When my family first moved to Park Slope as a family of three, we moved to help lead a church in transition. Very aware of the blessing and beauty that this neighborhood had to offer, I was sadly ignorant of the history, strife, and divisions that lay just under the surface. I had also mistakenly thought that our church and my leadership was going to bring Jesus to this community, not realizing that He was already very much alive and well and working in ways and in places I wasn’t ready or able to see.
I think about all the white Christians on the bus with Rosa Parks, watching her having to stand up and speak up for herself and others again and again and how tiring that must have been. I think about all the times and the years that I was ignorant and blind to the plight of the minorities and particularly the Native Americans around me.
Hear me, you don’t need to be strong all the time. You don't have to be OK all the time. It's OK to not be OK. You don’t need to be right all the time. You won’t have to have all the answers. If you pretend to be OK, all that and all together all the time, you make it hard for people to help you. Let people help you, let people love you. You see, the smartest people ask the most questions and ask for help. It's not stupid to ask for help, it's not weak to be vulnerable, it's called growing up.
Many have asked recently what books have helped shape the way I think and drive what I do. With that in mind then, I am starting this series of posts to share my current reading list and share what I'm learning as I go. As you follow along [please do], I would love to hear your thoughts, and even bring your own suggestions.
For the prophetic leader and worker serving in the world today, ministry is often driven by a big, beautiful vision of what a redemptive future could or even should look. In the midst of the brokenness we see around us, there is a sense, a dream and a hope for the potential and the possible for your organization or your community.
[but] what do we do, when the reality clashes with the vision? What do we do with the dissonance between the dream and the real?
I want each of you to know just how grateful I am for your ongoing and generous support and for your regular and meaningful encouragement and prayers.
As the summer approaches I wanted to let you know what is going on with Trellis and how your support is helping Trellis help others
Job for Teens in Public Housing
In partnership with local schools, business and elected officials, Trellis is organizing 20 summer job slots for teenagers in public housing. Each of the students that get a job will also go through a mentoring program where they will learn about how to thrive in the workplace long-term and also be sharing their perspectives of being in the workforce as minorities.
12 kids have already signed up and we are working on resumes, reference letters and getting them ready for interviews!
This project which highlights people blessing and loving often overlooked neighborhoods is in year two.
This summer will be busy as we plan for producing one series of banners for Gowanus Houses heroes August 12th and hopefully launch the project in Fort Greene and Red Hook.
The Red Hook project is in partnership with the neighborhood art project grant that we are finalists in!
Jasmin Chang, working with me at Trellis and Community Heroes has been a HUGE support and blessing in this project!
One of the ways that Trellis seeks to build partnerships is through forum based education and advocacy. With that, the summer means planning for the fall and two forums in September
One on the Art of Justice, inviting artists from the community to teach organizations about the power of story telling through a variety of mediums to inspire change and address important issues. BRIC Media will be hosting this event as part of their Stoop Series.
Two, a forum on serving and supporting the marginalized. Trellis is gathers incredible organizations from around the city empowering and advocating for immigrant populations, the homeless, struggling single parents among others and then allow others the opportunity to support their important work. Conversation is happening and will hopefully be confirmed soon that Brooklyn Borough Hall will be hosting this event
Trellis also continues to have opportunity to train, encourage and equip organizations to think strategically about collaboration and community investment.
Trellis has been consulting with
- A community center in Queens
- A church in Queens
- Partnering with Gowanus Neighborhood Coalition for Justice to help bring the faith community into a conversation about gentrification and rezoning in that neighborhood and provide support to the coalition
- Helping Young Life Brooklyn in caring for their staff and helping them make neighborhood connections and providing support
- Working with Camerados, to see what bringing their beautiful Living Rooms project to Brooklyn could look like
In the midst of all this, I have been learning to step back and ask, what is the most effective use of my time, talents and how do these and a many other opportunities fit into the mission of Trellis.
I also continue to invite friends and family to consider giving and are still looking for some new supporters willing to contribute
- 2 at $200/month
- 4 at $100/month
- 4 at $50/month
- 10 at $20/month
If you know people interested or that want to know more, please do pass along the information or feel free to connect me with them
I am always glad to meet up and talk more for coffee, lunch, beer, dinner and talk more about all of this stuff too so let me know.
I want you to know, seriously that I am incredibly grateful for your encouragement, excitement for and support of me in all of this. I couldn’t not be where I am without you!
The gospel reminds me daily of the spiritual poverty into which I was born and also of the staggering generosity of Christ towards me. Such reminders instill in me both a felt connection to the poor and a desire to show them the same generosity that has been lavished on me. When ministering to the poor with these motivations, I not only preach the gospel to them through word and deed, but I reenact the gospel to my own benefit as well.
Father we pray for a world where peace is built with justice, and where justice is guided by love
We pray for the redemption of souls of both victim and perpetrator, for those who commit themselves to the forgiveness of sins