What a great Community Quarterly Meeting we had last week! Thanks again to Rev. Eric Jackson for hosting us!
Special thanks also goes to Tiegan Tidball from the City of Tacoma, Mike Yoder, Executive Director for Associated Ministries and Mark Merrill, Executive Director for Shared Housing Services for presenting. Everyone did a great job!
Here are links to the materials we reviewed at the meeting:
To keep everyone encouraged and energized, I would like to share a few results from the breakout sessions. We had three breakout groups this quarter: Catholic Community Services’ Family Housing Network (FHN), Shared Housing Services, and the City of Tacoma, which explored ways the faith community could get involved to support the Emergency Declaration.
Catholic Community Services’ Family
Housing Network Workgroup
The Family Housing Network Workgroup agreed to make some homeless kits filled with useful items for families experiencing homelessness. There was also emphasis on getting the word out in the community about this awesome program, so the workgroup is planning to have Alan Brown, the Director of Family Housing Network, present during scheduled community meetings.
Shared Housing Services Workgroup
The Shared Housing Workgroup took a similar path. They too wanted to get the word out about this great opportunity for the faith community. This workgroup plans to do more outreach in neighborhoods, congregations, neighborhood councils as well as some community gatherings.
City of Tacoma Workgroup
The City of Tacoma Workgroup came up with some pretty creative ideas about how the faith community can get directly involved to support the Emergency Declaration on Homelessness, including safe parking, permanent housing solutions such as rehabbing derelict houses or purchasing tiny houses, and exploring policy changes such as screening practices for rental applications.
The goal of the Community Quarterly meeting is to create an energizing space in Pierce County for people of faith and goodwill to share knowledge and act on strategies to end homelessness.
Please plan to join us for future gatherings. Upcoming Community Quarterly Meetings:
- Thursday, Sept. 21st from 4-6 at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 7410 South 12th Street, Tacoma, WA 98465.
- Tuesday, Dec. 5th from 4-6pm at Bethlehem Baptist Church, 4818 East Portland Ave, Tacoma, WA 98404.
We’ve done a fresh update of the AM Community Resource Guide and it’s now available on our website. You can download the pdf here. You’ll notice we ask for contact information before you download the document. We do that only to add your contact to the list of people who are interested in the Resource Guide so we can send you word of any subsequent corrections or of publication of the next update. Occasionally, we may ask you for feedback about how you use the Guide and what we can do to make it easier to use.
If you are from an organization or service that is listed in the Guide and you notice an error or information that should be changed, please email email@example.com with your suggestions so we can keep the Guide as current and user-friendly as possible.
Marc Pitman is a true believer. He’s an international leadership coach and fundraising trainer and helps nonprofit board members and staff get excited about asking for money. He believes in the ability of nonprofit organizations to do immense good in the world and he’s a Christian believer who sees fundraising as a ministry. He launched a new book, Ask Without Fear for Christian Ministry, on March 20th.
Q: Marc. you’ve done a lot of things in your life and helped thousands of nonprofits. Why did you decide to write the Christian ministry book?
Marc: That’s a great question. It’s pretty exciting for me because I got my start in fundraising raising money for Christian causes. So this has always been behind the content in the other Ask Without Fear!® books. Ministry has always been what motivates me. My faith is very influential in my life. I love, I love, I love being a follower of Jesus and I feel like this book allows me to share all of that. It’s taken so long to write, in part, because I just love people. With my other books, I’ve been able to help so many different people from so many different walks and faiths and countries. I am honored to be able to help so many and take that privilege seriously.
Q: How do you approach Christian groups about raising money?
Marc: I’ve wanted to be very careful. When I pastored a church for 4 years, I was very careful to talk about money regularly but I was very careful about how I talked about money from the pulpit. There have been so many prominent bad examples of Christians talking about money. So I’ve been trying to be very strategic. Actually, this book has been a work in progress over two years now. I probably am more vulnerable in this book than in my other books. People feel like they know me from reading the other books but with this one I really feel like I put even more out there.
Q: Who, is the person you hope will pick your book off the shelf? What do they look like? Who is the reader you wrote for?
