chattahoochee valley episcopal ministry

Ms. F was helped by our nonprofit; now she's running her own

“Hi. I just saw a post on Facebook about your CHAIRity event coming up and I want to refurbish a chair to donate for the event. CVEM helped me pay for school a few years ago. You just can’t know how much your help meant to me and I want to do something for CVEM in return.”
 
That was my introduction to Ms. F who began to tell me what she’d been doing in the three years since she’d come to CVEM for assistance…and it’s A LOT!
 
Ms. F graduated from CVCC at the end of the semester when we helped out…and she’s earned two more degrees since...and started her own nonprofit organization mentoring at-risk teens… in Russell County because that’s where she’s needed…and just bought 8 acres of land for her gardening and equine therapy programs. With every sentence Ms. F spoke, I realized that she is an amazing woman with big dreams that she is turning into reality, and I wanted to know more. So I invited her to come to CVEM the following week.
 
Our Direct Services Coordinator Diane Hinnant remembered Ms. F immediately when I told her about the call and upcoming visit. When Ms. F came through the door, she and Diane immediately hugged, both with tear-filled eyes. Not tears of joy exactly; something more.
 
For the next two hours, the three of us sat together, with Ms. F telling us about her life and dreams and work. A disabled veteran and divorced mother of a young teenage daughter, a woman who has faced astounding challenges throughout her life, she is indomitable. At CherAmi Farms, Ms. F is investing all her resources into mentoring at-risk teenagers in Russell County--teaching organic gardening from seed and the care of horses (she currently has three); connecting the teens with as many opportunities as possible to volunteer in the community.
 
Currently, about 15 teen girls are actively engaged at CherAmi Farms. They learn and engage in the hard work of nurturing life—caring for growing seeds that stay hidden and do not instantly gratify the gardener; doing the hard, dirty work of caring for horses; volunteering at community events most weekends. But their hard work is bearing fruit—literally fruits and vegetables they sell, and take home, and give to feed homeless veterans. Their hard work bears the fruit of kinship with majestic horses and engagement with neighbors in community.
 
Ms. F’s dedicated work is bearing fruit in the lives of these girls who are learning a multitude of skills, both practical for their immediate future and applicable for their adult life. And in the process the young women are finding, some for the first time ever, a group in which they truly belong…just as they are.
 
Do you know this saying? “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Ms. F is living into whom God has made her and calls her to be. It is her deep gladness that nurtures a handful of hungering teenage girls in Seale, AL. The result is nothing less than transformation of lives—hearts and minds and bodies and spirits—transformed by love to hope-filled lives.
 
Oh, those tears when Ms. F and Diane saw one another again? I believe they are the sign of the kinship we share when we look for where God is at work and join in—when we love like Jesus. A sign of nothing less than transformation.
 
Want to learn more about CherAmi Farms community outreach? Check out their Facebook page HERE. Want to know the story of how CherAmi Farms got its name? Here’s a link to the story of a WWI carrier pigeon Cher Ami who, though wounded herself, saved a “Lost Battalion” of American soldiers. I suspect you can figure out the connection between this WWI story and the unfolding story in Russell County at CherAmi Farms.
 
Please join us in this work of sharing God’s transformative love in caring for our neighbors in the Chattahoochee Valley! We invite you to volunteer and join in the work; we ask for your continued prayers for the ministry and your financial support at whatever amount you are able.
 
May we each daily live into our deep gladness as we go forth into a hungry world; and in so doing, be transformed into God’s dream for us and for the world.     – Martha

Please consider making a donation to support the work of CVEM—
a one-time gift or a recurring one. 


CVEM is funded solely by the donations of generous individuals, the Episcopal parishes of the Chattahoochee Valley, and the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. 
For secure online giving, click below
Or mail your check to CVEM P. O. Box 5811 Columbus GA 31906

An invitation from our director

“Look for where God is at work and join in.” A friend shared this quote earlier this year as we began preparations for strategic planning at CVEM. In its stark simplicity this statement serves as a guidepost for our future and it surely reflects the work over 37 years of ministry together in the Chattahoochee Valley—the work of thousands of folks committed to loving our neighbors.
 
