BrentM

Feb 172021
 

For centuries Christians have faithfully removed stones, plowed the field, and sown the seed of the Gospel. We are in a season of harvest. Not because of what we have done, but because the Lord moves in the  hearts of people, perhaps based on our testimony and willingness to actually love our neighbor. 

LHCC has begun a new initiative in 2021. Something very exciting, even extraordinary, that we see as synergistic with our existing program service offerings. In short, it is our belief that people generally want to love their neighbor, make an impact and build relationships across cultures all across the city. We are referring to the launch of our new Kinship initiative. Click here to learn more. We believe that mutually fulfilling cross-cultural relationships are the recipe for joy and happiness in the lives of our team members, volunteers and program recipients. 

LHCC has been providing scholastic, spiritual, and social support to students and their families since July 2012 through homework assistance programs, enrichment activities, summer camps, and family stabilization services. We have learned that the most effective and helpful vehicle for change is mutually beneficial relationships which are based on trust and mutual respect.  Each party beings something of value to the relationship, and each receives something of value. We know that a hand up is better than a hand out; even better are hands together, working to achieve a common goal. This is the essence of Kinship. Kinship that is pleasing to the King and king of kings. 

During COVID-19, out of necessity, we pivoted away from our traditional programs and took some new approaches to serving our students and their families, including support of on-line learning and food support. We were able to provide income to one of our families by utilizing their home-based catering services to provide meals in for our families in addition to meals from CMS and other charities.

In closing, I’d like to share a reminder from the apostle Paul that we “were in darkness, but now we are the light in the Lord. Live as children of light” Ephesians 5:8. This verse means taking an interest in the well being of others, conforming to God’s standards, not the ways of the world and following the truth of scripture. It’s a testimony of goodness, righteousness and truth. That’s also the essence of kinship and of loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Our next blog post will focus on just such a picture of mutuality, between an eighty something year young lady, her pups and friends and our students, and what binds them together. 

Until next time,

Brent M

February 2021

 Posted by at 7:39 pm

Kinship for the King

 Connect Hub, COVID-19, Kinship, Kinship Kitchen, Neighboring  Comments Off on Kinship for the King
Feb 062021
 

For centuries Christians have faithfully removed stones, plowed the field, and sown the seed of the Gospel. We are in a season of harvest. Not because of what we have done, but because the Lord moves in the  hearts of people, perhaps based on our testimony and willingness to actually love our neighbor.

LHCC is embarking on a new initiative in 2021. Something very exciting, even extraordinary, that we see as synergistic with our existing program service offerings. In short, it is our belief that people generally want to love their neighbor, make an impact and build relationships across cultures all across the city. We are referring to the launch of our new Kinship initiative. Click here to learn more. We believe that mutually fulfilling cross-cultural relationships are the recipe for joy and happiness in the lives of our team members, volunteers and program recipients.

LHCC has been providing scholastic, spiritual, and social support to students and their families since July 2012 through homework assistance programs, enrichment activities, summer camps, and family stabilization services. We have learned that the most effective and helpful vehicle for change is mutually beneficial relationships which are based on trust and mutual respect.  Each party beings something of value to the relationship, and each receives something of value. We know that a hand up is better than a hand out; even better are hands together, working to achieve a common goal. That is the essence of Kinship. Kinship that is pleasing to the King and king of kings.

During Covid-19, out of necessity, we pivoted away from our traditional programs and took some new approaches to serving our students and their families, including support of on-line learning and food support. We were able to provide income to one of our families by utilizing their home-based catering services to provide meals in for our families in addition to meals from CMS and other charities.

In closing, here’s a reminder from the apostle Paul that we “were in darkness, but now we are the light in the Lord. Live as children of light” Ephesians 5:8. This verse means taking an interest in the well being of others, conforming to God’s standards, not the ways of the world and following the truth of scripture. It’s a testimony of goodness, righteousness and truth. That’s also the essence of kinship and of loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Next post will delve into just such a picture of mutality between an eighty years young lady and her friends and our students, and what brings them together each week.

