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Parish Partnership Survey Results

As many of you have probably heard by now, we are in the process of Strategic Planning. We've spent the last several months conducting a listening campaign. That entailed sending out surveys to all parishes CVEM has partnered with for the last 37 years and conducting several community meetings with various social service agencies and local residents. We also conducted interviews with some of our current and past Direct Service clients.

On May 7, we held a Parish Partnership Dialogue to reveal the results of our listening campaign thus far. Those are displayed below.

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

Thank you for supporting Auction for Action!

A couple weeks ago we held an online auction fundraiser. This was our first year hosting Auction for Action and it was a HUGE success!

Thanks to you kind folks (or should we say competitive bidders?!), we raised more than we originally anticipated. MUCH more! (We don't have the final totals yet but will update you when we do!

We had some amazing items for bid thanks to some very generous people and businesses throughout the region. Vacations, furniture, art, hotels stays, spa visits...the list goes on and on.

And we are so appreciative of all who bid (whether you won or not!), shared our auction site with your friends and just support us everyday.

We thank you but most importantly, MANY in the Chattahoochee Valley who will be served by our programs thank you!

Celebrating 20 Years of TAP

We had such a wonderful evening Sunday at our Concert & Celebration honoring 20 Years of TAP!  The night started with a fabulous concert of "Bluegrass Served Up Family Style" by Debbie Anderson, her brothers & friends. We carried over the evening with a reception (made possible by countless volunteers, including St. Thomas Episcopal Church, who provided staff & food to help us out!). We unveiled a TAP Video produced by Columbus State University (which we'll be posting soon), and our 2015 TAP Unity Piece. Enough talking, though! We have plenty of words to say, but we'll let these event photos say the rest! 

Welcome Martha, CVEM's new Interim Director

The Chattahoochee Valley Episcopal Ministry’s Search Committee and Board President Agnes Shelton named Martha Robert Interim Director in January.
Martha comes to CVEM with substantial nonprofit experience, a strong Episcopalian faith and a passion for social justice.
Her career background includes work as an elementary school teacher, an financial administrator for two non-profits, and director of a Day School. 
“I basically have had two careers: Education and Nonprofits,” Martha said.
She started her career as an elementary school teacher. “I feel very passionate about education, particularly early childhood education,” she said. “I made a choice to leave the classroom because that’s not where I belong.”
Her next move led her to serve as the financial administrator of Nicholas House, Georgia’s first transitional housing program for homeless families. The organization began as an outreach effort of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta.
“Everything I learned about nonprofits, I learned from Nicholas House,” she said.
She worked nine years at Nicholas House and three years in Atlanta Children’s Shelter, a daycare for young children living in shelters.
After living in Atlanta for 26 years, Martha moved to Milledgeville, Ga., where she was the director of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church Day School upon the retirement of the school’s founding director of 29 years.
Martha moved to Columbus in August, and found a church home in St. Thomas, where she also learned about CVEM.
“I am always seeking opportunities to work for social justice. I feel like that’s my calling,” said Martha, a cradle Episcopalian. “The advocacy work CVEM does in caring for people in poverty and who are marginalized is such a wonderful and long-standing work that has been done in the Church’s name. I was immediately drawn to it.”
The CVEM Search Committee will continue to work with the Diocese of Atlanta during this interim period to name a permanent director. The process may take between six to nine months.
During her time as interim, Martha said she plans to work closely with the Board, Staff, Volunteers, and Community to both honor the work that has been done and cast a vision for the future.
“I am looking forward to working with everyone, to listening to people’s stories and working together to create a vision and direction for this ministry,” she said.
Martha is widowed and has a daughter, a son-in-law and two step children in Atlanta. She also has a sister who is an Episcopal Priest in Mobile, Alabama.


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?