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The hug you all deserve
October 30, 2014

by Peter Arneson | I am leaving Beacon…and I’m going to miss you!

These years that we’ve worked together have been purposeful. There are many other things I’d like to say on my way out and my head is full of faces, stories, frustration, pride, and gratitude. I can’t make the words express all the things I want.

Beacon is doing tremendous things. YOU are doing tremendous things. Look at the short list of highlights from only this year: together we launched the southwest network of Families Moving Forward, we saw six new congregations host with the Hennepin network, we gathered over 2,200 Beacon Citizens calling for $100 million dollars in funding for affordable housing, we got 66 West approved by the Edina City Council, and we received funding for Prior Crossing.

Wow!

For two weeks now I’ve been telling people that one of the things I’m going to miss most about leaving Beacon is that I don’t get to be part of the success that is coming. There’s more success to come because we are working hard and this is good work. We are sheltering families, providing housing, calling for change, and building homes! Beacon is a rising collaborative effort full of people who are just starting to realize our collective ability and potential. By acting in partnership, faith communities and individuals can end the epidemic homelessness in Minnesota that haunts parents, isolates youth, and stacks the deck against children.

There’s more to do. You will need to address the massive racial inequalities that surround poverty in Minnesota. There will need to be more uncomfortable conversations about the role of congregations in pushing for justice in the public arena. You will have to continue doing the sometimes tiring thankless work you’ve been doing for years with the hope that it’s making a difference in someone else’s life. And it is…

My wife and I were walking into a grocery store once and this woman stood up out of her car and yelled my name. She and her kids had moved out of Families Moving Forward and into a home. She met my wife for the first time, whom she had heard me talk about a few years prior when I was terrified and we were about to become engaged. She was proud, happy and stable. We were people from the same community; neighbors greeting each other. She gave me a hug and it was nice to see her. It occurs to me now that I got the hug that each one of you deserves because YOU made that moment possible. Thanks.

Peter Arneson
Peter is -- at least until mid-November -- Beacon's congregational engagement coordinator. He and his wife will be heading west -- way west, across the Pacific -- to spend a year on staff at the Children's Shelter of Cebu in The Philippines. He is very good at his job and he is about the nicest guy you'd ever hope to meet.