Until next time,

Brent M

February 2021

 Posted by at 1:41 pm

The space between us

 Attitude, COVID-19, Encouragement, Kinship, Mutuality  Comments Off on The space between us
Jan 202021
 

I’ve been looking forward to writing this post for some time, but first, let me start by saying that today, more than ever, I pray for unity in our country. As our new president and vice president are sworn in at noon today, my hope that we are more accepting of our kin and our neighbors. This undoubtedly starts in our homes, schools and workplaces. Whether or not you voted for President Biden, we are called to respect our elected officials and the authority that their offices represent.

Now on to my thoughts on the road forward, and a question to think about. Have you wondered how you’ll respond when we get the post pandemic all-clear? I think I’m going to go hug 50 people … from the physical distance of the pandemic CDC guidelines to invading that infamous 6 foot distance and show some compassion and care, sans the mask.

God loves to use people that others seemingly overlook. Maybe that’s you, if you consider that you, yes you, can be the encouragement that others need. Perhaps put your, and their isolation and discouragement, to bed. Maybe reach out to the worker at the hotel, or the attendant at a gas station. Over the past two weeks, being the start of 2021, I have tried to put myself out there. I have two examples to share. The first instance was at a breakfast place where Jim was sipping coffee at the kitchen bar, minding his own business. We simply struck up a brief conversation. Delightful old man, with lots to share. The second was Robert, who I had seen previously at an out of town coffee shop. The quintessential village coffee shop greeter and PR guy. Interesting as all get up was Robert, single, never married, strong believer in Gods grace and mercy, who moved to Ashe county six months ago to be near to his niece, whose hubby is a local church pastor. Both these new friends were alone, and remarked that they were lonely, which is why they were out in public. Both were, however, strategically placed there for more than coffee. This is how God uses people to put a smile on someone’s dial, and make a new acquaintance, just by being out there and looking for divine appointments. People who have more to offer than receive. That could be you as well, if you, like me, take the time to slow down and listen. These are the beginnings of kinship relationships. All who wonder are not lost, but perhaps on a mission to improve life for someone else.

Whose quiet faithfulness has made a difference in your life? Do you wonder how you can perhaps serve God by serving someone else today?

Lord God in heaven, thank you for never overlooking me. I am thankful You can use me to make a difference wherever I am. Use me to show the love You have shown me as I seek to help your people, here on your mission field. Amen

God is not unjust. He will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people” Hebrews 6:10

May this year be filled with many conversations, with overlooked strangers, friends and neighbors, whether physically distant or not …

Brent M, LHCC

Adapted, in part, from a daily devotion by Our Daily Bread, written by James Banks, January 2021

 Posted by at 10:50 am
Jan 082021
 

Happy New Year to all our blog readers and friends. Let’s be praying that we, as a nation, will start the process of uniting and showing respect for everyone we come in contact with, without bias or discrimination. Starting with those under our roof would be my recommendation, and I speak from real-world experience … Education and respect surely start in the home…

So we have a “Big Idea” for this New Year. LHCC has seen over the past 8 years that the zest for school seems to dissipate with our graduating fifth graders, as they move on from elementary school. Too often, it’s a downward slope of discouragement and disengagement.

A Gallop poll undertaken some years prior to the pandemic, found a disturbing slope in the wrong direction for fifth- to twelve-grade students in the US. Only 6 in 10 middle school students reported being engaged in school. That number goes further south, 4 in 10, for high schoolers. That metric started out at almost 8 in 10 for elementary school students. Gallop defines engaged as students who feel involved in the learning process and who have positive connections with teachers and the school. Feedback included the view that disengaged students felt they did not get the chance to do the things they are best at doing. Students will stay engaged if the encounter frequent successes, are given chances and have more positive interactions with adults.

LHCC is looking for practical ideas to help our secondary school students in 2021. By this I mean helping middle and high school students find their voice, show them that they matter, and can be trusted. As in-person school attendance has been very limited, or frankly non-existent for most secondary level students this school year, we are looking for ways to motivate them, to help them discover their passion for what they enjoy. We are therefore introducing a different perspectives on academics.

Creating a culture of Leadership

I love this quote by Sir Ken Robinson, from The Element. “The fact that given the challenges we face, education doesn’t need to be reformed. It needs to be transformed. The key to this transformation is not to standardize education, but to personalize it, to build achievement on discovering the individual talents of each child, to put students in an environment where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions”

Learning is surely more that going to school and getting an education. Other vital dimensions of growing up include cross cultural exposure and learning life skills. Non scholae sed vitae discimus. We learn, not for school, but for life  ~ a sign in a high school entrance declares.

