Thank You and Update - June 2017

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!

Community Heroes

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!

Forums

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

Consulting

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.

Support

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

People can setup giving through Trinity Grace or Trellis and if you have any questions, do let me know

This is the screenshot of what the giving site looks like through Trinity Grace Church

This is the screenshot of what the giving site looks like through Trinity Grace Church

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!

How Can I Help the Homeless?

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.

Joining God at the Library

A couple of weeks ago, I was approaching the end of my shift and a woman who I see every Saturday walked into the lobby. I greeted her with a “Hi, how are you?” and she actually acknowledge me.

“I was paid yesterday and today I’m out of money.” So I asked her for her name.

“Mary,” she said

“Well Mary, I’m Tim and I’ll pray for you, ok?"

She immediately brightened up and said “Oh, thank you so much!” and then went to sit in the cafe area. I didn’t see her for a week or so, but this past weekend I saw Mary sitting in the cafe area.

Life on Mission Book Club

In a culture of immediacy and in a city of transience and constant busyness, what can we do to slow down, set roots and help make this crazy city feel more like home?  And more than that, how can we learn to see our neighborhood, our workplace and our school as less a place we get from and more a place we can help thrive?

Serving and Supporting those in Need in NYC

Instill Dignity and Provide Warmth

Bridge Church has launched the Known campaign this month, which is a tangible way for us to show that we care.

Determined to spread the message that all are known and loved, this campaign is seeking to distribute hoodies to homeless men and women throughout New York city, coupled with 6 toiletry items with the hopes of sharing the love of God

They are inviting individuals and groups to join in this campaign for the month of January and are
seeking partnership in three ways

  • Rally people to Buy a hoodie for $40. With each purchase of a hoodie, we give one to a person in-need

  • Rally your church or small group around creating 50 full toiletry bags (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, socks and toilet paper)   

  • Rally people to prepare, pack, and deliver hoodies

Check out the website for more information: www.known.nyc

Redeem Your Meal Time

The Bowery Mission is always looking for groups of 5-10 for breakfast, lunch, or dinner at their Compassionate Care Center in the Lower East Side.  Why not organize your small group or even a group from work to help serve a meal.

Find out more or sign up to volunteer at volunteer@bowery.org

Thinking Holistically about Renewal

When the builders had laid the foundation of the Lord’s temple, the priests, dressed in their robes and holding trumpets, and the Levites descended from Asaph, holding cymbals, took their positions to praise the Lord, as King David of Israel had instructed. They sang with praise and thanksgiving to the Lord: “For He is good; His faithful love to Israel endures forever.” Then all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s house had been laid. But many of the older priests, Levites, and family leaders, who had seen the first temple, wept loudly when they saw the foundation of this house, but many others shouted joyfully. The people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shouting from that of the weeping, because the people were shouting so loudly. And the sound was heard far away.
— Ezra 3:10-13, HCSB

In Ezra 3 we read the account of the people of Israel moving back to their land and home to rebuild their homes and lives.  This scene though different in many ways to the experience of many moving into urban centers has some things to teach us about 

As the Israelites move into the land, their hearts and minds go towards thinking about rebuilding a life for themselves and their families.  Plans go in motion as homes and a wall are built to help bring a stable community in this place that was in disrepair.  But as they build, we read that the older folks fall sad to the way it is playing out because what is being build is not what they remembered their old community being like.

Many young families and singles move into urban centers and have an initial though maybe ill-informed view of making what might initially be a rough and up-and-coming neighborhood into a safe and thriving place for themselves and their family.  The problem is that in these plans, without being careful, can lead to sadness and worse displacement for the people that have lived in the neighborhood for generations.  We want it be be a better place but without thinking and prayer can end up altering the very social fabric of a place that was thriving long before we moved in.  Our efforts at improvement can lead to families and friends being displaced and separated, family run stores closing to accommodate to new stores catering to new tastes, people that have called this place home for generations can now find themselves feeling like strangers and outcasts in their own neighborhood.

Some of this is inevitable and unintentional but as Christians moving into the city and seeking to make a life for ourselves in urban centers, God is inviting us into a bigger plan that just our own personal happiness and safety.

This means learning to see that we are not just seeking the good and flourishing of a neighborhood for my own benefit but also for the benefit of those who already live there. Thinking carefully not just about what would make my block better for me, but better for everyone This means understanding that we don't just want safer and better schools for our kids but for all the kids. This is messy but it will mean thinking more broadly and carefully that just about my own betterment.

This is learning to recognize that our motives are always mixed and never pure but this is learning to see that we aren't just living somewhere because of what I can get out of it [cheap rent, great restaurants and stores] but we have been invited by God to join Him in what He is doing in that neighborhood, it its renewal again aiming to make it a better place for everyone.

How do we get there? Well, consider...

  • Moving into our neighborhood with a heart to learn from those already there
  • Finding ways to get to know, listen to and learn from long-term residents [block parties, communal gathering place, libraries]
  • Joining a community board or check out a local precinct meeting.  You will learn and hear about the cares and concerns of long term residents
  • Not always defaulingt to what's new.  Find older restaurants and stores, deli's and meeting spaces
  • Volunteering at a local public school in before and after school programs
  • Becoming an active member of the PTA of your child's school
  • Shop local - the below study concluded in another city that if residents of the region were to shift 10 percent of their spending from chains to locally owned businesses, it would generate $127 million in additional local economic activity and 874 new jobs. - http://www.mecep.org/going-local-quantifying-the-economic-impacts-of-buying-from-locally-owned-businesses-in-portland-maine/

Resources

Thoughts? Questions? email me zac@trinitygracechurch.com