I was blown away when Chris S. texted me just two hours after the Interfaith Choir Concert to say that the event had raised more than $11,000 for the Concord Coalition to End Homelessness and its Safe Spaces Campaign. In making the pitch for the Coalition, I had mentioned how much it had mattered to me when I moved to Concord that people here are dedicated to playing an active role in creating the kind of community that reflects their values. This is what I had hoped for as a parent and I can see the effect on my children.
Our weekly community plate has been an amazing vehicle for our church to help shape the larger community in line with our UU values. We have supported a broad range of causes and are well known for that support. What if we went as deep in our support as we have gone broad? What if we zeroed in on one issue and made a truly noticeable difference? What if we had the kind of impact the next generation might still be talking about?
We currently have the chance to leave such a legacy. It is entirely possible for Concord to be one of the first communities in the country to declare chronic homelessness a thing of the past, to reach functional zero. Housing First Concord has already housed 17 individuals with a combined total of 113 years of homelessness. The model works, especially when combined with a Winter shelter that provides temporary safety during the coldest nights of the year, and a Resource Center that offers case worker support and access to the basics that enable people to prevent slipping into chronic homelessness.
Here is my proposal: On Sunday, December 10th, rather than doing our typical community plate, I’d like to encourage all of us to bundle our collective support for the Safe Spaces Campaign. Centerpoint Church raised $8,000, Christ the King Parish pledged $10,000. I believe we have the potential to go even further. In fact, we have a generous donor from within the congregation who will double whatever you contribute up to a total of $5,000.
The Safe Spaces Campaign is a three year campaign. You can make a one-time payment or spread out your contribution over multiple years by filling out a pledge form. If you are not able to be at church on December 10th but would like to participate, please send in, or drop off, your contribution ahead of time, or indicate in an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) how much you plan to pledge.
I know that a number of you have already made generous contributions to the Coalition this year. Thank you! Your generosity has been inspiring. Personally, I first wrote a check for $1,000. Then I thought: I can do that each year, so why not pledge $3,000 total. It felt good, but what if I stretched myself a bit more? Let go of a few more future purchases? What if I gave at a level I have never given before to any charitable organization? I ended up pledging $5,000 – so far.
May we be transformed by our giving. May the world be transformed by our gifts. And may our collective generosity be an inspiration to others in our larger community.
With love & gratitude,