One year ago on this very date, in partnership with the Presbytery of Detroit, I was commissioned to serve as a Community Chaplain, a creative role that has enabled me to practice ministry, community formation, and solidarity in remarkably new ways.
I will never forget how grateful I felt when the Presbytery of Detroit took that vote and affirmed this vision.
In many ways, it was an affirmation of the work that had happened in the previous year and a half, most especially with the formation of Michigan Nones and Dones, a new spiritual community in Southeast Michigan for people who are religiously unaffiliated and people who have departed from traditional, institutional religious communities (most frequently, churches). Describing ourselves as people who are “spiritually curious but institutionally suspicious,” we began to meet in coffee shops and restaurants to talk about faith, spirituality, and meaning as we built friendships with one another. It amazes me that this community is now almost two years old.
But beyond the work that had already happened, the vote and affirmation to create a vision for Community Chaplaincy has since opened additional doors that have enriched my life. This is a vision that allows me to serve as a regional Chaplain to people of all faith backgrounds or none at all, including people who are understandably quite uneasy with organized religion.
Here are some of those doors. . .
– The vision for Community Chaplaincy has opened doors to participate in the community of Canterbury House at the University of Michigan, a place where students grow in faith formation, share meals together, and play soulful music that deeply inspires.
– The vision for Community Chaplaincy has opened doors to participate in community alongside people who are change-agents — students, activists, and dreamers who speak truth to power and cultivate an ethic of care beyond what our systemic realities often diminish.
– The vision for Community Chaplaincy has opened doors to participate in the community of Northside Presbyterian Church, a congregation that has been a tremendous partner and friend to me, a community that has advocated so deeply and steadfastly for people who are marginalized.
These doors keep swinging open, and daily, I experience what a privilege it is to be present to people in their lives — to hold space for them, learn from them, stand alongside them, and explore greater meaning with them.
And in the midst of all of this, however, there is an obvious challenge:
When cultivating a vision that is a bit outside-the-box, it is hard to find funding sources for that vision. Simply put, this is new territory.
These last few years have been been a remarkably entrepreneurial time for me. It has been a joy to engage this new work and to have so many cheerleaders along the way. But in all honesty, this has come at a financial sacrifice too. To get this vision where it is, I have worked without any funding for two and half years straight.
With this in mind, as I reach the one year anniversary of a vote that affirmed this vision, I want to ask folks to financially support me in this work. In the next few weeks, I will be working to organize a crowdfunding campaign for Community Chaplaincy.
I hope that a campaign to fund this role will meet the needs of me and my family while also creating pathways for some to become inspired to do the same kind of work.
Would you or your community like to help me with this fundraising campaign? By donating, writing, sharing, spreading the word? I could use help from the wider community.
Would you or your community like to sponsor me in this work? Whether $10 or $1000, any contribution is received with gratitude.
Feel free to send me a message if you’d like. I’m ready to hit the ground running. And most of all, today, I appreciate your time and intention in reading this. Thank you.