Marc: (laughs). Ha! It’s like that Michael Jackson video, “It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white.” Remember that one? Where the faces keep morphing and the hair sprouts out and it goes down. That is the image that just came to mind because the person that will benefit most from this book really isn’t a demographic as much as a calling.
Whether they’re in a church or at a large, multi-national relief ministry, or a missionary raising their own support. Or even if they’re somebody at a church that just sees a need and wants to fill it. The person that’s going to really benefit from this book is someone who got into ministry to do good and thought the money was going follow. They were told that if you follow God’s call, everything else will work itself out. And it’s not. What they didn’t realize is that they had to be just as intentional with fundraising as any other aspect of the ministry. Because people don’t just “get” that they’re supposed to give.
Q: Does the framework in your book speak to unique characteristics of Christian audiences and ministries?
Marc: This book is written for people surprised by fundraising. It tells them it’s going to be okay. And that there is a strategy fully in sync with the Bible they can follow. Even that, if they let it, fundraising can be a fulfilling part of their ministry, not just a “necessary evil.”
Fundraising really is part of ministry. Stephen Covey used to say, “when you pick up one end of the stick, you pick up the other end too.” So when you picked up the ministry stick, you picked up the other end, the “needing to resource the ministry” end.
But people don’t necessarily tell you this. It’s not something that’s typically well taught. The framework in Ask Without Fear for Christian Ministry has been tested over more than 20 years and have been proven to work. They’ve also proven to be accurate with Scripture, which is really nice because there are a lot of things out there that say they work but they aren’t necessarily things that we want replicated in our ministries. We want to be people of integrity.
Q: I sense with you, with this book, there’s an alignment between your path and the work that you’ve been doing. How does that change the way you’re speaking about the book?
Marc: Well, there is a deep joy in talking about this book. There’s also a tension because I’m aware that I have been blessed to have a wide range of people that are benefiting from my teaching. I’m honored that Islamic Relief USA had me in to teach them about public speaking and that I was just teaching 110 Chasidic rabbis on Long Island, New York. I love that atheists and Hindus and Wiccans and agnostics are inspired by my work.
I love being the ambassador, exploring differences. So the tension is that I don’t want to unnecessarily remove people from finding help that they need with fundraising because they see there’s a Christian fish on this book.
Q: An interesting aspect of your book is you talk about references to fundraising being in the Bible. Can you say more about that?
Marc: I was able to bring together pieces of this book from my blog, my sermons, and my fundraising training. On my site, and on the YouVersion app, I had the “Fundraising in the Bible” study. I looked at stories of asking for money that are in the Bible. Like Moses asked for money from people who had just been rescued from slavery. Moses made a pretty bold ask! And others like David and Hezekiah and Nehemiah and Paul. And to share that along with the best world class research that’s going on. I’ve been privileged to be on the Rogare Fundraising Think Tank with the University of Plymouth in the UK. So I’m also exposed to cutting-edge, solid academic research. Part of what I love to do is blend the Biblical, the practical, and the academic together because they’re not at odds with each other at all. It’s exciting to see this stuff really resonate with people.
Q: What are you going do to celebrate the publication of this book?
Marc: Part of my personal mission statement is releasing people, helping people find the joy in life. For me, the joy is with a capital “J.” It’s Jesus. I don’t feel like I need to talk about that all the time. It’s more of a Saint Francis of Assisi thing, “Preach the gospel everywhere; use words only when necessary.” I don’t feel like it I need to micromanage someone’s walk. That’s not it. I really love meeting people where they’re at. So whether it’s serving in the community or working with my kids, I just love being able to see people grow and thrive and excel.
Q: Thank you so much for sharing a bit about why you’re excited about your latest book, Ask Without Fear for Christian Ministry!
Marc: Thank you! It’s been a pleasure.
You’ll find a great framework for fundraising for your ministry in Marc’s book. Many people who respond to God’s calling set off on the journey before they create a plan to fund it. The mission is to do good, help people, and spread God’s Word, but without a funding plan they run out of resources long before they reach the finish line. Often the task of asking for money can be easy to push aside and even seem outside of God’s call. Marc guides you with stories and a solid approach that will help you get excited about asking for support for your ministry.
BTW, you can buy the book on Amazon. Don’t forget to use AmazonSmile to do double-duty…your purchase will trigger a cash donation to Associated Ministries from AmazonSmile.
