photo © 2008 Melissa Goodman | more info (via: Wylio)Embrace Richmond grew out of the intersection of the dreams of my suburban neighbors who wanted to help those in need and the dreams of a homeless woman who wanted to give back. So every year around this time, I spend time dreaming about what the next year might hold. Honestly, prior to 10am today, my dream for 2010 was to keep Embrace Richmond afloat and maintain the level of ministry we currently have. Like most non-profits, we have seen a drop in financial giving but have been blessed not to have to cut staff or services.
But those dreams of maintaining were before God brought an angel into my life. After a local church’s recommendation and spending some time reading about Embrace on our website and my blog, this individual contacted me and we met for coffee. An hour into our meeting, this God-send of a person gave me what is, for Embrace Richmond, a significant donation and expressed a desire to become a partner with us in our ministry on an on-going basis. Tonight, I am dreaming anew about 2011.
If I could do anything for God in the next year and had all the financial resources I needed, I would strengthen and expand the ministry of Embrace Richmond. I would bring my amazing staff members on full-time, mobilize more AmeriCorps members, and find a facility where all my team members have room to work.
Imagine with me a moment: What if this whole city started dreaming God-sized dreams, from the formerly homeless men and women, to house wives, to corporate executives? What if everyone gave what they have: time, talents and treasures? What if instead of building more programs we empowered people to “see the need and meet the need” without bureaucracy or political maneuvering. What if this city really did unite across race, class and religious affiliation? Can you imagine how different this city would be a year from now?
My dreams for 2011 include:
Monthly gatherings of people from across the city, from all different faith traditions, who put their faith to work in Richmond’s most under-resourced communities by joining hands with the residents of those communities and blessing those in need.
Regular gathering of people who are interested in addressing the root causes of poverty in our city who gather to learn about the existing services in the city as well as how they can help address the gaps in our existing systems; people who are willing to put their collective wisdom together to come up with strategies that lead to real long-term change.
Weekly gatherings of residents in under-resourced communities who are willing to give what they have to make the community a safer, healthier place to live for their families and their neighbors.
Teams consisting of leaders from under-resourced communities and future ministry leaders serving together in at-risk communities while they earn a living allowance and an education grant and gain valuable work experience.
Women and men who have experienced financial prosperity learning from and journeying alongside materially disadvantaged men and women in a way that transforms and enriches the lives of all.
I truly believe that if we unleash the gifts, talents and resources that already exist in the greater Richmond community we will be able to significantly reduce poverty in our city.
Pray God pours out blessings upon this amazing donor and all those who have given to Embrace Richmond this year. Thank you for empowering our dreams! I know this has been a hard year for many of our supporters and I value the gifts of all of you: both the financial gifts as well as your gifts of time and talents. Together we can change this city, one person, one neighborhood, one congregation at a time.