As a kid, I always got made fun of for eating too slow. At my cousin's house, she would chide me for being half way done long after everyone else was done. I have memories of crying at the dinner table because everyone else was gone and I was still eating. Aaaand I almost never finished what I put on my plate. Mom said she should send the food to kids in China who would be grateful enough to eat it all. Even as a kid, I knew that's not how it works...still, I did feel bad.
But it all looked so good though! I wanted to try all of it! And I hadn't heard of tapas yet, so the portions I scooped up were just too big. More than I could chew.
And, I think that kid still lives inside me. I can usually finish my food in a timely manner now. But I like to bite off more than I can chew. Especially when it comes to seeking God's Kingdom of liberating love and justice for all people and all things. There are no tapas in that business. Full plates of so much goodness! More than I can chew.
And I could go off on a tangent about faith and why we should always bite off more Kingdom work than we can chew because it's God's work not ours. But, I'll save that rant for another day.
What I want to say right now is that Our Common Table has gloriously bit off more than we can chew.
When Luke and I arrived in Everett a little over a year ago to begin this work, we had a goal to listen, listen and then listen some more. We wanted to get to know Everett. We wanted to hear the the Spirit at work in Everett calling like the seals and gulls out on the Sound. We wanted to listen deeply for that space where our passions, gifts, and hopes met with the needs and dreams of this wonderful neighborhood here in North Everett.
Over and over and over again we heard: there needs to be a safe space for neighbors experiencing houselessness to spend their days.
So, we took that step of faith and started Our Common Ground back in November - with it's central ministry being a hospitality space for neighbors experiencing poverty, addiction, and mental (un)health. The first few days, just a few folks wandered in. We began to wonder if we heard the need wrong. Then a few became 10 or so. Then, within a month it was more like 40. And now at 3 months, we're averaging between 50-60 and over the course of a week seeing a quarter of the folks experiencing houselessness in Snohomish County.
And it is wonderful! We are building relationships. We are listening to stories. We are seeing people reach out to try and get clean. We are facilitating job searches. There are ups and downs every day. But on the whole, amazing things happen in this space. (You can read Our Common Table's March newsletter for two beautiful stories)
And, we bit off more than we can chew.
We need your help. We are growing our volunteer base and that is exciting! The best part is hearing from volunteers how easy and rewarding it is to be in the space.
But really, we need your help in building our financial capacity. Specifically, we are currently launching a pledge drive to cover our rent. It's a modest amount: $810/month. Considering all it gives, this is $810/month stretched deep and wide to bless and welcome neighbors who don't often receive welcome.
Would you consider pledging toward this monthly amount?
There are heaps of goodness on our plates at Our Common Table and Our Common Ground. And it's tempting to become that little girl again, crying at the table as I struggle to finish my meal after everyone else has left the table. But, instead, I want to invite you to sit at the table and join us in the work of devouring this huuuuge plate of goodness we've bit off for ourselves.
Bottom line: We know this is what we are called to do. And, we know we can't do it without your help. Such is the Kingdom. It takes all of us together...and not one little girl crying at her overstocked plate.
You can give online here (or here if you are not confident about giving to a church and want to give directly to Our Common Ground).
Or by check by including a note about your pledge and mailing them to:
Our Common Table
2110 Grand Ave #1
Everett, WA 98201
And before you go, I'd like to invite you to comment on this post...how are you biting off more than you can chew in the name of God's liberating love and justice and how can we love and support you in your overwhelming plate of goodness?