We are dreaming about a LHCC Leadership Academy for secondary school students

Ways to give our students a chance to be leaders. We believe that giving them responsibility can surely change their maturity. Make a concerted effort to ask their opinions and focus on listening and giving them a voice, and teaching them to use it

Pair our younger students with our older student leaders. Ask them to read to their younger siblings or play board games. Let them practice the language they will be graduating from American school, usually different from their home language

We are planning to develop a curriculum that is not just academic, but rather focused on skills like problem solving, public speaking and debating (kindly)

In closing, let me provide two more quotes by folks who are much more versed than I in weighing in on this topic of academics.

What students need to succeed in the 21st century is an education that is both academically rigorous and “real world” relevant. This objective of rigor and relevance is not just for some students, it is for all students  ~ Dr. Willard Doggett

The research is abundantly clear: nothing motivates a child more than when learning is valued by schools and families/communities working together in partnership … these forms of involvement do not happen by accident or even by invitation. They happen by explicit strategic intervention ~ Michael Fullan

At LHCC, we desire to inspire and motivate greatness in all our children … one child at a time … After all, the woods would surely be silent if no bird sang but the best. We’d love to have you join us in a united chorus of encouragement and hope as we bring in a new year.

Brent Morris

ED of LHCC

January 2021

 Posted by at 6:53 pm

I missed my turn and ended up in Tent City … Charlotte

 Community Service, COVID-19, Neighboring, Social Capital  Comments Off on I missed my turn and ended up in Tent City … Charlotte
Dec 052020
 

I had good reason to travel to what used to be called the Urban Ministry and Men’s Shelter, off N Tryon yesterday. You see, I was on a mission, so to speak, to collect some food items for our LHCC ministry, that the renamed Roof Above were seeking to donate, but that’s another long story for another blogpost. My GPS had me locked in on the correct address. As I drew nearer I was shocked to see what I saw on both sides of the road. Charlotte’s thriving tent city. As I proceeded, I missed my turn … because I was thinking, “my destination surely can’t possibly be down there”. This is my way of stating that I lost my concentration and thought for a brief 90 seconds car ride that I was once again in a third world African country. Back to the task at hand, I’m in the Queen City, and looking for the now hidden and seemingly distant Roof Above.

A very recent WCNC article reported ‘There are places in the third world where refugee camps are more habitable’. It’s not that simple because I know that many organizations and kind folks are helping our cities citizens, like our friends at Roof Above. Their world also turned upside down in March when people showed up along with the thousands of food packages gifted by kind neighbors. Quoting the WCNC report “What’s more a local property owner has filed a lawsuit against the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. The lawsuit alleges the city and county are herding homeless into tent cities that line the sidewalks, rights-of-way. It also goes on to read that the tents have crept onto private properties and parking lots along North Tryon Street.”

My point of this blog is that it’s hard to believe we’re in Charlotte, NC. While there is reportedly capacity in vacant Roof Above facilities and temporary room housing available, many of our unfortunate neighbors apparently still choose to stay in encamped in tent city. Barriers to entry into a temporary facility include COVID screening, behavioral restrictions and curfews, seemingly hurdles not low enough. There is no mass exodus from tent to housing, even with the promise of heat and utilities.

Maybe there is truth to the sentiment that your future is determined, not by your DNA code, but by your zip code. President Obama, once claimed “In this country, of all countries, a person’s zip code shouldn’t decide their destiny.”

If you need a road trip and have never seen tent city, not on TV, but live, right outside your car window, go take a drive to Roof Above, at 945 N College Street and see tent city for yourself. I am confident you’ll come away with more questions than answers. Oh, and trust your GPS and keep your eyes peeled. Count your blessings and thank the Lord you have a roof over your head this day. Thousands, not 10 miles from you, are not so fortunate tonight.

I am

Brent Morris

Executive Director, LHCC

 Posted by at 8:19 am

Volunteer – LHCC Family Christmas Event

 Uncategorized  Comments Off on Volunteer – LHCC Family Christmas Event
Nov 242020
 

Thank you to everyone who signed up! We had an incredible response and we are all set on volunteers for the event. For more volunteer opportunities please visit https://www.lhcclt.org/get-involved/

We are currently seeking volunteers for our annual Christmas event. The event will be a time of fellowship and fun. Will be giving away coats, shoes, clothes, and toiletries for LHCC families and community members.

