Dear Friends and Neighbors,
“If it’s not about love, it’s not about God.” Such simple words from our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry—words he spoke at a certain wedding this past spring that most of the world watched. They are simple words he offers just about every time he preaches or is in conversation with two or three gathered together. Such simple yet powerful words that have and continue to challenge all humankind.
For Christians, following the way of love is about the Way of Jesus, following his words and actions, so that we embody and participate in God’s love in the world.
The Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement, as Bishop Michael loves to refer to us, offers clear guidance on the Way of Love: Practices for a Jesus-Centered Life. Those practices are—Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest, Turn—and all are essential to living into our baptism as Christ’s own in the world. (I encourage you to learn more at www.episcopalchurch.org.)
For almost 40 years, Chattahoochee Valley Episcopal Ministry has been one of the ways in which Episcopalians Bless and Go into our communities throughout the region. Together we are God’s blessing when we share our faith, unselfishly give, and serve our neighbors. We “Go into the world to love and serve the Lord” by joining together outside the walls of our own parishes, to cross boundaries, listen deeply, and love like Jesus.
The heart of CVEM is our Direct Service program that serves as a safety net for our neighbors in times of transition or crisis. Neighbors just like you and me—people working hard to care for their families, to enrich their lives, and to impact their communities.
Neighbors like Ms. W who was facing eviction from a home she and her twelve year-old son had lived in for more than three years. This was the only time she’d ever gotten behind on rent, a result of a gradual reduction in her full-time hours over several months at a job she’d held for almost ten years. She’d been looking for another job but had not yet succeeded.
When Ms. W came to her appointment at CVEM in mid-June, the happy news was that she was moving into a new, full-time job with her same employer, starting training the following week. She was excited about this new career opportunity and greatly relieved that the period of a reduced income was coming to a close.
But the extended reduction in income was a near-devastating strain on Ms. W’s ability to meet the basic needs of her son and herself, and it would be two or three more weeks before she once again received a full-time paycheck. July rent would also be due by then. She was so close to getting “back on track.”
Ms. W had several hundred dollars to put toward her rent but it wasn’t enough to stop the eviction process. CVEM offered our standard assistance of $75 and happily was able to add to that the equivalent of one month’s rent available through a newly awarded grant. We reached out to two of our parishes who contributed the remaining balance. Together, we had all that was needed!
Time after time CVEM serves our community as a bridge for neighbors in crisis or circumstances like Ms. W’s. And it is because of your generous support—the shared blessings of resources, gifts, and talents—that we can continue to love and serve our neighbors. Together, we have all that we need!
Through CVEM last year, you shared $30,000 with over 1,000 neighbors in more than 400 households in eleven Valley counties. Six dedicated volunteers gave 1,000 hours to meet face-to-face with neighbors in those 400+ households.
The result? We crossed boundaries and listened deeply; neighbors were able to secure housing, maintain transportation to work and school, continue education and job-skills training, pay for medical needs, and secure basic furnishings.
We need your help to continue serving our neighbors throughout the Chattahoochee Valley region.
Your support of CVEM at Christmas is a way to do that.
With your donation, we invite you again to use CVEM Christmas cards to express your gratitude for the special people in your life.
Make a gift in honor of… friends, family members, teachers, co-workers, clergy and lay ministers…
Give a gift in memory of a loved one…
You can donate and submit Christmas card requests RIGHT HERE on our website.
The amazing part of loving our neighbors and serving in our communities is that it goes both ways—when we participate in humble service with folks seeking transformation in their lives, we too find ourselves transformed. Walking in the way of Love opens us all to God’s abundant blessings.
Thank you for loving your neighbors through our shared ministry at CVEM and the many ways you proclaim the Good News of God in Christ. After all, if it’s not about love, it’s not about God.
Faithfully and With Gratitude,
Martha, Kathryn, Kristie, Norma, Diane, Vivia, Linda,
Margo, Jack, Jennifer, Courtney, and Silver
CVEM Staff and Direct Service Volunteers