So much of what Pope Francis said while in the United States inspired me. And when talking about those in need, he said something that touched my heart: “We need not be taken back by their numbers but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can.”
Every week at Asbury, we get requests for help. And we offer services like showers and laundry, while partnering with Open Heart a Kitchen. These services make a difference, yet also leave me with a nagging question: when does helping hurt? When do our efforts to help relieve our discomfort, yet keep those we hope to help stuck? Can we do more than offer bandaids?
In early 2016, we will begin a local chapter of Circles for Change, a poverty alleviation approach that offers a hand up, not a hand out. This approach offers us a chance to receive training and walk alongside the poor in their struggles to break the cycle of poverty. Circles emphasizes life-skill training, community, networks and mutual problem solving to break generational poverty.
Want to get involved? Great. We welcome your prayers. You can attend a 2 day orientation to Circles in Carson City, October 14-15. You can email Pastor Kim, and find out about local volunteer opportunities ([email protected]). You can provide needed financial support to launch this is effort by writing a check to Asbury UMC, with “circles” in memo line. We are working together with non-profits focused on helping those in need, faith communities, local governments, and public schools throughout the Tri-Valley to effectively address hunger and poverty. Join us!