“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