Update on our Kinship Kitchen

 Community Service, Family, Kinship, Kinship Kitchen, Mutuality  Comments Off on Update on our Kinship Kitchen
Jun 152021
 

During the past three months, LHCC has launched its first Kinship Kitchen at St Andrews United Methodist Church. Our brag sheet is about the progress that our culinary partners and families have made:

  • LHCC completed our first ever kitchen food safety training for our first group of parents, both men and women
  • LHCC provided over 1,000 kitchen-prepared meals for our program parents and their children for the past 3 months
  • We produced our first of many videos to provide a view into the lubricants of food, fun and fellowship and why we are serving our community
  • We certified all of our initial Serve Safe food handlers to equip them for workforce opportunities in the service industry
  • LHCC utilized our kitchen and newly acquired skills to provide kids meals during our summer program
  • LHCC is offering Friday evening family meals, prepared by our newly trained students
  • LHCC continues to seek and leverage partnerships to procure affordable food, train more parents and teach about nutritional versus traditional home cooked meals
  • LHCC welcomes volunteers and those excited about all things food to join our family and experience kinship as we break bread and build lasting relationships

For more information, please see our Get Involved link on our website or contact us at mail . Kindly mention Kinship Kitchen involvement

 Posted by at 11:23 am
Mar 092021
 

In the book, Peaceful Neighbor, the author eloquently described how some people get so wrapped up in consumerism and materialism, the trappings of life, that they lose what is real. He is of course referring to a quote by Roy Rogers who made the TV show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood famous in the 80’s. Rogers’ overwhelming desire was to help children realize that deep and simple are more important than shallow and complicated and fancy.

As promised in the February post, I want to introduce you to Tucker. Three days before the start of summer camp programs, in the middle of a pandemic, I received a phone call from Tucker. She is a dear lady with a heart of gold, and a dog handler with four trained pups of her own. She is associated with Invisible Pawprints, a wonderful organization that trains therapy dogs to provide hope to children and folks in hospital.

Tucker had learned of our LHCC ministry and was calling to inquire about bringing the pups and their dog handlers to our program to interact with our campers. My first reaction was “it’s too late”. The host church would probably give me a hard time about bringing dogs onto the campus. Besides, I would need to request further permission and amend our contract. There simply was insufficient time before the start of camp. Tucker explained that the pups had not been out to hospitals and schools since March and needed to put their therapy training into practice. As Tucker continued our phone conversation, it dawned on me that the pups needed the excursion outlet as much as the students needed the distraction from their reading chores. Our students genuinely needed their daily reading time. The dogs surely needed reading partners. The rest is history and we have enjoyed a wonderful relationship with all the handlers and their pups ever since. You see, Tucker and her volunteers, along with their cute pups of course, have faithfully returned each week of our program

It really is a beautiful partnership, and one that extends from camps last summer and continues to this day. Our church partner, St Andrews United Methodist, is also very gracious and never hesitated to welcome our new so-called readers. The pups are the catalysts that brought an 80-year young lady and her crew together with our young students.

Greg Boyle, the author of Barking at the Choir and Tattoos on the Heart, and the biggest proponent of kinship I know, made a lot of great points about what it takes to reach kinship relationships. Fostering trusted relationships are what we seek. They are what Father Boyle refers to as the hallway to the ballroom. The ballroom where both parties are liberated and discover relationships that may lead to kinship, sometimes in unlikely places.

 Posted by at 10:25 am

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
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