Volunteers will help with set-up and breakdown as well as be assigned a designated position for the event.

Positions available include monitoring stations, helping hand out food, sorting clothing, and assisting families as they move through stations.

Families and volunteers will be asked to wear masks and temperature checks will be performed upon arrival.

Event Info
Event is Rain or Shine
Saturday, December 5th
The event will take place from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. We are asking that volunteers arrive at 10:30 am to help with setup and we will head out by 2:30pm.

If you can’t make it for the whole time but can make it for part of the time, please let us know as we’d love to have you!

To sign up, either fill in the form below or contact Rebeca at rebeca@lhcclt.org. Please don’t hesitate to reach out as well if you have any questions or if you know someone who would like to volunteer for the event. Thank you!

If you have trouble viewing the form please follow this link to open it in a new page:

https://forms.gle/xct2YiLBzaCr8rQeA

 Posted by at 8:23 pm
Nov 242020
 

This has been a tough year. A once-in-a-lifetime year of uncertainty and perhaps even loss, of someone or something. I lost my dad, as did my ministry partner, and my close friend. Three fathers all elevated to a higher status, all in the last 4 months. 2020 has been like a centennial flood that can be devastating. I was recently reminded of that with a slogan about storms, associated with Tropical storm Eta, “Not all storms come to disrupt our life, some come to clear our path.” Is a rainbow not a sign of hope, as promised by God?

Our pastor at Life Church Charlotte, mentioned this recently, in reference to the Platte River, 310 miles long but mostly shallow. Miles wide and inches deep is the expression.

At LHCC, it has never been about how many people we help. Instead, it’s about the hope we provide and the love and kindness we share to those we call the LHCC family. We would prefer, instead, to be miles deep and inches wide.

We have recently started down an exciting path in planning a new initiative around kinship. My last blogpost outlined a perspective on this topic.

Jesus has high hopes that we will move from separation and division to unity and kinship. Our quest for mutuality is fueled by the engine of hope. If there is no hope, there is nothing to give others living on the margins of society. No kinship means no peace. No peace, no justice, no kinship, no equality. Quoting my latest read by author Father Greg Boyle, we ought to seek first the kinship and watch what happens. My thinking at this present time and given my experience with the LHCC family is this: we ought to see those we serve for the contribution they make in the relationships we share. There is much to receive and learn from those classified as being on the margins.

I was hungry, and you gave me to something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me a drink. I was hopeless and you gave me some. Adapted from Matthew 25:34-40

Thank you, Life Church, for joining LHCC in rolling out hope to our LHCC family this week with food hampers. We are grateful for your kindness and generosity.

Happy New Year from our LHCC family to yours.

Brent M, ED of LHCC, December 30, 2020

 Posted by at 3:15 pm
Nov 112020
 

An aboriginal woman from Australia said to some earnest, well intentional missionaries: “If you’re coming to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up in mine, then let us work together.” I am quoting from a book I’m reading called Barking at the Choir, subtitled Radical Kinship, by Father Greg Boyle. The title, itself, is a another thought provoking conundrum of opposites that causes one to ponder …what on earth is he referring to. Allow me to continue …

In the same chapter, called Exquisite Mutuality, Boyle writes about a volunteer, determined to join the efforts at his missional organization, told Boyle that she just had to volunteer with his organization. When asked why, she replied, “Because I believe I have a message these young folks need to hear”. The minute you lose that message, come back and see us” was his response.

At LHCC we are embarking on a new initiative. Something very exciting, even extraordinary, that we see as synergistic with our existing program service offerings. In short, it is our belief that volunteers generally want to make an impact and build relationships in our cross-cultural ministry. What we desire to prove, or test out during an pilot phase of an multi-year project, is whether the feelings and results might be considered mutual. We know the families we serve are positively impacted, but could those who serve alongside us, as volunteers, feel increasingly connected? Might volunteers invited to serve opportunities at non-profits across the city come away from their experiences with a greater sense of happiness at having made a difference in the life of a student? 

