There is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there’s still a sureness in you, where there’s a seamlessness in you, and where there is a confidence and tranquility in you. And I think the intention of prayer and spirituality and love is now and again to visit that inner kind of sanctuary.
As we pivot to embrace the Fall splendor, we find ourselves brimming with gratitude for our vocation and the community making it all possible. For the past three years, we have been gifted with generous financial support for full-time pastoral and prophetic ministry. More than ever, we feel prodded by Something beyond ourselves to carry on and deepen this work in a world stripped of intimacy, community and justice. One of our ongoing challenges is often feeling isolated and alienated, especially as we navigate the future. Slowly but surely, we are learning how to ask for what we need. Photo: As the days darken, the Ginko Tree (left) lights up on the banks of the Huron.
Since the beginning of this journey, we have been “fiscally sponsored” by Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries, a non-profit Christian organization that we have been deeply shaped and supported by. For a small commission fee, BCM has taken care of the administrative side of our work (processing contributions, payroll, taxes and expense reports) and has provided much-needed emotional support, mentorship and accountability. In turn, we have staffed BCM institutes in Southern California and Saskatoon, as well as providing ad hoc pastoral and logistical support along the way. It has been a wonderful partnership.
During our Spring residency in Ojai, we had some important conversations with BCM about what our work with them might look like in the years to come. They are definitely excited about the prospects of continued partnership. However, they have had concerns about their own limited capacity to continue to fiscally sponsor our work. Like most grassroots organizations, BCM is cash-strapped and overwhelmed with demands from all over North America. Over the past few months, we have been researching and weighing the possibility of starting up our own nonprofit. This is both exciting and scary!
The challenges of this kind of venture include (A) the prospects of 15-20% of our time and energy focused on administrative duties, (B) the steep learning curve that comes with navigating the many hoops to jump through with the 501c3 process and (C) concerns about the financial sustainability of raising support over the long haul.
This month, our base of supporters provided us with some really important feedback about the what, why and how of our work moving forward. We asked what aspects of our work they were most excited about. The top three:
1. Facilitating retreats and groups for couples and individuals to be equipped with tools for healthier relationships.
2. Helping oppressed and vulnerable people in Detroit (water delivery to victims of shut-off and home foreclosure, serving homeless guests at the soup kitchen, organizing and advocacy for change in city, state and national policy).
3. Investing in one-on-one pastoring, counseling and mentoring work (in person, over Skype, on the phone).
This process has been helpful for us as both confirmation and challenge to focus on these elements going forward. We see it as both a nurture and a nudge, encouragement and accountability.
In addition, we are thrilled that many of our supporters have communicated the desire to continue to financially contribute either monthly or annually, and have encouraged and supported us going forward with this process of starting a new non-profit organization. Our next steps: filing articles of incorporation with the state of Michigan, writing by-laws and recruiting a Board of Directors. We are deeply grateful for wisdom imparted by friends and continue to covet any advice from others who have experience starting or maintaining a non-profit organization.
This update is our second-to-last on this 4910CecilSt blog. In our December report, we will share some important news about the name and a few details of the non-profit we are starting. We will continue sending out updates on a different website for those interested in keeping up with the Journey. If you want to be on the monthly mailing list and/or want more information on how you can participate in this ministry, focusing on the nurture of intimacy, community and justice, send Lindsay an email at email@example.com. Simply reply: "yes" if you would like to be included.
|Our friends Joan and Luke get married at a campground in Wixom, Michigan. |
Outdoor wedding: 45 degrees. Notice Tom shivering on the left.