Over 400 women attended AM’s premier Interfaith Women’s Conference “Building Bridges of Interfaith Unity” on March 4th. With more than 24 speakers and workshops offered, 50 vendor booths, and a day filled with options for yoga, meditation and sacred spaces, this conference had a bit of something for everyone. But one thing was certain. By gauging which workshops filled up the fastest and by survey feedback received from participants, attendees want more. Their focus? Listening, dialogue and action.
“Compassionate Listening”, “Peacebuilding – How to Dialogue with Friends of Other Faiths”, and “Sacred Activism” all sold out quickly. Imagine a community where we listen, talk and then act, all with a shared goal of building stronger relationships and communities. Women who attended this conference have plans to do just that. How can you and your faith community do the same?
Associated Ministries will be looking at ways we can assist in keeping the momentum going post-women’s conference. Stay tuned for more information about upcoming interfaith gatherings and local workshops to address ways we can come together across faith lines to build bridges of interfaith unity. If you would like to be involved in the planning of future interfaith events, please contact Community Engagement Coordinator, Wendy Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org or 253-383-3056 ext.
Punxsutawney Phil had a much smaller spotlight on February 2nd this year because hundreds of advocates were out in Olympia for Housing and Homeless Advocacy Day, learning about the need for affordable housing, how family homelessness can be ended, and meeting with legislators to compel them to take action on local needs. Four members of the Associated Ministries’ team were honored to be among that crowd of activists.
“My experience at Advocacy Day was both empowering and enlightening,” said Andrea McKinney, who works in Centralized Intake as a Screening and Diversion Specialist. “I had heard of Advocacy Day for unions but had never attended one myself. What really stuck out to me was the opportunity to increase my knowledge and sit with those advocating that housing should be a right, not a privilege. Even the elderly and disabled have barriers to affordable rental housing in front of them. Family size, race, and sexual orientation—against fair housing laws–are still finding their way into rental decisions. Your source of income can determine whether a landlord rents to you–it shouldn’t be like that but right now that’s within the law.”
Everyone should have the opportunity to live in a safe, healthy, affordable home.
Thursday, March 2nd, marked the halfway point of this year’s 105-day legislative session. But our work as a community continues. Your voice is important. Your legislators need to know what you think about the crisis of homelessness and the ideas you support to be enacted into policies and laws. Your action makes a difference. Your advocacy changes lives.
A great place to learn more and get the most current updates is www.wliha.org.
Vania Kent-Harber, Sacred Activism at the Interfaith Women’s Conference
The first workshop to fill up at AM’s March 4th Interfaith Women’s Conference was Sacred Activism: Creating Peace Through Contemplation and Action. Vania Kent-Harber led the workshop and I was one of the lucky attendees.
The teaser for the topic was this: Our world is so frantic – and we all need the balance that follows quiet contemplation. Vania explored the connection between contemplation and action and how this connection is rooted in all of our faith traditions to give our lives meaning, purpose, and peace.
Vania said she was influenced by the work of Andrew Harvey and characterized Sacred Activism as a kind of midwifery. In Harvey’s words, “When, however, the deepest and most grounded mystical vision is married to a practical and pragmatic drive to transform all existing political, economic, and social institutions, a holy force and power of wisdom in action is born, a force and power that can re-fashion all things in and under God, and bring humanity, even at this late desperate hour, into harmony with its self and original nature. This force of Sacred Activism I believe will be the source of the birthing power that humanity will need to create a new world from the smoking ashes of the one that is now passing away.”
These were some of the themes that arose during the workshop:
- Activism is railing against the world. Sacred activism is a response to the moment.
- Sacred activism is coming face to face with the real, with willingness to be broken open by it.
- It is solidarity in the suffering of God and collaborating with God. A way forward always comes if we are attuned to listening.
A Jewish woman who came to one of her past workshops gave Vania interesting new definitions for obedience and humility rooted in Jewish thought.
This quote from Mark Nepo gives a good sense of the definition of obedience that Vania shared:
To listen is to continually give up all expectation and to give our attention, completely and freshly, to what is before us, not really knowing what we will hear or what that will mean. In the practice of our days, to listen is to lean in, softly, with a willingness to be changed by what we hear.
