Have you heard the saying, “It takes a whole village to raise a child?” This phrase took on special meaning for me after a visit to Living Spirit United Methodist Church, one of our collaborating congregations.
On the fourth Sunday of Advent, I visited Living Spirit to receive a big gift on behalf of our Families Moving Forward shelter program – a check for fifty-six dollars raised by the Children’s Church class this fall. That’s a lot of quarters and nickels! During the worship service, the children presented me with a giant handmade “check” to Beacon with Families Moving Forward carefully printed on the memo line.
Their hard work to make this amazing art was a symbol of what their nickels and quarters would do: create something new together that would be impossible on our own.
I shared with them the story of little Kaven, who was born while his mom and brothers were staying in one of our host congregations. We imagined together what kinds of things they might have needed help with that cost money – diapers, bottles, clothes, and much more. In the midst of the anticipation of the birth of Jesus at Christmas, we imagined what it might be like for a mother in our own community to be unsure where her family would live when it came time to give birth. As a mom, I know that birth and parenting can be full of both vulnerable and grace-filled experiences, and we all need a village of support and encouragement as we strive to do our best for our children.
At Living Spirit United Methodist Church, the children understand they are part of that village of support for families in shelter. Their faith is formed in a community that takes seriously Jesus’ commandment to love and serve one another. They know that gifts of any size make a huge difference when we are part of a collaborative – and that nothing will be impossible with God.