Stella’s Circle is named after Dr. Stella Burry, a pioneering Social Worker and Deaconess with The United Church of Canada who made an outstanding contribution to her church, to her community, and to her province of Newfoundland and Labrador. She introduced a community development approach to St. John’s and in 1945 founded Emmanuel House to provide food, shelter, friendship, and counselling. Stella Burry was also a founding member of the Community Services Council, the Newfoundland and Labrador Association for the Aging and Agnes Pratt Nursing Home. Stella passed away in 1991 at the age of 93. In memory of the visionary who believed in “a hand up, not a hand out”, the organization was named after her. The Circle refers to the holistic approach that the organization takes to working with the whole person. Stella’s Circle is an incorporated ministry of The United Church of Canada.
In 1979, Emmanuel House became a residential treatment program for adults with mental health challenges. It still operates as that program. In 1994, Naomi Centre, an emergency shelter for young women, came under the management of Emmanuel House and Stella Burry Community Services was born, later changing its name to Stella’s Circle Community Services. In 2000, the organization opened Carew Lodge, affordable apartments. To date, the organization operates 79 units of affordable housing. Through the years, the organization added various programs within the area of housing, counselling and employment services. The Stella’s Circle Foundation was established in 2005 to increase support for the work of Stella’s Circle.