And it feels like it. The water in my recycling bin turned to ice last night. Snow is predicted for the weekend. And the government has frozen (in mind, body and spirit).
I’m concerned about all the individuals and families who can’t afford to miss a paycheck. And you might be surprised how many there are! A number of our own church members work directly for the federal government or as federal contractors, and none will get paid tomorrow. The latter won’t get paid at all.
And then there are the folks, most likely not in our church, who truly live on the edge. Some of them work multiple jobs, including one that’s contracted by the federal government: office cleaner, security guard, temp worker, etc. And they are in imminent danger of having utilities shut off, food insecurity, and eviction. In fact, the number of people visiting food banks has already risen this month, with an increase in those visiting for the first time. To top it all off, it’s “low season” for non-profit organizations, meaning winter donations are down— just as the current need is rising.
As for government benefits that help the poorest among us (Food Stamps, rent assistance, etc.) most will expire if the shutdown lasts beyond January. This would be a disaster for vulnerable Americans, and I pray we don’t reach this point.
I apologize for the dire tone and content of this missive. But we need to know. It’s our church’s mission to nurture love of God and neighbor in the world. And, at this time, we are needed. So, here’s what I suggest:
- Those who are able, donate THIS MONTH to food pantries, shelters, and other DC non-profits that provide direct assistance to those struggling to support themselves.
- Tell Congress to fully fund the government NOW by signing this UCC Justice and Witness Petition.
- Our congregation has been blessed with a budget surplus from 2018. I’m recommending we donate over $3000 of this surplus to DC non-profit organizations that directly support people in need.
- I’d like to host a gathering for government workers and contractors next week. This would be a time to get together, talk about our experiences, and support one another (and those in greater need). Please let me know if this might interest you (and when you’re available). Friends and co-workers are welcome, and I’ll bring snacks and treats!
In the meanwhile, please pray that our nation’s leaders experience the Light and Love of God and act with wisdom, integrity and compassion. May we all do the same.
Love, Blessing and Support,
Bible Study, 1/13—The group will meet after coffee hour to begin our study of the book of Exodus. All are welcome! For more information: Dit Talley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Poetry Hour, 1/20— Join us from 4-5 pm and bring one or two poems on any theme (with 8 copies to share). Friends welcome! Questions? email@example.com.
Sing for Freedom, MLK Sunday, 1/20—We’ll honor the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in this music-filled worship service for all ages.
Annual Congregational Meeting, 1/27—We’ll meet after worship for our annual meeting to approve the 2019 budget, vote for our lay leaders, and receive updates on our strategic plan. Every voice has a vote, and we need yours!
RESCHEDULED Retreat (stay tuned for a new date): Mothers-Daughters-Sisters-Friends—We all know amazing women, and we stand on the shoulders of those who precede us. As we move through winter, we may need a boost. So, join Pastor Ellen and Kris Davis for a daylong retreat celebrating Women and Spirit. Men are welcome! Ages 12 and up. RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org