Stated differently, might volunteers arrive at a mountain top where the feeling of satisfaction is matched by the smiles and joy of those whose lives we walk alongside, so that both are liberated? This is what we are calling mutuality. This is what has been referred to as kinship. Arriving at a place of exquisite mutuality, as fascinating and radical as that may sound.

Over the next year, with the support of a generous philanthropist, LHCC is going to strengthen its operations through increased engagement and involvement of prospective churches, congregants and non-profits, to focus on this so-called mutuality journey.

Let the learning begin. If we can learn to love our neighbors and fill our love tanks by what we learn and gain from our own liberation, could we change the rhythm and trajectory of a deeply divided city? If you have read this far, thank you for reading this first of many blogs on the topic of mutuality. We hope you will join us on this exciting journey. May our love tanks be full to overflowing. Email us at info@lhcclt.org with your comments and questions.

In am,

Brent Morris

Executive Director, LHCC

November 11, 2020

PS – More blogposts coming, stay tuned and share your new-found love

 Posted by at 8:45 pm
Oct 232020
 

Think of it as a safe place to do school work, play, enjoy a meal and connect with your friends …

LHCC launched our Connect Hub learning program in September. This coming week, we are adding a second school day to Thursdays-at-the-church -for -school. Connect-Hub now takes place Monday’s and Wednesday’s for students while their parents are at work. We have adequate outdoor and indoor space at St Andrews UMC and have upgraded our connectivity and welcomed our families with open arms. We are providing learning for students from five Title 1 CMS schools off South Blvd, along with child meals for our low-income neighbors. Connect Hub is our term for a safe, group environment for students to sit at a desk and connect to the school learning platform with adult supervision. Students complete learning modules, have recess, and receive meals and snacks. Parents participating in the Hub are paid for their time. 2020 has been such a challenging year for so many. It’s been really hard on our kids for sure. I cannot imagine the hardships for exceptional students, those with special needs or who are living with homelessness.

We covet your continued prayers for continued interventions, inspiration and motivation as we come alongside our LHCC families, and certainly many others like them. We are grateful for this ministry and for the opportunity to build trust and provide hope in these relationships. We certainly do not take this responsibility lightly. For the glory of the One we serve.

Thank you for reading and your support of our local communities

Brent M

October 25, 2020

 Posted by at 11:00 pm
Oct 072020
 

Thank-you for reading our latest ministry blogpost. You will need to read to the bottom to find out about our latest award.

On the ministry frontlines, we have been walking alongside a young mother, Elizabeth, and her family for a couple of years. We have learned first-hand of the home-front struggles, firstly with COVID-19, and then of remote leaning over the past six long months, without any in-person help. Along with its technology challenges and the many language barriers trying to help her four children, three in elementary school and one middle-school student, we have witnessed the struggles of staying connected with the daily grind of being on constant Zoom calls. Peer socialization has all but disappeared and emotional support evaporated by being home.

LHCC has intervened to engage both teachers and school counselors to provide much needed encouragement and hope. We launched our Connect Hub learning program in September. This has been such a challenging year for so many. I cannot imagine the hardships for those with special needs or living with homelessness. Has the school system done these children a disservice, with delayed returned to class, especially now that the governor has opened up schools to return? How will we ever measure the impact on the COVID-slide?

Your prayers for continued wisdom, guidance and open conversations are appreciated, as we come alongside this young family, and certainly many others like them. Grateful for this ministry and opportunity to build trust and provide hope in these relationships.

Quoting one of my favorite bible teachers Chip Ingram, and one who I have listened to for years, “the big answer to our worlds chaos is not political philosophical or religious, its spiritual” Let’s keep our leaders. nation, schools and neighbors in our daily prayers. Chip goes on to say The greatest need in America and the world right now is for us to love our neighbor. Only radical Christlike love will heal racism, political division and reveal the love of the savior to fractured and hurting people. 

On a different note, LHCC is also pleased to have been awarded the 2020 Great Non-Profits award this month. Thank-you to everyone who wrote a review. If you still would like to add your voice to our work, kindly text 455097492 to 888-432-6659 and in 3 easy steps, you too can help make LHCC a great non-profit by sharing your feedback.

Appreciate what the Lord is doing through our ministry

Brent Morris

October 7, 2020

 Posted by at 12:16 pm