Small things matter
As you've now heard many times, I attended the Matthew 25 Gathering in El Paso, TX several weeks ago, along with Jared Noetzel and Liz and Anglicans from all over our province who are engaged in works of justice. I spent a few extra days with Abara, learning more about migration and visiting the border wall and migrant shelters in Ciudad Juarez.
These days were so full and rich...strong biblical teaching and multilingual, multiethnic worship...prayer and encouragement from like-minded colleagues...stories of restoration in prisons and conflict zones and borders and cities...times of silence and prayer and hearing from God. I came away from my time at Matthew 25 SO GRATEFUL for Incarnation's mission of worship, welcome, and wonder and for our church community that longs to extend God's kingdom to people on the margins.
I filled a whole notebook with scribbled notes from my time there, more than I could possibly share in one blog. But one session made a particular impression on me, led by a woman who does restorative justice work inside the prison system. In the context of sharing about the incredible acts of forgiveness and justice she has witnessed, she repeated over and over again:
Small things matter
Hard places and disturbances often become places of new life
These points were such an encouragement to me as I look at our small(ish) church in a season of significant "disturbance" as we emerge from COVID restrictions in a new location and face the transition of our beloved Rector. What new life might grow from this place? What do you hope will grow? What are you longing to see? Send me a text or email or write a comment below — let's pray and ask and hope together.
An opportunity to do a "small thing"
For the past week, along with Pastor Artemia (the pastor at Greenbrier Baptist), we've been watching and praying about a situation unfolding in an affordable housing complex on Columbia Pike named Columbia Gardens. Tenants are being forced to evict in just 50 days, a very short timeline for an area with limited affordable housing options (learn more here). Most tenants will not be receiving their security deposits or the promised $200 and are facing enormous financial and logistical stress. Artemia has been making calls and hitting the pavement to find out what the tenants need and how the church might help.
One urgent need is moving boxes! Greenbrier will begin distributing moving boxes to tenants this week and we want to help. Many of these tenants are hoping to move to Barcroft Apartments (which feeds Randolph Elementary) and this is such a simple way to love our neighbors in a time of enormous disruption and hardship.
Drop off moving boxes of all sizes (tape and bubble wrap also welcome!) at Greenbrier Baptist M-Th, 9a-3p (5401 7th Road South - ring the doorbell and Ramona will let you in). We are actively exploring other ways to continue partnering with Greenbrier on this issue, so stay tuned!
UPDATE (March 14): Incarnation and Greenbrier have both designated outreach funds toward providing grocery cards to displaced tenants in order to free up income for housing applications and moving costs. The first round of cards was purchased last week and Greenbrier has already begun distribution; we will do another distribution later in the month. Thank you to our outreach team and vestry for moving quickly to meet this need!
We have just learned that Arlington County is now getting involved in helping tenants apply for new housing -- thanks be to God! Check out NBC4's coverage of the story below -- our dear friend Ramona (Greenbrier's church administrator) is featured holding the sign on the right.
Thank you for being a community that cares about justice and cares about our neighborhood...and cares about one another!
How are you doing? How is your Lent going? How might Liz and I pray or care for you in this season? Please reach out for a walk or a coffee - we love to hear from you!