury Street.

“I’m originally from Albany (New York) and I’m of Italian descent, so I’ve had my share of pizza,” said Pape. “But that garlic pizza was something else.”

Pape didn’t say whether he enjoyed the spicy pie, but the three men who shared the meal with him on that day in 1989 on the city’s East Side convinced him to volunteer in a new program that would allow children from financially strapped families to attend schools run by the Roman Catholic Diocese of  Worcester.

Grace Clark, a freshman at Assumption, is among the many area students who benefit from the Worcester Diocese scholarship program.

Courtesy Assumption College / Be Like Brit

Grace Clark, a freshman at Assumption, is among the many area students who benefit from the Worcester Diocese scholarship program.

The students were to be given almost full scholarships or extremely discounted tuition rates.

That year, the fledgling endeavor allowed seven or eight kids to take classes in Catholic schools. Since its founding, the program has slowly grown.

Angelo Padin

Angelo Padin is a young entrepreneur on the cutting edge

Men today are particularly particular about their hair.

They shop for gels and mousse, and have no qualms about sneaking into the bathroom to do something about those graying sideburns. Unlike dear, old dad, they have more than a tube of Brylcreem sitting in the medicine cabinet.

Long gone are the days when a guy went into the barbershop and had the option of choosing a buzz cut or a “regular,” the hair-style popularized by JFK.

It took some prodding, but barbers have also become more attentive to the needs of their more prickly male customers. They’ve adjusted to the new and ever-changing market, but many have just not figured out how to compete with the big hair-styling chains.

This is where Angelo Padin comes in.

Angelo Padin

Courtesy of Angelo Padin

Angelo Padin, president of WooCutz and Simplicity Tech

Instrument Giving Ceremony

Sun Shine: Outreach program strikes inspiring chord in Main South

Chamber music used to be for the West Side folks. But thanks to the Worcester Chamber Music Society, youngsters in Main South have the opportunity to develop a deep appreciation of the musical classics.

Worcester Chancery

Worcester Diocese grapples with $1.2M deficit

Christ’s apostles heeded his advice and took nothing more than the clothing on their backs as they journeyed out to preach the news of heavenly salvation.

“Take nothing for the journey, neither walking staff nor traveling bag: no bread, no money,” recalls Luke, the evangelist, in his Gospel account of Jesus’ life. “No one is to have two coats. Stay at whatever house you enter and proceed from there.”

In today’s world, it’s not that simple and the local Roman Catholic Church, like its counterparts across the nation, is urgently looking for ways to stretch an already tight dollar so that it can continue to promote its spiritual mission to the community.

To operate effectively, the contemporary church needs more than an offer of free overnight lodging for its clergy.

It needs cold cash to pay its bills.

Worcester Chancery

Sun Staff / Worcester Sun

The Chancery of the Diocese of Worcester

There is now some concern among area Catholics about the future health of their church after the Diocese of Worcester recently reported an operational deficit of almost $1.2 million for the fiscal year that closed Aug. 31.

Instrument Giving Ceremony

Sun Shine: Outreach program strikes inspiring chord in Main South

There is no dispute that Main South has seen better economic times.

But even when the gritty neighborhood was riding the crest of the city’s golden industrial age, there was little chance that passersby might be soothed by the sounds of classic chamber music wafting from the teeming tenement houses and the three-deckers that served as home to the working class.

Chamber music, after all, was for the snooty — the folks who lived on Salisbury Street.

Time, of course, can change things.

Neighborhood Strings

Mark Henderson / Worcester Sun

The Neighborhood Strings Teen Group performs at the Instrument Giving Ceremony last Friday night at Straight Up Cafe on Main Street.

So, perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that, over the past couple of years, chamber music has unexpectedly made a tiny footprint in the rough-and-tumble neighborhood, and, curiously, its ardent aficionados are a small group of kids.