At CVEM, we join in God’s work each day by offering ourselves and our resources to our neighbors living in poverty; to our brothers and sisters who are most vulnerable and least valued, if at all, by the world’s standards. And we join in God’s work by holding up to the light questions of social and economic injustice, asking how we can right this wrong and together create a new way that affirms the dignity of us all.
 
As a regional outreach ministry, CVEM is uniquely poised to serve as a "connector"—connecting people with resources, connecting one another to where God is at work throughout the region. For a couple of years, CVEM’s website has featured a regional calendar Around the CV that includes opportunities to learn and serve through the Episcopal parishes and in our communities. Take a look and feel free to submit additional opportunities; the more we each know about one another and the places where God is at work, the more opportunity we each have to respond to God’s call to join in!
 
In our strategic planning, CVEM’s board of directors, staff, and volunteers are listening to our stakeholders—in parishes, with program participants, community agencies and friends, and our neighbors we are called to serve. In this holy listening we seek to discern the particular work God is leading us into in the coming years.  We will update you on our progress in the coming weeks—on our website; at a report-back session to the parishes on May 7th; and, by mid-summer, with a completed three-year strategic plan.
 


Of course, what is most important to share about CVEM is the stories of transformation that occur, not just for those to whom we minister but, for us all. Theologian Henri Nouwen tells us, “Ministry is, first of all, receiving God’s blessing from those to whom we minister. What is this blessing? It is a glimpse of the face of God.”
 
I glimpsed the face of God in Mr. G when serving at Trinity’s Sunday Community Breakfast recently. He asked with tears in his eyes if CVEM could help pay the funeral costs of his wife who had died the day before.
 
I recently learned about some of God's transformative work in Carver Heights in Columbus when I met Mr. Ronzell Buckner who formed Turn Around Columbus in 1992 and has mentored neighborhood teenagers into adulthood through education and hand-on experience learning to run a business.
 
More often than not, folks who come for assistance through Direct Service will tell us that our willingness to listen compassionately to their stories is just as important, or even more so at times, than the financial assistance we can provide. One gentleman even said at the end of his appointment, “Don’t bother to send a check to my landlord. Someone else needs it more than me and the time you've taken to listen to me is the blessing I needed today."

Over the next several weeks, during the 50 days of Easter, we will continue to share these stories with you. The reasons are two-fold: to express our gratitude and to extend an invitation. Be certain that the work of CVEM would not be possible--not in the last 37 years and not in the future--without you. Thank you! Your generous giving of your time, prayers and financial support touch the lives of the folks at the other end of these stories. And now, we invite you to join in our season of listening. Listen to the stories of people helped by you through CVEM and be open to how you can join in. Perhaps God is inviting you through this ministry to help our neighbors in need...join us!

In this season of joy and renewed life, go forth into the world to believe in yourself as God's chosen one and to help your sisters and brothers know that they also are beloved daughters and sons of God who belong together.-- Martha

 

Please consider making a donation to support the work of CVEM—a one-time gift or a recurring one. 
CVEM is funded solely by the donations of generous individuals, the Episcopal parishes of the Chattahoochee Valley, and the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. 
For secure online giving, click BELOW
Or mail your check to CVEM P. O. Box 5811 Columbus GA 31906

Around here: Reading, Golfing & Planning

I would say that this week has been a busy one at CVEM, but really, they all are...that's a good thing though! 

This week, we joined B.R.I.D.G.E.(Building Responsible Individuals through Discipline, Guidance and Education) in its annual Golf Tournament. This wonderful program is one of the many organizations we partner with. They work with students to earn their GED's and help further education and career readiness. We love them!

We also had the St. Thomas Book Club meet at our house this week. These lovely ladies meet once a month, and we love having them in our space. In fact, we love when groups take us up on our offer to use the CVEM house. It is here for that purpose!

We also attended the Continuum of Care meeting at Open Door. This is a great group of people from several nonprofits working together to tackle homelessness and poverty in our community. 

Of course, our staff has been busy, busy getting ready for some upcoming events. It's really a fun time of year.

Who else is loving this fall weather?