Humility is conceived as limiting oneself to an appropriate amount of space, while leaving room for others. Vania emphasized the key concept of taking up the appropriate amount of space for the situation. This could mean giving space to others, but women often don’t take up enough space. She said, if truly humble, we find the courage to step into our gifts.
Vania Kent-Harber is a yogi, contemplative, and writer exploring the intersection of yoga, new monasticism, feminism, and social change.
Good news if you want to learn more from Vania! She is a co-founder and co-director of Samdhana-Karana Yoga, a nonprofit healing arts center in Tacoma, and has over 1,000 hours of teaching experience focused on underserved populations for whom yoga is not readily accessible.
If you or someone you know is ready to play a critical role in serving the vulnerable in our community, three local agencies that partner with AM are seeking to fill key leadership roles. We encourage you to spread the word about these unique career opportunities. Please contact each agency directly with any questions you have.
REACH Center: Deputy Director
Apply online at http://reachtacoma.org/join-our-team/
Peace Community Center: Executive Director
Apply online at https://peacecommunitycenter.org/employment/
Society of St. Vincent de Paul: Interim Executive Director
Send an email to Charlie Thompson at email@example.com
Once each month our Executive Director, Mike Yoder, sends out an email highlighting engagement and educational opportunities that may be of interest to Pierce County faith leaders (see a copy of the latest issue). Your congregation should subscribe! If your congregation’s pastor or outreach coordinator does not receive this email, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to add them to our list!
In 2016, Associated Ministries received a grant of $40,000 from the Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound (ECF-Boeing Puget Sound) for the greater part of a multi-faceted Client Safety and Security Project. With their grant, we were immediately able to upgrade our security system and install six video surveillance cameras outside AM’s direct service center. By the end of April, we will acquire a new data-management copier with high security for client documents and we will finish installing solid-core interior doors for better protection of clients, staff and volunteers within the building.
We couldn’t take these important steps without the support from the ECF-Boeing Puget Sound!
The Hilltop Action Coalition, Hilltop business Association, 8th & I Neighbors and AM have done great work together to increase the safety of the Hilltop over the years. But throughout 2016 we had to take action again. Our staff often intervened to keep the vulnerable people who were waiting for our services from becoming targets for drug dealers and others. Our grounds were being used at night as a gathering place and dumping ground for debris.
We invited Tacoma Police Community Liaison Officers to advise us on best practices for keeping our clients safe in a neighborhood beginning to trend towards a higher crime rate again. Installing security cameras around our building was a key measure. The cameras enable us to provide actionable evidence to authorities against those preying on our clients and we can safely monitor hidden corners to stop criminal activity day or night.
Our building also needed to be more defensible against unsettling instances of violence in the Hilltop. Our flimsy interior doors are no protection against aggressive or armed intruders. ECF members on their visit to Associated Ministries readily agreed that replacing all of them with durable doors and frames was a vital step that needed to be taken.
Finally, a less visible security threat was being posed by our electronic handling of client documents. To keep our client data secure, the ECF allocated grant funds for part of the cost of a data management system. This system will allow us to scan client information directly into secure files, receive encrypted fax documents, and safeguard client identity documents.
Associated Ministries is extremely grateful for the support from ECF, an employee-owned charitable giving program managed by Boeing employees. Without question the employees who make the fund possible have a big heart for the needs of people experiencing poverty and homelessness in our community. Their generosity has afforded us ways to improve safety and security for vulnerable people coming to Associated Ministries for assistance. They have given us tools to improve our neighborhood environment and make it safer.
Thank you Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound!
The Employees Community Fund of Boeing Puget Sound, known as ECF, is an employee-owned and managed charitable giving program. Since 1951, generous Boeing employees have contributed over $600,000,000 to local Puget Sound nonprofits. ECF grants enable local Health & Human Service agencies to purchase much-needed equipment, renovate their facilities and build new construction that directly benefit their clients.
We couldn’t wait to give you a sneak peak of our results in 2016 (This infographic covers through November). A full Impact Report with financial information will be published by the end of March. You have touched many lives in our community through your support of Associated Ministries. We’re appreciative beyond words that you’ve chosen to be on our team!