What does LLF’s role for the city look like during this time? Our team has been collaborating on the best ways to serve our neighbors. We suspended our regular in-person programming and adjusted our work to address the pressing needs of people in our community and shine Christ’s love and light. We are working with our partners to serve hundreds of meals to children and families- averaging 136 meals distributed per day, along with a smile and a friendly face. We will continue to do this as long as we are able. Our staff is also checking in on our students, their families, volunteers, and partners to identify their needs and connecting them to resources. A few of our students didn’t have a computer at home, so we helped get them one to ensure the kids could do their schoolwork. One of our bi-lingual team members is taking on the role of Resource Coordinator, working by phone to provide emotional support during an overwhelming time and help families access available resources.
“How do we serve our city, while still adhering to the guidelines set in place for our community’s safety?”
Many of you took action by contacting your legislators. Thank you! As a result of our collective action, Independent Sector recently shared that…
- Nonprofit needs are included for the first time in all emergency relief packages related to COVID-19
- All taxpayers can claim the charitable deduction for the first time in 34 years
- Critical federal programs received additional funds to meet growing needs
- and Initial federal funding is available to begin establishing systems to help voters safely participate in 2020 elections
In this season of spring, many of us are experiencing winter, with very little sight of its end date. For some of us, it is a season of exhaustion, loss, grief, strain, and chaos. We may be experiencing trauma either first-hand or indirectly. And we may not even know it. For those experiencing this, the stress hormone, cortisol, can be heightened putting us on “high alert.” We may experience tension and pain in our bodies, our minds may be foggy or moving too fast. We can become easily triggered and highly reactive. Sleep may elude us – or maybe consumes us.
How God’s Love Can Be Your Fuel Amidst COVID-19
What does it look like to depend upon God to lead us during this time of chaotic noise? How do we connect, be quiet. How do we simply be? As Dave Hillis stated in last month’s Street Lights, the concept of “non-reactive leadership” may hold deep promise in these anxiety-producing times.
But how do we go about it?
When asked by an expert of the law what is the greatest commandment, Jesus answers,
When Helping Hurts
Notice how Jesus identifies the second commandment, loving our neighbor, as an outflowing of loving God—I think this is no accident. Jesus is saying come to me with all you got. Your loving me is the source of loving your neighbor. Your loving me really means surrendering to me – with your body, mind, heart, and spirit. In this time of “winter”, where the needs of those in our communities have escalated, the risk of burnout and unhealth becomes even more of a danger. In normal times and in this time of crisis, it is easy to flip the order of the two commandments. Loving your neighbor becomes all-consuming. And loving God somehow gets lost in the frenzy. But this is not sustainable –personally or organizationally. Along my own journey of working alongside many “street saints” — those who are living out their vocation of loving the most vulnerable in their communities — I’ve seen and experienced plenty of burnout, exhaustion, strained relationships, addiction, self-sabotage, and organizational combustion. I wonder if sometimes this can be a reflection of having lost touch with Jesus’ two intertwined commandments. So what does following the first commandment look like in times like these? How do we surrender all to our creator who asks us to love God with all of ourselves?
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”Mark 12: 28-30
“Come to Me, all you who are weary…”Contemplata is the Latin word “to see”. Contemplative practices are those practices that provide us a way to connect with God with all of ourselves. They are practices that help us surrender all of our pieces and parts to God: 1) grounding our bodies enough to feel and release the tension and trauma we store, 2) quieting our minds enough to stop the constant egoic thoughts, 3) opening our hearts enough to be vulnerable and take down the walls of self-protection, and 4) being able to connect to receive the love, insight, and direction God has for us.
Through this practice of integrating these four elements into our lives, we are invited into a space to be still. To recognize God’s overwhelming grace-filled movement toward us. To be loved by God.
And then, from this place of being, we can move into doing. We can better hear God’s voice, we are integrated and strong for the task, and we can love our neighbor as ourselves.
A Brief Practice
Ground your bodyby gently stretching your whole body. Then bring your awareness to any tension you may be holding – especially in your shoulders and hips. Gently move to release that tension.
Quiet your bodyby inhaling and exhaling deeply ten times, expanding your belly as you inhale.
Open your heartby closing your eyes and opening your palms, imagining that you are carrying a particular worry or burden in your hands. Inhale, and as you exhale, imagine letting go of that burden and giving it to God, even just for a moment.
Connect to the Spiritby taking a scripture verse or a poem, and reading it through four times (as in Lectio Divina style), noticing what word or phrase jumps out at you, what the Holy Spirit may be saying to you, and your prayer or response. For a guided Integrated Pause video session, visit WinnSummitStrategies.com and click on Integrated Pause. On Mondays at 10 am EST, Angie offers a free “Virtual Pause” through zoom, which is a 30-minute integrated practice, especially designed for the “street saints”. You can find the invitation and other resources on the website.
She now leads Winn Summit Strategies and helps integrate contemplative practices for individuals, leaders and organizations, through consulting, coaching, workshops, and retreats.
She also leads yoga and meditation practices locally at her Loft on Main space outside of Orlando, FL.
LEADERSHIP IS STEPPING INTO THE GAP
The global crisis that we now find ourselves in, with the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus, is placing unimaginable stress on vulnerable communities and those experiencing poverty. As millions are on lockdown and businesses are closing, unemployment is spiking. Paying rent and utilities, getting food and finding basics like diapers is tougher than ever before.
Yet during such a time of uncertainty and crisis, people are together to support one another in new and remarkable ways.
Local Leadership Foundations throughout the world are stepping up and taking the lead in helping demonstrate the COVID-19 crisis as a our collective strength.
In Georgetown, Kentucky, the local Leadership Foundation, Transform Scott County is coordinating its volunteer response on behalf of the entire county. In conjunction with local government, Transform Scott County is staffing the local helpline.
In conjunction with church partners, they are managing phone lines every day Monday-Friday. Thanks to their efforts, the elderly and people who are immunocompromised are able to get essential medicine and food, that they’d otherwise have to go without. We then refer the request to sheriff deputies for delivery or to our local food bank for people who cannot purchase food.
RIOTS ON TOP OF THE VIRUS
In Delhi, India, the local leadership Foundation, Catalyst, is serving in an extremely tense environment — many have recently lost their homes to riots, migrant farm workers have been pushed out of their humble dwellings, and the city is under a complete lock-down.
Catalyst has been given special permission and is one of the only groups in the entire city that can leave their houses to provide services. Every day, their staff work tirelessly to try to meet the emergency needs of the most vulnerable and destitute on the streets of Delhi.
Keep Us, our city, our country and the whole world in your prayers.”
says Catalyst president, Abhishek Gier.
These are just a few examples of the heroic ways in which Leadership Foundations are stepping up amidst this global crisis on behalf of vulnerable people in cities throughout the world.
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Consider making a special gift today to Leadership Foundations to ensure that our network can continue to be as responsive to the growing and long term needs as we seek to not only meet emergency need, but to rebuild and rehabilitate these communities.